Frank's Law extends an already bad policy - can that be right?

Frank's Law extends an already bad policy - can that be right?

by Jonathan Stanley
article from Thursday 7, September, 2017

I HAVE SEEN the tweets. The press releases. The special pleading. The eponym. The Scottishness. The policy failure. 

Frank's Law is precisely how all bad policy starts: confusing will for the deed and determining the deed as good and optimal in the first instance without analysis.

A solution is created. It sounds simple, comfortable and links to a recognisable figure ( in this case a well known footballer) to create false legitimacy and familiarity. A problem is then misidentified following the principle that current policy is sound except that additions must be made to it. Rather like updating a well known antivirus software programme or operating system. 

The bill comes later, and will be found by savings and prayers and leprechaun tears. The money fails to match the increased demand of service expansion and cuts are made across the board. Visits are shorter. Food is poorer quality. Less and less is done for more and more and this is democracy proof given that demented people cannot remmeber sufficiently to make objective assessment of service and vote accordingly.

So everyone vulnerable suffers and don't know why, and everyone voting for the law don't realise the suffering it causes. This will create a disaster in care. It begs the question how has this "law" gone so far without critique and why have we no analysis of current policy?

Frank's Law seeks to end the discrimination between those above and below the age of 65 in regards to means testing of personal care. It assumes universal free personal care above that age is optimal and just: but it was never thought through. It was always a terrible idea and here is why:

Universal Free Personal Care commits to expanding a section of the budget exponentially. 

It ignores any economic indicators.

It ignores the widening gap between increasing costs and budget increases as the population ages and house prices rise.

It creates a section of society superior to others based on identity alone.

It ignores the ability of some users to pay and assumes any such payment is wrong.

It ignores the "Govan Widow" previously discussed where those requiring non-domicile care are hit with an all or nothing bill for hotel fees, which is considerably LESS progressive than the Care Act 2014 in England which legislates for where such payments are through a sliding scale.

It ignores the impact on the most vulnerable by service dilution through universalism. 

It is social democracy, and social democracy means socialist democracy – which is bad. Let's say that again. For Conservatives, socialist democracy is bad and universal care is a Labour policy that was never affordable and will eventually collapse under the weight of its growing cost.

Frank's Law seeks to extend the universality to younger adults and creates absolutely no extra funding to do this. Tactically, this is a Liberal Democrat move, to promise more and spend no more. It is dishonest and not compatible with a sense of basic numeracy. It would be far better to end the universal care funding of social care, as the same Conservative party has maintained in England, and instead ensure the annual fixed sum of money is best spent on those in greatest need regardless of age.

That is not Frank's Law. That is Conservative social policy which prioritises the closing of absolute deficits in care at the level of the individual above relative deficits by age or other group specific privilege. No special pleading, no special cases, each according to his or her needs and according to his or her means. Does that sound familiar? 

There is no thinking behind Frank's Law. It's just another Solero moment, something Salmond or McConnell would dream up. It isn't practical and sets up to deliver real term service cuts to the elderly poor. Didn't we mess that up before recently? Messing with elderly social care, like social democracy, is like using molten lead as hand cream. 

We need analysis and credibility in policy development or Conservatives will end up again in the same old mess as before. It's time for some innovative thinking.

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