You probably already know that there is a march and demonstration today starting at Lemon Quay at 2pm – but if you don’t please come along!
So much is at stake it is hard to exaggerate the real possibility that the NHS as we know it will fold. In name only it will continue but failing services and budget cuts will accelerate rapid privatisation leaving a rump service for only the very poor and needy. Blame will be outsourced by a consumate government PR machine backed up by a dominant right wing press and a confused and angry public will continue to be regaled with media stories that provide a set of ‘alternative facts’: of a bloated and inefficient NHS bureaucracy, incompetent local councils, failing hospital trusts; oh! and how much better our health service would be if it was run by Virgin Care’s Richard Branson!
The narrative is a well worn one and though we see through it – its tenuous hold on any shred of truth, its slow drip feed of lies – still its power to corrode and undermine public will and public values, diminish and dishearten, continues apace. As the RCPCH statement says “The 4 March rally is a public cry of despair. UK health services need investment; they also need sound management and strong effective leadership, not the abrogation of responsibility and waste of public funds that have been incurred through the internal and widening external markets, Private Finance Initiative repayments, and poor decision-making at multiple levels.”
There is another narrative, little known and rarely talked about: of how a post war Britain, almost bankrupt, its infrastructure destroyed, its national debt double what it is now, nevertheless went on to build one of the finest public health services in the world. How is it that an impoverished, economically broken nation could do it then but we as one of the seventh richest countries in the world cannot do it now?
There is a world of pain that this Conservative government has to answer for and there will be a reckoning.