Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Sex and drugs and rock and roll

You know that you have been too cold, for too long, when you look at the weather gauge and consider that a temperature of -2.2 is comparatively warm. The traffic was a lot better this morning too and I was in the office before the sun rose majestically above the ice rimed gas works across the road.

It's difficult to suppress a certain amount of bah-humbuggery in the office at the moment with a rash of amusing (for some values of amusing) seasonal ring tones, noisy electronic toys and musical ties (no, really, just shoot me now).

In other rant worthy news, the government has abandoned all pretence at rationality by dropping evidence based decision making for drugs policy, and presumably substituting ill-informed prejudice and hasty knee jerk reactions driven by whatever the Daily Mail has decreed is the moral panic du jour.

Public policy should be a balance between promoting the public good (improving health, reducing poverty and crime and so on) balanced against the resources available (for example, installing foam bumpers on street furniture would reduce the number of walking into lamp post accidents but it is likely to be rather expensive). This will inevitably lead to difficult choices - the classic case is the provision of an expensive drug that might prolong somebody's life for a few weeks against cheaper drugs or services that improve thousands of lives. The emotive response is to go for the high profile tragic case (after all, what price can you put on a human life, eh?) but to shuffle and look embarrassed when it turns out you would have to increase taxes to pay for it.

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