There is much anger, apparently, about the privatization of the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain but it’s the same old tired story... because it’s the same old suspects who seem to be active, aware and prepared to organize and fight – the Guardian-reading chattering classes.
But where’s the mass protest? Where’s the outrage? The majority haven’t a clue as to what’s happening, or so it seems – which is partly down to the calculated failure of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government to disseminate information in terms lay people can understand, and the appalling lack of coverage by the media – the BBC in particular.
But it’s also, in fact mainly, people’s ignorance and apathy. The working class is too busy shopping, boozing, watching reality TV and following the ludicrous antics of self-serving celebrities. The middle class is preoccupied with the price of Chardonnay, holidays in Provence and the cost of maintaining a second home.
Meanwhile, it will soon be too late for the NHS, which is being left wide open for more commercial companies to move in and make a profit from suffering, illness and disease. By 1 April 2013, the coalition government, with no mandate and with no parliamentary debate or further scrutiny, will pass legislation enabling the likes of Virgin and Circle to buy up whole swathes of the NHS.
And this country will no longer have a health service that is free at the point of need, publicly provided and available to all.
Labour politician and architect of the NHS, Aneurin Bevan, said of the health service: ‘It will survive as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it.’
I can’t imagine what Bevan would make of what is happening.
All I know is I feel ashamed. As should we all.