[ UPDATE : This article now re-posted at House of Twits : Front Bench Blogs Many thanks ! ]
Sorry but I just can not resist posting this about David Cameron’s reported meeting with the radical nursing group Nurses for Reform
It is reported in the Telegraph : David Cameron meets NHS privatisation campaigners , with the by line : “ David Cameron has met a health care pressure group that advocates full privatisation of the National Health Service – a meeting that could infuriate doctors and nurses.” ; that he met with the group two weeks ago.
Certainly the group themselves are full of this – the article David Cameron seeks policy ideas from NFR appears on their website, and neither do they make any bones about their support for dismantling the National Health Service, in this article on the Adam Smith Institute website The micro-politics of hospital privatisation .
It’s on their own site though that I spot the most flabbergasting statements About Nurses for Reform
“NFR rejects bland egalitarianism in favour of competition. And it believes in people – not politics.”
All of which leads me to believe that Mr Cameron has once again been upstaged by the right wing of his party – and this time it’s not recognised fringe mavericks like Daniel Hannan doing the NHS down – no this time it’s cuddly Dave himself, in what I would guess will prove to be a huge embarrassment to the Conservative party.
Of course I’m not alone in thinking that, the Telegraph article itself does point out similar concerns :
“His decision to meet the radical group, which calls the NHS a “dystopian, Soviet-style calamity”, will be seen as foolhardy after the painstaking efforts he has made to reassure voters that the NHS is safe in Tory hands. The meeting risks reigniting the row which exploded four months ago when Mr Cameron was forced to distance himself from a leading Tory MEP who suggested that the NHS was a “mistake”. “
The Telegraph remember, is rather more well disposed towards the Conservative party than I am. The article also says …
“the meeting is bound to be exploited by Labour ministers in the run-up to the election. Nurses For Reform, by its own admission, is the most extreme pressure group calling for NHS privatisation in Britain. On its website it denounces the NHS as a “Soviet” organisation which must be dismantled.”
(This image is contained on the Nurses for Reform website – it may not embed correctly – please visit the site at http://www.nursesforreformblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Cameron-300×225.jpg to see the original in context )
Just a quick observation.
The #welovethenhs hashtag on Twitter has over the last 2-3 days gone totally viral. Catching an unsuspecting public unawares and picking up on Daniel Hannan’s latest ridiculous TV outings in the US. It made top headline on the BBC News website today, and has prompted Conservative leader David Cameron to speak out in support of the NHS. (Although not yet properly “slapping down” Daniel Hannan, as I suggested in an earlier post Daniel Hannan’s outpourings on the NHS – Will Cameron slap him down ? )
But the response – spontaneous though it seems, has not been immediate.
This broadcast was a few days ago.
Also the quote which the BBC (and myself) seem to have picked up on is the one about the NHS being a “60 year mistake” – and that wasn’t even in the latest interview – it was in the one which John Prescott was desperately trying to whip up a campaign about, several weeks back ( See John Prescott’s GoFourth blog “Progressive, Don’t make me laugh !“).
The older video was actually pretty much “viral” in its own right on Youtube – and as much for the far right adulation of Hannan’s position as for any opposition to it.
Another Youtube video that has been given a lot of prominence has been a Fox news interview of neo-con Jerry Bower by Neil Cavuto in which a preposterous link between the NHS and Islamic terrorism is made, with several more ridiculously racist outbursts as well.
And when did this first get an airing on TV ? Just before the Hannan video ? Just after ? Between the last one and this one ?
Well the date on Youtube is 7th July 2007.
So why is it that despite lots of hyping and effort by the great and the good – and hardly any attempt to cover these interviews up, the issues have made barely a ripple in the mainstream news, and yet suddenly the collective conscience of Twitter decides that now is the time
And for a change Labour score a direct hit !
All I can say is that it can only be down to timing, and if the Labour party, or anyone else for that matter knew the secret as to how to manipulate it in relation to Twitter and the new media – then they’d have winning elections down to a fine art as well.
I’d also have far more visitors to my blog !
I have friends, relatives, and colleagues, who do stupid things. Racist things, Homophobic things – hateful things. And you know what ? Most of them don’t even know it. Many of them live in West Yorkshire where I was born and lived until my early 20′s. They are one of the reasons I don’t go back very often.
Antics like theirs are not confined to the Heavy Woollen District – they are all over the place, but thankfully now I’ve moved I’m not quite so caught up in that kind of thought process. I do of course apologise profusely to all those sensible Yorkshire men and women who despise the same things I despise.
Let me give you a flavour …
I know ‘people’ who’ve spent most or much of their lives in Germany and Cyprus with the Army, who complain about all the immigrants in the UK. No irony – none at all.
Some of these “older people” have moved to France or Spain in their later years – still manage to come back to blighty to make sure they don’t miss out on anything, still speak barely a word of Spanish or French, still mix exclusively with British people in France & Spain. Still complain about the immigrants in the UK not making any attempt to speak English (which as I work in inner London I know to be utter twaddle – but there’s no telling them)
These same semi-ex-pats happily complain about the EU – somehow it’s to blame if things are more expensive in France or Spain when they are there, somehow it’s also to blame if things are more expensive in the UK when they come back home. Somehow it doesn’t occur to them that it’s also responsible for them being able to receive free medical treatment whilst they are abroad. When things really do go wrong though, and they get Alzheimer’s disease (it’s so terrible that the French nurses can’t speak English), or they get cataracts that need operating on, or need scans for bowel cancer – where do they head for ? Yes that’s right – back home to England where that inefficient health service that the Labour government has let go to wrack and ruin, is so much more dependable than the ones in Sunny France or Spain.
Back in the UK of course others rarely go out of the country, and prefer to entertain themselves with a good old night out on the Town – where if you’re not driving – and these people do tend to get so rat arsed that it’s not really an option, you’re going to need a taxi or two, or three, or however many pubs and clubs you decide to go to really. And of course the taxis are usually driven by Muslim’s. Yes that’s right Muslim’s – these are the people that “these people” that I know rant and rave and swear about on obnoxious Facebook groups. The people who are a threat to our very existence, who want to blow us all up and take all our jobs (wouldn’t be many if we’d all been blown up mind) – Evil eh ? but if you need a ride down to the pub then who better ?
In fact these Muslim’s – who if “these people” are to be believed are in a conspiracy, with the Labour party and “The Gays” to force us to stop celebrating our St. George’s day. Sorry I mean “are St. George’s Day” – we’re in W. Yorks after all. Well these Muslim’s can rustle up a tasty and reasonably priced Chicken Madras with a family sized Naan, and Saeed down at the Taj is a mate of mine – so we’ll probably get a few extra poppadums thrown in. Actually come to think of it when did any one celebrate St. George’s day anyway. Well for me it was when I was in the cubs, back in 1970. There was very little interest in it then either.
Yes these people annoy me – not all of them do all the things I talk about, and none of them is necessarily a bad person, but collectively I have formed a group of people in my mind who sometimes say good things and do bad, sometimes say bad things and do good. The only consistent thing about their moral and political stances is their inconsistency. They boast about voting for a certain right wing nationalist party (which I’m not mentioning because I don’t want their offensive comments coming in) – but I know full well they can’t be bothered to go and vote.
These are the people who openly say that homosexuals should be locked up, and yet the moment that one of the few openly gay people they know enters the Big Brother house, they see no contradiction in starting a Facebook group to campaign for him to win. He may be a poof – but he’s “are poof”
Well rant over – but what do I do about it. Remember these are friends, family, colleagues. Not easy to kick them all into touch. Not easy either to win them all round to sensible thinking either.
I try and convince myself that it’s not their fault – they’ve just had misguided education. I’m not sure if I believe myself though !