Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'm sick of "fair"

I get so tired hearing how this isn't fair or that isn't fair. It's bad enough when little kids pout about something being "not fair." But, when the newspapers start whining in the same tone I just want to shout, "Grow up!"

The other day it was the Irish Independent and the new aptitude test for medical students here, today it's the Belfast Telegraph and the so-called "hidden" airline charges. Okay, it's not actually the paper that's doing the moaning, but they give space to moaners such as the Consumer Council.

Now we all know that Ryanair is the target for this sort of thing even though they're not named here. And we all also know that the fare that Ryanair advertises may not bear much relation to the final cost of your flight, but that's not due to hidden charges. Before you buy you get to see those extra costs add up. It may be annoying, but it's not theft or any form of injustice. And, as I've said many, many times, you can avoid those charges if you play by Ryanair's rules. (Yes, you can get round trip air fares for less than €10. I don't think I've ever paid more than €20 for a round trip on Ryanair - INCLUDING all the so-called "hidden" fees.}

The other day I wanted to buy a book online. The company I was buying from was one I'd bought from many times in the past, but I'd never bought a book before. Anyway when it came time to check out I discovered that they add a book shipping supplement. Needless to say, I abandoned the purchase at that stage. I was a little annoyed, but it didn't occur to me to moan about the unfairness of this last moment additional cost. I just bought the book elsewhere.

Haven't these people heard, "There is no such thing as fair."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Fairness and social mobility" are irrelevant in choosing doctors

Dr Sean McDonagh says that the new aptitude test that students must take in order to study medicine seems to "violate the State's policies on fairness and social mobility." McDonagh says the test puts "poorer and rural students at a disadvantage."

My reaction is: so what? Unless McDonagh believes that this new aptitude test will result in a disimprovement in the medical care available in Ireland why should I or anyone else - rich or poor - care. Surely the best policy is one that will lead to the best doctors, no? And that is the idea behind the new medicine aptitude test that all would-be medical students now have to take.

Yesterday's Irish Independent had a few articles about students who had scored 600 points on the Leaving Cert not getting a place to study medicine while some with scores as "low" as 520 did manage to get a place. And this should bother me?

Honestly, I don't need my doctor to be able to write poetically about Macbeth or be able to speak fluent French or regurgitate long passages in Irish. No, all I need is for my doctor to be a competent doctor. The math and science scores have to be good, but everything else can be adequate.