Thursday, 22 April 2010
Choice Or No Choice?
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the National Health Service is the Chinese Army/Praetorian Guard/Janissaries of the General Election campaign, take your pick. Important as health matters are to all of us and admitting the large number of people it employs directly and indirectly it remains that the health provision we get is only that which we can afford.
My local constituency seems to have five candidates. Generally regarded as a “safe” Conservative seat this has coloured the stance of all of them. My previous home was in an ultra safe Labour seat, once held by a local man who had done real work who was replaced by a media shoe in from London to suit Big Tony.
Our present MP is to retire to concentrate on, errr, media work. Quite how much of the past vote was “personal” or not is an interesting question but not one that should have much effect. The person was as good at giving offence to particular interests as garnering votes by effort and publicity.
What have I got? There is a UKIP candidate, a local who does not look tidy in a suit. There is no leaflet yet, but the UKIP web site tells me that the views are “right on” with the things that UKIP is most determined about. The level of interest locally suggests that this candidate will be lucky to save the deposit. This person is the only one who apparently does not list the NHS high on the priority rating being concerned more with economics and self government for the UK.
The Labour candidate is the most remarkable. An NHS doctor, so very much of the client state, apparently in October 2008 was in Florida securing the election of Barack Obama to the American Presidency (was this paid secondment?). This was achieved by reading out at major rallies the text on the back of the Labour Party Membership Card which includes “for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many and not the few.” In your dreams, matey, in your dreams, if you do get elected, Mandy will want a quiet word.
I do not think the chances are great if only because amongst the many pretty pictures is one that really will frighten the locals. It is one alongside a man with staring eyes who carries a big banana, indeed Miliband The Merciless. Fear gripped my vital statistics. Oddly it was this bit of the leaflet that refers to the candidate’s medical career. So vote for me or else.
We do have a Green Party candidate. For disgruntled types like us this might seem to be the best option, however Green it might be but it is not without problems. The NHS features at number three behind living wages and a million new jobs with bashing the bankers to follow. It is possible to discern the Militants of the 1970’s and 1980’s behind the fog of promises. This party means state controls and spending on a much greater scale and to allegedly “community” purposes whatever that means.
For the Lib Dem’s we had the ultimate accolade, a personal appeal from St. Joanna Lumley of Sagarmatha. Her commendation of our local candidate reads like a cross between a Nobel Prize eulogy and the compulsory compliments paid by visitors to the Emperor of China. Nobody, nobody can be that perfect. A local worthy with a clean record maybe and one who knows how to present the party line.
But my dear, the policies as well as the people. Never mind the lack of realism. For the UK to be bundled into Europe in the middle of the present financial mess will mean a bigger and fuller surrender than even Heath and Wilson achieved between them. The Lib Dem sent us two things, in one the NHS was in prime spot and the other was going on about community in a town stripped of its greengrocers, most of its pubs and post offices as well as almost all the local shopkeepers.
Which leaves us with the Conservative. Alas a lawyer who is given to good causes but at least with some mention of business and the private sector. But the NHS is there at number two in this case as well as the genuflections to the altars of community. There are claims to local commitment but there is no hint of what other interests might be tucked away. What lobbyist or consultancy interests might be lurking behind the curtains? If they are not there now, the Conservative is elected and Cameron has a majority then our MP will be getting offers that may be impossible to refuse.
I keep complaining that there are things that are missing in the Election Campaign and it shows in the offerings of the various candidates. The war, the debacle of the drugs trade, the increasing divisions and tensions, the sheer incompetence of much of government, the challenges we will have in maintaining a great deal of the basic structure of our living and the loss of much of our law and ability and the degradation of the urban areas.
As for the NHS; are any of them aware of the disastrous shambles it has become? Are they aware that it might be close to meltdown and that as the largest source of employment and incomes in the UK it could become the quicksand of the economy?
If all the other candidates in the UK are like this lot it can only get worse.