Monday, November 17, 2008

Brown Knows Best (Again)

The arrogance of this Prime Minister knows no limits. He has in the past made clear his preference for a system of 'presumed consent' on organ donation. Today a government advisory committee came out against such a system, but Gordon Brown knows better than the experts of course, and immediately made clear that he would still push ahead and change the law. He says it would dramatically increase the number of organs available for transplant, a view totally at odds with the 400 page report issued by the advisory committee. Perhaps Brown would like to share with us his superior knowledge of the subject?

Clearly, he is not just the font of all knowledge on economic matters, but knows more than anyone else on the subject of organ donation. He really is far too clever to rule a country of this size. It is obvious that the size of his brain should allow him to rule the entire world. We are not worthy.

UPDATE: HERE's what I wrote about this when it first came up in January.

If you would like to voluntarily register to donate your organs you can do so HERE.


Johnny Norfolk said...

I do carry a doner card. If this law is passed I shall rip it up and opt out. I am not having this government telling me what I should do.

Just what have they done to this country. Things were so much better under that nice Mr Major.

What do you want government by thugs or gentlemen.

Anonymous said...

True Iain, but I doubt that Brown's arrogance was much to do with it this time. This is just part of the general "record is stuck" Departmental Arrogance of the combined Ministerial/Leading Civil Servants in each part of what is sometimes laughably referred to as the British "Government".

Basically, once a decision has been taken (months of paperwork, hundreds of meetings, etc), it cannot be changed without a similar very lengthy process. In the meantime, departmental/ministerial PRs continue to churn out the "on-message" version, no matter how ludicrously it flies in the face of the facts. That is what is taking place with this story.

Don't worry - in another couple of years the Ship of State will turn round and make the change we need.

Much the same could be observed in previous ridiculous crises such as Foot and Mouth (innoculation was obviously needed but it took five years and 3 billion wasted pounds to change civil servant's minds) and nuclear power.

It is the same regardless of who is in office and is a deep defect in our intractably slow mode of government.

See Sir Humphrey for further details.

paul seaman said...

Committees advise, ministers decide. I am not qualified to know whether Brown is right or wrong on this one. But I will defend a politician's right to make a political decision on most things because at the end of the day they are accountable to us (unlike committees). If Brown is wrong let's not moan, but expose and then ditch him.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:53, good analysis, but a tough-minded minister could go against the usual civil service bull machine and change policy. The trouble is that Brown has filled No 10 with silly young airhead NuLab-droids from our upper universities, none of whom has a clue about real life issues, but do know how to enforce the Will of Their Master, one G Brown, Minister of the Wee Free Manse. So they simply suppress any "independent" tendancies arising from ministries. At the same time, the "Gordon Knows Best" mentality is unlikely to help matters.

bebopper said...

Minnette Marrin was very good on this in the Sunday Times. (sorry can't link).
She says Brown and Labour governments before them have tried to nationalise our private lives. Now they want to nationalise our private parts.
She quotes evidence that there are enough voluntary doners dying, but there aren't enough surgery teams available in hospitals to make use of the organs.

Off topic: George Osborne gets very supportive leading articles in the Times and Mail today. Hopefully elsewhere. He's certainly raised the public's awareness of Brown's lunatic spending.

Dave H. said...

If only John Cleese and Graham Chapman were knocking on the door of No 10 ready to put the Dear Leader's presumed consent into practice.

(Today's etymological Rorschach is, in the context of organ donation, "idieto". This is getting creepy)

Anonymous said...

Ironic the man who killed off the supercasino is now one of the biggest punters in the world, his management of the economy reduced to a crap shoot chasing losses of tax payers' money. He should be referred to Gamblers Anonymous - "My name is Gordon and I am a compulsive gambler."

Geoff said...

Ironic the man who killed off the supercasino is now one of the biggest punters in the world, his management of the economy reduced to a crap shoot chasing losses of tax payers' money. He should be referred to Gamblers Anonymous - "My name is Gordon and I am a compulsive gambler."

Brave Sir Robin said...

This THX 1138-esque piece of Totalitarianism is one of the policies that will be linked in the minds of the public with Brown's low period early this year, and I'm astonished he's revisiting it rather than burying it along with all the other unpopular NuLab albatrosses ditched recently. This is a good opening for the Conservatives if they can exploit it properly.

A big "If" though on current form.

Anonymous said...

Broon will say "In this country", "The country", he will say anything to avoid saying the word ENGLAND, because thats all he has say over and doesnt want the English sheeple to realise that!.....he has NO SAY over his OWN country Scotland....this inept communist foreigner has NO MANDATE in England!.

Broon OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!

McLabour OUT!!!!!!!

Niccolo Machiavelli said...

I quite agree with you, Iain.

I'd be interested to know if you apply the same test to the advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs which supported the reclassification of cannabis and called for the reclassification of ecstasy.

Should their advice be acted on or ignored by ministers who know best?

Niccolo Machiavelli said...

P.S. Dave h - impressive recollection of "live organ transplants", from Monty Python and the Meaning of Life.

Anonymous said...

"Presumed Consent" has an eerily Orwellian tone to it.

It does seem very clear though from the discussions with the experts on Today this am that "presumed consent" doesn't help - it's having the paid advisors in each area. The latter being something that presumably Tories would oppose on cost grounds?

Goodnight Vienna said...

Does Brown carry an organ donor card at the moment?

C Powell said...

What's the betting that you won't be allowed to opt out unless you have an ID card?

God, I really despise this government. There are so many things to opt out of - the NHS Database, now this I may as well start opting out of the whole damn country while we're still allowed to leave.

wonderfulforhisage said...

When I go to the barbers there is a 'presumed consent' that he's free to do whatever he likes with the bits of my body I leave behind on the floor.

It seems to me that 'assumed consent' by society to use my body parts as transplants after my death is ok as long as I can opt out whilst still alive. (Thinks...I wonder what the reaction would be if I were to ask to take the clippings home the next time I'm shorn.)

I'm much more concerned with the Government's assumed ownership of the alive me that is leading fast to a police state.

Gormless said...

Live Organ Transplants (25 seconds in)

Maybe the opt-out can be stored on an ID card. Can't wait to get mine! It's clearly worth a kidney!

Anonymous said...

johnny norfolk 10.46 AM

You are not alone. I too would opt out even though I currently have a donor card.

However, who would want my organs at my time of life is another matter!

Womble On Tour said...

Brown will not listen to views that don't match his own. That's why he's convinced that presumed consent will increase organ donorship even though a task force which has spent months looking into it is convinced that it won't. Lots of people will tear up donor cards if presumed consent is brought in. I for one will carry a card that says something like this:

"I hereby declare that in the event I die, under no circumstances whatsoever may the State, in the form of the National Health Service or any other component of the State, harvest my organs on the grounds of implied consent. I explicitly and absolutely refuse consent for my organs to be harvested".

(Borrowed from Perry Anthony de Havilland on at the start of the year).

norman said...

Charles Clarke said Brown is Stalinistic.
He is acting like Stalin with Beria Mandelson behind him.

As far the Labour supporters here, I can say 'Boom and Bust' Brown will take his Party with him to the cold corner of Kirckaldy.

Torymory said...

A previous blogger made reference to Minette Marrin article in the Sunday Times yesterday.

She made the point that there is no shortage of doners - 400 of the 1,500 people who die each year are on the register. The problem is the NHS is not geared up to use their organs so they go to 'waste'.

Like others I have had a Donor Card for 30 years. I will rip it up if 'presumed consent' comes in.

As someone who is against ID cards I will have a dilemma if they bring a law in to say you can only opt out through the ID system as suggested on this blog...

Conservative Cabbie said...

This is a typical leftist approach, using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Surely there are better ways to increase organ donation than the government nationalising our bodies.

How about this. Almost all adults will, at some stage in their life, visit their GP. Why not have him/her ask you whether you wish to be an organ donor and enter that result into a database. The database doesn't have to be all knowing (although I'm sure the powers that be would love for it to be so), it just has to have that single question. It would help solve all those difficult questions that families face when facing tragedy as their loved one lays dying.

golfwidow said...

I too have carried a donor card for more years than I care to remember, and I too will rip it up if this law is passed. My body, my choice.

Arkangel said...

Perhaps Snotty should donate his brain now. He's clearly got no use for it!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! The result of this would be that everyone opts out. Something Doctors have always feared would happen if they tell us we must submit our bodies to the state. One of the campaign slogans by the Tories should be 'Labour wishes to steal your body parts!' It's the same with this Baby P incident, now Labour would use it as an excuse to grab all kids away from their parents should they fail to indoctrinate the kids on the sayings of Chairman Brown.

Travis Bickle said...

Natch' in Brown's eye(s) we all belong to the state and really have no business in making our own decisions about anything.

Having got rather too much , very undeserved, credit over the economic crisis his hubris is making him severely over confident, and it will be all the more satisfying when his inevitable, and hopefully very conclusive, downfall comes.

Dave said...

The state owns you, body and soul.

They claim the right to tell you what you can or can't eat, what drugs you can or can't take, etc and for what?
So they can harvest your organs?

Bob Dobbs said...

This is quite possibly the best article you have ever written, it is mature, isightful and revealing - I'm going to nominate it for a Pulitzer, I urgue your reader to do the same.

Brian W said...

Although probably am regarded as being past my 'best before' date I was thinking about enrolling on a training course for brain surgeons.

Trainee brain surgeons need bodies with brains upon which to learn their skills - is Gordon Brown available? I promise I'll try not to shake when I try to find his intelligence cells.

James Higham said...

The arrogance of this Prime Minister knows no limits.

It's an interesting thing, arrogance. He either has some form of support which encourages him to be arrogant or else he is just stupid.

People go out and say and do dire things because they usually know their group or coterie will support or protect them.

If they know they won't be protected, they're often more circumspect.

Unless they're plain stupid or nutters, of course.

Benjamin Gray said...

What Johnny Norfolk said. I have been a card-carrying organ donor since I was ten. If the system moves to presumed consent then I will opt out immediately as a matter of principle. I am not some piece of meat to be farmed by the state and it will provide another motive to the NHS that may interfere with their primary hippocratic loyalty.

A far more useful policy to put through would be to ensure that the known wishes of those who are on the register is not overruled by their families.

The government could also launch a campaign for registrations and raise awareness. Instead it is opting to treat us like cattle.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

I do carry a doner card.

Does that mean they can donate your remains to the local kebab shop?

Man in a Shed said...

I'm afraid the media have to explain Brown's personal conflict of interest in this area. I know everyone wants to respect privacy, but when the PM is going against professional advice his motives have to be explored.

However the real scandal is that the evidence suggests it will make no difference to transplant outcomes as the constraint on the system isn't willing dead people, but medical facilities and capability.

Another New Labour smoke screen used for triangulation and cynical manipulation of the sick and vulnerable for their own narrow and selfish political interests.

Anonymous said...

A McBritain of Nations and "Regions?"

Lola said...

Brown is bonkers. Isn't he?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Brown plans to raise money by harvesting the organs of his enemies, just as his allies, the Kosovar Albanians, did to the Serbs in 1999.

johnse18 said...

Anon 11:15 am "In this country".

Quite. This affects only England and Brown is a member for a Scottish constituency.

How about this for an idea. When such matters are being debated in Parliament, shouldn't Tory MPs refer to Brown as "First Minister for England" rather than PM, to draw continual attention to the illegitimacy of his position.

And when he says "this country", how about a few shouts of "which country is that then"?

Padougy said...

I don't get the big fuss with "presumed consent". My auntie ranted about it in a similar fashion: "The state would own your organs!"

Well, so what? Why do you care that your organs will be taken away after you die? It won't hurt you - you'll be dead.

Even if a 400 page by experts say it's not needed, where's the harm? I'm a great advocate of human rights, but organs being taken from your dead body doesn't seem to be violating any rights - because you'll be dead!

People who say this is a slippery slope to an autocratic state are are missing the point - your death could lead to the life of others.

Seriously, where's the harm?

Mr Jabberwock said...

Why not provide a confidential opt in option on the electoral register (this would be easier if we moved to individual voter registration, rather than household registration). This would provide an opportunity for each of us to consent and could be easily accessed by medical authorities. In order to make us think there could be a second question whether we consented to being provided with donated organs in the event of us having a medical need. said...

I don't normally defend Brown (believe me, I really don't) but I heard the advisory committee woman on the Today Prog today and she was RUBBISH. One of the reasons she gave against presumed consent was that "donor recipiant families like the idea of recieving a gift"

Is she on crack? Who the hell in need of a kidney gives a flying banana as to wether the kidney they get has been willingly given as a gift or not? Iain, I think you should be aware that "experts" don't always get it right.

Ron Todd said...

I do not care much what the doctors do with my bits once I am dead. I just want to be sure that I really am dead before they start cutting.

It has been reported that the Muslims are sgainst the changes. Would Brown be brave enough to go against their wishes just after he has been begging from the Arabs.

Gopdnight Vienna said...

That's the thing, Ron. Live donations are exactly that - a heart that's stopped beating is neither use nor ornament. Action has to be taken within seconds to ensure viability within the recipient. Now, excuse me for being selfish but, I really don't want my final minutes to be filled by images of masked people with scalpels in hand.

Does anyone know a journalist with access who is brave enough to ask Brown whether he carries a donor card and, if so, for how long?

molesworth 1 said...

Another notable piece of Govt. doublespeak, this one. Surely, the idea of 'presumed consent' is diametrically opposed to the notion of 'elective donation.'
As has been noted in previous comments, the NHS's current capacity for transplant surgery is limited, without further investment in on-call transplant teams across the country, intensive-care beds & the necessary infrastructure to operate them.

Politically, it stinks to high heaven.

c.powell @11.54 am asked:
"What's the betting that you won't be allowed to opt out unless you have an ID card?"

Keep it handy, you may need it to 'opt out' of owning a television set.

I'm sure there will be others...

Anonymous said...

Re: Does McBroon carry a donor card???

Who gives one?!

I would rather curl up me toes and become an ex parrot etc than have anything from him....

... unless I voted BNp post-op... Muhahahahahaha!!!!

Anonymous said...

If consent is presumed then who is to be charged with responsibility for checking whether the person has opted out - and where do they check? Will it be a central register access to which is unavailable outwith office hours? Will the register get lost? Will you have to carry an opt-out card - what happens if you've forgotten/lost your card the day you die? Is the surgeon, scalpel in hand, going to spend time checking to find out if you've opted out? What happens if, during your last hours, you change your mind/remember that you forgot to opt out? What's to happen to people who don't have the mental capacity to understand the concept of opting out and can't take steps to do so? Is the Government going to take active steps to ensure that every individual in the country knows about the change in the law, or will it be quietly slipped through?

A previous poster suggested that prospective donors should advise their GPs. In fact, this is the system in place at the moment if you want to donate because your medical records (should) follow you from one GP to another.

Sovereignty over one's own body and mind has always been a fundamental concept in this country. Presumed consent places sovereignty in the hands of the State and for that reason, I think the idea stinks. How typical of this Government that it opts for this rather than a programme of education on organ donation.