Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Lower than vermin - a Tory muses on "Our NHS"

A while ago I celebrated 35 years of being Tory Scum, of knowing that the ease with which Labour tribalists and, indeed, the left in general reaches for insults demonstrates the complete absence of any rational arguments in support of their contentions.

Today the passing of the Health Bill through the House of Commons has brought out another version of that insult - a version introduced by the original bigoted Welsh windbag:

No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.

Well down here with the rats, life is good. At long last we are seeing the great monoliths of British socialism - a sclerotic health system, a school system that fails the poor and a planning system that favours the rich - gradually moved aside in favour of the patient, the parent and the worker.

You see Nye Bevan was wrong. Comprehensively wrong about almost everything. But this did not matter as this man could wallow in ignorance and bigotry, could opt for the insult above the evidence and could paint his opponents as evil. And his Party loved him for it. Loved him for his insults, for his uncompromising hatred of not just the Conservative Party but of Conservatives.

Men like Bevan set the tone for the manner in which Socialists debate - not just the 'lower then vermin' gibe but the genesis for "Tory scum, here we come". All this ferocious insult mixed in with hyperbolic predictions of gloom and despondency - or what the layman might term "outright lies".

The Health Bill is taking a small step - putting the tiniest of tippy-toes into the waters of freedom. Moving us a small way - not enough but a start - towards a public health service that actually serves the public well. A service that isn't hung up on the financial interests of doctors, that doesn't prosecute a New Puritan 'nanny knows best' approach and which focuses on the basic care and medical support that the public want.

And, yes, that might mean some competition. It might mean that GPs no longer had a local monopoly but must compete a little with eachother. It might mean that some treatments, operations and interventions are provided by the private sector (as an aside it seems odd that the left are so supportive of private sector abortions while steadfastly opposing private sector hernia operations). And it might mean that the numbing, duplicating, obsessive and incompetent bureaucracy that is the dominant feature of "Our NHS" begins to go. Replaced, I hope, with some customer service and maybe, just maybe, a smile or two.

I sat in a meeting at which the health reforms were discussed. Not one person there mentioned how to improve the patient experience - instead it was the same old discussion about who was chair of this and chief executive of that, how to manage and organise the process so as to sustain the same old faces round the same old tables. I came away profoundly depressed - this is the NHS that the Labour Party (and the truly awful Dr Evan Harris) want to "save". A place of favours and fixes, of discussions in closed rooms and of make-believe boards with no real power that discuss matters of no real moment.

If I'm 'lower than vermin' for wanting a public health service that responds quickly to patient needs, that presents choice where choice is right, that is accessible and flexible and that stretches the value from that inevitably limited public purse as far as it will go, then so be it. I'll get down with the rats and make sure ordinary people stand a fighting chance of getting an accountable, efficient and effective NHS.

The changes that might be coming - there's a while to go yet before they're law - aren't enough. But they are a welcome start. And I hope we will start now calling for it really to be "Our NHS" not an NHS owned and controlled by the bureaucrats and the medical mafia (including their big pals in the drugs industry).

Lower than vermin I might be. But it's good down here where real people live real lives and want a decent health service from the government they pay so richly from their meagre earnings.

....

4 comments:

Jon Beech said...

A Pict Song

Rome never looks where she treads.
Always her heavy hooves fall,
On our stomachs, our hearts or our heads;
And Rome never heeds when we bawl.
Her sentries pass on—that is all,
And we gather behind them in hordes,
And plot to reconquer the Wall,
With only our tongues for our swords.
We are the Little Folk—we!
Too little to love or to hate.
Leave us alone and you’ll see
How we can drag down the State!
We are the worm in the wood!
We are the rot at the root!
We are the taint in the blood!
We are the thorn in the foot!

Mistletoe killing an oak—
Rats gnawing cables in two—
Moths making holes in a cloak—
How they must love what they do!
Yes—and we Little Folk too,
We are busy as they—
Working our works out of view—
Watch, and you’ll see it some day!

No indeed! We are not strong,
But we know Peoples that are.
Yes, and we’ll guide them along,
To smash and destroy you in War!
We shall be slaves just the same?
Yes, we have always been slaves,
But you—you will die of the shame,
And then we shall dance on your graves!

We are the Little Folk—we!
Too little to love or to hate.
Leave us alone and you’ll see
How we can drag down the State!
We are the worm in the wood!
We are the rot at the root!
We are the taint in the blood!
We are the thorn in the foot!

Rudyard Kipling

David Chiverton said...

I can't tell you how much I like this blogpost Simon. You're spot on about the way defenders of the status quo frame the argument. If you disagree you must have some nefarious reason. If you're an economist opposed to the 50p tax rate you're in the pockets of big business, and if you favour NHS reform you're out to make money for your mates in private healthcare. It's pathetic really.

Phil said...

I recently had a conversation with someone who complained about repeatedly having to wait an hour or more at the hospital pharmacy, sometimes to then be told there was a problem, sometimes she'd travel in after being told her prescription was ready, to then be told it wasn't... a long list that was capped off with the complaint that the service was soon to be outsourced to Lloyds Pharmacy.

So whilst you're right, trying to overcome the "logic" that would rather accept poor service from the public sector than better service from the private, could prove difficult.

Angry Exile said...

At long last we are seeing the great monoliths of British socialism - a sclerotic health system, a school system that fails the poor and a planning system that favours the rich - gradually moved aside in favour of the patient, the parent and the worker.

Very gradually. In fact it's so gradual that I'm still betting that the whole sorry mess will implode long before any government gets round to adequate reform.