We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Apocalypse. Saw. Oblivion. The NHS.

The Sanctuary

Visit the Alton Towers Resort from 16 March and experience The Sanctuary, a terrifying scare maze!

The Sanctuary has been closed to patients for almost 50 years, but appointments are now being taken at the newly opened establishment as a controlling force, known only as the Ministry of Joy launches a series of trials, recruiting advocates for its new 2013 project. What starts out as a rejuvenating check up at The Sanctuary soon takes a turn for the worse.

Will you make it out with a smile on your face?

I like the Festival of Britain style graphics on the first link.

What does it mean that a theme park horror ride takes its inspiration from the visual style of a public information film issued by the Ministry of Information circa 1946?

13 comments to Apocalypse. Saw. Oblivion. The NHS.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Just how Orwellian was Britain after WW2? A Ministry of Information?

  • Jake Haye

    I have often speculated about just how much leftists must have relished wartime Britain.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Hence all these ‘Wars on’ whatever. The war on poverty is still going on, though there are still lots of poor people around. And I can still visit chemists, so the War on drugs is failing. Still, the war on terror will give the centralists another cause!

  • Paul Marks

    A word in defence of the mental hospitals (which go back long before the NHS) – they were not all as Hollywood presents them (sane people held by sadistic staff – for the sate of torturing them). Although there were some case of that – especially under the vile provision of the 1913 British Act that held that “morally” defective (not just the mentally defective) could be held without their consent.

    I guarded the ruins of a near by mental hospital – and there were lots of old files and photographs in the ruins, the people there even had their own farm (with animals).

    Today the mentally ill are dumped to wander the streets and sleep in cardboard boxes.

    “But at least they are free Paul”.

    Are they?

    After all the largest concentration of mentally ill people in the United States is the Cook County (Chicago) jail.

    The mentally ill people are dumped on the streets (“care in the community” – the cult of the 1960s onwards) their mental conditions get worse and worse.

    Eventually they become such a problem for other people that they are picked up by the police – and dumped in jail.
    No help, no hope, and hellish conditions (vastly worse than the “One flew over the….” that Hollywood taught people were the inside of all mental hospitals) for people who just can not cope with normal life (and a lot of people can not).

    It is much the same in Britain.

    There must be somewhere for people to VOLUNTARILY go (the evils in such places come from compulsion – being compelled to go, and being compelled to stay “evil enters when the door is locked”) when they start to get mental problems (before these problems get totally out of control).

    These places do not need to be provided by the state – but they do need to exist.

    Saying “there is no such thing as mental illness” (as some libertarians do) just is no good – no good at all.

    Unless our policy towards people who just can not cope is to hand them cyanide tablets.

  • It took me a second reading for this American to figure out that Alton Towers is not, in fact, one of your dodgier council housing estates consisting of several high-rise apartment buildings on the outskirts of London.

  • Watchman


    Similiar people to be found at both…

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Nick (nice-guy) Gray,

    Yes. There was a reason Orwell put pen to paper in 1948. Everyone thought that “planning” had won the war.

    There was also a Ministry of Information in WWI. Before we act superior to the people of those days, note that both times the Ministry was dissolved the year after peace was declared. If we find ourselves getting a new MoI for some crisis of our time, I bet it won’t go so quietly once the crisis is over.

  • Paul Marks

    Even during World War II economic “planning” won nothing.

    In Britain Bomber Harris got his best bits of kit by going (himself) to family owned manufacturers and buying it – daring the War Office to refuse to honour the document.

    In the United States the Ford Motor Company (and so on) actually had less government and union sabotage to deal with than they did before the war. Less “planning”.

    And Nimitz (in charge of the Pacific theatre but put on a limited budget by Franklin Roosevelt – who put helping the Soviet Union above mere American priorities) relied on private enterprise (as much as was allowed to).

    “But the factories beyond the Urals” – yes they were beyond the Urals, the world being round, the factories were in Detroit and other American cities.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Ted Schuerzinger and Watchman,

    Ahem. Alton Towers in the original and proper sense was the residence of the Earls of Shrewsbury from 1412 until the 1920’s.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Paul Marks,
    While I certainly take your point (and loved the way you put it) about the vast productive superiority of then-capitalist Detroit to anything run by Gosplan, I do think that planning in its proper sphere which can include economic planning to some degree won plenty. Any large company does huge amounts of central planning when mapping out its strategy for the next ten years, for instance. Of course, plans frequently don’t work out; and it doesn’t scale up to “running” a nation’s economy, since no one can do that; and it doesn’t scale down to daily interactions unless you want to have your company driven to bankruptcy or your battlefield offensive run into a quagmire by staff/soldiers who have had initiative drained out of them. And there’s the whole oppression thing – but I need not recapitulate Libertarianism 101 to anyone here.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Natalie, I can’t thank you enough! You’ve solved my problem of what to give my second-closest relative in the entire world for Christmas!

    –Um, I CAN buy him a lifetime stay there, I assume. 🙂 🙂

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Sure, and at a good price too. I get the feeling that a lifetime stay … [cue ominous music]… won’t be that long.

  • Paul Marks

    Natalie – good point. Brian has also made it to me – it is not “planning” that is wrong, it is the state (or anyone) imposing a plan by force and fear that is wrong.

    As for Alton Towers.

    In my old AA guide to Britain it does indeed talk about Alton Towers as it once was.

    Famous for the house and the Italianate gardens.