Fuck the lot of them

This post is more of a rant than any of the others I have written. I am absolutely livid.

Yesterday, MPs voted to start the steady, barely perceptible dismantling of the most precious of British institutions: the NHS. In a bill which is worded so bafflingly, with so many amendments, many of the MPs barely knew what they voted for. They voted for the beginning of the end, a means to sneak in privatisation of the biggest employer in the UK, and one of the best healthcare systems in the world. If it’s not broken, why fix it? Because, of course, our ruling class want to give their rich mates a slice of the fucking pie.

And what was done to prevent this travesty? Fuck all, that’s what.

Part of the problem was that it was hard to explain exactly what was going on. Our rulers have been smart enough to obfuscate their evil scheme in language which is thoroughly inaccessible. We say that they are bringing in privatisation, and they can deny it: they opened a back door so the vultures can get in.

At any rate, there were months of notice. Fucking months. I wrote to my useless shit of an MP twice. I marched. I did street theatre. I did all I could to raise awareness of what the Tories were plotting. My useless shit of an MP never replied. The marching and street theatre happened too early. Everything calmed down before the third reading of the bill. I still agitated. I talked whenever I could.

On the day of the vote, the TUC pulled out the big guns. They had been planning something for months. They had a fantastic idea for activism. They were going to save the NHS with a brave move as courageous as this paragraph is sarcastic. They held a fucking candlelit vigil.

On the day the government voted to start to destroy the best thing about Britain, all our fucking trade unions–our means for organisation–could pull out of the bag was a funeral before the vote had even taken place. A funeral attended by less than 200 people, because it was not publicised. The TUC are useless, toothless bastards. They had the power to do so much. They could have organised industrial action. They could have put thousands on the streets. Instead, they mourned.

In the Commons, probably unaware of the pointless vigil outside, Parliament signed the death warrant for our NHS. Nye Bevan span in his grave. The slow destruction of the welfare state shifted gear, speeding up imperceptibly. Few people gave a shit.

This is the thing. They are cutting the means of support for vulnerable people: the sick, the disabled, single parents, the homeless, the poor. They are taking away homes, vital financial support, basic fucking healthcare. They sell lies to the media and the majority swallow these fibs. There should be rioting on the streets over this. There will be rioting on the streets when people find out how much they have been fooled.

I have a theory–somewhat facetious–that perhaps our government does not really hate the abjected. Perhaps they have discovered that the force generated by Nye Bevan spinning in his grave turns out to be a brilliant power source! A clean, green energy that could end world hunger! An energy source that could revolutionise the way the world works, the end of scarcity!

The thing is, even if that turned out to be true, the repulsive swinging dicks in Westminster would sell of NyePower to the highest bidder. Instead of humanitarian uses, that power would be used for profit. They are greedy: profit is king.

And so we feel powerless. Those of us who care feel betrayed by our government, betrayed by those who are supposedly on our side. We did what we could, but it was not enough.

Imagine if we had tried. Imagine if the message had got out and the people had mobilised. Rioting in the streets, and every single person whose life has ever been touched by the NHS standing outside Parliament, daring the fuckers to vote the wrong way. Imagine if the fuckers voted the wrong way, then.

Imagine if we did without the fuckers entirely. Democracy is rule of the people. Democracy is power. Democracy is not trusting some crooked bastard who throws your letters into the shredder to somehow represent your interests. We could have saved the NHS. There’s a remote possibility we still can.

The power is ours. We just need to use it.

 


31 responses to “Fuck the lot of them

  • Andreas Varotsis

    You know, the issue is, you’ve just become so completely and utterly out of touch with most people in this country. You’ve become so used to abusing and demonising the “ruling class”, that you just can’t even begin to imagine that people might see these reforms as something other than the ultimate force for evil. While most of us – that is, normal, centre voters in the UK – take a look at them and go “well, that’s slightly different, and it’s a little brave, and it might cause a few growing pains, but fundamentally, it isn’t going to radically change anything too fundamental”.

    Reading this, I just can’t relate to any of the concerns. You’re talking about ruling classes, scheming tories, and privatization, and all I see is another centre-right government moving forward with the same trend that every other government before it has pushed for – a trend that has, historically, done nothing but improve patient satisfaction and quality. May it explode in the governments face? Very possibly, and then they’ll get what they deserve. Is it the beginning of the end? No. It isn’t. There is no evidence of that, at all. Not a single GP or medical specialist has suggested that, at all.

    • stavvers

      Now, some of this is paywalled, but I shall summarise it for you. There is plenty of evidence that this is the beginning of the end and highly unpopular among medical professionals. Here are two polls from the BMJ–a journal for medical professionals. http://resources.bmj.com/bmj/interactive/polls In one poll, the question was “Should the Health and Social Care Bill be withdrawn?” 93% agreed. 78% believe the government is turning back the clock on public health, and 72% think that healthcare in the UK will be worse or much worse. So there’s plenty of evidence there, just from the figures.

      But perhaps that’s not enough. Perhaps you’d like to look at the BMJ’s dedicated site for NHS reforms, and have a look. http://www.bmj.com/site/nhsreforms/index.xhtml Seeing as you claime “not a single GP or medical specialist” has suggested that, you might note you’re wrong and plenty of them are suggesting it.

      Sorry you find it hard to relate to. The problem is, the media have kept all of this rather quiet. I wonder why?

      • Mark (@biondino)

        Sorry, Andreas, not only is Zoe right but she does the research to back it up. Where’s your evidence?

        Rather than accusing her of becoming apoplectic about the little things, I’d suggest with respect that you might have become complacent about the big things. Which makes you an A+ top chap as far as the politicos on every side are concerned. “Nothing to see here, move along”.

      • Ben

        Hmmm. As a former employee of the NHS (binned through the management cost cuts – I’d like to blame the Tories, but the cuts were set out under Labour), I wouldn’t necessarily accept every word the BMJ says as gospel. It’s owned by the BMA, and the BMA have opposed the reforms from the get go – and not just for altruistic reasons.

        The reforms give a lot of responsibility to doctors, and a lot of them don’t want it – because it makes them directly accountable for a lot of commissioning decisions. The BMA have continually pushed for more say in this area but never, and this is quite the key thing, for having to actually answer for the decisions that are made on their recommendations.

        I’m not saying the reforms are good (although I will say that having been inside the system, there is a LOT of waste and politicking by senior management and something does need to change) but I would say – keep an eye on the motives of some of those in the debate. Just because they agree with you, doesn’t mean they’re altruists.

        • stavvers

          Of course the BMJ isn’t gospel. However, I think the poll result neatly shoots down the very silly assertion that “Not a single GP or medical specialist has suggested that, at all”.

      • Ben

        Aye, that’s fair point. The poll is almost definitely hooky in terms of absolute numbers, but there is widespread concern certainly. As for the press silence, I’d say two reasons spring to mind – firstly the DH will have briefed the press on the underlying financial situation of the NHS (which is dire, absolutely, properly, not-a-pot-to-piss-in dire. Far, far worse than is publicly acknowledged, but that everyone in health knows) and that secondly there are a couple of excellent technical subclauses in all of the legislation that will keep the NHS more intact than might seem to be the case – clinical co-location (essentially – services will be commissioned from hospitals which can provide all aspects of a service on site – e.g. for stomach cancer, good oncology and good specialist gastric surgery), which most private hospitals could only provide with massive outlay for uncertain returns and, secondly, that most commissioning work will be done by staff currently at PCTs (not enough profit in it for most of the private sector providers, because of the commissioning budget cuts, and too technical to far it out to the likes of Capita and their call centre ethos).

    • DanielPoxton (@DanPoxton)

      Question for Andreas: when the governments experiment with privatisation “very possibly” blows up in their face and they “get what they deserve” how do we reset the NHS back to it’s previous state? Presumably there’s a magic button for re-nationalisation I’m not aware of. Or maybe Nye Bevan built a secondary back-up NHS in case we fucked the the first one up? Y’know, like in that movie “Contact”. I’m no expert but I imagine the process of reconstructing the worlds most efficient state health-care system from a fragmented collection of self-interested private health care companies is considerably more difficult than just chopping one into bits and flogging it to the highest bidders. It’s an entropy issue: the energy required to reform the NHS back to functional order is considerably greater than that required to wantonly fuck it up.

      As for your assertion that not “a single GP or medical specialist” has suggested this is the beginning of the end: you must be out of your tiny little mind pal. The British Medical association, 16 of the countries top academics in public health policy, the Royal College of Nurses, The Royal College of General Practitioners have all come out against these reforms. Repeatedly and vocally. The only body that has been unstinting in it’s praise for the reforms is the “NHS Future Forum”, an organisation skewed to predominantly contain individuals with some prior connection to the reforms, either as outspoken supporters or as being integrally involved in pathfinder consortia already being set up i.e. shills. If you haven’t noticed the wall of opprobrium coming from the medical community Andreas I suggest you’ve been paying very little attention.

    • Andreas Varotsis

      There is abundant research that shows that GPs are against the changes, yes, but that’s a far, far cry from saying they think it’s “the beginning of the end”. They just think it’s a bad idea. It’s going to imperil their jobs, and they’re scared – no surprise there.
      People ALWAYS think reforms are bad, when it comes to their field. I’m a police officer, and I think the upcoming police reforms are terrible. A good friend of mine is a banker, and thinks the upcoming banking reforms are terrible. Every NHS reform pushing towards any degree of private involvement has been heralded as the beginning of the end, but most have pushed quality up, not down. Dr Zack Cooper and Dr Irini Papanicolas from LSE Health have done some pretty solid research on that. What we’re seeing now is simply the extensions of those earlier reforms.

      http://www2.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2011/20110705t1500vR505.aspx if you want to listen to a concise version of the argument.

      Look, I’m not going to pretend I know enough about healthcare, the NHS, or economics to pretend I understand the effect this bill is going to have. It’s a massive, earth-shattering change, definitely, and could cause some major problems. Similarly though, it could make the NHS from a massive and unsustainable cash bonfire into a semi-efficient public body. The NHS needs to be reformed, and the tories deserve their shot at it. They think they have the solution, and they got more support than anybody else in the general election…it’s got nothing to do with them trying to funnel cash into their friends’ pockets. That’s simply partisan, tribalistic points scoring, and it’s only going to gain you sympathy from New Statesman and Guardian readers.

      My first post was a bit angrier than I anticipated being…maybe I’m entirely wrong. Maybe I’m making a HUGE mistake, and this is the end of a service I’ve relied on all my life…but I haven’t seen ANY evidence for that, at all. I’ve seen evidence that GPs are worried, I’ve seen evidence NHS administrators may be made redundant, and I’ve seen that the policy is somewhat incoherent, but I’ve seen no evidence AT ALL that it’s the beginning of the end. I’ve also seen a deluge of evidence of people automatically assuming this is terrifying and wrong because the reforms include private sector involvement, and are put forward by the tories.

      I’ve seen awfully little of people objectively considering exactly what impacts these reform will have through rigorous research, and what little I have seen suggests that nobody has any idea.

      • stavvers

        GP commissioning is nothing new, and hasn’t worked in the past. Objectively, it’s a dreadful idea. http://opinion.publicfinance.co.uk/2010/07/the-risks-of-gp-commissioning-by-malcolm-prowle/

      • Soylent Dave

        “[perhaps] it could make the NHS from a massive and unsustainable cash bonfire into a semi-efficient public body”

        The NHS isn’t meant to be profitable, or efficient.

        It’s a free healthcare provider – the only way a healthcare provider can make money is by allowing people to die.

        The best healthcare isn’t efficient, nor is it cheap. The NHS isn’t there to turn a profit, or – if we’re honest with ourselves – even to break even. It’s there to keep us all alive and healthy.

        Can it do so more efficiently than it does at present? Probably.
        Is the solution to this inefficiency to take it ’round back and shoot it in the head? Probably not.

  • Tim Oliver (@Aremay)

    The key question is whether the Health and Social Care bill ends the NHS’s provision of care that is free at the point of use for all. I cannot find anything in the bill that indicates that is the case. The NHS retains this key principle – as long as that is intact, we have something to work with.

    Much ire has been directed at my party for not gutting these proposals. Yet we ourselves proposed radical structural reforms to the NHS – stripping out tiers of bureaucracy and bringing in local councils to help run services and open them up. I applaud moves towards these positions in the bill – I think the NHS is simply too large to be as opaque and unaccountable as it is. I also think that we must place a much greater emphasis on efficiency in the NHS. An efficient NHS is better for patients, doctors, nurses and the public purse. I agree with the NAO that the previous governments’ approach to the NHS was not efficient, and I am willing to try just about anything – so long as that key question is answered in the positive – to make it so.

    The NHS has not been destroyed – the bill is not even law, yet. The Liberal Democrat conference looms, and peers will still be debating after it has ended. I wonder what conference will empower the Lords to do to the bill – I suspect there will be significant changes. Nevertheless, we have pretty much exhausted our political capital on this bill, now.

    So calm down, think and get focused. Rioting only ever steels a government to press ahead – we saw that with London, where riots produced a vicious right-wing backlash from both the Conservative and Labour leaderships. Do not go down that path, or you will find yourself shut out from the halls of power.

  • Rosie Hayes

    We are completely ridiculous! We’re letting them take our power! We’re allowing them to crush this ‘democracy’ by not using our power. This just allows them to ignore us more. They don’t think we have any power, moreover they don’t give a damn, the point is we can do so much more, we’re in frickin charge and we’re just taking all this crap! Euurrrgggghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

  • CameraShy

    I wish I could agree with you, but I don’t believe that the NHS is working right now. I’m not sure I agree with the bill, but I think there has to be some changes made to the way the NHS runs, that potentially do involve using private facilities.

    I’ve three examples about why the NHS isn’t working right now and why we should be worried about the future.

    Firstly, the idea that there is equal for all isn’t true. Its largely dependant on where you live. My father recently had a heart condition and received pioneering treatment for it. It was on the NHS, but the NHS only provide it in two places in England. It is available privately if you don’t live in those areas too. The treatment my father got was quicker, safer, had a much quicker recovery time and cheaper than if he had, had open heart surgery. Turned out then when my dad had his op, he could have had a heart attack at any point given have quickly he deteriorated. So yeah the NHS saved his life, but only because he lived in the right area. To get the same treatment virtually anywhere else in the UK he’d have had to have gone private. Its bad that this is happening as it means that there really is inequality of care out there which is very serious, and could undermine the priniciples of the NHS. After all, if you find out that the best way to save your father’s life is to someone get into debt and go private, I defy people to say they won’t. The NHS should be doing this, but if the only way they can is to outsource to private providers I have to be controversial and say, yes we should be doing it.

    Secondly, I’m in a position where for reasons I don’t want to go into (they involve ethics including the topical subject of abortion and just general incompetance) I am no longer registered with my local GP. I live in an area where there is only one other GP available, which is full. So I tried to register with another 2 miles away which is taking on patients. I was told that whilst they “had every sympathy for me” they wouldn’t take me on as I wasn’t in their catchment area. They have no obligation to take me on, but equally the gentleman’s agreements going on to protect cartels of patients isn’t good either. The only alternative is to apply to the local PCT and get them to allocate a doctor for me. I don’t have any idea how to do this and I still don’t get a choice of doctor. I could be allocated one the other side of town, when actually the best option for me is 3miles away in another PCT. It means that bad doctors are being protected – which could affect your chances of surviving if you did get a serious illness. The bill supports patient choice and competition, and whilst this does mean there are issues, I don’t see how the current system is in the best interests of the patient either.

    And the third example I will use, NICE guidance verses PCT policy making. My PCT has banned all IVF, so if I was to need it, I couldn’t get access to it anyway on the NHS – this is against NICE guidance. But if I live 3 miles away in the next PCT I could get access to 3 cycles as recommended. Another example of this postcode lottery is PCTs recently banning c-sections for maternal request on financial grounds. NICE is in the process of consulting over the subject and their most recent draft which looks likely to make the final amendment in November is to recommend that if after appropriate advice and counselling if a woman still feels that a vaginal birth is acceptable then they should be granted it. This is mainly based on studies that seem to suggest that there are mental health benefits to the mother and it can stop problems with bonding if a women is forced into having a vaginal birth against her will. NICE have also looked at the costs of it. An elective c-section IS more expensive than a natural birth, but NICE admitted that its a false economy and misleading just to look at this, as so few women have a completely natural birth without any intervention or complication. Even if the NICE guidelines are changed it remains to be seen if these PCT will reverse their decisions.

    The disparities within the NHS are a great cause for concern as it is driving some sections of the middle classes, who are crucial for the long term support of the NHS to seek private ‘top ups’ or going completely private. This article was written last week about the subject, and its very interesting: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/mary-dejevsky/mary-dejevsky-when-the-middle-classes-flee-2347665.html – Matthew Taylor’s blog which is referenced in the article is here and whilst you might not agree with it, its worth a read: http://www.matthewtaylorsblog.com/public-policy/why-cancer-patients-need-a-new-friend/

    Disillusionment and the failure of the NHS to provide the best options are going to increasingly undermine the NHS and the principles its founded on. It only really works if the best care out there really is being provided by the NHS and there really is an equal service.

    The trouble is, no one really wants to bring this into the debate. They just talk about cuts being the problem – the thing is my first example is one where it would work out cheaper to outsource and the second part of my third example is where cost is being used as an excuse to stop something which has certain ethics and controversy attached to it (“too posh to push” debate) so its easy to do, rather than treat each case on an individual basis based on patient needs. Its not actually a financial decision, but also a political one.

    Perhaps as much as cuts being an issue, there is also an institutional opposition to change of any kind. Its about attitudes and certain amount of political agendas being put ahead of patient care. Targets are great in some ways, but the problem is they have also had the side effect of turning the NHS into a factory rather than necessarily treating people one by one. There could be some fantastic ideas and great opportunities here to actually improve the health care system in this country, but I feel the level of hostility and opposition to it, means that they are doomed to fail even if some of the ideas themselves aren’t flawed. Sometimes I think the biggest issue with the NHS is actually we’ve lost sight of treating people as individuals who are all remarkably different and have emotional needs as well as psychical ones.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things that aren’t right in the bill and I have very mixed feelings about it. But equally I think that defending the NHS and holding it up as a utopia also is counterproductive. Change IS needed to ensure the long term future of the NHS, otherwise you are going to end up with a two tier system anyway. The more people who go private the greater the dangers all round. I think there is a very real danger that if you end up burying your head in the ideological sand, you can miss certain things. We do need to be perhaps a little more open minded about this in certain areas, though I totally agree it has to be limited.

    Its worth remembering that actually the NHS isn’t the envy of the world. Its a very good system, but not regarded as the best. That title belongs to the French system according to WHO. A system which does give free health care for all, but also has private providers as well as public ones. And whilst I am hestitant against going as far as that, and having a market free for all, I do see there instances where private services working in partnership with the NHS really do have merit and where the French system is better than ours.

    We should be looking for ways to improve on what we have, not simply to maintain the status quo and aportion blame to X, Y or Z political party. We should be open to change sometimes, though not always, being a good thing as well as bad one. If I have kids, or grandkids, I do want them to have access to a health care system based on the ideals the NHS has now, but I do think we have to open our eyes more to less obvious threats to it. I also hope there are people out there openminded enough to work out that I’ve not been ‘brainwashed by the Tories’ and there are issues that do need to get more of an airing than currently there are, simply because it gets labelled as party political. I just want people to THINK more and question all aspects of the issue rather than just saying a blanket no to the whole thing. I had second thoughts about posting this here for fear of a wholely negative reaction. But in the end I decided I’d rather simply that there was a more honest debate, that wasn’t just about idealogy.

    Maybe I’m controversial, but I probably also represent a group of people, who increasingly are seeing the NHS as not leading the way. I can’t afford to go private, but if my life, or the life of someone close to me depended on it…. well….

    • stavvers

      It’s very interesting that you use the examples that you do–these problems can only be exacerbated by GP commissioning: postcode lotteries are likely to become a lot more pronounced.

      • CameraShy

        Like I say, I don’t believe in all aspects of the Bill. However there ARE elements I like, and I do like the emphasis on choice being put more into the hands of patients and being encouraged.

        I find it, frustrating because the problem I have with getting a GP isn’t one that the head of the NHS had – but only cos he was particularly pushy on the subject.
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8579974/Head-of-NHS-struggled-to-register-with-local-GP.html

        To me the attitude of the doctor in the above article is very telling. He was told not to use the word choice, because the doctor didn’t like it. What’s that about? It raises questions about how doctors view patients. Patients should feel in control of their care, and feel involved and engaged with their doctor rather than feel they have it imposed on them. Even if patients are making impossible, or ridiculous requests because they heard about this or that treatment, they should have it explained why they are being given that course of treatment and why alternatives might not be as appropriate. Put simply, its about all patients having a genuine understanding what is happening to them as thats just about respect and treating people as humans who have fears and concerns.

        Presently, despite what people might think, under your patient rights you actually don’t have a RIGHT to a second opinion if you aren’t happy with what your GP tells you. You can ask for one, but they don’t have to grant you the request, if they don’t feel that its necessary.

        So to me, GPs have this massive power that actually we don’t recognise. If you have a good one, great. If you have a terrible one, tough. Just put up with it. Its very difficult to do anything about it.

        So no, I don’t like the idea of GPs having more power, but to a certain degree I do feel that if you add in the element of choice as a balance to this, it does mean those who aren’t up to scratch will have a greater pressure to pull up their socks and patients actually can flag up where there is an issue, by voting with their feet. One of the big problems with the NHS, is that whilst a lot of people might be unhappy, but they won’t complain about it for a number of reasons; because its too difficult, because they don’t feel they have a right to because they should be grateful for free healthcare, because they don’t want to be seen as difficult etc etc. And yet, if they could they would simply switch doctor. The argument against choice is that is whether it would increase quality of service across the board or whether you would end up with pockets of poorer service in areas where people with less access to transport could still be stuck with under performing doctors. But then this potentially is no different to how things are now anyway.

        The big problem I see on this subject of free choice of GP is that is something that the previous health minister Andy Burnham said was going to happen and then when the government changed, Lansley said the same thing but its still not come to fruition. Instead in the face of opposition from doctors, its now gone back to consultation and its looking more and more likely it won’t happen. Don’t forget one of the few elements of the NHS that is already privatised are GP surgeries, who have a hugely vested financial interest in protecting the status quo…

        With regard to the postcode lottery thing, I do thing there has to be more emphasis placed on this – its largely getting ignored by other aspects of the Bill and its a HUGE issue. What is the point in having NICE guidelines, if they are being ignored or disregarded due to other issues? It should be a guideline and not necessarily applicable in every case, but if the reason its being ignored is down to non-medical or for political agendas which have nothing to do with the care of the individual involved, then there should be more questions asked.

  • Quiet Riot Girl

    I admire your energy and anger Zoe.

    But here’s the thing: the neo-liberal individualist philosophy of the current government is one that has been developed by governments, corporations and individual people, since I’d say at least the end of the second world war.

    The me, me, me generation are not ruled by ‘evil’ dictators. They are consurmers and they tend, on the whole, to look out for number one.

    If you want to challenge that culture you have to do so in a way that speaks to those people who invest in it, which is pretty well everyone. It is not just the government versus the people. The people, for example, voted in Blair in 1997, one of the most selfish, neo liberal individuals I have ever come across.

    • stavvers

      You’re absolutely right there, and we do need to be challenging all of this–particularly the notion that people are consumers. We’re not. We’re people.

  • Alison Charlton (@chuzzlit)

    Not making excuses. But the delay and shifting of the Health Bill made it harder for unions to organise and publicise. Plus most unions, and their activists, have been dealing with assaults on all sides – pay cuts, job losses, pensions robbery, conditions worsened, services lost – all over the place. It’s no accident that union members are under attack from the government on so many fronts at once. Despite that, union activists have campaigned locally, lobbied their MPs, and tried to raise awareness of the damage this bill will do to the health service – I hardly dare call it a National Health Service any more – just as you have been doing. And national unions have been supporting them, lobbying and trying to mobilise local action. It’s depressing to be here but, as you say, the fight goes on.

  • Clare

    People don’t give a flying hoot about the NHS. They think they do, and when they have to pay cash (rather than from NI) to visit the GP or save up for their knee replacement they will. 34,000+ people signed a petition to save BBC4. 3,000 for the NHS bill.

    Zoe, I respect your despair and anger and I’m certainly not going to tell you that you’ll alienate people or that you shouldn’t do this and that and all the other passive aggressive smothering that all angry people face from Nice people. Your fury is justified. And perhaps a part of an answer is in knowing that people are, fundamentally, consumers. Swallow that, and then perhaps it may help show a way forward. Give people something they want. Tell them they want it. They don’t want to be saved, they want The New Seasons Fashions.

    Blessings on your fury. Nice people don’t get things done, and as long as you’re kind to your dog and your granny everyone else can bugger off.

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  • Steven Maclean (@Steven_Maclean)

    I feel pretty powerless right now. I’ve campaigned, written about it, marched and petitioned people in the street (the general public and NHS staff were overwhelmingly against the reforms) but none of it makes any difference.

    Our democratic system (ahem) is what got these people into power in the first place, but that system is badly broken. Even if you accept that the Tories deserve to be in power propped up by the Lib Dems, they didn’t get voted in on a manifesto proposing these changes, so they shouldn’t have a mandate to make them. Without the Lib Dems support this wouldn’t be going through, yet many of the people who went yellow at the last election are dead against these reforms (as they were the student fee changes), so the representation has broken down.

    Come election time we are treated to a massive bullshitathon where the parties say anything to get elected and we’re given a ‘choice’ equivalent to being asked which of your testicles you’d like to eat first, then once in power they do as they pleased regardless of what the public wants.

    Even when they do make a U-turn it isn’t actually because of a moral commitment to do what the electorate desire, it’s a sycophantic attempt to gain popularity and better their chance of reelection.

    There is fuck-all accountability and the vast majority of politicians stopped caring about everyday people a long time ago and have in effect – whether directly or systematically – been co-opted by big business.

    I just hope my sense that there is a shifting world-wide zeitgeist and we are reaching some kind of a breaking point is accurate, otherwise it might get to the point where a critical mass of power has slipped from our grasp, never to come back. Maybe that has happened already.

  • Kev A

    Spot on. Thoughtful, righteous anger that seems to be completely missing in those you’d expect to be defending our greatest institution.

  • ann lawson

    count me out. After 40 years of oppressive and intrusive mental health treatment I hate doctors and the NHS. I know privatisation is a stupid concept and the American syastem crap but I can’t change my spots.

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  • Anon

    What did your MP say when you confronted them about it face-to-face in the constituency surgery?

    • stavvers

      Unfortunately, even the phone to book an appointment with is difficult to get through to. Add this to the fact that the surgeries occur during working hours, and it makes it nigh-on impossible to get face-time with my MP.

  • BobB

    excellent post, let the anger grow, perhaps we might find our backbone, stranger things have happened

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