Love Our NHS? Prove It With Your Vote In The EU Referendum, Continued

Brexit - NHS - European Union - EU Referendum - Brexit

If you are deciding how to vote in the EU referendum based on what the rival campaigns are telling you is best for the NHS, you’re doing it wrong

The stupidity and incompetence of the Vote Leave  campaign reached such desperate lows today that at this point, I can no longer really blame anyone who has not been paying much attention to the EU debate thus far if they end up voting Remain. Heck, if I hadn’t been writing about politics every day and following the debate for years, I might well do the same.

After all, why put your trust in the Leave campaign, the people proposing a departure from the status quo, when the leaders of Vote Leave are conducting their campaign with all the political aptitude of the slow sibling from a well-connected family whose parents were grasping around trying to find something productive for them to do with their lives, and gave them the fate of our country to play with.

And so today we get this much-trumpeted open letter from “more than fifty” healthcare workers, telling us that only by voting Leave can we Save Our NHS.

The letter reads:

Dear Sir,

The NHS is a great British institution that families rely on in times of need. But as it slips into financial crisis the NHS itself needs some urgent attention.

The NHS is being asked to make huge cuts at a time of rising demand. Patients are having to wait longer for treatment, hospital deficits are increasing and doctors are on strike after being told they must take a pay cut. The Government must accept responsibility for this – they have starved the NHS of necessary funding for too long.

If we Vote Leave on 23 June we will be able to spend more on our priorities like the NHS. If we put the billions that currently go to EU bureaucrats into the NHS instead it would hugely improve patient care. For example, the £350 million a week we hand to Brussels is similar to the entire yearly Cancer Drugs Fund budget.

As healthcare professionals who have worked for the NHS for years we believe that the best choice in the EU referendum is to Vote Leave on June 23rd and save the NHS.

List of signatories

Well, I suppose it’s marginally better than the ludicrous suggestion that we use the money we supposedly save to whack up a brand new fully staffed hospital every week until there are ten mega hospitals in every town and ninety percent of us are employed by the NHS.

But still, what a bunch of utter nonsense this letter (and the decision to campaign off the back of it) is. Not only does this fail the “common sense” test, it fails the “does anyone at Vote Leave have any measurable brain activity at all” test.

The NHS is one of the largest organisations in the entire world, and the fifth largest employer with over 1.7 million people on the payroll. Rounding up fifty NHS workers to put their names to a letter supporting either Brexit or the Remain campaign means absolutely nothing – one could just as easily circulate a letter and get fifty signatures from NHS employees who believe they have been abducted by aliens, demanding a massive budget appropriation to build space lasers to keep us safe.

Furthermore, it would be utterly naive to base a geopolitical and constitutional decision like Brexit on the gut feeling of a bunch of people who not only work in an entirely unrelated field, but who toil for an organisation so large and all-powerful that it positively screams “vested interest” and “deeply ingrained bias in favour of the status quo”.

Besides, a bunch of predominantly conservative politicians and activists not known for their doe-eyed devotion to the NHS suddenly going prancing around the country acting like the health service’s greatest defenders is not going to fool anyone. By a huge majority, the most committed devotees of the NHS are the same people who will unthinkingly vote to stay “in Europe” come hell or high water. Worshipping at the altar of Nye Bevan doesn’t do great things for one’s critical reasoning skills, after all.

All of this time spent repeating the risible notion that only by voting Leave can we Save Our Blessed NHS is time that could be spent – oh, I don’t know, maybe promoting a comprehensive plan for a safe Brexit with the minimum of disruption. A plan which would instantly negate 90% of David Cameron’s fear-based Remain campaign and really bring this campaign to life.

But why do that, when Matthew Elliot and Dominic Cummings are more than happy presiding over their children’s finger-painting exercise of a campaign, preaching to the already converted and singularly failing to tackle any of the counterarguments quite rightly thrown in their faces by David Cameron and Britain Stronger in Europe?

Fortunately there is another shadow Leave campaign – an underground resistance, if you will – who are intent on fighting this referendum with facts, and who understand that the public rightly expect those who advocate for Brexit to have put some thought into what Brexit should look like.

I am never more excited and hopeful for the future of this country than I am when I read their work. Please follow The Leave Alliance, share their articles and (if you are able) donate to their all-important fundraising efforts. Every pound raised helps to spread the message further.

Semi-Partisan Politics will be diverting any kind contributions made to this site to The Leave Alliance from now until the conclusion of the campaign.


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Top Image: Daily Express

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Love Our NHS? Prove It With Your Vote In The EU Referendum

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The EU referendum meets our national religion

The major campaigns on both sides of the EU referendum are currently slugging it out in a tawdry contest for the affections of fearful, NHS-idolosing simpletons.

No British political campaign is complete without eye-rolling attempts by those without ideas or vision to trawl for votes by pretending that Our Blessed NHS (genuflect) is mere moments away from being abolished.

From Vote Leave’s latest mailshot, entitled “Save Our NHS”:

Lord Owen, the former Labour Foreign Secretary and Health Minister, today launches the Vote Leave ‘Save our NHS’ campaign with an important speech: ‘Protecting our NHS from the EU’.

He argues that the our National Health Service should not be under the control of the EU and cites serious flaws in The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is a major new deal being negotiated behind closed doors between the EU and the USA.  This he says, disregards the purpose of social health care and undermines the responsibility each member state has for its own healthcare policy.  This is highly detrimental to our NHS.

And from Britain Stronger in Europe, the charmingly personalised “Love the NHS Samuel? You need to read this”:

When it comes to the NHS, you can’t listen to the people campaigning to leave Europe.

They describe the NHS as a “60-year mistake” (Vote Leave’s Dan Hannan), say there’s “plenty of room for cuts” (Nigel Farage), and think people should have to pay for services so they “value them more” (Boris Johnson).

No – instead, we should listen to the doctors and NHS workers who make our health service so special.

This week, 200 medics wrote a letter stressing that “the NHS, medical innovation and UK public health” are stronger in Europe.

They warned “Brexit should carry a health warning” – because the economic damage caused by leaving Europe would “jeopardise an already cash-strapped NHS.”

Samuel, those who work in the NHS couldn’t be clearer – we need to stay in Europe to protect investment in our health service. Volunteer for our campaign today, and help secure the NHS for future generations:

Well, that’s that then. Your friendly local NHS urologist is clearly such an expert on statecraft, diplomacy and constitutional matters that they are ideally positioned to tell you how to vote on a matter of existential importance to Britain.

The obvious, simple-minded manipulation being attempted by both campaigns would be offensive were it not so amateurish. And to think that political consultants and strategists are actually being paid money to come up with this stuff.

Vote Leave and you’ll get cancer, because Brexit is so dreadfully scary that it should come with a health warning!

Vote Leave and we’ll save so much money that we can build a brand new hospital every week. Just think of it! That’s fifty two massive new hospitals every year. In a decade, we’ll have 520 new hospitals! By the year 2036 we could have 1040 new hospitals! Enormous ones! Your descendants could live in a Britain with a humongous, fully staffed new hospital for every single person living on this island! Oh, what a paradise it will be.

What pathetic, manipulative nonsense.

Whether we vote to leave the European Union or remain in the burning building, the NHS will continue to exist. We can’t seem to shake it. And it will continue to churn out moderately priced but increasingly substandard levels of care while nearly the entire population gathers round to uncritically praise the holy creation of St. Aneurin Bevan of Tredegar from dawn to dusk. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will change.

Do you really believe Britain Stronger in Europe when they suggest that “medical innovation” will cease or be harmed if Britain leaves the political construct known as the European Union? Exactly what is it about forsaking a foreign flag, anthem and parliament which will slow down the cure for Alzheimer’s?

Or do you seriously buy this idea that Brexit means that we can throw up a brand new hospital in every major British city within a year, and keep on doing that until the NHS is not only our largest employer but our only employer?

Don’t be taken in by this execrable, manipulative, transparently idiotic nonsense from the major Leave and Remain campaigns, all of which seem to be managed by B-student politicos and all of which are operating on the hopeful assumption that you are a frightened, credulous simpleton.

Recognise that this referendum is about sovereignty, sovereignty and sovereignty. Do your own research, and then make the right decision. And whatever you decide, don’t waste your vote virtue-signalling your love for Our Blessed NHS.


Save Our NHS

Top Image: Daily Express

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Imagine Britain Without The NHS

NHS Worship - London Olympic Games 1

It’s easy if you try

Imagine a Britain without the NHS.

A Britain where the state did not directly employ or contract nearly every doctor and nurse in the entire country.

A Britain where the government did not decide which cutting edge treatments would be offered to the public, and which ones were simply too expensive.

A Britain where citizens were not reliant on the state for the physical delivery of nearly all their healthcare needs.

A Britain where healthcare was unconstrained by politically influenced national targets.

A Britain where angry, jealous talk of “postcode lotteries” did not act as a brake on excellence or a requirement for dull, uniform mediocrity.

A Britain where every hospital superbug or missed A&E waiting target did not automatically become the prime minister’s overriding personal concern, freeing them up to actually be a world leader.

A Britain where we are able to have a rational, level-headed discussion about healthcare, and what kind of system would achieve the best outcomes for the most people at an acceptable cost.

A Britain where we understood that healthcare need not be a choice between the NHS and the infamous US system.

A Britain where we were able to take inspiration from the best aspects of different healthcare systems around the world in reforming our own.

A Britain where criticism of the NHS was not treated like blasphemy, with the offenders shamed on social media and their political careers curtailed.

A Britain where we gave nearly as much respect, honour and resources to our armed forces and veterans as we do to the NHS.

A Britain where we did not reflexively worship a giant, mid-century bureaucracy as our secular national religion.

A Britain which thought enough of itself to realise that there is far more that marks us out as a powerful, great and indispensable nation than our anachronistic 1940s healthcare system.

A Britain where lean, efficient public services existed to serve the people, rather than we the people existing only to serve our insatiable, rapacious public services.

A Britain where saying “the NHS served us ably for many decades after the war, but now it is time to look again at how we provide healthcare to our fellow citizens” was not a shocking, unacceptable statement.

Imagine a Britain where the link between politics and healthcare was broken and the NHS monopoly split up, meaning that things like the coming national strike of junior doctors could never happen.

Just imagine what could happen – all that we could accomplish – if only we were able to have a calm, rational conversation about healthcare in modern Britain.


National Health Service - NHS Leaflet - 1948

Further reading:

Our deadly obsession with the NHS

A Haidtian take on ‘NHS worship’

Worshipping the NHS costs lives

Britain’s cult-like worshop of the NHS must end

To save the NHS, let’s stop worshipping it like a god

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The Daily Smackdown: ‘Save Our NHS’ Fanatics Thwart Essential Reform


Trialling a new addition to Semi-Partisan Politics – the Daily Smackdown. Basically a repository for the zingers and comebacks that pop into my mind but which I lack the time to work into a full article, these will be one or two-paragraph responses to a specific piece or trending topic in the national media. The aim is to allow the blog to cover more ground each day, while challenging lazy thinking or rhetoric from across the political spectrum – as well as giving you all more to read!

Dr. Rob Galloway writes an “open letter to members of the British public” in Think Left today, deploying all of the usual tired catchphrases (“our NHS” is “on its knees”, etc. etc.) in an effort to persuade us that we should continue pumping endless money and human resources into an anachronistic healthcare delivery system from the 1940s.

From Galloway’s letter:

The NHS is on its knees and unless things change, it may not survive.  It has been attacked, part privatised, demoralised and starved of funds.

So the NHS’s defenders have been saying since 1948. But do go on:

We have tried to highlight what is going on; through the media, marches, speeches and endless tweets and face-book posts.  But it is not working.  Things are getting worse and the NHS, which we all care so much about may soon no longer, be able to care for us.

It’s almost as if endlessly sharing and re-tweeting the same sanctimonious, scaremongering articles within your own closed information loop of like-minded friends and acquaintances doesn’t actually effect meaningful change, isn’t it? Maybe talk to Ed Miliband about that one, I hear he’s thinking of starting a support group.

The only things which might save it is if the British public no longer just accept what is happening – but start to fight back.  This is above party politics.  This is about what we want our society to be like.  Fight back for the greatest safety net we have – the knowledge that as a UK taxpayer if we get sick, then we will be looked after; an envy throughout the world.

The envy of the world? Sorry, I’ve had enough of that one. I always forget how people in Canada simply collapse at the side of the road and go untreated until they swipe a valid credit card.

People who say the NHS is the “envy of the world” have clearly never used their passport and gone to another country. You don’t have to embrace the US model (often world-leading hospitals and treatments, with runaway costs and a crummy patient access system of giant private healthcare providers wrapped around them) to recognise that other countries somehow manage to provide good healthcare to their citizens without resorting to a monolithic, monopolistic, inefficient state provider like the NHS.

It’s funny – in so many areas, many people are self-deprecating about Britain and our national greatness, almost to a fault. Many of us can often be found negating our successes, apologising for our history or (in the case of the coming Brexit referendum) believing that an economic, cultural and military power like the UK somehow needs to remain yoked to that mid-century relic of a supranational political union, the EU, just to stay relevant in the world.

But on one issue alone – the National Health Service – we have convinced ourselves that we in Britain have created perfection itself, that no other nation on earth comes close to matching our achievement, and that health secretaries from Ottawa to Canberra secretly covet what we have. And yet surprisingly, few countries are beating down our door for advice on replacing their existing systems with one modelled on “Our NHS”. Shouldn’t that tell us something?

Let’s stop singing hymns to a 1940s anachronism or praying to Saint Aneurin Bevan to Save Our NHS for a moment, and actually re-examine British healthcare from the bottom up. If we were to do so today (not that we will), we would in all likelihood end up with something far better – and probably quite unlike – our current National Health Service.

Further Reading:

Treat the NHS as a religion, and you give it the right to run your life

Our deadly obsession with the NHS

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Michael Sheen Does Politics: So Right, And Yet So Wrong

Michael Sheen British Politics NHS Healthcare 2015 Election


Michael Sheen was 100% right in his criticism of politicians lacking in conviction, but his sycophantic Aneurin Bevan worship and NHS fetishisation is the wrong prescription for Britain.

The British left has found itself a new saviour.

First came Owen Jones, rightly excoriating us for sneering at “chavs” while ignoring the failed policies through which we create and maintain a permanent underclass in Britain. “Our Generation’s Orwell”, as he was prematurely anointed by Russell Brand, offered us a rose-tinted stroll back to 1970s industrial strife and national decline.

But Owen Jones only baptises with water; Michael Sheen burst onto the political scene yesterday to anoint us with the Holy Spirit. That is, he sought to rally us around our true national religion, the National Health Service.

The actor Michael Sheen is best known for playing the role of Tony Blair on film and television (though he is far more entertaining as the character Wesley Snipes in NBC comedy 30 Rock). But he is now being praised to the rafters for this impassioned critique of our modern politicians at a St. David’s Day event to celebrate (or borderline worship) the life of Aneurin Bevan, founder of the NHS:

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