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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The Stupid Party Strikes Again!

No sooner has Perry reminded us that the Conservative Party are not to be trusted when it comes to liberty, than, as if right on cue, the buggers prove him right:

Patients should be issued with “entitlement cards” to stop illegal immigrants abusing the National Health Service, the Tories said yesterday.

Liam Fox, the shadow health secretary, said the cards, which would be issued to every UK citizen, would stop so-called “health tourists” being treated at the taxpayers’ expense.

Now, to be fair, the problem they are referring to is a valid one. It is an outrageous abuse of the already over-burdened British taxpayer to force them to pick up the healthcare tab for anyone anywhere in the world who happens to want it. However, the blindingly obvious way of putting a stop to this would be to deregulate health services and dismantle the Soviet-inspired monstrosity of the NHS.

But, no, the Tories would never dream of doing anything to upset the left. They would much rather that we were all issued with an electronic tattoo which is not only obnoxious and anti-British, it will also prove ineffective in solving the problem referred to. Within weeks of the introduction of any such ‘Entitlement Card’ the country (and possibly the rest of the world) will be flooded with forgeries and, even if that were not the case, neither the Human Rights regime, nor EU law will permit the NHS to discriminate against non-UK nationals. Added to that is the massive cost of administering and policing the system the burden of which will also fall on the taxpayers and probably prove more expensive than treating foreigners for their arthritis.

The Tories clearly have not thought this one through but ‘thinking’ is generally frowned upon in those circles. I expect very little from the British Conservative Party and I am rarely disappointed.

17 comments to The Stupid Party Strikes Again!

  • Sage

    Sounds a lot like a back-door national ID to me. Maybe I’m showing my ignorance and there is something about UK politics that makes my theory absurd (such as some other state ID that already effectively serves that purpose), but that’s precisely the kind of thing conservatives do in America.

    I do have to say, though, the Conservatives in Britain are some really pathetic girly-men. They never saw a principle they couldn’t abandon for electoral gains they never end up seeing.

  • Sage

    OK, just scrolled down to yesterday’s post and someone at Samizdata has already speculated on that. So maybe it isn’t so silly a theory.

  • Sage

    OK, just scrolled down to yesterday’s post and someone at Samizdata has already speculated on that. So maybe it isn’t so silly a theory.

  • Andrew Duffin

    “…neither the Human Rights regime, nor EU law will permit the NHS to discriminate against non-UK nationals…”

    I believe you, I really do.

    But how does that square with the fact that if I fall ill in France (or my son has a major snow-boarding accident there, to use a real example), if I can’t produce an E111 or an insurance certificate, then I have to pay?

    What stops the NHS doing that?

    btw in case anyone is wondering, my son was well-insure and got top-class treatment; but the question was asked and the conditions were made clear.

  • I love this website for its unintentional humour.

    The number of references to communism or the Soviet Union you manage to get in on the most unrelated subjects is quite incredible.

    A post about Tories calling for ID cards predictably degenerated into a dig at the “Soviet-inspired monstrosity of the NHS”.


    Keep it up!

  • Guy Herbert

    Because, Andrew, the French also have to pay. The compulsory state insurance covers most of it, and private insurance or their own pocket the rest.
    All the E111 does for you is to warrant that the British taxpayer is paying in this instance.

    Because the British system is free of any concept of payment from the British _patient_ for treatment (except prescription charges), then it has to treat others in the same way.

    The glory of the French system compared to the British one is–whoever pays–that there’s a market in the services provided, so if you don’t get good treatment, and promptly, you can go elsewhere.

  • Guy Herbert

    Forgot to mention: if you are French it’s usually cash up front. Claiming back from the state, thereafter is (predictably) a matter of some paperwork.

  • Joe

    This I think is a bit of a red herring… If you are going to have any sort of welfare system – then making sure that the benefits of it go to the people who need it is a major priority. These people are living on tax-payers hard earned money, it is only right that checks are maintained on who that money is given to in order to make sure it goes to those who need it: Unless you are of the opinion that your hard earned money belongs to everyone in the first instance! To avoid theft and abuse – some form of identification is necessary and always has been.

    To rail at an identification system, which stops YOUR money being stolen makes you look like idiots!

    Misuse of such an identification system is another matter… that is more what you need to be concerned with. Rather than slagging the Tory party you should be encouraging them to think for themselves!

  • Hi David and Perry,

    I sympathise greatly with your current position on the Tory Party. There are indeed many Clarkeites, Pattenites, and Heseltinites, most of them descended from the Heathites, who are as statist as they come. With their commitment to the EU, the Euro (boo, hiss), and noblesse oblige, they are unfortunately a relic of our feudal Shire past, with all of its many landowner caste privileges, the very people our friends the Americans rebelled against (Gawd Bless ‘Em). These Audrey fforbes-Hamilton aristocrats are the same people who drove most non-privileged people in this country into the arms of the socialists in the first place, with a left-wing promise to remove these landowners’ unearned rights (or at least secretly transfer such rights to themselves, to form yet another overlord class of nepotistic aristocracy 🙂

    These Conservative statists, and their feather-bedded land-owning friends, often coercively paid by the rest of us NOT to supply cheaper food, are just as much the enemy as any New Labourite. And we can see from the great and the good, such as Chris Patten, that they frequently sleep in the same bed.

    But it was Margaret Thatcher who used to give away copies of the Constitution for Liberty saying “This is what we believe”. And Tony Benn (bigger boos and hisses) who said she was no Tory, but a Manchester Liberal (a.k.a. Hayekian Old Whig, in disguise). And although she didn’t reduce the state as much as we would’ve liked, given where she started from, and where she got to before being knifed by the Heseltinites, if the Tories could find another one of those, I’d have far more confidence in the future.

    It is appalling that clots like Dr Fox are aping the fascism of New Labour, and particularly depressing on Tax Freedom Day. But it is too tempting and easy for us to be negative. We can’t just sit on our hands. We need to do something positive. What is it? Well, search me, I’m still looking, and I’m fully willing to listen to any theories, a feeble one of which I’ve put forward below. But UKIP is no answer. They could even be part of the problem.

    Tony Blair learned his history well, in public school and Oxford. Divide-and-conquer got Julius Caesar the laurels Blair is searching for, as ruler of Europe (and hopefully the same political fate). Blair has benefited enormously from this weapon of division. He sees believers in individual freedom right where he wants us; tearing each other into ineffective ribbons — is this the curse of libertarianism, that we’re all too individual to be effective collectively? I’ve met and seen many UKIP activists up close and they look a formidable intelligent bunch. Many of their policies are right up my alley; but it used to sadden me, before the last General Election, to think just how effective they could’ve been if they had thrown their individual lots in with the Conservatives, as Margaret Thatcher and Keith Joseph did all those years ago. We must thank them for extracting the Euro referendum from Major, and then reluctantly from Blair, but they would’ve put the pro-libertarian spine back into the feckless Tories, not split the vote in many marginals, and would have squashed the wibble-wobble statism of unthinking knee-jerkers like Fox, who despite occasional short-sighted stupidity, is a man who usually talks some kind of sense.

    We can’t just let the Euro-lovers wash their loathing over us, wring our hands, and then let them create a new Roman Empire in their own time, with St Julian Augustus Blair at the helm, with years of totalitarian horror to come, followed by a European-wide Yugoslavian-style collapse. We have to fight them back in a way to both hurt the socialists, and to remove them from power.

    I’m not disagreeing with you, I’m really not. We just need to go further than criticism. As an occasional strained defender of the Tory Party, seeing that article in the Telegraph today, while sitting on an air conditioning tower in Leather Lane eating Atkins-diet Kabano sausages, did not qualify as my finest hour. It was enough to drive a man to UKIP (except I also learn from Samizdata that UKIP is disintegrating as we speak.)

    So what do we do? Are there any M. Thatchers out there, waiting to step forward to take the world on, or does the world situation have to become as dire as 1979 before someone is driven enough to make this possible? We know the problem, we’re drowning in statism, but as G Cooper asks, does anyone know the art of a politically possible answer?

    Here’s my stab, assuming we don’t support the Tories:

    • We do whatever we can to stop the Euro constitution and the Euro, help the Tories, help UKIP, help anybody and everybody opposed to Euroland. We hold this country firm on Europe, and keep Britain as a semi-free land.
    • Having achieved aim one, we let the Statist Tories wither on the vine.
    • Given that there is no viable opposition (because people like us have let the Tories twist in the wind), despite losing the battle on the Euro, New Labour get in AGAIN, with in all likelihood Blair finally making way for Brown, as payment for losing the Euro debate.
    • Another four years of ruinous horror drowns this island. New Labour collapses, the Tories collapse, and A.N.Another Margaret Thatcher arises from the ashes, perhaps in either the New Conservatives, or “The New Liberals” (which might be a much nicer title! 🙂
    • This new party, based on liberty, ethics, and defence, sweeps the board and wins in 2009.

    It’s a bloody, risky and drastic policy, but short of supporting the Tories and/or taking them over, is the only one I can think of which could get us what we want. But is it worth the risk? Or has anyone got a better plan? Is the one above worth a Popperian deconstruction or is it just too full of holes?

    Yours in desperation,

    PS> When I’m wearing a blue rosette, if anyone ever asks me what I think I usually tell ’em. So if at the next election you’re in South Oxfordshire, and you see an incredibly slim post-Atkins-diet man in a blue rosette, and ask him what he thinks about ID cards, don’t be surprised if the air goes as blue as said rosette, and he thrusts a copy of Solzhenitsyn’s “The First Circle” in your face. Trump him with “The Gulag Archipelago”! 🙂

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Andy Duncan wrote:
    Given that there is no viable opposition (because people like us have let the Tories twist in the wind), despite losing the battle on the Euro, New Labour get in AGAIN, with in all likelihood Blair finally making way for Brown, as payment for losing the Euro debate.

    What if, God forbid, the Illiberal Democrats become Her Majesty’s Opposition — and attract enough from the left of the Toil Party to win a plurality?

  • G Cooper

    Andy Duncan asks:

    “So what do we do?”

    Having read and re-read your post, I now have the answer.

    You stand for election, and we’ll all vote for you…

  • mark holland


    Now Andy the question is can you drive a car as fast as South Oxfordshire’s MP did on Top Gear last night?

  • Mike Kerner

    This problem is the same as the “undocumented alien” problem in the US. Mainline conservatives think the solution to these guys collecting welfare is to seal the borders.

    They don’t even think that the real problem is the welfare system. It attracts the non-working aliens at the same time as it discourages work for the natives.

  • Ghaleon

    People at samizdata should make their own party… I mean, you are all animated by the same ideologie, and it’s a coherent one… And I can also say that you are all very passionate=)

    ”Libertarian party”

  • Paul P


    I am not sure whats funny about ‘Soviet-inspired monstrosity of the NHS’. Its damned well true.
    Decisions and resources are provided centrally at the top – unlike almost any system even in the EU. Or was there something that went ‘whoosh’ over my head.


  • mark holland writes:

    Now Andy the question is can you drive a car as fast as South Oxfordshire’s MP did on Top Gear last night?

    Last time I apoke to Boris he was at the wheel of a glorious metallic-green TVR, and late for a meeting in Oxford. I told him how to get there, via a short-cut, and he shot off like the proverbial bat out of hell. Almost certainly, he made it in time; under that Young Fogey skin is a hidden man of many talents. So I think it would be touch and go whether I could take him in a Suzuki Liana.

    But I’d kick his arse on a Honda Fireblade! 😉

  • Russ Goble

    Wow, what a hideously bad solution to an already bad problem. I will give that Tory one bit of props, however. He actually referred to it as an “entitlement card.” I mean, what a glorious description. Here in the states our politicians still have problems using such direct language knowing that the word “entitlement” actually has some baggage over here. Kudos to calling a spade a spade. It’s a skill you know.