Notes From the Margins…

Doctors: a luxury the Tory party can’t afford

  • May 29, 2013
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In these straitened times, with all of us working together to reduce the deficit, it’s important not to let sentimental considerations interfere with our government’s search for fiscal probity.

In order to make our once-great nation great again, we need to make tough choices and we need tough politicians with the moral backbone to make them, visionary, blue sky thinkers who are prepared to think the unthinkable.

Fortunately, Lord Snooty has assembled a team with an abundance of such men.   Like Ian Duncan-Smith, scourge of the scrounging bastards who are now dying and topping themselves up and down the country as a consequence of his benefit ‘reforms’.     Last week the tight-lipped ex-Guardsman promised to cut benefits still further in order to provide more cash for the armed forces and police.

Now that is the kind of join-the-dots thinking that Lord Snooty loves – take money away from the scroungers who the government has invited the public to hate in order to fund the armed forces and the police – both of whom the government is likely to depend on even more in the coming years.

And now, in a discussion document entitled Local Health, on the Conservative Party Forum website, there is another example of the willingness of this government to go where no government has gone before.

Co-written by Oliver Letwin and Grant Shapps, the paper asks activists to agree or disagree with a number of propositions,   such as:   ‘There should be no annual limit to the number of appointments patients can book to see their GP’; ‘ The ability to see your GP or consultant for a routine appointment in the evening or at the weekend is a luxury the country cannot afford’; ‘Britain cannot afford to fulfil all the health expectations of all the population all of the time’ and ‘It is right that all NHS treatment is provided on the basis of need including for those illnesses worsened by lifestyle choices such as alcohol intoxication and obesity.’

Ok this is only a discussion document.   But it is nevertheless an indication of the priorities of this rancid government, which raises all kinds of questions should these propositions move into the policy arena – and it would be really naive to assume that they won’t.

How many times will the government allow patients to book appointments with their GP?   What will happen if they exceed this limit and then get ill?   Which ‘health expectations’ will Britain no longer be able to ‘afford’?       Might the NHS refuse to treat people whose illnesses are ‘worsened by lifestyle choices’ – or make them pay for such treatment, regardless of whether they can afford it?

One thing is certain: these are issues that the ex-Etonian and millionaire entrepreneur who wrote this document will never have to consider.   For the rich, there are no caps on health or anything else.

And the fact that such men are deciding whether British society has the right to ‘luxuries’ such as seeing a doctor, is another testament to the essential viciousness of a predatory government that lacks even the most elementary notions of humanity, decency and morality, and which is incapable of looking at anything without asking how much it costs.


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About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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