Governance as Exploitation: UK and Kenya (Dec.19th, 2011)

The press report on the recent strike by Kenyan doctors (Morning Star December 8th, p.7) was not only horrifying in itself but also generally instructive in its stark portrayal of a form of governance in which the central principle is exploitation.

Kenyan doctors are paid the equivalent of £256 per month while MPs earn in excess of £7000, but the strike not merely focussed on this inequality but on the general lack of basic resources for public healthcare: lack of essential drugs and equipment and babies delivered without surgical gloves.

And while the citizens are thus placed at risk, the MPs who decide on this appalling misallocation of public resources in the country for which they are responsible are able to send their own family members abroad for proper treatment.

But the real lesson of this story lies close to home. Here, as in Kenya, a supposedly democratic system of governance permits an elite to appropriate the national wealth for its own benefit rather than allocating resources for the general welfare.

Here too the poor and vulnerable are forced ever further into distress in order to ensure that bankers and corporate elites can preserve the wealth their power has enabled them to acquire – largely untaxed and unregulated. And even more precisely: funds and resources for public healthcare are systematically reduced so that they can be transferred to private facilities available only to the wealthy.

All this suggests, as David Cameron himself observed lastg week, that from the perspective of ‘Christian values’ our own system of governance, like that of Kenya, is an example of ‘moral collapse’. But I doubt whether our millionaire prime minister would welcome the radical political and economic changes that creating a 'moral' (just, equitable, caring) society would actually require.

(Published in The Morning Star), December 19th 2011, Letters, p.10)