Our Eoin\’s too dim to choose a cup of coffee

Therefore no one should have a choice of which surgeon replaces their hip.

I have to admit that this logic doesn\’t exactly stun with its shiny convincingness. But it is the argument that he\’s using.

57 thoughts on “Our Eoin\’s too dim to choose a cup of coffee”

  1. I was somewhat surprised that he had managed to gain a PhD in History and yet was unable to order a coffee in French.

  2. Actually his coffee problem was lack of choice, not too much choice. The menu did not include what he wanted.

    I couldn’t work out what his problem with Holiday Inn Express was, apart from the name.

    I think he was just having a rant about commercial marketing practices, really. What that had to do with choice in the NHS was lost on me.

    The problem with “choose and book” is lack of information. If you’ve never heard of any of the consultants, how can you make an informed choice as to who should replace your hip?

  3. Given his general level of grammar and spelling, I should be surprised that he had managed to gain a PhD in anything.

  4. It is wrong to claim he is against choice. Marxists are in favour of choice – they want to choose what happens to you.

    There is always choice. Who exercises it is the crucial question.

  5. One of the comments observes: ” all you need is a good doctor and if in the hospital a good team of doctors /nurses etc”.

    Without waxing too Socratic, how does one determine “the good” without some competitive, discriminating measure?

    “how can you make an informed choice as to who should replace your hip?”

    I think I’d usually discuss it with my GP; soon enough we’ll be able to check hip-advisor online.

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  7. He’s quite insane. He’s also building yet another straw man because the Health and Social Care Bill isn’t making patients choose their surgeons or taking commissioning away from medical professionals. Anyway, even if there is too much spurious choice in the coffee market this does not mean that there should not be choice for anything. The world might not be substantially worse if there were regulations restricting us to having coffee black or white. That doesn’t mean that it would be worse if there were more choice for more vital things.


  8. I can sympathise with the culture shock. I went up to the coffee stall in the hospital last week and asked for a decaff. “Decaff what?” said they. “Decaff coffee” said I. Oh no, they giggled, it had to be decaff something specific. Oh all right, says I , I’ll have a decaff Blue Mountain, black. What’s “Blue Mountain Black?” said one of them, puzzled. This skit could have continued for many more minutes. The problem was that their choice was too limited.

  9. Oh, can’t disagree with the learned Dr Clarke at all. As he says himself ” Ireland, home of simplicity”. The mystery of course is how the cunning Irish have exported so many of their simple to plague our lives. This some version of care in the community outsourcing?

  10. I assume he avoids choice at all times; thus, on leaving a building he turns left (his natural, conservative choice), left again, left again and Oh! look…back where he started. Much like any socialist, really.

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  12. @Frances Coppola

    Holiday Inn Express is a value-enginered no-frills offshoot of Holiday Inn.

    If you turn up at a Holiday Inn Express thinking it’s a Holiday Inn, you’ll find it a lot less plush than what you were expecting.

    Having said that, it’s considerably cheaper, so I’d always opt for it in preference to the full-price brand.

  13. CJ Nerd, it sounds as if mr. Clarke is used to travelling on expenses paid and not having to bother about details such as price ranges…

  14. AIUI, no-one’s going to force Clarke to choose; he will be free to accept what his GP suggests. In the same way, he is free to walk into the first coffee shop he encounters and choose the first coffee from the menu. But those of us who don’t mind choice may elect to have surgery in a hospital that has a better rate of success in that particular operation (or perhaps a better rate of survival, if it is very serious), a different hospital, or accept the GP’s recommendation.

  15. If Mr Clarke can’t weigh up the pros and cons of different forms of coffee how the hell does he expect people to trust him when it comes to the evaluation of massive and consequential political systems? Would you trust a private eye if admitted they can never tell who the murderer is in episodes of Poirot?

  16. I’d love to see Mr Clarke’s ideal bookshop, gallery, clothes shop, and music store.

    They would each contain one book, one picture, one change of clothing and a single album.

    Ahhh, the joys of nanny.

  17. I’d love to hear his reasoning about how choice causes things to be more expensive. Surely it won’t be the old communist canard about duplication of effort across suppliers?

  18. Thank you to Judge (#26) – I thought it seemed familiar.

    But why does Dr Clarke thing he deserves a vote if he is incapable of making rational choices?

  19. Clearly he should have his passport confiscated as well, if he is incapable of ordering a coffee in Paris. The French already have a poor opinion of English-speakers, and this sort of behaviour is only going to reinforce it.

  20. And as for trying to “impress Bex” by taking her to a Holiday Inn, words fail me.

    Holiday Inn says that you are too lacking in taste to go anywhere decent, but too gormless to go somewhere cheap.

    (who is Bex anyway? Girlfriend, or a trained dog to help him choose coffee?)

  21. “Bit of deja-vu here, hasn’t this one come up earlier?”

    Yes, the ASI linked to an earlier version yesterday. Then it disappeared; I thought he had taken it down out of embarrassment. But no, he’s reposted it! He must be proud of it!

    I can’t bring myself to call him “Dr” Clarke. The institution who gave him a PhD must be a diploma mill if they gave a PhD to him.

  22. His commentator said “I don’t want a choice. I just want good local services”

    Yes dear, we all want good local services.

    But what’s the best way of getting good local services?

    There are basically two options:
    1) Trusting the politicians, civil servants and public sector managers and staff to provide them;
    2) Threatening (credibly) to go elsewhere if they don’t provide.

    For the last 60 years we’ve tried option (1), leaving it to the politicians and public sector staff to provide us with good local services.

    That exhaustive, massively expensive experiment has proved that we can’t trust them to do it.

    So, unfortunately, we’re all going to have to put in a bit of effort and make choices.

  23. He’s got another post up, talking about “the hospitals you built with the income tax … and other taxes that you paid”.

    Does he not know that the NHS was formed by nationalising existing hopsitals, many of them private (mostly charitable and mutual)?

    Now I don’t know what the proportion is of hospitals built under the NHS versus those built privately before 1948 or privately under PFI, but to describe the NHS hospitals in a blanket way as having been “built with income tax” is ignorance.

  24. Seems our Eoin has learned from Ritchie. He’s deleted the comment I put on his post. Bit too critical of his thinking, maybe?

  25. CJ Nerd,

    If you turn up at a Holiday Inn Express thinking it’s a Holiday Inn, you’ll find it a lot less plush than what you were expecting.

    Having said that, it’s considerably cheaper, so I’d always opt for it in preference to the full-price brand.

    Thing is, if you’re taking a lady for a weekend of horizontal negotiations, you’re really no worse off. Both are pretty sanitised, dreary places that aren’t exactly going to set the mood. At least if you go to the HIE you’ll have more money left over to get booze into her.

    (pick a B&B, Boutique Hotel or go luxury).

  26. On second thoughts, that would be exercising a choice. If the central planner decides you don’t need breakfast included, go to Tesco. Or maybe not… Get a state sponsored bacon sarnie.

  27. The trouble with his argument is that he wants a no-choice State provision where the State provides exactly what he wants.

    Look at his examples.:
    – If he really objected to choice, he wouldn’t have minded what coffee he got. But he complained about his cappuccino and his brother’s espresso. In fact he wanted a specific type of coffee.
    – The same with his hotel. Was he happy with whatever the provider gave him? No. He wanted a specific Holiday Inn experience (I question his sanity, but that’s what he wanted) and is complaining because he didn’t get it.

    So he doesn’t want no choice, he wants his choice to be provided automatically.

    But since he doesn’t want any other options to be available, he wants everyone else to have what he wants. He wants his choice imposed on everyone else.

  28. What a hack. Recycling that old shite about having to order a Braveheart Fendi Doppelganger or whathaveyou in Starbucks if you want a coffee. It’s bollocks. I don’t usually drink their coffee as it’s not very nice*, but all the times I have I’ve just said, “medium-sized black coffee, please” and guess what? I received a medium-sized black coffee with no feigned incomprehension from the serving wench.

    * their maple-glazed doughnuts are great, though

  29. @Ian Bennett: that sounds about right. In my home town there were 3 separate hospitals up to about 1960 – a Maternity one, a Surgical one and a General one – which were then amalgamated into a 60s monstrosity on one site, now fortunately demolished and rebuilt elsewhere in the town, probably at vast expense under a PFI deal under Labour.

  30. I’m curious whether he’s in an arranged marriage, or still with his first girlfriend. Why not extend state provision to all the essentials of life? It would surely ensure diversity in match-making, reflecting proportions in the underlying population.

  31. “In my home town there were 3 separate hospitals up to about 1960 – a Maternity one, a Surgical one and a General one”

    Presumably there were no problems with mixed-sex wards in the Maternity hospital, nor MRSA in the (equivalent of) intensive care in the Surgical one?

  32. My town also had 3 hospitals (1 right in the middle of town) and a nearby convalescent home. All now knocked down and replaced in the 1980’s (15 years behind schedule) by a large, brick-faced piece of shit built in the London Zoo elephant-house style.
    Built on a hillside, you have to walk miles to get to the lifts, never mind the wards. Just what is needed by old people trying to visit even older ones. The place is shabby and smells vaguely bad in some sense I can’t quite describe–like one too many school diners if you know what I mean.
    Despite its vast size (it is mostly empty space) certain classes of patient now have to trek 40 miles for certain treatments since a new and much larger “Health” authority to over this area.

    The sooner the NHS is gone the better.

  33. Even I can manage to order coffee in Starbucks. And I don’t drink (ever) the appalling muck. Actually, I have no idea whether it is appalling muck or not, because I never drink it.

    Violently and unpleasantly allergic to something in it. Which makes chocolates that are sufficiently expensive that assortments come without guidance notes a bit of a minefield …

  34. I look forward to his rant about why Tesco’s should only sell oven chips, fish fingers, frozen peas, a sliced white loaf, a bottle of semi-skimmed milk and absolutely nothing else whatsoever.


  35. The Eoin article was so poorly thought-out that it does not justify a comment. A shocking display of confused ignorance.

  36. Well he’s allowed through a number of comments and they are all negative, bar one. I’m genuinely surprised. Maybe he can take criticism, unlike someone else we could mention.

  37. He was quite amused by my little hagiography at the start of the month: “Eoin Clarke: Outrageously Stupid”. And sent me an email to tell me so.

  38. So Much For Subtlety

    Richard – “If he really objected to choice, he wouldn’t have minded what coffee he got. But he complained about his cappuccino and his brother’s espresso. In fact he wanted a specific type of coffee.”

    So isn’t his problem not with choice per se, but that he had to go through the horrors of choosing? What he wants is for Starbucks to read his mind and provide him with exactly what he wants without having to do any work. Thus with medical care, he wants other people to make the decisions for him. So he won’t have to worry his pretty little head about it.

  39. And his gym membership example is bollocks and all. I’m a member of an expensive health club (rackets, spa, the works). I’m tied into a contract, but I’m happy with that as I know that the place is kept in tip-top condition. But I’m sometimes away for months for work (my choice!) so can’t use my nice posh gym. My solution? Join one of the new ‘no frills/no contract’ gyms that are springing up. Someone’s spotted a gap in the market and started a chain of gyms where I can pay £15 and get a month’s access to a 24-hour gym. The equipment’s new and modern, but everything else is basic – think easy jet. Perfect for my needs and entirely a product of the market.

    But choice is bad, no?

  40. The scary thing is that, in putting up this article three times, he is demonstrating that he thinks this is a good, clever argument.

    Shall we tell him?…oh, we did.

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