13 April 2010

The Sacred Cow

For as long as I can remember, Brits have been saying that the National Health Service (NHS) is 'the envy of the world'. This, despite the fact that no other country has chosen to imitate it. Since the utter stupidity of giving free treatment to all comers has over the years attracted hundreds of thousands of health tourists to fleece the British tax-payer, I believe 'the wonder of the world' is far more appropriate.

In that respect, the NHS is simply an extension of the welfare system, which can only be understood as a massive employer. I doubt if any thinking person now doubts that the bloated welfare system is socially corrosive: but it does succeed magnificently in providing employment for the otherwise downwardly mobile lower-middle class.

That's the social group that pisses down and sucks up: Labour voters, in other words. A few years ago one or other of NuLabour's futile female ministers declared that the NHS was Britain's 'most beloved institution'. Barring Her Maj, I think that may be true. For most Brits it represents the irreducible 'something back' that makes the extortions of a corrupt and incompetent political establishment tolerable.

And so to the Labour Party manifesto, a semi-literate document that can only convince those desperately determined to believe. It contains the following gem: 'The waiting-time guarantee will ensure that treatment begins within 18 weeks of seeing your GP, or the NHS will find you to go private'.

Eighteen weeks? That is four and a half months! What the hell kind of 'guarantee' is that? How miserable are the standards of the NHS that such an aspiration should be trumpeted after more than doubling the amount of money allotted to health care?

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