If only we could get the public health people to be doing public health...

This is all rather disturbing:

Last week I saw a young woman get off a bus in Lewisham in a singlet that exposed the back of arms completely covered in angry red bed-bug bite marks, like a cartoon version of measles. It's not only Cimex lectularius that has gained new life in England; body and head lice, scabies and other parasites are thriving. More dangerously, London has equivalent multi-drug resistant TB infection rates to those in Asian, South American and Russian Federation areas. In Sheffield Hallam, as the Mail reports today, Roma overcrowding has allowed threadworm, hepatitis and rickets to thrive alongside TB, with children exhibiting signs of malnutrition. Those immigrants - several a day - making it through Calais are also walking infection dumps, infested with scabies and other parasites and diseases.


The critical thing is that poor public health affects us all; a solicitor taking the bus because her car is in for a service can pick up head lice, the guy ahead of you on the central line escalator can cough or spit and infect you with TB, and a brush with the M&S fitting room can leave you with scabies. If you live in a big town or city you can't insulate yourself against poor public health - like bees in a hive, there's just too much cross-contact. The only way is draconian public health measures - modern workhouses, disinfestation of public transport, delousing stations, breaking up the slums, compulsory TB testing, school hygiene, fumigation of slum houses and bedding.

What's particularly disturbing about it is that we Brits pretty much invented the entire concept of modern public health. And we have a large number of people who are employed on our behalf to both study it and do something about it. And yet, as Chris Snowden continually reports, they seem to worry more about whether e-cigarettes should be legal, or whether sugar should have a health label on it, than the actual problems of communicable diseases of poverty that are the point and purpose of their trade.

Oh, and there's always the senior professors like this one:

No, really, the man knows not whereof he speaks. Iridium is a brand name for GPS systems, yes it is. But this is because the original design was to have 77 satellites and iridium, the metal, is element 77. There’s no actual iridium, the metal, used in Iridium, the GPS system. We’re getting into real loons on the loose territory here if people are building their desired world governance systems out of such misunderstandings of reality. And don’t forget, this campaign from The Lancet, this Manifesto for Public Health, really is a call for us to change the entire system of planetary government. And it really is based upon the musings of people like Professor Martin McKee. And his elementary misunderstandings of the world in which we live.

I'm well aware of the idea of the long march through the institutions. That the true socialist goals will only be achived when all of the apparatchiki are committed to them even if the electorate is not. But here's the real question: how do we get them to do the job we're paying them to do in the meanwhile as we wait for that nirvana?

Another point that occurs: if these geniuses in the public health movement can't get scabies out of a rich population like that of the UK then why should we take their ideas on planetary governance seriously? It's not like they're showing any great competence in their core task, is it?