Alex Massie

Department of Free Markets Being Better than Black Markets

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A BBC Scotland documentary on organ sales is on TV tonight. The reporter discovers, shockingly, that:

There is a black market in kidneys here in the UK.

I secretly filmed people trying to sell me their kidneys, exploiting the vulnerability of someone who is desperate to help a family member.

They are also trying to exploit the very law that has changed to allow me to make a 'stranger donation'.

They wanted to fool the authorities - the first woman I met started with an asking price of £250,000, another man wanted the 'price of a Mercedes' - £60,000.

I met them in cafes across the UK and their actions were shocking.

They know they are doing something illegal and just don't seem to care.

I met with a man who was a 'transplant tourist', who paid £7,000 in Pakistan to buy a kidney.

I understand his desperation but I then travelled to India and met with the very people who are selling their kidneys.

They have been butchered - their scars are huge and they have long-term health problems.

It did make me doubt my actions for a moment, but I realise that what I am doing is done with great care to me and does not involve money.

Two things: this is why a free market operates more efficiently, and to everyone's benefit, than a closed one and secondly and more seriously, when did it become acceptable for Britishers to adopt the (awful) Americanism "meet with"?

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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