Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Job done

Today I had a unique experience. I was part of a government committee set up to plan for a potential disaster which has sacked itself, because the plans are in place and they work. That has to be a first.
Even more of a first – all clergy involved did a sterling job. Mind you, they were professional clergy, not hobby vicars, and as we gave up our lunchtimes voluntarily for the committee meetings and nobody was giving money away there were no evangelicals.
We were the Isle of Man Flu Pandemic Ethics Committee, a mixture of health professionals and lay people (including three clergy) with an interest in ethics, and we met at Nobles Hospital bi-monthly for two years. We put in place the ethical structure for Manx health services dealing with what, originally, was expected to be a serious bird flu pandemic but, in the end, was a much milder swine flu outbreak.
In the Isle of Man no-one has died, all who need a vaccine or treatment will get it, and the hospital has robust policies to continue dealing with those with high priority medical conditions without losing beds or staff needed for flu emergencies, now or in the future. As nothing has gone wrong there will be no screaming, but, between you and me, when we took the issue on it was an uphill battle against politicians going round with their eyes closed and fingers in their ears.
I’ve only once before been involved in such a scenario over here, and that was a disaster which caused me to approach this one with low expectations. In the other case the committee were the puppets of social services and their friends in evangelical churches.
The end result of that is the social problem we were meant to eradicate now gets worse day by day, because once the sham committee moved aside at the sham meeting to launch the sham solution the bigots and parasites at the root of the problem took over, and will continue to claim they’re solving it until the cash runs out. Frankly, that day might well be the first one when the problem starts to go away.
But that was another committee. This one restored my faith in some public sector workers (though as an ex-nurse I’ve always trusted health workers), and in the genuine good intent of the few old fashioned clergy still about. Modest types who got into the job to help people, not to lecture them senseless.
The lesson, I suppose, is that honest folk with good will can head off a disaster. But if you ever do find yourself in a position where you might have to, first avoid all involvement by evangelicals, civil servants or politicians. Do that, and you might get the job done right, and without wasting time, money or materials.

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