Northernheckler's Blog

A Yorkshireman's adventures in the big Smoke

Cameron : We’re even worse than Bulgaria !

Regular readers of my blog might have spotted a vaguely familiar statement from David Cameron in last night’s Leaders Debate on ITV television.

In my post Things that bug me – Part 2 on April 2nd, I moaned about the misleading reporting in the Daily Mail England’s poor cancer detection and bad diet mean Slovenian women live longer of the Government report ‘Health Profile of England 2009’ DoH Health Profile of England

I complained amongst other thing’s of the Mail’s tendency to pick an Eastern European country at random for us to be “worse than” – in what appeared to be an attempt to capitalise on racism against Eastern Europeans for sensational effect.

It seems David Cameron must have appreciated it – last night he chose not Slovenia but Bulgaria to compare our “oh so terrible” health care with.

While there would seem to be some evidence from WHO that his statement was in essence correct – that there are more deaths from cancer in Bulgaria per head than in the UK at least according to the Sofia news agency  Bulgaria Pops Up in UK Historic Debate – Sofia News Agency ; the Department of Health’s own published data (ie. the document linked to above)  – which is produced in close consultation with other countries, would appear to suggest otherwise.

Check out the table 3.1 on page 61 – it quite clearly shows that UK & English cancer deaths have a lower incidence than in Bulgaria. That’s not to say that we’re ideal though – David Cameron could have said we were worse than Ireland or Italy – or better than Denmark or Spain. Whichever country he chose to compare us with would have been misleading though – because on page 49 we have a chart that tells us that “there has been a steady decline in the mortality rate [from cancer] between 2000 and 2008. It is evident that the mortality rate has decreased faster for males in recent years than for females”.

So irrespective of whether we are or are not “worse than” Bulgaria, the number of deaths from cancer, has been reducing steadily during the incumbency of the present Labour government.

So Labour’s record is unarguably better than the Conservatives’  in relation to deaths from Cancer.

If I might conjure up a phrase from the recent past : “Don’t you dare lecture us on Cancer Mr Cameron !”


April 16, 2010 - Posted by | blogs, Election 2010, politics | , , , , ,


  1. I noticed this comment by Cameron and it struck me as being very ignorant on many levels.

    I take a great interest in Eastern European countries, the one I am focussed upon the most is Romania, which is part of an academic study I am engaged in at present.

    Cameron picked Bulgaria for comparison, but why should we necessarily have lower cancer rates than Bulgaria?

    Health is by no means my area of knowledge, but I would certainly guess that the Bulgarians are a much healthier lot than we in the UK.

    In a poorer country private car ownership is less so exercise is very much increased. Diets might well be much better on average because people are preparing food themselves from raw ingredients. The average body weight of Bulgarians is probably a great deal lower than that in the UK.

    I noticed that Cameron said “Bulgaria” as if it were byword for second rate. I think he would have done the same had he chosen Romania or any other Eastern European country.

    To me this shows how very out of touch Cameron is. If Cameron went to the Eastern European countries himself he would see very quickly that these are often marvellous places full of bright creative people. He would see that in Eastern European countries very often excellence reigns in many areas of society.

    To name an Eastern European country with the assumption that this will be an indicator of low quality is truly foolish.

    Someone with a worldview like that should be nowhere near the government of the UK or of any other country.

    Comment by Patrick James | April 16, 2010 | Reply

    • I’m waiting for them to say the standard of Maths teaching is lower than *insert Eastern European country here*.

      Everywhere has a lower standard of Maths teaching than most Eastern European countries.

      Comment by Phil | April 16, 2010 | Reply

  2. It’s also meaningless to pick any single country for comparison, without giving any idea of rank within a larger sample of countries. Cameron does this sort of thing all the time.

    I once heard him on the radio saying we’ve got the highest numbers of children growing up in a household where neither parent works, compared to other European countries. But we have a higher *population* than most European countries, so you’d *expect* higher numbers. He might have meant proportion, of course, but that’s not what he said.

    Similarly, correlation does not necessarily imply causation with regards to cancer rates falling during Labour’s tenure. A more pertinent question is whether it fell at the same sort of rate as internationally, with particular focus on similar countries.

    Comment by Phil | April 16, 2010 | Reply

  3. […] Go here to read the rest: Cameron : We're even worse than Bulgaria ! « Northernheckler's Blog […]

    Pingback by Cameron : We're even worse than Bulgaria ! « Northernheckler's Blog | Bulgaria Today | April 19, 2010 | Reply

  4. […] View original here: Cameron : We're even worse than Bulgaria ! « Northernheckler's Blog […]

    Pingback by Cameron : We're even worse than Bulgaria ! « Northernheckler's Blog | Bulgaria Today | April 19, 2010 | Reply

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