david_bodanis's picture
Writer; Futurist; Author, Einstein's Greatest Mistake
Writer; Futurist; Author, Passionate Minds

A Core Decency in People that Even the Worst Machinations of Governments Can't Entirely Hold Down

I'm optimistic because there's a core decency in people that even the worst machinations of governments can't entirely hold down. The Evelina hospital is the first new children's hospital that's been built in London in a century. There's a giant atrium in the middle, and the contract with the company doing the cleaning says that the window cleaners need to dress up as superheroes. The children in bed—many with grave illnesses—delight in seeing Superman and Spiderman dangling just inches away from them, on the outside of the glass; apparently for the cleaners it's one of the best part of their week.

The government has wasted a fortune on consultants, bureaucracy and reorganizations of the NHS. It's always defended in cold management-speak. This simple arrangement with the window cleaners cuts through all that. Everyone I've mentioned it to recognizes that—and in that recognition, lies our hope.