Reports of the death of the NHS have been greatly exaggerated. I have fuck all intention of mourning the passing of the NHS, and can’t see a point where I will be reminiscing about healthcare being available when you needed it. Because healthcare is a need. Not just a personal need. A need for a healthy, functioning economy. Especially one with an ageing population. Politicians can pretend this isn’t true, but only for a while.
Politicians of all stripes( and the media poppets surrounding) are calculating how maximum benefit can be extracted from the ‘death’ the NHS’. Lib Dems, drumming up something to stop another nail sealing a coffin long banged shut. Andrew Lansley and David Cameron will be desperately hoping that the understanding no politician could visibly dismantle the NHS and survive, turns out not to be true. Labour are hoping if they send everyone out with candles,we’ll forget they were not only committed to its extinction but how brazenly they exploited the attacks on it. How they shouted down those who tried to interfere with their fantasy, to prevent them from discussing what was happening. Within days the media narrative will try to move on, and once all parties have extracted maximum political gain from the situation they will be working to make sure you do to.
What you feel about the NHS now, is what social workers have for years as thresholds of risk have increased and their services has been destroyed and profession undermined. By the same policies which have just been celebrated as the ‘death of the NHS’. Marketisation slowly strangled their ability to provide their service along with diminishing resources and ever expanding rivers of paperwork and fracturing of services. While profits increased for those offering ‘choice. It is what those who needed state support have felt all year, as they watched the govermment act with impunity and no opposition. While those fighting for us attacked us for existing outside their preferred narrative. The NHS is a symbol because it is loved more than other parts of our public sector.
The p0litics of marketisation. This is what it does. It first prepares services with a creeping process of commodification, and they are steadily undermined and asset stripped under mantras about choice. The professionals within have their knowledge squashed under the managerialism and the market dogma that has crucified the rest of our welfare state. It is in our education system. and now is spreading to the police. It uses a very predictable pattern and is very easy to follow once you understand it. And how our media and politicians hide it. The wisdom that underpinned the centrist position died in 2008.
Look at A4E- that is a part of our public sector that is not loved. That is a part of our public sector hidden from your view by consent of all parties. And THAT is what happens when that is the case. This relied on the majority of people not caring. People care about the NHS. The absence of the NHS from the BBC’s narrative only makes sure the disaffection that was irrelevant when confined to ‘the poor’ has spread. The problem is now the NHS, the source of the problem is the centre position shared by our parties. Neo-liberalism.
The NHS is a complicated and very large organisation, and while our political parties have resolutely failed to discuss why they are all committed to it’s demise, those within it work alongside the agencies who provide a vision of what is to come if this trajectory continues. They understand it. And it’s cost in human terms. The NHS often has to mop up the effect of marketisation in other services.
There is a great deal to understand, and the time for debate to be led by post adolescent boys with righteous anger uncontextualised by life experience or knowledge is also over. If you want to save the NHS now you have to be smart, You have to decide who to listen to. If I write a blog post suggesting a type of healthcare system we should have, you have to read that knowing I know fuck all about it. And start asking who to listen to. If the person talking to you is more concerned with shouting scab at the cleaners who don’t have a union, or writing handwringing articles crying that no-one listens to the cleaners so they’ll speak for them- they don’t know either. If someone’s only concern is the fortunes of a political party, they don’t know and have no interest in you knowing. It is time to start letting the people who have the knowledge to fight this, lead it. And those bodies of people from within the NHS have been fighting to be heard over the nonsense combat of ideologies, since movement against ‘the cuts’ started.
The politics of marketisation which destroyed those areas of our public sector is day in day out existence of those who run our public services. Most of whom are bound by confidentiality, but who fully understand the system they work in. Their knowledge and their fears have been subsumed by a left right spectrum, with neo liberalism at the centre and batshittery at the fringes. Guided by a twittterbubble full of people arguing about things they don’t know much about. Demanding we stick to a lefty playbook that has never achieved anything. Because that twitterbubble is the only bit of the world our media will allow themselves to interact with. Their representatives in it will tell you that astroturf machines, whirl of protests attended by the same twenty people or their ‘twitter campaign’ is the to way save the NHS. Some of the more daring may even suggest politely asking Labour if they will repeal an act their policies created.
The biggest change that will affect the fight for the NHS this year is the one in the media. For about a year, our mainstream media have been struggling to keep up with a twitter bubble they believe is their link to wider society. Our political media thought that twitterbubble was easily managed and it was. What that media will now have to learn, is just how unrepresentative that twitter bubble is. Contrary to popular belief, we have a smart informed electorate. Now the political media will have to catch up with that and they weren’t that successful in keeping us dark in the first place.. The limits of what our political system understand is it’s weakness.
Now go watch the BBC pretend the NHS wasn’t privatised, go take a look at the Labour poppets who continue to lie about their attempt to save it. Watch the Lib Dems and the Conservatives, and don’t just fume as they try to wash this from your mind, examine how they do it. Read about marketisation. Go find people who work in the NHS, or ANY other part of our public sector, and try to understand the mundane reality of this cancer. Look at social care and social work and look at the patterns which were used to undermine them. Pay particular attention to who is telling you to mourn right now, and how you are being encouraged to just move on.
In 20 years I will not be telling my grandchildren about a long lost NHS. I will be telling them about the bogeymen we allowed our politicians and media to turn into, and how we broke down the mechanisms they used to hide the effects of their corruption. And I will be laughing that we really thought this tiny bubble could hold on to power, in a world where we were smarter than them while they were in crisis. And how the bubble they were in, left them completely unprepared for what happened when Great Britain woke up. How quickly they crumbled when we stopped believing in them and openly said so. And how their attempt to destroy our healthcare system played its part in waking everybody up to the destruction ignored for three decades.