Sunday, 26 January 2014

Bad Comedy

From Rufus Hound's blog

The NHS is the one of the single greatest achievements of any civilisation, ever, anywhere in the history of the world. Great Britain decided that being broken wasn’t your fault. If bits of you got smashed off, started going wrong or gave up entirely, it would do it’s best to stick them back on, put them right or find you a new one. It essentially made being healthy a human right. 

Up until 1948, only wealthy people had access to doctors. Your likelihood of surviving disease was based on your income. In other words, if you were poor, you were fucked. Then came World War Two and with it a generation of young Britons who died in foreign fields, fought for queen and country, opposed fascism and sacrificed nearly everything.

The only way through it was for everyone to pull together – prince and pauper, dustman and duke. The sense of nationhood that sprang from this tragedy, the sense that “we’re all in this together”, meant that within three years of the war finishing it was decided that the state would cover the healthcare costs of its citizens. That, regardless of your own personal wealth, you could expect medical attention as and when you needed it.

My tips to Rufus Hound is that if you're going to do satire, it's important to throw a few gags to tip people off.

Just saying things like the "single greatest achievement of any civilisation, ever" don't make it obvious. Something like "inhabitants of planets orbiting Betelgeuse see the NHS as the envy of the galaxy" work much better. And "only wealthy people had access to doctors" would be much better as "wealthy people would visit their doctors suffering from stomach upsets having had a couple of grilled peasants for lunch". And I'd also throw something in about how the evil Tories opposed any sort of insurance system as they wanted to turn poor people into glue.


Mark Wadsworth said...

"It’s also the most cost effective health care system in the world"

It certainly was until a few years ago, I'm not sure if it still is.

paulc156 said...


I think Betelgeuse is a super-giant which has been unstable for some time and could explode at any moment so any inhabitants orbiting such a star [unlikely unless they are colonists since the star is probably only a few tens of millions of years old]they might just be on their way to fulfill Daily Mail expectations of benefit tourism as we speak.

Mark Wadsworth said...

PC, this was Stigler's post.

The Stigler said...


There's probably an interplanetary version of the Daily Mail that reports on the effect of house prices from exploding stars.

The Stigler said...


You just have to look at how much the bureaucracy expanded at the same time that most businesses were reducing bureaucracy with greater automation.