The socialistic Brexiteer ‘celebrity cleric’ Dr.Giles Fraser has recently written an article that has inflamed the Internet and the Cleggbook.
The story he tells is of his GP friend relating to him that… ‘a woman in her fifties called up the surgery (meddygfa in Cymraeg). Her elderly and confused father had soiled himself and she wanted to know if the surgery could send someone round to clean him up. “Did you have children?” Fraser’s friend asked her. She did. He went on: “When they were babies did you ever contact the State to see if it would come round to change their nappies?”
Fair point! However, and this is what has inflamed people (especially the Guardianistas), Mr.Fraser went on to conflate this difficult ‘care’ issue to BREXIT with the following rant at a headline and article in the Remain supporting London Evening Standard “Who’ll look after our elderly post Brexit, ask care chiefs” with… “I’m still spitting blood at the arrogance and callousness of that question. It summed up all that I have against the Osborne neoliberal (yes, that’s what it is) world-view. And why I am longing for a full-on Brexit – No Deal, please – to come along and smash the living daylights out of the assumptions behind that question.”
Beatles song lyric…’When I get older losing my hair… Many years from now Will you … Will you still need me, will you still feed me? When I’m 64.’
Being of an age and health status where it is quite likely that I will need help, at some point, in ‘wiping my arse’, caused me to reflect on Dr.Fraser’s article and the discussion it has caused. Fraser’s argument, as I understand it, is that society and ‘family’ has been broken down or degraded so much by neoliberalism that family no longer ‘rally’ round to help/support aged or infirm parents and that this function has been outsourced to uncaring care agencies or the NHS.
Am I a neoliberal?
The ubiquitous ‘we’re all doomed‘ George Monbiot defines neoliberalism as…Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.
So Fraser is against having ‘the market’ wipe people’s arses and that this function should be done by a closer family? Do I agree with the idea that my children should (according to Fraser) work and live closer to me so that they can be on hand to look after me and my partner as we fall apart? Or do I think that they should get on with their separate lives and that I should fall apart, decline, on my own with the occasional intervention by the State and paid for care?
Well, of course, it would be nice if my children cared enough for me (no doubt consciously or unconsciously, with their eye on inheritance?) to be ‘on hand’ if I needed help. However, I don’t think they would appreciate having to deal with my incontinence (or other age-related health problems like dying) nor would I want them to – I would prefer to pay someone to do this for me and bump me off (the pillow), if necessary, as we would to any suffering pet. Fraser’s analogy with changing nappies by the State is wrong because a baby can’t pay for a nappy change but I can and should. Does this make me a neoliberal? A consumer of care?
How all this will be solved by BREXIT or even REMAIN is beyond me.
Enjoy some of the good aspects to the USA like the Blues Brothers on their ‘Mission from GOD’!