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We have three months

… to save the NHS, says Ed Miliband.

My first thought was, gosh, that’s nice, three months in which to kill it. I suspect that I am in a minority: the outpouring of love, loyalty and vows to defend the NHS unto death coming from the Guardian commenters to this report and to Miliband’s own article resemble nothing so much as the frenzied cries of “Deus vult!” that greeted Pope Urban II when he declared the First Crusade. I further suspect that when it comes to this issue the knights of the Guardian would indeed get support from the peasants of the Sun and the Daily Mail.

Heigh-ho. Just for the record, I shall repost an article that is now more than ten years old. It is by Anthony Browne, once Health Editor of the Guardian‘s Sunday sister, the Observer, and at one time a passionate supporter of the NHS:

Even as you read this, in almost every hospital in the country, there will be elderly, vulnerable people left for hours and sometimes days on trolleys. Each year, thousands of British people – the young, the old, the rich, the poor – die unnecessarily from lack of diagnosis, lack of treatment and lack of drugs. They die and suffer unnecessarily for different reasons, but there is just one root cause: the blind faith the Government has in the ideology of the National Health Service, and our unwillingness to accept not just that it doesn’t work, but that it can never work.

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6 comments to We have three months

  • Gareth

    He’s doing his propaganda all wrong. It was a mere 24 hours to save the NHS when that Blair chap was in charge so things have got better!

    He should have got Polly Toynbee or similar to sigh “Ed, Ed I love you, but we only have fourteen hours to save the NHS”.

  • Sam Duncan

    It’s not exactly Stockholm syndrome – although it’s close. I suspect that in future years, when a group of people desperately wants to keep hold of a catastrophic money pit of a venture that lurches from crisis to crisis, causing demonstrable harm compared to those employed by other similar groups, on the grounds, without any supporting evidence whatever, that it’s “the envy of the world”, it’ll be known as NHS Syndrome.

    Now, there are bound to be anarcho-capitalists and suchlike here who would advocate a totally non-governmental solution (and I wouldn’t necessarily disagree) but what really angers me about the British political “debate” about healthcare, especially from the Left, is that there are plenty of better ways of organising taxpayer assistance for the poor than a state monopoly. The French model has won a lot of advocates in the Conservative Party. But all we ever hear, even from the supposedly moderate, reformed, Labour Party, is communism – for that’s what it is – or death.

    Of course, it’s obvious why. It is Communism in one Sector, and it’s the third biggest employer in the world. Losing it would be like the fall of the Soviet Empire all over again for the Left: yet more proof of their ideas’ abject failure.

  • Mendicant

    Do you want the NHS to become Network Rail? Lansley, who is serving his corporate donors, certainly does.

    Because in Britain the private sector is more concerned with sponging off the taxpayer (tax credits, capital projects like Crossrail, various subsidies etc) than actually doing anything useful, it is fanciful to think we could have a system on a par with the French, who, it should be noted, also have a vastly superior, and much cheaper, rail service.

    British Rail, with all its flaws, was vastly, vastly superior to the irredeemable, appalling, stinking pile of crap that is Network Rail.

    The priority of any decent government should be to dismantle Network Rail, yet these clowns allow the disgrace to continue.

  • Stephen Willmer

    Did you have a bad commute this morning, Mendicant?

  • TDK

    British Rail, with all its flaws, was vastly, vastly superior to the irredeemable, appalling, stinking pile of crap that is Network Rail.

    How old are you?

    I make no claims about the superiority of Network Rail but I recall the awfulness of BR

  • Paul Marks

    I like Gareth’s Flash Gordon reference – I like that film (wild over-the-top Space Opera).

    As for the NHS.

    The current poltical debate about it assumes certain things.

    As Natalie (and the others here) know, those things are not true.

    Therefore neither the Labour party position – on the current government’s position interests me.