© Bupa and Centre for Policy on Ageing 2011 by Nat Lievesley and Gillian Crosby (CPA) and Clive Bowman (Bupa) with a historical perspective by Eric Midwinter
A pertinent read today as the public reflects on life and death in a care home during a pandemic
In brief, the historical continuum demonstrates that, over against the Beveridge ‐ style argument for the universalism’ of services and financial relief, the fiscal imperative tends to insist on the priority, almost to the point of exclusivity, of the severe social casualty, be the symptom medical or monetary. The public realm reacts when it is forced to do so, to remedy an ill, rather in a general or preventative fashion, to treat a client, not to foster a citizen. Historians speak of much Victorian social reform as being ruled by the theory of ‘Intolerability’ – the enforcement of action, sometimes reluctantly, to meet a socially and politically unbearable situation, often where the reigning ideology was laissez‐faire.
It may seem a stern verdict, but the discussion of early 21st century provision may have to be guided by similar conditions. It may, then, be of salutary value to those analysing current policy to have some awareness of the longer perspective.
Eric Midwinter, January 2011