These people used to control the United States’ nuclear weapons.
From our American correspondent, Andrew Weir.
So. Healthcare, eh?
Since I got to the US, I’ve been trying very hard not to be “that Brit” (and “that commie Brit” come to that), who goes around saying “Well, with the National Health Service, things work much better than this. You know, you guys really should just socialize your healthcare system as soon as you can.” Doing that would be a bit smug and rude, frankly.
However one thing that a Brit is struck by is the things that are said here by certain right-wing politicians in criticism of the British NHS. Now god knows the NHS is not above criticism. It suffers creeping bureaucratization (I speak as one who briefly worked as an NHS bureaucrat!), but more than that, the outsourcing/privatization drive that it has been subjected to in recent years has increased the tendency (which “socialized” medicine should not show) to aim for profitable operation rather than most efficiently healing the sick. The NHS is also chronically underfunded (most Brits take this as being not too surprising; looking after the health of all sixty million of us is a big undertaking).
The NHS. If it was a biscuit, it would probably be chocolate digestive. Lovely lovely chocolate digestives.
But these sort of criticisms are not the criticisms that are raised here by right-wing politicians. No, the sort of thing they say is that:
Patients have to go in front of panels to determine whether they are “worthy” of treatment.
You have to be under a certain age to qualify for a hip replacement.
Steven Hawking would be dead now if he was British.
OK, Steven Hawking is British, but he only got treatment because he’s a famous physicist.
NHS doctors live in penury on miserly state-bureaucrat salaries.
All of these statements are false. But they’re more than false, they’re stunningly blatantly false from the point of view of anyone who has actually grown up with the NHS. Even the most hardened libertarian-capitalist ideologue (and the UK does have a couple) would agree that these statements are false.
Now my point in this note is not so much to call these people out as liars; lots of other people have done that (although people need to continue to do it).
My point is more to say that, if these people are making these completely unresearched statements that can be shown to be completely untrue — what reason is there to believe them about anything else at all? Is there any reason at all to believe what they say about Venezuela, Cuba, Palestine, the “War on Terror”, the nature of democracy, the need for anti-trade-union legislation, the need for public sector cuts during a time of recession, etc. etc. etc.?
Or is it more likely that, just as they lie about the NHS, they are systematically lying about all of the above things as well?