Wednesday 14 March 2012

RIP coalition, the NHS will outlast you all.

I had an odd sleep. You know, one of those nights where you're not quite sure you actually are asleep. My brain kept going over and over the NHS vote in the commons last night. A kaleidoscope of Punch and Judy, outraged lefties, pompous righties and every now and then, a quiet, pleading voice, trying to be heard, perhaps Graheme Morris or Andrew George.

Nonsense! No-one even listened to them. If you weren't making an impassioned speech that mentioned Bevan at least three times or spitting the word "Blairism" across the chamber, you might as well have gone home.

There was something very odd about watching twitter yesterday afternoon as the NHS Drop the Bill debate raged. The NHS supporters who had fought so hard to be heard went though an exact carbon copy of our Welfare Reform Bill angst - disbelief, passion, then as the votes were counted, nail biting followed by despair.

"Where are all the MPs? Disgrace so few attending debate"

"But! But! He's LYING!!!"

"I could kiss *(insert name of hero of the moment)"

"How can this guy be a Lib Dem? How can they do this?"

"This is so undemocratic!! How can they ignore us like this?"

"Vote soon - I can hardly watch"

"Hey!! where are all these MPs coming from? Dragged in just to vote without hearing debate? Shouldn't be allowed!"

"I feel sick - results in 5 minutes"

"Well, that's it then, we lost"

"The Lib Dems didn't even vote for their own amendment!!"

In just over three hours another few thousand hearts broke, another few thousand voters realised just how rotten "democracy" has become.

But, when it was welfare, I don't know, somehow I could kid myself it was just us. We were hardly popular were we? Compared to the Alpha male that is the NHS, trying to save benefits was like trying to make Katie Price demure. No-one really paid attention to our crucial votes, the media overwhelmingly didn't care, the public didn't have a clue what we were really fighting for and the opposition were hiding in a Starbucks muttering "Please don't notice we started all this."

But this was the NHS! These reforms are opposed by so many acronyms, it reads like a tin of alphabetti-spaghetti. 87% of the public think the NHS is awesome (about 1% think benefits are and we're all on them!!) And - crucially - this was the Tories doing all this!!

Now, Tories can kick Welfare til it gasps it's last breath and the crowds will cheer! Oh how they'll cheer! "More Iain! More Dave!" They'll scream.

But the NHS? The issue that made the Tories unelectable for well over a decade? The issue so toxic to Conservatives, Dave had to *Ringfence* the budget and make lots of "I really understand, honest I do" speeches?

So, here's what happens next.

Let's assume the bill passes. Even if it was the most kick-ass, studiously written, comprehensively wonderful bill of all time, the NHS still has to find 20 billion or so in "efficiency savings" *cough, CUTS cough*. Waiting times are rising, standards are falling, wards are closing, midwife numbers are dropping, A&E waiting times are soaring and there are fewer nurses. By 2015, the stats will read like a car crash. And remember, this is without the bill.

Now, you can't strike on benefits. You can't say "Right, that's it, I'm just not claiming your Disability Living Allowance any more" Cos, you know, you'd starve. AND Iain Duncan-Smith would be thrilled which kind of defeats the object. DWP ministers were always pretty safe in the knowledge that they could do what they liked with us.

But you just can't steamroller through changes to the NHS without the staff. Not without the surgeons and the nurses and the GPs and the radiographers and the physios. It can't be done. I'm astonished Dave and George didn't get the memo. They must have been on yet another foreign lobbying trip when civil servants held the "Sacred Cow" seminar.

Joking aside, there is only one possible conclusion. They heard Blair talk of the "scars on his back" from public sector reform, they heard him say he should have gone further and faster, and they made a decision that no matter what happened Lansley's health plans would go ahead. Just like they decided that no matter what happened, Dunky's welfare plans would go ahead. And Gove's Education reform..... and Clarke's Justice reforms..... and Gideon's money tree planting spree....

And the LibDems? Well, they will get the blame, just as they always do. As every Gran dies on a trolley in a corridor, as every bed get's blocked, as every hospital get's sold off to MacDonalds, every classroom is sponsored by Murdoch, every ill or disabled person starves quietly in their unheated home - they will get the blame. "They stood by and let this happen" will ring out across shires and cities alike. I have saved my LibDem hyperbole til now, just in case they redeemed themselves, but this step is the step too far. This of all is the step they can never recover from.

When I remember not to be devastated at the human cost, suffering and horror of a country picked apart, all at once, no stone of major-upheaval left unturned, part of me will sit back for the next year or two and enjoy watching Dave and George, Andrew and Iain squirm.  As the privileged complacency falls away, the out-of-touch arrogance turns to doubt, I will be chuckling in a dark humoured kind of way.

As the little boys in the playground realise their game has gone horribly, horribly wrong it will at least be some small comfort.


  1. Yes I think they decided to push it through no matter what happened. To prove that they weren't weak.

    The fact that it was unpopular proved it was necessary; if it isn't hurting it isn't working/who expects medicine to taste nice.

    (Cameron: I can take the hit on this etc)

    LibDems also had to prove that they wouldn't wobble.

    Is this all about not crying when you're sent away to school then?

  2. As always you hit the nail on the head and said it just how we all feel. I do think a mass countrywide strike and rally against All of the cuts and changes at the optimal time to embarrass the government and hit them the hardest would give us one last chance, but just a thought. We won't give up thought and like you said it will come back and get them, just don't like the thought of what cost to the rest of us.

    1. They're thinking that the shit will hit the fan during the Olympics.

      What if it happened before? Or worse yet (for them) immediately after the Olympic flame was doused?

    2. It would most definitely give us optimal coverage! The gov are not holding anything back and are dirty players, unfortunately if you want to play with the big boys you have to play their way to win and these are very important issues.

  3. Some people born with balls whilst others use someone elses, so not to damage their own

  4. I have always seen this as a wrecking government, not expecting to be re-elected in 2015, hence unrestrained by the imperative of what they can 'sell' to the electorate, but intent on ensuring that the welfare state was dismantled for the benefit and huge profits of the transnational corporations. My concern is that we remove them in 2015 with a government prepared to ignore EU competition laws and defy the World Trade Organisation which was set up purely to protect foreign companies like the US healthcare and Unum.

    As you illustrate so superbly Sue .. this is not democracy. It is a political process of smoke and mirrors acted out on behalf of the world's corporations... those fighting against the WR and NHS reform bills have been able to see it roll out in front of them .. and see the so-called free press and BBC fail to report, explain or expose either the propaganda or the implications.

  5. My brain cannot quite rid itself of the thought of someone trying to make Katie Price demure.

  6. What Syzgy said, with the proviso that I'll be surprised if there actually IS another election in 2015 or ever.

    1. That's quite a horrific thought Bill but I can see where you are getting it from. ... national emergency requires them to stay in charge.

  7. The destruction (oh sorry reform) of the NHS is now on course and it appears nothing will stop it. David Cameron the large listened to bully of the playground (sorry Parliament) appears to do what every he wants with no regard to anyone's opinions. For my part and many others I know as well, the Conservatives will not get their vote at the next election. So Cameron may think he is winning now but the people who voted for him before will not do so again. He seems to have taken a one man demolition process to all that Britain stands for. He keeps reiterating the public are behind him. Yes they are *call me Dave* and they are all carrying axes! Always read your blogs with interest they are very informative. Thanks

  8. Oh and how the Beeb are reporting that the GPs and nurses are all now agreeing to the changes, they are all happy with the proposals, I was a little confused hearing this headline whilst getting sons ready for some scouting event or other. So now as soon as bills are driven through, we all jump with joy and adulation.....

  9. Felt similar myself Sue.

    There's almost nothing to be done now (apart of course from shouting from the rooftops when we become aware of the dire consequences), but to sit back, watch it all fail and see them squirm.

    Meantime though, whole systems of things that took decades to form from access to law to hostels and charities will disappear perhaps for a very long time, and people will suffer terribly. In just a few weeks, disabled families, and those who cannot find 24 hours worth of work will lose what amounts to half of their incomes. And that is just the start.

    Labour haven't promised to reverse many of the changes, at least to welfare so who knows what's in store?

    And how they have set up these new systems even before they have become law really shows that we do not live in a democracy anymore.

    Stop the planet; I want to get off...


    1. If Labour gets in at the next election, whatever they might like to do now in terms of trying to salvage something from the wasteland which will be the ConDems' legacy - I think they will be massively constrained by lack of money. Gargantuan sums are being slurped up by the like of ATOS and its "revolving door" cycle of WCA, Tribunal, WCA and so on, also A4e (though hopefully its days are numbered) and other greedy workfare providers. And what costs will be incurred by the government's current efforts to wreck the NHS and line the pockets of the companies lining up to benefit, God only knows.

  10. Will this be the end of Cameron. Will it?

    1. not at all he wont be affected and will return as pm at the next election to finish us all off
      That my friends are facts and their is nothing labour can do about it

      They have just had their chance to side with the NHS and the sick and disabled and they blew big time so that now rules them out at the next general election

  11. I agree with all you say...but it's so depressing that we have to go through all the future struggling to get rid of these appalling snivelling selfish ConDems then have a Labour Party, hopefully in government, left with no cash and a huge mess to clear up. Don't think it will be the end of Cameron he's got too many pals in high places. I'd seriously like to see Osborne being deposed as his constant sneering at the proles really gets on my nerves; for that matter Lansley's sneer isn't to be missed either.

  12. "every ill or disabled person starves quietly in their unheated home - they will get the blame. "They stood by and let this happen" will ring out across shires and cities alike."

    Pyrrhic victory. That's just not good enough.

    I have to be completely destroyed before the British people start to question what is being done? If this is a country that is so selfish and despicable that it can only question what is being done when sick, disabled, and mentally ill people die slow lonely excruciating deaths then this is a country that deserves to be completely destroyed.

    I will never forgive the British people for enabling the Coalition of Satan and cheering all this on. I blame them and hold them responsible, fuck the British people. I hope every single person who supports the Coalition of Satan and what they are doing to the sick disabled and vulnerable gets chronically ill and dies slowly themselves in agony.

    The Coalitiion of Satan don't care about not being reelected they will be well rewarded for their treason by their masters, but the British people are so gullible and disgusting they probably will reelect them when the Coalition crows that they had "the guts to reform welfare and bring an end to the scrounging culture in Britain" and even if they are voted out Labour will not reverse any of the "reforms" because they are the ones who laid the groundwork for them and agree with them all completely.

  13. WHY, just why is no one pushing, insisting that they publish the risk register?? They have been ordered to do so by the Information commissioner. But no. The law doesn't apply to them.

    This isn't demcoracy , or even pretending to be anymore.

    If they won't publish it, its because it must be bad, very bad. If it was saying there were no risks, downsides to the NHS "reforms" it would be plastered on the front pages.

    MPs are prepared to vote without knowing what is in this. They should be so utterly, utterly ashamed.

    Nick Clegg knows he won't get reelected or be leader of the party after the election. This is his way of making sure he's got a nice, cosy future lined up with all the big corporates waiting to pounce like vultures.

    They should all be tried for treason.

  14. Well folks NOW it hits home.There never was a democracy what we have and always have had is elected dictatorships disguised as democracy.The tory bastards in opposition had years to plan each and every move they have and will make and do not think by any means they have finished yet.
    It was always the plan to sell of as much as they possibly could and its not just the NHS it will be everything from which thjey and thier friends can extract a profit.
    The are not owned by the banks as we thought they are part and parcel of the same machine.They own shares in just about every aspect of finance and business you can think of and the parts they dont own they have friends who do so nothing is safe.
    Now think on when we talk about using the olympics to venture forth and protest at WHy they have now said they will use water canon and cs gas to control the crowds.
    Yers it may well be because they need to be ready for any terror threat.Fine if thats the case why have they recruited THOUSANDS of people as security on top of the police and the army...not expecting any protest then dave...
    WE know now that even if the did lose office at the next election ,if by the way that they dont rig the boundarys to such an extent that this becomes impossible, then it matters not to them because as i have said before they will then own everything there is to won by one way or another and taking it back is going to be bloody impossible unless we all accept that this will cost us billions and take decades and the real thing they gamble thier plans on is this...we wont be here and the next generation will not know any different system or values in life expect there private is good everything else is bad system.
    ALL planned and thought out long ago folks.Even camerons bloody guru who buggered off to the states is playing the long game seeing as he was at the dinner for cameron and obama.Now ask yourself why he was over there and if he was as pissed off with cammy boy as the papers reported why was he sticking his bloody snout in the trough at the slop fest with em all....ALL planned i think.Cam goes abroad dodging certain people getting arrested and dodging other spotlights on his pushing aside of democracy and his bloody guru is there too.. and now the rhetoric is all aimed at softening us up for another f***n war while Cam has the bloody disrespect to say WE were the junior partner in 1940...the dickhead ....remind me again when america actually entered the war..The reason i mention that is this IF he cant be bothered to respect the people who saved us from the jackboot then he sure as hell will not respect any of us today and we are the ones who pay his bloody wages.
    WE are actually paying YOU for NOT doing anything cos you sure as hell is full of heat aint saving this country so just why we are paying you ..whats the mantra dave work must pay well yeah but if we pay you you must do what WE ask and you aint so lets sanction you eh..
    NOW who is the fuckin benefit scrounger now DAVE Eh!!!

  15. oh god i dread getting up on a morning why did i read this paper i just make my mental health worse still according to the goverment atos has proved by results where all lying gits who can work but like to stay at home all day yah i am cured wankers sorry but i am so mad maybe i should become a murderer just so i dont have to leave my cell get fed and get better health care and entertainment than i get now what do you lot think oh i pop 6 tablets a day and drink alcohol for fun of it and think the tablets are a treat who and why is this happening in Britain why not just kill us like in Holocaust cheaper and less suffering too

  16. My recent experience of the NHS goes something like this abused by the surgery - make complaint - complaint ignored - go to PCT - they listen but don't do anything - make follow up complaint to surgery - they don't reply to my questions rather they send that complaint to the consultant - PCT try to look by not doing anything for alternative - alternative refuses my application - PCT say there are known inter-surgery problems - they have done nothing about them - PCT tell me to go back to original surgery knowing I have no confidence in it and am appalled by the attitudes and practice. - PCT say problem solved or can go the the Health Ombudsmen - Health Ombudsmen says I have to allow NHS time to respond to my complaint - HO also say they're not going to talk to me anymore and put phone down.

    Complaints - there is no complaints procedure. They are all too busy covering their backs. Health care - there is no health care, there is no choice for patients - it's all about job consolidation, ensuring an income or a promotion. The health service is dead as we knew it. I need ongoing medical support but they are happy for me to decide not to have have it so that they don't have to change things for themselves. This is fascism. If I die as a result of not returning to an abusive surgery they will blame me - in fact it is negligence and murder on their part - AND THEY DONT CARE

  17. Yanno...I have to say it, because I've become delusioned and frustrated and disgusted with the whole thing now: the NHS is going. And we deserve it. Welfare Reform went through. And we deserve it. The changes are happening and the rich get richer. And we deserve it.

    Why? Because we haven't actually fought it.

    Remember everyone on twitter applauding Egypt a year ago? About the Greatness of Democracy? France strikes? Spain? Bolivia? That's the sort of thing which causes change. Occupy was all nice but easy to be ignored. I see so many people ranting and bitching on blogs and twitter and forums and signing petitions, and it does NOTHING, people. Nothing at all. The government is just too aware how docile English people are - they know English people will never raid and riot. They know English will never rise up. Hell, we've turned the death of a revolutionary into a HOLIDAY, ffs.

    People like to make comparisons about Nazi Germany, but I think there's a comparison people are missing here: namely, the people who could see it happening but did nothing. The people who kept their heads down because they didn't "want to cause trouble/make a scene/put their families in danger." They saw the trains, they saw the black triangles and the ghettos and the Jewish stars...and they just went along. Didn't cause trouble. Didn't make waves. They let it happen.

    And we're doing that. We're letting it happen. We're telling ourselves that Once There's A New Election, Everything Will Be Fine. All we have to do is sign another petition, hold a sign, chant a bit, and All Will Be Well. We know by now none of it will do any good, but it eases our consciences. It makes us feel that we're doing something...but it also keeps things from getting difficult and uncomfortable and scary. We can tell ourselves that Someone Should Do Something and just hope like hell it doesn't have to be us.

    The bourgeois Herman Hesse warned us about in Steppenwolf, several years before Nazi Germany came fully into power. He saw it coming, and no one listened then. And I see it now...and am aware we're still not listening.

    So, as far as I'm concerned - wallow in it, people.

    “A man cannot live intensely except at the cost of the self. Now the bourgeois treasures nothing more highly than the self (rudimentary as his may be). And so at the cost of intensity he achieves his own preservation and security. His harvest is a quiet mind which he prefers to being possessed by God, as he does comfort to pleasure, convenience to liberty, and a pleasant temperature to that deathly inner consuming fire. The bourgeois is consequently by nature a creature of weak impulses, anxious, fearful of giving himself away and easy to rule. Therefore, he has substituted majority for power, law for force, and the polling booth for responsibility.”
    ― Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

  18. That's incredibly depressing Oya's Daughter and almost certainly right. I'm guessing you just saw my tweet, as I was trying to articulate something similar. You kinda blogged it for me. :(((((((

    1. I know it's depressing as hell. But I also think it's inevitable. I think - I feel, and my feelings sometimes are spot on - that we will have this kind of change in this country. I think people are angry, and betrayed, and scared. When they start going hungry, this will make them dangerous. Batten the hatches - and do your best to ride the coming waves.

    2. To be honest, I've been feeling this way for a while. The past two weeks when I saw the workfare anger, but once the bourgeois was in the clear, no one cared. NHS and 38 Degrees patting themselves on the backs for raising money for a campaign which they told disabled people they couldn't possibly do, and now they think delivering an easily-ignorable petition will somehow solve things. Occupy is losing steam. People are just...accepting things. Keep Calm, Carry On and Be Docile in the Abbatoir. So on the whole, we're all idiots.

  19. I wrote a piece before I even started blogging saying that we'd lost any outlets for the rage that was inevitable.

    In the past, there were Unions as an alternative to Status-Quo - young people of ability or passion were nurtured and guided to put their dis-satisfaction to good use.

    Today, there is nothing. Nothing with any teeth anyway. We have a whole generation who haven't a clue what to do when this stuff starts to happen, I imagine many could not even articulate their rage or sense of betrayal. they're just going to get angrier and more dangerous.

    This probably isn't a PC phrase, but I often feel like the only sane person in the asylum. I see all these commentators arguing on a pin head and I want to scream "WHY? Why are you tolerating this as though it's just another chapter??"

    At the same time, I feel just as uncomfortable with words like "revolution" or "resistance" because we've been so utterly brainwashed that those things are ridiculous or bad (unless of course they're happening in the ME or NA, thenb they're just great)

    I don't know any more hun, I really don't. We won't rise up like Egypt did, so I have to agree we deserve what's coming. Have you read Ragged Trousered Philanthropist? Nothing's changed in 100 years and I am banging my head against the same wall the protagonist, Owen did. :((((

  20. Not to decry or deny what's immediately above, but in case it helps even a tiny bit, Avaaz have a petition:
    Avaaz have worked powerfully in many situations. I've signed their petition.
    Love to you all

  21. I have a very nasty feeling creeping up on me. The realisation that everything, and I mean everything this country and it's people once 'had' if not owned has been sold off or is being sold off. I can't help feeling that it was the agenda all along. From Thatcher onwards, all political parties have followed the same path because 'there's no other way'. What next though? Utilities, housing, transport all sold. Royal Mail, education and NHS in the process of being sold. Welfare state including the right to legal representation decimated. What is there left to sell? Us? We're already enslaved through our debt and our being pimped out to private companies for our benefits. The future looks very bleak indeed.

  22. I think Syzygy got it spot on. Whatever the flavour - psuedo-Conservative, pseudo-Labour, pseudo-Liberal - the neocons at the top anyway are in the trough to line their pockets. They'll retire in a few years time to their promised directorships and consultancies. Any pangs of conscience will be allayed by their millions in the bank.

    And the real tragedy? Whatever we say in this forum, 90% of the British electorate don't give a shit as long as they have Sky TV and iPhones.

  23. This is somewhat important, did anyone see the article the Sun posted in their Fridays newspaper? Yes it was another attack on the disabled but this one left me feeling sick, and mortified, how they can get away with it is beyond me.

    According to The Sun, all those found fit for work by Atos are fit as a fiddle and are cheating the system and the taxpayers, yes you heard that right. Anyone who Atos deems fit for work according to The Sun is a benefit cheat, a fraudster, someone undeserving of public money. Even describing those in the work related group as being able to work with some help.

    I'm just utterly disgusted. I really am. The whole piece of journalism? If you can call it that is shocking, digusting, almost Nazi like with their claims.

    They have labeled everyone fit for work as fraudsters, cheats. And make no mention of the amount of appeals to these tests. Atos are the famn fraudsters not us disabled.

    Check out Fridays Sun paper and bring a sick bag as you'l feel like throwing up after reading that crap.