We should lay claim to being the party of the NHS….
The Conservatives trauma’s over the remarks Daniel Hannan made to Fox TV look set to continue into the weekend The Spectator has joined the fray; directly contradicting the claims that health spending will be ring-fenced by an incoming Conservative government. Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph gets to the heart of what all the fuss is about;
“Opinion polls always show overwhelming support for the NHS. People’s direct experiences of hospitals and their GPs’ surgeries are largely positive; and huge amounts of extra spending in recent years have unquestionably improved the fabric of the NHS.”
How telling that they can grasp a political reality that escapes Sara Scarlett who oddly thinks;
“slagging off the NHS is a national pastime… except when a British politician does it on American TV!!”
Nobody in their right mind would contend that everything is perfect but equally most people are connected enough to reality to recognise what people like in the NHS; the principle that if push comes to shove there is a service their that will protect their health. The fact is that things are much as the Telegraph says and that the ‘horror stories’ contrast to *the majority* of peoples experiences; ‘NHS gets things right isn’t usually newsworthy. Also, it has to be taken into account that peoples expectations are enhanced by the very fact the NHS exists and having had experience of a country where you have to pay I can say our NHS does contrast favourably with that system.
Given the alternative I think rightly most people would baulk at a system where your quality of care depends on your ability to pay and a quasi-Darwinian situation where it is only avalible to those with the right size pocket book. When it comes to the NHS we have a strong as claim as the Labour Party that it is part of our heritage; Wikipedia tells us how Sir William Beveridge, the famous author of the report that led to the foundation of the NHS, influenced David Llyod Georges thinking;
“In 1909 Beveridge was appointed Director of Labour Exchanges; his ideas influenced David Lloyd George and led to the passing of the 1911 National Insurance Act. During Asquith‘s Liberal government of 1908 to 1914 Beveridge was asked to advise Lloyd George on Old Age Pensions and National Insurance; the government began to take action to combat poverty.”
We should not turn our back on this heritage; we should show that we are committed to the NHS and taking it forward.