Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Clouds with silver linings?

The past week's revelations over News International have gone from bad to worse and produced reactions varying from incredulity to revulsion and more.  So much has been said, so many column inches written and perhaps not surprisingly some of the most accusatory have been from those who were happy to court the favour of the moguls who could change the course of British parliamentary politics by what they wrote.  Some day someone with a more intimate knowledge of the workings of the press over recent decades will be able to analyse where the balance of influences tipped over.  But maybe, just maybe, now is the time when the British people and particularly the Parliamentary Politicians, will gather the collective willpower to be able to wrest the balance back to where it should be.  Back to having really strong investigative journalism that works within the law and doesn't seek to obstruct the police.  Back to having a variety of newspapers and their online equivalents which favour different parties and give different slants on the news.  Then we might be able to look back and say "These clouds did have a silver lining.  Some good has come out of the evil that's been going on".
Whilst the News International affair has taken up most of news bulletins for the past week and looks set fair to do so for a while longer, there's another more personal problem unfolding for many.  Southern Cross has finally had to admit defeat and cease trading.  It's business model was one which provoked more feelings of incredulity in many people, me included.  The idea of selling off care homes then leasing them back to operate them seemed strange to say the least.  The fact that landlords could then put the rent up seemed to take Southern Cross by surprise, but when you sell your assets to off shore companies with no interest in or commitment to care, what should you expect?
Now some of their landlords, those that are in the business of providing care, are going to take the homes back under their wings.  Those homes are guaranteed to stay open for now at least, but one does wonder for how long?  Or will those energy efficient new homes stay open and some of the older ones be closed?  There does seem to be a surfeit of places in care homes at present, though not always in the locations people want.  There's also a major question of how care can be provided in the future.  The government is looking at it, but it's something that everyone of every age should be having their say on because one way or another it's going to affect most of us in the future.  The Dilnot report has been published.  Most people agree with some but not all of it.  We all need to make those views known so that the government can make an informed decision about which way to go.  Maybe, just maybe, they can get it right and in years to come we can look back on the scares about Southern Cross and other homes providers and think "Some good came out of it.  Now we've got a sustainable system that's fair".

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