We had to switch last night’s Panorama off – just too painful. The real problem being exposed is not the bad quality of care, but of our ‘performance management’ systems and “politics”. The secret cameras of Panorama and Dispatches are about all that lie between us and evaporation into Soviet conditions. Some, of course, like the vulnerable in this report, are already in them.
We have “regulators” all over the place, but none of them can come up with the kind of evidence that investigative television is managing. It’s never an ACPO, senior manager or regulator that comes up with evidence – indeed they always seem implicated in its denial, especially denials of proper investigation. We have a deep-set culture that produces managers who only see themselves and their interests in a very narrow band. These are the very people who would have overseen Enclosures for their landlord bosses, or carried the Party card.
Like the Soviets, we have no real politics. The option is really to opt out or start greasing a personal way up the establishment pole; to become part of the Nomenclature. In the process, one takes on mortgage commitments and these keep one in line. It has been common practice for centuries to give your overseers more money in bonus if they became troubled by integrity, and distance them from the sharp end.
There is a connection between this kind of abuse, widespread in our society, and the decline in social capital in favour of the now very peculiar money available to us. What we would find if the cameras were used more widely could be calculated on a statistical basis. The likely answer is very scary indeed.