Mother dies as 150 heart patients told they are at risk from Hepatitis B in NHS hospital outbreak

A mother has died and hundreds of patients could be infected after hepatitis B was apparently spread by unclean surgical equipment at a hospital.

Patients who have received any kind of heart surgery at the hospital in recent months have been informed that they may have contracted the virus.

The woman who died, who has not been named, is believed to have caught the infection from another patient, possibly after surgeons used the same probe during two operations.

A spokesman for Morriston Hospital in South Wales said the patient was treated and discharged as planned after making a ‘good recovery’. He said: ‘The patient was later newly diagnosed with an acute hepatitis B infection. The patient has sadly since died.’

Hospital chiefs have contacted every patient who underwent an operation in the heart and chest unit over five weeks in March and April.

They suspect a ‘magic eye’ probe put into the throat to take ultrasound pictures of the heart may be the source of the cross-infection.

They have ordered new equipment and suspended non-urgent heart surgery until it is delivered.

The family of the woman, who died last month from acute liver failure, have lodged an official complaint with the local health watchdog, which has launched an inquiry. They said they were ‘extremely distressed’ at her death and to ‘learn that the infection was transmitted from a patient already known to be infected’.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection which is spread through blood and other bodily fluids.

The alert affects 290 patients who had cardiothoracic surgery at the 750-bed Morriston Hospital in Swansea in March and April.

The spokesman said: ‘There is a low risk that these patients may have been exposed to the hepatitis B virus during their stay in the unit. ‘They are being offered blood tests to check if they have been infected. ‘In rare cases, hepatitis B can lead to serious liver damage and death.’

The hospital says it has carried out an action plan in the investigation to ‘ensure everything possible is done to stop a similar incident happening in future’.

The spokesman said both the hospital’s cardiac operating theatres had been redecorated and deep-cleaned, along with related wards.


Why the state should butt out of our personal lives

It is a sign of the times that the only debate we seem to have about nudging is ‘does it work?’ rather than ‘what gives them the right?’.

This week, the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee published a report into behaviour change. It provides revealing insights into the limitations of the fashionable idea that we can be ‘nudged’ into changing our ways on a range of problems, from obesity to climate change. What the report doesn’t do, however, is challenge the idea that our behaviour needs to be changed in the first place, and that it is the role of government to do it.

The committee that prepared the report was chaired by Baroness Julia Neuberger and included such luminaries as former UK chief scientific adviser, Lord Robert May, and the first chairman of the Food Standards Agency, Lord John Krebs. In the course of their enquiry, they questioned a wide variety of academics, politicians, business leaders and representatives of NGOs. Their report thus provides an unusually wide survey of opinion from the movers and shakers of modern British society.

The thinking behind the enquiry is laid out in the opening paragraph. ‘Many of the goals to which governments aspire – such as bringing down levels of crime, reducing unemployment, increasing savings and meeting targets for carbon emissions – can be achieved only if people change their behaviour.’ This single sentence reveals how the politics of behaviour has become so central to political thought today. Clearly, crime is a form of behaviour, so no surprises there, though the causes of crime surely run much wider than individual choices. Unemployment has usually been seen in the past as an economic problem, not one of individual behaviour. Carbon emissions could more easily be reduced by major infrastructural investment rather than by badgering people to fiddle with their thermostats or to use the bus sometimes instead of the car. So why the obsession with personal behaviour?

The logic of this outlook, as the report says, is that ‘understanding how to change the behaviour of populations should be a concern for any government if it is to be successful’. Of course, governments have long had mechanisms to try to alter behaviour. The most obvious one is to use the criminal law to make something either illegal (like smoking in pubs) or compulsory (like wearing a seatbelt in cars). Slightly less draconian – but manipulative nonetheless – is the authorities’ attempts to influence behaviour in economic ways, by providing incentives (for example, generous subsidies to the middle classes to install solar panels and wind turbines) or disincentives (like setting a minimum price per unit of alcohol). If all else fails, the government can just spend hundreds of millions of pounds nagging us to lose weight, get fit, stop smoking or use a condom.

One problem with these kinds of mechanisms is that they look a bit authoritarian, or at the very least hectoring. It’s really rather obvious that the government is demanding that you behave in a different manner. New Labour clearly had absolutely no problem with stating this fairly openly, which is why Tony Blair and Gordon Brown famously oversaw the creation of over 3,000 new criminal offences, congestion charging in London, on-the-spot fines for not recycling, and so on.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, on the other hand, like to kid themselves that they are lovers of liberty – yet the truth is that they want to meddle in our lives just as much as New Labour did. So they put forward the idea of ‘non-regulatory and non-fiscal measures with relation to the individual’ that alter our ‘choice architecture’. Essentially, when we’re not really thinking about our behaviour or don’t really care very much what we do or how we do it in a particular situation, we can be subtly directed towards doing the right thing.

To use the definition provided by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in what the Lords report calls ‘the currently influential book, Nudge’, a nudge is ‘any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Nudges are not mandates. Putting the fruit at eye level counts as a nudge. Banning junk food does not.’

There are situations in which such nudging is fairly benign. Laying out a sports stadium in such a manner that we naturally tend to walk in a certain direction, helping to reduce logjams and congestion, could be one. The most talked about one from Thaler and Sunstein’s book is giving men something to aim at when they urinate, the result being that more of the urine goes in the bowl and less on the floor. Or a nudge could simply be a case of making it as easy as possible for me to do the good thing I wanted to do anyway, like including a freepost envelope with a request for a donation or putting a tickbox on a driver’s licence form to agree to organ donation.

But these are pretty banal issues. Not pissing on the floor is hardly a massive societal concern. Solving unemployment or reducing obesity, however, are a different matter entirely. And that is where the Lords report is rather damning, because the other problem with this kind of behaviour change is that it doesn’t work for any issue where we stop and think about what we want to do. The committee notes that in the evidence it heard ‘although much was understood about human behaviour from basic research, there was relatively little evidence about how this understanding could be applied in practice to change the behaviour of populations’. It adds: ‘Our central finding is that non-regulatory measures used in isolation, including “nudges”, are less likely to be effective. Effective policies often use a range of interventions.’

It’s not just nudging that the committee is dismissive of. Lecturing people about their habits, in isolation, is also ineffective, it says. In fact, a major theme of the report is just how little hard evidence there is that many lifestyle interventions, short of simply forcing people not to do something, really work in changing the behaviour of populations. Even then, there’s another leap to be made from changing behaviour to having the ultimate desired effect, like improving health or reducing crime. So, for example, smoking has been very effectively banned in workplaces in the UK. In the past four years, I’ve barely seen anyone light up in a pub in England. But has this led to a reduction in the rates of smoking-related deaths? Despite various dubious attempts to prove otherwise, the answer is almost certainly ‘no’.

But debating the effectiveness of such measures is really beside the point. What has received far too little discussion is whether it is morally and politically acceptable to have our choices manipulated on the basis that Government Knows Best. The report only briefly touches on this, acknowledging that ‘in some circumstances, changing behaviour will be considered controversial’, and adding later: ‘As a general point, we accept that regulatory interventions which restrict choice may be judged more acceptable if there is good evidence that they will be effective in tackling an urgent issue which is having significant detrimental effects on the population.’

That means that the authorities can decide what is good for us. As long as the government determines that an issue is urgent and having a detrimental effect, and that a particular intervention is effective to stop it – and frankly the evidence can always be spun to prove this beneficial effect – then the committee can see no good reason to oppose it. The individual’s choice to engage in that activity – like eating fatty food, smoking, drinking or refusing to recycle – is simply disregarded. The language of nudge seems a neat way to implement such behaviour change.

It is a testament to the low horizons of modern politics that the hottest idea around is changing our behaviour. It is alarming to note that the only discussion considered worth having is not about our rights or autonomy but about how successfully we can be manipulated.


EVs: Not so green after all

The Australian has reported the results of a fascinating British study. It turns out that electric cars (EVs), those holy icons of the Green religion, may actually produce more atmosphere-destroying emissions over their lifetimes than regular, gasoline fueled cars — when you do the commonsense thing and factor in the energy it takes to produce the necessary batteries.

To be precise, the study (which was funded by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, a group that is, in turn, supported by both the British government and the British car industry) showed that the average EV would have to be driven over 80,000 miles for it to produce a net savings in carbon dioxide over the standard internal combustion engine. Considering that EVs have limited ranges (they average about 90 miles per charge), it is not clear that many EVs will last that long.

This study was the first to look at the whole lifecycle emissions of EVs, including their manufacturing, driving, and — please note — the tricky matter of disposal of their used batteries. These batteries are the culprits. They contain metals that are expensive to produce, and they have to be replaced every few years.

The study found that a mid-size EV produces about 23.1 tons of carbon dioxide during its lifetime, scarcely less than the 24 tons produced by a regular, gasoline powered car. This is in part because the emissions from manufacturing EVs are about 50% higher than those from manufacturing regular cars.

What the British Department for Transport will make of the report it called for is anyone’s guess. The Department is currently lavishing $7,700 grants on people who buy the damn things.


British Energy Policy Unravelling

Builders of nuclear reactors sitting on their hands until some more of that lovely government money comes their way

As energy companies put projects on hold, government plans for new nuclear reactors are in danger of unravelling. Experts expect that EDF will demand even more generous subsidies.

EDF Energy has indicated that it will not build the first of Britain’s new nuclear reactors by 2018, despite earlier promises.

Vincent de Rivaz, the energy group’s chief executive, told The Times that the reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset would be ready “when the UK needs it”. Mr de Rivaz said that Britain no longer needed the reactor to be ready by that date because the financial crisis of 2009 and energy efficiency measures had reduced long-term electricity demand.

He said that a delay in building the reactor, which will push back his company’s intention to build a second reactor on the site by 2020, will not threaten Britain’s energy security. “It’s not a gamble at all. I will not let down the country,” he said. […]

It will be operational in 2016, four years later than planned, the company said, and will cost €6 billion (£5.3 billion), almost twice its original price. Mr de Rivaz said that the delays were “quite normal” because it was the first of a new generation of reactors to be built in France.

The Government’s plans for new nuclear reactors are in danger of unravelling. The Times revealed in May that E.ON and RWE, the German companies that have formed the Horizon new-build consortium, have put their plans on hold because of financial pressures and Germany’s anti-nuclear stance after the Fukushima disaster.

The Government is keen not to be reliant on one company to deliver its nuclear policy, but industry executives fear that EDF Energy will extract even more generous subsidies.


Admit it: environmentalism was an ugly experiment

Mark Lynas has converted from eco-alarmist to pro-growth rationalist. But he still doesn’t get the problem with green thinking

by Ben Pile

Since becoming an advocate of genetic modification (GM) and nuclear power, Mark Lynas has drawn increasingly hostile criticism from his erstwhile comrades in the green movement. In turn, he has sharpened his criticism of environmentalists for their hostility to technological and economic development. In his new book, The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans, he attempts to reformulate environmentalism to overcome the excesses that have so far prevented it from saving the planet. This book will no doubt provoke debate, but what is this transformation really about, and is it really based on new ideas or merely the revision of old ones?

Last November, Channel 4 aired What the Green Movement Got Wrong, which featured prominent environmentalists, including Lynas, reflecting on the failures of environmentalism. The film claimed that environmentalists’ opposition to technologies that offered environmentally benign methods of energy and crop production had impeded their aim of creating an ecologically sustainable society. Since then, the debate between pro- and anti-nuclear environmentalists has deepened, exposing the many divisions that exist within the green camp.

That said, the green movement has never really been united by a coherent perspective that could withstand criticism with confidence. Instead, it has been more easily characterised as intransigent, its critics simply dismissed as ‘deniers’ funded by big business. Environmentalism, ignorant to criticism, has thus developed inside an insular, self-regarding bubble. Perhaps only someone from within it could prick that bubble, revealing to its members what those outside it have been telling them for decades.

However, the object of Lynas’s criticism is not the substance or ends of environmentalism but merely its means. The environment has not been saved by green hostility to development, he says. Environmentalism’s uncompromising demands that we accept lower living standards make green politics unpalatable. Accordingly, he attempts to locate the basis for an environmentalism characterised by realism and pragmatism: what the science really tells us and how it can be most effectively acted upon.

As a result, there is much to agree with in The God Species. Most importantly, Lynas makes a clean break from deep ecology – the idea that ‘nature’ has intrinsic moral value and a ‘right’ to be protected from our ambitions. He rebukes the environmentalism that imagines a return to a pristine nature, and that shows contempt for development as an attempt to ‘play god’ over nature. We should ‘play god’, he says, for the planet’s sake as well as our own comfort. There is a convincing criticism of green demands for austerity and environmentalists’ unrealistic expectations that people should make do with ‘happiness’ rather than material progress. These are the conceits of well-off, middle-class and self-indulgent whingers, Lynas explains. Some of us have been making similar arguments for a very long time.

In spite of some of his accurate criticisms, Lynas fails to get to the substance of environmentalism. We do not find out what takes environmentalists to their bleak view of the world and their low view of humanity. This is a shame, because Lynas is in a unique position to reflect on it, having once thrust a custard pie into Bjorn Lomborg’s face, with the words: ‘That’s for everything you say about the environment which is complete bullshit. That’s for lying about climate change. That’s what you deserve for being smug about everything to do with the environment.’

A decade on, Lynas now emphasises science and pragmatism rather than… erm… pies. It’s worth remembering that Lomborg started out on mission similar to Lynas’s: as an environmentalist, keen to establish the sensible limits of our interaction with the natural world. Before writing The Skeptical Environmentalist, Lomborg aimed to debunk the works of the economist, Julian Simon, but ended up sympathetic to many of his arguments. Lynas, too, now finds himself sympathetic to many of the ideas from the economic right (he calls for the privatisation of all publicly owned water companies, for instance). And like Lynas, Lomborg never ended up ‘denying’ climate change, but instead sought to bring a sense of proportion to the problem, and to put it into context with other problems in the world. That is all it takes to find oneself called a ‘denier’: merely seeking a sense of proportion about environmental problems will put you in the lowest moral category, as Lynas, the ‘Chernobyl death denier’, has now discovered.

Lynas’s transformation shows few signs of self-reflection. Yet this would surely be the most interesting thing he could discuss. Why did ‘denial’ provoke such incomprehensible rage to the younger Lynas? And now that he finds himself accused of it, why is he not more cautious about the word ‘denier’, which he still uses with abandon? Instead, he puts his past eco-zeal down to mere ‘ideology’. Ideology it may have been, but there is no discussion about its character, its origins and context, or how he came to be vulnerable to it. His metamorphosis from long-time anti-GM campaigner to advocate came about, he explains, after he read some scientific literature in 2008. Lynas’s conceit is that he has freed himself from ideology simply by reading ‘the science’.

But doesn’t every green campaigner believe himself to be armed with the science against the dark forces of ideology? Lynas would only have to watch the studio debate that followed What the Green Movement Got Wrong to recall that it was a pantomime, in which each green side claimed to represent pragmatism and science against the other’s ideology. Clearly, the coordinates of the environmental debate are not easily determined as ‘science’ and ‘ideology’, and a deeper reflection on both concepts is necessary to understand it. Lynas, in spite of his claim that ‘science’ has helped him overcome ‘ideology’, fails to provide that insight.

So what is this science which has allowed Lynas to eschew ideology?

Lynas takes his inspiration from the work of Professor Johan Rockström, director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, which aims to offer ‘research for governance of social-ecological systems’. According to Lynas, Rockström and his associates – referred to by Lynas as the ‘planetary boundaries experts group’ – believe that they have identified nine fundamental measures of the planet’s ecological health that human development must not interfere with, if ecological catastrophe is to be avoided.

There is a chapter on each of these nine ‘boundaries’. For example, Lynas argues that we must observe the ‘biodiversity’ boundary by ensuring that fewer than 10 species per year are lost to extinction (against a current rate of over 100). The climate-change boundary means we must maintain atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide below 350 parts per million (ppm). (It’s already higher than that, meaning that society must become carbon negative.) The nitrogen boundary means we must remove no more than 35million tonnes of nitrogen from the atmosphere per year. And so on.

Anyone familiar with environmentalism’s history will recognise that this idea of ecological boundaries owes something to the Club of Rome’s 1972 report, The Limits to Growth. Noting the similarity himself, Lynas insists that boundaries are not limits to growth. Growth can exist and continue within these boundaries, he says, adding a fairly convincing argument that he does indeed at least believe that economic growth, technological development and social progress can and should continue within them. But if a boundary isn’t a limit, what is it?

Although Lynas claims that this idea is both new, and founded on new science, the premise of this idea is the same as many other eco- centric perspectives: we live on ‘Spaceship Earth’, ‘Gaia’, in a ‘web of life’. The biosphere, says Lynas, comprises an ecosystem ‘characterised by near infinite complexity: all their nodes of interconnectedness cannot possibly be identified, quantified or centrally planned, yet the product as a whole tends towards balance and self-correction’. In the chapter on biodiversity, Lynas says: ‘By removing species, we damage ecosystems, collapse food webs and ultimately undermine the planetary life-support system on which our species depends as much as any other.’

In the late 1960s, Paul Ehrlich famously made dire predictions of doom, based on his attempts to model the biosphere and our relation to it, which failed to materialise. Nonetheless, his predictions helped to kickstart the contemporary environmental movement. In answer to Ehrlich’s failure to turn ecology into a predictive material and social science, environmentalists have claimed that what Ehrlich – and Malthus before him – got wrong was simply the ‘when’, not the ‘if’, in the familiar ‘not if, but when’ mantra. The failure, in other words, was merely in underestimating the resilience of ‘the system’, which in spite of Ehrlich’s failures is still presumed to exist. Lynas and his experts have merely sought to better estimate that resilience.

The possibility that that there is no ‘self-regulating system’ of the kind they have imagined does not seem to have occurred to Lynas. He claims that there exists an abundance of evidence for it, but his reasoning that it exists is deductive, rather than based on empirical science actually locating it. Contemplating the endurance of life – or ‘self-regulating systems’, on his view – on Earth for four billion years, through several catastrophic events, Lynas deduces unsoundly that ‘the only plausible explanation is that self-regulation is somehow an emergent property of the system; negative feedbacks overwhelm positive ones and tend to push the Earth towards stability and balance’. There must be a ‘self-regulating system’ producing ‘balance’ merely because Lynas can’t consider an alternative.

But rather than demonstrating that there is a self-regulating system, isn’t there an equally plausible argument that the endurance of life on Earth demonstrates that no such ‘self-regulating system’ exists at all? Life is enduring with or without stasis. Perhaps, rather than occupying sensitive niches, organisms simply survive when they are not pelted by rocks from the cosmos, frozen under ice sheets, buried under molten lava or suffocated by ash – that is, when and where conditions are not hostile to life. Perhaps the ‘balance’ and ‘self-regulation’ witnessed by Lynas and ecologists are merely artefacts of the scale at which they perceive nature: a human life in contrast to geological epochs. Why should it surprise us that life and its seemingly similar conditions endure? Maybe Gaia seems to be at the same time so resilient and so sensitive because she does not exist.

According to Lynas, Gaia is a metaphor for a ‘universal scientific principle’: the emergent property of self-organisation in complex systems. But the metaphor looks far more like those who invoke her than ‘nature’. The preoccupation with ‘self-regulating systems’ seems to coincide with a desire for the regulation and systematisation of human life. We have to presuppose a great deal to take this account of life on Earth at face value, and even more to start organising society around the principle. Indeed, we might now be able to call this ensemble of presuppositions about ‘balance’ and ‘self-organisation’ environmental ideology. Lynas, like many environmentalists, presupposes both balance and the system which produces it. They claim evidence for it in science, but the claim precedes the science. Scientists have looked for Gaia, but they have not found her. Perhaps scientists and science are not so immune to ideology, after all.

Reading each of the chapters on planetary boundaries puts one in mind of an attempt to use the concept of irreducible complexity to make an argument for ‘intelligent design’. Rather than being an attempt to digest scientific research, it seems more an attempt to bombard the reader with endless salvoes of facts. The problem with using science in this way is that it is presented without its caveats, its context or the limitations of its design. Rather than developing a critical understanding of the issues, the reader is encouraged to sit passively through tales of tragic environmental degradation, followed by the remedy.

This has been the environmentalist’s device of choice, because complex technical ideas hide political and ethical ideas – the remedy – behind scientific authority. And this is the biggest problem of the environmental debate. To take issue with the ethics or politics of environmentalism or its interpretation of science is seen as equivalent to denying scientific evidence. To point out that science requires interpretation is seemingly to suggest that there is no such thing as material reality. Environmentalists seem to imagine that science is a direct conduit from pure objectivity to humanity – it issues instructions about how we ought to live.

Lynas does not escape these problems. The God Species is littered with complaints about ‘deniers’ and their ideological motivations. In one section, Lynas complains about ‘the [political] right’s tendency to downplay or deny the environmental consequences of this human great leap forward’, and asks, why they do not ‘just admit candidly that whilst the human advance has been amazing and hugely beneficial, it has also had serious environmental impacts’. And it is perhaps this question that most reveals Lynas’ naivety about ideology, and his failure to reflect on his own position.

Nobody is ‘denying the environmental consequences’ of human progress. Nobody could look at a river oozing with toxic sludge and say that it wasn’t pollution. What would be at issue is what kind of problem that pollution is. For a population that depended on the river for sustenance, its contamination would indeed be a huge problem. For a population which has no real use for the river, it is less of a problem. (Indeed, it may even be a convenient solution to the problem of what to do with all that toxic sludge, until some better means of disposal is developed.) What differs between perspectives is not necessarily assent to or denial of ‘facts’, but priorities, values and ways of interpreting them. If you believe that the planet is a highly sensitive self-regulating system that produces balance, it follows that you’d be more concerned about pollution than somebody who felt more confident about the world’s resilience.

Never mind environmental science’s failures to produce proof of Gaia’s existence and failure to predict ecological Armageddon, we only need to look at environmentalism’s political failures to understand Lynas’s reformulation of environmentalism. On the street, environmentalism has comprehensively failed to become a mass movement. At the level of regional government, ideas about saving the planet by ‘thinking globally, acting locally’ have only antagonised relations between the public and officials while degrading local services. At the level of national government, the political establishment’s environmentalism only serves to reflect the gulf that exists between the public and themselves – their various planet-saving initiatives looking more and more like desperate and self-serving attempts to legitimise their functioning in an era of mass political disengagement. At the supranational level, environmentalism has failed to unite nations in fear of Gaia’s revenge.

The attempt to locate planetary boundaries is equally an attempt to locate boundaries for humanity – to put it in its place within a supposed natural order. And within that order is a design for political institutions that are not legitimised by the public contest of values and ideas, but by the claim that they are necessary for ‘saving the planet’ and ourselves. Environmentalism is an ugly political experiment. That experiment failed, but not simply because its material science was flawed. Just as it was environmentalism’s political failure that preceded Lynas’s revision of its scientific basis, environmentalism’s political idea – its ideology – precedes the science. Rewriting the science won’t make the experiment any more successful for Lynas than it was for Ehrlich.


Hindu teenagers in Britain ‘twice as likely as Christians to go to university’

Teenagers from Hindu backgrounds are almost twice as likely to go to university than those of a Christian faith, Government research suggests.

More than three in four (77 per cent) youngsters who describe themselves as Hindu go into higher education, according to statistics gathered for the Department for Education (DfE).

In comparison, less than half (45 per cent) of those that consider themselves Christian go to university.

The figures are drawn from the Longitudinal Survey of Young People in England, which questioned thousands of teenagers.

The findings also show that almost two thirds (63 per cent) of Sikh youngsters choose to take a degree, along with more than half of young Muslims (53 per cent). Just under a third (32 per cent) of those who give their religion as ‘none’ go to university.

Overall, young people with a religion at age 15 are more likely to be in higher education at age 19 than those without, regardless of their faith, the survey found.

The findings also show that 38 per cent of the white teenagers questioned went on to university, compared to 74 per cent of their Indian peers, 51 per cent of those from Pakistani backgrounds, 53 per cent of those of Bangladeshi origin, 66 per cent of those from Black African backgrounds, 41 per cent of those of Black Caribbean heritage and 40per cent of those from mixed backgrounds.

Professor Steve Strand of Warwick University suggested that religion is a ‘proxy’ for ethnicity.

He told the Times Educational Supplement that there were a number of factors why different proportions of teenagers from different backgrounds go to university.

Prof Strand said that generally, ‘white working class children and their parents often do not see the relevance of the curriculum or of attending university’.

‘Asian families, even if they are from difficult socio-economic backgrounds, see education as a way out.’



About jonjayray

I am former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody
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