Sunday, February 17, 2008

How the cutting room sub-editor floor works?

There's a rather interesting piece in this morning's News of the Screws titled "Eu to cripple NHS" which is all about the plans to allow people to go abroad for treatment and then claim the money back from the NHS. The general idea was first floated back in December and being a bit of a market nut I quite like the idea of being able to get treatment somewhere else and use my taxes to pay for it.

Having said this, the idea that it could "cripple" the NHS does have some resonance. I'm not bothered by the claim that only the rich will be able to use such a system, but I can see how those wanting elective treatment that they might have to wait for ages for on the NHS could cause NHS budgets to creak as a result - not that they're not creaking at the seams already of course.
However, that's not really the point of this post, the real point is a 'Street of Shame' type thing about the nature of sub-editors. Apparently, the 250 word piece was originally a 1000 word piece about the way the plans - along with many others about loss of justice sovereignty and the like - are to be sneakily reintroduced in the post-Lisbon ratification world. Once we're there the sovereignty will be gone (technically) and there is nothing we could do about it, but I should stress the treaty is not a 'constitution' and is nothing like that document that reads almost identically.

The original copy did not apparently carry any shadow front bench comment either because the story was actually sourced through UKIP, who, support them or not, do at least seem to have their heads screwed on about what is going in the EU. The piece then found it's way into the the cutting room and was excised of most of the really important content. The article quotes William Hague saying,
"This is further proof that on Europe [Brown] thinks he can get away with treating the British people like fools. He wants to keep them in the dark until it's too late. He doesn't want them to know what he's signing us up to"
Can't say that I disagree with the general point of Hague to be honest, and one would presume that this will mean the Tory MEPs will have been whipped to vote against such things in the European Parliament when the time comes.

It is quite an interesting thing to watch how the papers work sometimes though, and I just find myself shrugging when I do though. After all, we had the apparent cynicism of the Daily Mail editorial line of seeking out scandalous stories (that is what sells newspapers duh!) and now a hacks expose cut down into something largely meaningless with inserted quotes. I gather the journalist that wrote it is none to pleased either.


Trumpeter Lanfried said...

At least the Screws has a sub-editor. The owners of the Telegraph seem to have sacked all theirs with the result that news stories and other pieces are quite often cropped mid-sentence. This can be very dis

Annie said...

I wonder if we are looking at this nhs issue from the wrong end of the telescope. If I were a resident of one of the newer EU countries, like Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, etc, which have a very poor healthcare infrastructure, I'd be looking to come to places like the UK for treatment. So my question is - will the nhs find itself subject to an unsustainable demand from abroad? Will it be able under the EU rules to refuse such demand? Or will that constitute discriminating against other EU citizens? Presumably the nhs will be able to charge their home countries for what it provides but how will such charges be calculated? Could there be one charge for our own UK internal nhs market and another for non UK EU citizens which reflected infrastructure investment costs (eg the cost of the hospital as well as the surgeon). Otherwise could it be a cheap way for other EU countries to buy their healthcare? Anyone know?