I’ve watched with some entertainment the latest round of scraps across the pond about health care, which has now turned into a Brit-bashing exercise. Apparantly the NHS is ‘Orwellian’ and ‘Evil’ (allegedly that particular accusation was from the eminent scholar and international expert Sarah Palin) according to the American right-wing - which, when perceived from this side of the Atlantic constitutes most of the political spectrum compared to what is considered centrist here - all of which is news to most people in Britain, barring the usual suspects on the fringes of the Conservative party that their own leader would like to disown, but who always turn up on American TV because no-one listens to them over here.
I live in a Crown Dependency which unfortunately doesn’t benefit from the NHS, and frankly I’d love to have it over here, instead of paid-for primary care and state-run specialist care as we have (I’ve spent an awful lot of money on physios and doctors over the years). My parents moved back to the mainland a few years back and have had nothing but positive experiences with the NHS since; when we were visiting, my Mum was taken ill late at night and an NHS doctor was on the scene at her home within 45 minutes, all for no charge - something you would pay through the nose for here. It’s not perfect, but frankly IMO anyone who considers it optimal to have profit interests involved in the process of saving lives is either smoking something, or has a vested interest.
But, regardless of your point of view, it’s the blatant lies which are most amusing. My favourite is this quote from the editorial in Investor’s Business Daily, a national American financial newspaper:
“People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the UK, where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless,”
For goodness sakes, who writes this nonsense? Prof. Hawking has lived in the UK all his life, and has hit back himself at this article explaining that he’s around today precisely because of the NHS, not despite it. Clearly facts are irrelevant when it comes to reinforcing your personal point of view. They’ve tried to take it back, but it just makes them look a little more stupid, especially casually tossing the word ‘Colony’ in there to somehow bolster the emotive side of the argument (taking speech tips from Mugabe now? not smart). Stephen Hawking was ‘a bad example’? In other words, they’re just making it up.