Sunday, November 18, 2007

Free - Politicians Favourite Four Letter Word

As the old joke goes, "Free Nelson Mandela." "How much does he usually cost?" Boom, Boom.

Well after the new SNP budget it seems the 'Free' has become their favourite four-letter word. Not that they are alone, Labour were just the same. With them it was free eye tests, free bus travel for pensioners and now the SNP are offering us free prescriptions. Now I'm not saying that everything that is free is a bad idea; I can go along with the free bus travel. However, the eye tests and the prescriptions are a joke. Let's by all means not charge those who have limited means but why make it free for everyone? The simple fact is that giving these kind of handouts grabs headlines and appears to show that the government is doing good things. The other side of the coin is, can we really afford it? The cost of free bus travel is bigger than the Executive's budget for culture and sport. I'm not certain how much it is costing to give us free prescriptions but why not instead use that money for sport to improve the overall health of the nation? Money spent up front could save vastly more later. Of course with the short term thinking employed by politicians that's not seen as a vote winner and so it's never likely to happen


Birthday Girl said...

Surely nearly everyone unable to pay (the elderly, those on benefits, children) get free prescription already? I'm asthmatic and not being any of the above, I pay for my inhalers, a small price for good health that I wouldn't enjoy without them. It probably works out at less than I spend on newspapers or chocolate. This is further SNP madness; the only consolation is that they're going to run out of money eventually, and then they'll be rumbled.

Phil A said...

The Government could pull the plug on them tomorrow by bringing Scotland’s tax handout in line with England’s.