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BMA: “Resign, Lansley! But fix our pension deal first.”
Is SOS Lansley a misunderstood genius channelling Schopenhauer?
Welcome to the latest edition of Health Policy Intelligence, the analysis and summary of the key events in policy by Health Policy Insight editor Andy Cowper.
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Click here for details of BMA: “Resign, Lansley! But fix our pension deal first” - Is SOS Lansley a misunderstood genius channelling Schopenhauer?, the new issue of subscription-based Health Policy Intelligence.
You’ve got to love the British Medical Association. Medical politics would be far less funny without it.
The most recent ARM (the BMA’s provisional wing, as its acronym suggests) gave us the wonderful sight of the BMA voting for Mr Lansley to resign as Secretary Of State For Health.
No Secretary Of State has ever resigned in the history of British politics on the BMA’s say-so. Nor will one.
No: this is politics as ritual theatre. Just as we can expect every ARM to hear that “morale in the profession has never been lower” (did they say that in the 1949 Annual Representative Meeting?), it is something of a disappointment to ARM regulars if there isn't a motion for the Secretary Of State For Health to hang their head in shame, resign and give £120 billion to the doctors to run things.
The ARM seemed to be oblivious to the fact that they might be assiduously pissing on their own chips in their vote of no confidence, given that their pension dispute is ongoing and that they were also to elect a new chair of Council to replace the tremendously long-suffering and tactically astute Dr Hamish Meldrum.
Meldrum’s successor Dr Mark Porter might just have been thinking ‘oh great. Thanks, people. We’ve just voted for Our Savour And Liberator to resign, and now I have to try and reopen negotiations on the pensions. Smashing.’
Andrew Lansley (saviour, liberator) will probably not lose too much sleep over the BMA’s problems.
He gave an unusually relaxed speech to the Commissioning Show in London recently: as clear a home crowd as you might hope to find. His speech was bookended by two quotes from the philosopher Schopenhauer: “all truth is ridiculed, then violently opposed, then accepted as self-evident”, and “change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal”.
I must admit that Arthur Schopenhauer was not hitherto well-known to me. Wikipedia tells me that his best-known work ‘The World as Will and Representation’ proposes that the world is fundamentally what we recognise in ourselves as our will. Thus human desires can never be fully satisfied, making the human condition ultimately painful and suggesting that a lifestyle of negating desires in ascetic fashion is the only way to attain liberation.
Schopenauer sounds so right for Our Saviour and Liberator: the individual’s will over-rides everything. The section on his politics has Schopenauer as a natural libertarian Tory: a fan of limited government and letting each individual work out their own salvation.
This is the end of the extract from the latest issue of Health Policy Intelligence. Subscription is £69 for 12 months, and funds the existence of this site. For details of how to subcribe, email firstname.lastname@example.org