Just now across three social media platforms three different people within about two minutes of each other told me (well anyone who followed them on these platforms really – it wasn’t a direct message to me) that everyone should read Andrew Emmerson’s piece entitled It’s time I spoke out on the NHS: I’m angry, but probably not for reasons you’ve heard. I took their advice and if you haven’t read it yet it is part ranty and part factual – just like a good blog should be. It is worth a read.
I won’t rehash what he said in too much detail but the crux of the issue is he seems to be pissed off about the whole debate and how it isn’t based on the facts of the matter at hand but mostly the spin and myths being thrown about. The NHS is great but there are better Health Systems around. Care will still be – and always will be free at the point of contact with the patient and that private firms have long been involved in the NHS.
Now when it comes to the NHS Bill in full – like practically every person who has commented on it I haven’t read it in full. In all honesty I’m not qualified to know the in’s and out’s of every little detail and what it would mean for us – the general public but here is what I do know. Should this Bill be passed then the NHS wouldn’t die. The basic principles of it being free at the point of contact would remain and I think to be fair for most of us that is by far the most important thing.
He also states that we cannot have a serious debate about health in this country because of the hysteria behind the NHS. He’s right. I spoke about this last year with regards to Ken Clarke and his rape comments. You daren’t ever have a proper debate on that issue because we are trained to think only one way. There are certain issues where both politicians and the electorate are just happy to sail along and ignore because the art of having a proper debate has gone from politics. Politics as a whole is now largely based on who can scream the loudest and who can be the most populist. Sensible and legitimate debate has gone out of the window and I find that deeply distressing.
I can point to the furore over tuition fees last year. Most people didn’t understand the new bill because they had been swamped in myths about it. Yes the tuition fees changes were not the greatest moment for the Liberal Democrats but when you actually look past the myths, outright lies and spin you’ll actually see these basic changes:
*The fees (up to £9k a year) are not up front.
*You do not pay a single penny until you are earning over £21k a year.
So despite what people think. You don’t have to spend a penny up front. You won’t rock up to university and have to hand over a cheque to cover your fees. Also you don’t start paying this money until you are earning £21k or over a year which is up from £15k which is actually a huge leap. So now most people will not start paying money until their second or third year of full-time employment and if you never earn more than £21k then the money will be written off.
There are also various schemes to ensure that those from poorer backgrounds aren’t put off by this. The new tuition fees bill is actually not horrendous but hard to actually type that in this state of affairs because of all the lies and myths that have changed the viewpoints of the public.
This is one of the reasons I can’t abide politics. I want to live in a world where politicians speak the truth instead of spouting off the same lazy rhetoric based on what they think people want to hear and/or to enhance their own reputations and that of their party.
At the moment in politics it is easy for Labour. All they have to do to attack everything the Liberal Democrats do and sit back and enjoy watching the party suffer. They have very few policies of their own apart from a harsher Bankers Bonus Tax but apart from that I heard very little. They wanted to increase tuition fees too but that is overlooked and has been brushed under the carpet because the Lib Dems wanted to abolish them and weren’t able to.
Most people if they sit down and actually looked at the facts would see that the Liberal Democrats are a minority party in a coalition where the priority first and foremost is to stabilise the economy. The economy was on the brink of going down the pan and causing the deepest recession for two generations. Tuition fees and the NHS are vitally important issues but the economy is very much front and centre – and I think we all agree that at this current juncture so it should be.
As for how the economy is doing well the jury is very much still out but the credit agencies are happy and there are green shoots of recovery. There will be blips and there will be bumps in the road but if come 2015 the economy is really starting to hum along once more then we as a party can say that we have done the most important thing. We all care about many things but the most important thing will always be the economy and if we’ve helped deliver a stable government then we’ve done a darn good job no matter what anyone says.
The problem within the party as well as with the electorate is the uncertainty. The party activists aren’t used to having any power and when you have only a whiff of it and are unable to do everything then you feel like you are only going backwards. The public believed that the Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems were different but they aren’t used to coalition and think that Clegg and pals aren’t doing enough when in all honesty they are hamstrung by the economy.
If they rock the boat too much then the coalition collapses and the economy falters. If they don’t rock the boat enough then people believe they are just doing the Tories evil work. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place. When you couple that with no real liberal media to get the word out to the masses then the Liberal Democrats look like a lame duck to be blown away by the two old war horses who can return to their world of two-party politics and enjoy it.
What needs to happen is for the public to see through the myths that are created for self-serving politicians and media outlets. It has been a long time since I took anything I saw in the written media as gospel. I have more respect for the broadcast media. However newspapers always have their own biases and ways of getting their story out there. I was turned down for a job at The Sun many moons ago because I was a liberal and wouldn’t tow the line with regards to their political biases.
If people were in possession of all the raw facts and then made up their own mind on the issues then I would be a very happy man. Whether they agreed with the Lib Dems or not I wouldn’t worry too much, just having them making up their own minds on the issues is all you can ask for.
Sadly the current state of affairs means that facts are not important. Myths and propaganda are still vastly superior to the nuts and bolts of an issue. One day this will change. I hope it is soon because the great people of this nation deserve the freedom and more importantly the ease of seeing the subjects for what they are. At the moment alas it is hard to separate the lies, the myths and the propaganda for the truths.
That is the old way of politics. Hopefully one day the new ways will actually become dominant. For this to happen though both politicians and the media have to change and that is something I fear will not happen without a fight…
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