The Kent Air Ambulance

I seem to remember many moons ago drawing a parallel between the Kent Air Ambulance and the Kent Police Helicopter, and remarking what a shame it was that the taxpayer was fleeced to pay for a Police helicopter that mostly seems to hover around at night waking small children and anecdotally searching for people growing plants in their lofts with a thermal camera, while the Air Ambulance, a machine that actively saves lives daily was funded by charitable donations.
I’m still none too keen that I am paying for an expensive bauble that (I stress anecdotally) looks for people growing plants, however It has since occurred to me that the Air Ambulance is a marvellous example of important services being provided on a purely voluntary basis without any need for state coercion. I’m surprised they allow it to continue to be honest.
From the Charities Commission website:

image

Not quite ‘funded entirely from charitable donations’ I’ll admit, but that huge whack of ‘Trading To Raise Funds’ presumably includes voluntarily staffed charity shops selling voluntarily donated goods, as well as whatever else they can get people to part with their cash for to buy whatever it is they sell. It’s a cool flying emergency vehicle so I suppose the possibilities are endless.

It’s a big, shining example to stick in the face of whoever gainsays the anarchist or libertarian viewpoint with fears that civil society is unable to provide certain things, and that a state of some description is a necessary evil- even in the modern world where civil society is massively stunted by public health, pensions, unemployment benefits and ‘charitable’ organisations it is still possible for a massively expensive and vital emergency service to be funded on a purely voluntary basis. One wonders what else could be achieved in a world where civil society was set free to do good things?

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The Kent Police Helicopter

Here it is, hovering around.

No sirens, no SWAT, no car chases, no paddywagons, no raids, no plainclothes, no nothing- just the helicopter hovering above central Chatham on a Sunday night when all was quiet. I have it on (fairly) good authority that when it’s doing this it is using the heat-sensitive camera to look for cannabis farms in the local buildings. Whoo-hoo. Now THERE’S a positive and efficient use of taxpayer’s pounds. Perhaps, if they hadn’t been wasting said pounds on helicopters that fly around all day looking for trouble, then the need to send out mailshots like this would never have arisen:

Really?!

(Enclicken to Enbiggen, if you want to read the fine print) Now, I admit that I already have a bee in my bonnet about the police helicopter -there’s a draft right near the bottom of my drafts folder about it that I may have to finish soon- but seriously: “If you call us, we will come”?! Jesus! It’s the Police, if you call them of course they should come, right?!
Aa anyone round here will tell you, if you’ve been burgled, mugged or raped then god help you, because you could be waiting anything up to or excluding 48 hours for the police to deign to arrive and take a few fingerprints while you dutifully don’t repair your door (for fear of contaminating the crime scene- LOL!!! Like they give a damn about you and your crime scene) or whatever and leave your property open to the elements (and further burglaries) in the meantime, and yet they can afford to keep a hideously expensive helicopter in the air 24/7. Perhaps, if they didn’t spend all their budget on show-piece helicopters then they could afford just a few extra bobbies to attend when there had actually been a crime commited, and even perhaps they could have saved the cash it cost to deliver a promise to do just that to every door in the town. Just maybe. Just maybe they could actually catch a criminal too. Or am I just being hopelessly optimistic?

After all, that’s part of the so-called Social Contract, isn’t it? We allow the existence of a paramilitary force of citizens, with more lawful powers than regular citizens, so that when we’ve been attacked or defrauded we can rely on our ‘boys in blue’ to protect us, or at least see that justice is done after the fact. It’s a bargain between us, the people, and them, the state. Once the police stopped bothering holding up their end of the bargain, swapped their friendly-but-professional-blue for intimidating black and decided that instead of solving (proper) crimes (with victims!) they would instead concentrate their powers on rooking cash out of the law-abiding and spending it on Big Boy’s Toys they lost all legitimacy to exist. Full stop.

By the bye, a large part of the reason the Police helicopter winds me up is that we are forced to pay -at gunpoint- for its upkeep and yet the Kent Air Ambulance, a service which actually saves lives is reliant almost entirely on the donations and goodwill of the people of Kent who dutifully put their coppers (no pun intended) into jars on bars county-wide. It makes me SICK.