The Panoptican is alive and well

Check out the image on this article. The one towards the bottom of the page by Lucy Nicholson, with the steel cages arranged in a semi-circle. The ideal Panoptican. With a cage they can be observed from all sides as well. Totally visible. Washed in surveillance.

The Wikipedia article on the Panoptican (which was developed by Bentham) quotes Bentham as saying:

a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.




Bread and Circuses

I’ve heard about a new web site which will offer patients / customers the opportunity to rank their local hospital. The web site appears to be if not funded by then at least endorsed by central government:


This could be said to be an example of market madness. Does anyone seriously think that having a surgeon sweating over his ‘Health Adviser’ ranking as he performs a heart by-pass operation is really going to help ‘patient safety’?

Certainly it would be possible for people with the right kind of knowledge and experience to review clinical figures and spot problem areas. This can and should happen behind the scenes. Turning it into a public auction won’t make anyone any safer, probably less, for the reason given above. (It puts people under pressure just when they don’t need it).

So; what is striking about this is the way the political class are engineering a populist ‘customer-focussed’, public participation charade. Why might they be doing that?

1. Conditioning the public to accept that everything has to be driven by market operations. Driving out any last vestiges of ideas about social provision of social goods. The