Prisoners of our words
Remember how the Lancet "proved" there were hundreds of thousand "surplus deaths" in Iraq? Well it turns out there are 462,000 "avoidable deaths" in Scotland. The Daily Record reports:
NHS treatment has led to almost half a million Scots dying in the last 30 years, a new study has revealed. Doctors at Glasgow University found that between 1974 and 2003, a total of 462,000 people died in Scotland as a result of health service failings. It means Scotland has one of the highest avoidable death rates in western Europe.
Now I'm no fan of the British NHS, but I don't believe it actually caused 462,000 deaths, though I'm bound to admit it all depends on how you define "caused". Definitions are tricky things. Consider the following: recently Vladimir Putin described himself as the only "pure democrat" in the world.
Asked whether he agreed with former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's description of him as an "impeccable democrat", Putin replied laughing: "Of course I am an absolute, pure democrat. But you know the problem? It's not even a problem, it's a real tragedy. The thing is that I am the only one, there just aren't any others in the world."
I guess that depends on how you define "democrat" and whether or not you capitalize it.