Diversity can kill

We are all champions of diversity, aren’t we? We have been taught that the highest moral commandment of all has been left out of the Decalogue only by oversight.

Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba

The commandment sounds a bit cumbersome, lacking the pinpoint concision of the old ten. But to make up for its prolixity, it raises morality to a whole new level. To wit: “Any staff of employees shall reflect the ethnic makeup of the population as a whole, but with an extra emphasis on employees representing groups perceived to suffer, or ever to have suffered, discrimination.”

Complying with this commandment supersedes any other considerations, such as competence. Hence, if the number of the formerly or currently oppressed employees falls below the mandated quota, this gap must be filled regardless of the new hirees’ ability to do the job.

This is a difficult concept to get one’s head around, especially when people’s lives are at stake, as they are in medicine. But, as far as the NHS is concerned, some concerns are higher than mere physical survival, and diversity is prime among them.

To that noble end the NHS procured the services of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, putting her on a collision course with the superseded commandment of “thou shalt not kill”. Then a six-year-old boy was delivered to her care at a Leicester hospital.

The good doctor diagnosed the child with gastroenteritis, failing to spot the markers of impending sepsis, such as a kidney infection that showed clearly on the blood test. As a result, Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba found herself in trouble, which wasn’t, however, as bad as the boy’s. He died.

That spectacle of negligence and incompetence was so egregious that both the NHS and the courts had to act. In 2015, Dr Bawa-Garba was convicted of manslaughter and given a two-year suspended sentence. She was also struck off.

Such a cluster of punishments is rare in the medical profession, but Dr Bawa-Garba qualified with room to spare, which is more than can be said for her ability to practise medicine.

However, the NHS is known for its generosity, which may at times be biased but never understated. Hence Dr Bawa-Garba was invited back into the fold, and the other day the medical tribunal ruled that she even no longer had to work under supervision.

She, decided the tribunal, was now “performing above the expectations for her trainee level”. That may be, but I for one would be suspicious of a doctor who is still a trainee in her mid-forties – this even regardless of prior convictions for manslaughter.

Understandably, the dead boy’s parents feel less magnanimous than the NHS, but then they can’t see the forest of a higher morality for the trees of their private, and therefore immaterial, grief.  

The victim’s mother proved her narrow-minded focus by saying: “I think it’s absolutely disgusting that she’s been able to go back to work like nothing ever happened. She killed my son. We have to live with this until the day we die.”

To be fair, the NHS’s commitment to diversity may not be the only reason for its reinstating Dr Bawa-Garba, or hiring her in the first place. The NHS is finding it increasingly hard to find doctors, which leads to some laxity in its demand for proper qualifications.

For example, even foreign doctors who don’t know enough English to communicate with patients are welcomed with open arms. For the same reason, existing doctors are overworked, which was cited as the reason for Dr Bawa-Garba’s little mistake. Apparently, she killed that poor boy at the end of a 12-hour shift.

The downside of such long hours is clear, but then so is the medical upside. Continuity of care is an important concept in medicine, and it’s not always a good idea for two doctors, not one, to look after the same patient on the same day.

This insight comes courtesy of the doctors among my friends. They also explain why the NHS is so short-handed.

This gets us back on the track of the diversity commandment and other such perversions, as part of the reason so many doctors are leaving the NHS in the prime of their lives. It all boils down to why young people choose this vocation to begin with.

Some are doubtless attracted mainly by the possible pecuniary rewards, but most simply want to treat, possibly save, patients. What they don’t want is to spend half their time filling up endless forms, attending sensitivity courses, reading illiterate memos issued by diversity directors and assorted optimisers of facilitation and facilitators of optimisation. Nor are they happy to see the number of hospital beds cut for lack of funding, while those parasites come in at six-figure salaries.

Yet this is what the NHS forces them to do, proving yet again that any giant public structure serves mainly the state, not the ostensible end users of its services. After a couple of decades of getting swamped in that fashion, good, conscientious doctors become cynical first, jaded second and prematurely retired third.

The NHS then has to search high and wide, looking for some, any, new doctors to take up the slack. In come the Bawa-Garbas of this world, who tick all the important boxes except one. The box of their ability to keep patients alive remains blank.  

Putin cancels Descartes

The Frenchman taught that all knowledge came out of comparing two or more things. That may be, generally speaking, said the Russian. But there are two things that shan’t be compared on pain of imprisonment: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

The paper-trained Duma obediently rubberstamped Vlad’s new take on epistemology, turning it into the law of the land. However, to be fair to Vlad, he hasn’t banned any old comparison between the two. What he made illegal is showing that they had something in common.

No one would get in too much trouble by saying that, unlike the despotic Nazi Germany, Stalin’s Russia was a paragon of freedom and democracy. It’s only when some kind of similarity is suggested that comparisons become outlawed.

This new decree effectively proscribes any study of the period between 1933 and 1945. For any scholarly examination will show that the two regimes had enough in common to be considered dizygotic, though not identical, twins.

Both were dictatorships, with one man making every decision that mattered. Both hated the West, in particular its Anglo-Saxon part. Both had the distinction of being the only countries in Europe that boasted a wide network of concentration camps.

This last commonality wasn’t exactly coincidental. For the Soviets had begun to develop their GULAG system before Stalin took over, and certainly long before anyone outside the Nazi inner circle ever heard of Hitler.

Since the two regimes felt visceral kinship, partly coming from their shared status of post-Versailles pariahs, they pooled their expertise. Thus the NKVD-SS Friendship Society was formed in early 1940, which provided a framework for a fruitful exchange of ideas.

The NKVD taught the SS how to industrialise what Engels called “special guarded places”, linking them into a wide and efficient system. And the SS kindly shared with the NKVD their sophisticated torture instruments, which achieved the same results as the rubber truncheons favoured by the Russians, but without being as labour-intensive.

Both regimes practiced mass murder, but, if anything, the Germans compared favourably with the Russians in that respect. In Germany, it all came down to the accident of birth. Citizens who had the bad luck of being born to an ethnic group that had no right to live were exterminated. Yet anyone outside those groups was left unmolested, provided he kept his head down and didn’t indulge in objectionable politics.

In Russia, state violence was more comprehensive and largely arbitrary. Even after the upper (or just educated) classes and the industrious peasants were wiped out, no one could heave a sigh of relief.

Anybody, regardless of rank, could be picked up and tortured to death for the flimsiest of reasons or none. Crowds of people were often rounded up in the streets and thrown into torture cellars simply because the local NKVD branch had fallen short of its monthly quota.

That way the Soviets ran up a gruesome score higher by an order of magnitude than anything the Nazis managed. Hence the two regimes, while equally evil qualitatively, still had a hierarchy of quantitative evil, with the Soviets coming on top.

The economies of both countries were socialist, though not identical. The German National Socialist Workers’ Party (NSDAP) and the Soviet Communist Party enjoyed both a political and economic monopoly in their countries. Even the flags of the two countries were the same socialist red, although with different superimposed symbols.

But there were differences, again in favour of Germany. There the economy was corporatist, meaning that the state effectively controlled all the major industries, but without nationalising them.

The previous owners remained in place (unless they were Jewish), but they were turned into de facto managers. They were told what to produce and how much to charge, but they remained in their old offices and even generated some profits for themselves. Small businesses, such as shops, cooperatives, restaurants and so on, carried on as before.

The Soviet version of socialism was total, not to say totalitarian. Something like 85 per cent of all enterprises, and all the sizeable ones, belonged to the state, with the rest barely tolerated, or sometimes not. (You’ll notice that most of today’s Western countries are reaching tropistically for the Stalinist size of the public sector.)

Most important, on 23 August, 1939, the two countries became allies. The alliance, known as the Soviet-Nazi Pact, was a sine qua non of the Second World War. Without guaranteed security of their eastern borders, and the millions of tonnes of Soviet supplies of strategic materials (from rare metals to grain), the Nazis wouldn’t have been able to conquer even Poland, let alone Western Europe.

The Secret Protocol to the Pact divided Europe between Nazi Germany and the USSR. Germany started claiming her part of the loot on 1 September, the Soviets entered the war on Germany’s side on the 17th. Once the two predators devoured Poland, they declared an eternal “friendship annealed by blood.”

Which country was more barbaric in treating their conquered populations is debatable. If anything, if Jews are taken out of the equation, the Soviets were even more cannibalistic.

For example, the Nazis didn’t shoot out of hand tens of thousands of Polish prisoners in their part of occupied Poland, which the Soviets did in theirs. Both countries practised mass deportations, but the Nazis sent their captives to work at factories and farms, whereas the Soviets sent theirs to the death camps.

Obviously no two countries are, or ever have been, identical. The Latin qualification of mutatis, mutandis always applies whenever parallels are drawn. Yet to ban drawing any parallels, especially those as obvious as between the two most evil regimes in history, is tantamount to banning critical thought, free speech and history as a science.

Interestingly, various subversive groups, such as Antifa, BLM or any extreme left factions in Western parliaments, happily compare their countries to Nazi Germany, even though the similarities are small to non-existent. Whereas in Russia anyone who dares to compare the two dizygotic twins as I’ve just done could be prosecuted.

That’s the difference between countries that are still residually free and Putin’s Russia, the darling of the fascisoid European fringes. Then again, since Putin finances most of their parties (and, one suspects, sympathetic pundits), their affection may not be entirely disinterested.