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Saturday, August 15, 2009

The gathering storm

Just when Cameron thought he had got away with it another Tory MEP has waded in to back Daniel Hannan in his rather appalling views of the National Health Service.

This time it is Roger Helmer, who told the BBC: "Now we all love the NHS, but I think we all know in our hearts that it is no longer the envy of the world. If the Americans came to me and said, 'Would you recommend us taking up a system just like the British NHS?', I think I would have to say 'No'."

The question we now have to ask is how representative these two MEPs are of the Conservative Party at large? Is Cameron struggling to keep the lid on a bigger right wing revolt against the new cuddly Tory image?

Have these two men opened a door for Gordon Brown to stage a comeback and begin to claw back the Tory lead? Or is this just summer madness that will be forgotten by the time we get to Conference season?

If the voters do decide to punish Cameron for Hannan then Gordon Brown will need to perform above and beyond anybody's expectations to consolidate that advantage at Labour Conference. It is a big ask but not beyond the realms of possibility. Maybe the next General Election is not a foregone conclusion after all. Let us hope so. A Tory landslide would be a disaster for this country.
Do you actually know or care that Hannan and Helmer do not want to abolish universal healthcare?
If I knew, I'd care, but as what we've had so far is several thousand pages of vitriol followed by a tiny disclaimer, "This vitriol is entirely fictitious and any resemblance to my actual opinion is entirely coincidental" I think I'll stick with the conclusion that on the basis of the evidence I don't know that to be true.
So the 'evil market based' private insurance systems in Europe are fiction?

The evidence shows the more free market the healthcare system, the better the care is.
Tell that to the 46 million Americans, or 18 percent of the population under the age of 65, who are without health insurance.

Oh so predictable fallacies.
'What we see in the US is the combination of the worst parts of the private and public approaches to healthcare all bundled into one, but at the risk of making the point too obviously, its existence is no more an argument against private healthcare than it is against socialized healthcare.'

And yet leading Tories want to impose this on Britain!
Do we? I'd actually read some of Hannan's work, and perhaps my other posts on healthcare before saying that.
I think it is fair to say that if you actually read my posts rather than assume what they are saying then you will see that I am commenting on the political fall-out not on Hannan's views.
Actually, why not encourage the 17 year old Mr Byrne to go to the states to explain to some of the 46m who have no access to health-care just how much better the free-market system there is?
So, let's follow this through, Peter. If someone from another country (no, not England, a 'foreign' country) said to you: "Is the NHS the envy of the world and would you recommend us taking up a system just like the British NHS?" you would reply, unequivocally "Yes it is and yes you should."?

Well? Would you? Yes or no, please.
Thanks for the quick response and the clarity. Is it not, then,puzzling that no other nation - none, zip, nil, zero, nada, zilch - has chosen to 'do it' the NHS way, in the past or recently. Why - if the NHS is so envied and so clearly wonderful -do you think that is?

It is beyond denying that the NHS has many wonderful and devoted staff and that many people have wonderful NHS experiences. Contrariwise,there are many cynical shirkers - I have direct experience of them - in the NHS and many in its care die through lack of basic hygiene. So its not a terrible service but nor is it beyond criticism and all this (actually unimpressive in numbers) Twattering about "loving" the NHS stifles and obscures sensible debates that mature political people and parties should be having about how we do healthcare in a society in which we have moved on in every other respect from the way in which services were provided 70 years ago. You don't have to be a Tory to think that.
Not so quick to address my reply this time? Here is some further reading from an Independent journalist (no Tory he) who - like me - has real experience of the NHS in a non-life-or-death situation (it's good at those).

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