Opinion – Singapore Challenges the Idea That Democracy Is the Best Form of Governance – Harvard – Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs – John Gelmini

A model of the GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham

A model of the GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr Alf raises some interesting questions.

Democracy is supposed to mean that you have personal freedom, that you can say what you like within the limits of laws on obscenity, official secrets, the Equality Laws, Race Relations Laws and in the case of the UK the Blasphemy laws.

We have no privacy in any of the so-called democratic countries in that we are photographed 300 times a day, sometimes by facial recognition cameras and that data is stored for ever.

Every telephone call, social media interaction and every keystroke is logged and stored for later analysis by GCHQ and the NSA and the 5 Eyes and French equivalents.

Modern Samsung televisions have a recording feature which can be remotely triggered which allows the security services to watch a person inside their home and listen to every word they say.

A democracy should mean that single woman can travel about alone, unaccompanied and not be pestered, raped or subjected to danger. This is true in Singapore but not in English or American cities late at night with the possible exception of Manhattan before midnight.

In the UK, there are many truths which are never broadcast whilst sedition, acts of treason by extremists and other inflammatory statements made by them go unchallenged.

If you are white and middle class, you need to watch what you say, and if you use force against criminals you find in your house, in the UK you are liable to arrest and imprisonment, whereas in several American states you can use deadly force and have an adequate defence.

Democracy should mean that you have reasonable confidence that politicians and civil servants are not allowing the Exchequer to be plundered and that your taxes can be accounted for and that the police will investigate criminals and keep the streets safe.

In the UK, I have no such confidence any more.

Democracy is therefore an interesting concept brought to us from ancient Greece but it no longer truly exists in the UK and is in danger of being subverted elsewhere.

Singapore has a better model and it delivers more equality of outcome too.

John Gelmini

Open data could save the NHS hundreds of millions, says top UK scientist | Media Network | The Guardian

English: Keep Calm and Carry On UK government ...

English: Keep Calm and Carry On UK government poster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article from the Guardian is well worth a read. Check it out!

via Open data could save the NHS hundreds of millions, says top UK scientist | Media Network | The Guardian.

On the surface, open data and open government are a good thing. But when there’s an incremental cost, it must be measured at the margin, especially in times of bacon-slicer austerity. Activity-based-costing theory (ABC) has been around for some years – it favors eliminating non-value adding costs. For sure, there are still massive non-value adding costs in the NHS and across the UK government.

On balance, I support open data but it must become part of an effective strategy for UK public healthcare.

Let me ask an open question:

Surely there should be a UK public policy yardstick restricting 70% of the public sector’s expenditure to value-adding activities, like front-line services?

Thoughts?