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Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

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Many thanks for your understanding.

More Labour junk mail today, here’s what they have to say (the whole post won’t be in rhyming couplets, you’ll be glad to know, it’s just started that way).

Today we need you to help us keep the NHS free.

Why, when none of your opposition parties – not even the Monster Raving Loony Party – oppose that measure?

Michael Howard and the Tories want to bring in charges for hospital operations.

Woah, cowboy, that’s simply not true. In fact, the Tories want to cut the price of private operations. That’s not bringing in charges. That’s reducing them. I can see why your party would be confused, after all when you say ‘No tax rises’ you mean ‘Higher taxes’.

If elected the Tories say they will take over £1 billion from the NHS and put it into private healthcare subsidies for those who can afford to pay.

Correct-i-mundo, thereby reducing the capacity the NHS has to deal with, and thus reducing waiting times. You’re not against a bit of private help with the NHS are you? You introduced it, after all.

So if you can afford to go private you go to the front of the queue and pay a charge.

Wrong I’m afraid. You don’t go to the front of the queue, you go in a completely different queue, just as if I were to go private today. Or are you saying that all your constituents who choose to go to a private dentist instead of waiting for you to sort out the NHS situation – which, by the way, you promised to do by last year – are jumping the queue? Perhaps you’d like to publically denounce their actions, because this is clearly damaging the NHS if they’re jumping the queue – after all, that’d be seeing patients according to their financial situation and not their clinical need, which you claim to oppose. You can’t have it both ways.

But what about those who can’t afford to pay the Tory charges to go private?

They continue under the current system, but have less time to wait because those who can afford to do so now have an incentive to go private. So both sets of people get treated faster.

You go to the back of the queue.

No, no, no. I’ve already explained this. Are you a bit thick? You don’t go to the back of the queue, you go into a different queue altogether. Otherwise, if you’re going to use that terminology, we’re all at the back of the queue at the moment, except for the few who go private. But you’re trying to sell us the idea that you’re reducing waiting times and these queues are getting better. So is being on an NHS hospital waiting list a good thing, or is it ‘being at the back of the queue’? You can’t have it both ways. Well, actually, you probably can, since you can say you’ll oppose top-up fees and then go right ahead and introduce them anyway.

The costs are not peanuts.

No, but they are a lot lower than they are under your current administration. 50% lower, to be exact.

Take a look – costs to jump the queue:
Cataract removal £2,500
Hip replacement £6,650
Knee replacement £7,500
Heart bypass £11,500

Please pay attention! These are not costs to jump the queue. They are private healthcare charges. And you charge double those figures. So surely I should be smiling with delight to find that I can now get my hypothetical cataracts removed for £2,500 in a plush private hospital, whereas under Labour, I have to pay £5000. So what the heck is your point?

Britain faces a clear choice in 17 days, between those who support a National Health Service as envisaged by its founders – free at the point of use.

Well that’s a nice, if grammatically flawed, sentence.

And the Tories who would bring in charges for hospital operations.

Oh, there’s the other half. And you still don’t get it. Let’s use some boldness. The Tories will not bring in charges for hospital operations. That is a lie. They will reduce the cost of private operations that poeple pay under Labour. Whichever way you look at it, the cost of healthcare is reduced. It’s free to everyone, and if you choose to go private you no longer have to pay twice for your operation, because the portion you’ve paid in tax will be refunded.

Since 1997, our commitment to the NHS has provided record numbers of doctors and nurses and in a historic Labour third term we will continue our investment.

Or, indeed, in an historic third term. But every other party also advocates increased spending on the NHS. This is not a unique distinction of yours. It tells me nothing about how Labour policies differ from the policies of others.

The choice is clear: forward with reduced waiting times, better hospitals, more nurses and more doctors or backwards under the Tories to charges, long waiting lists and more than £1 billion being taken out of the NHS to subsidise private operations for the few.

The Tories will not charge for people to have NHS operations. I can’t believe you don’t get this. And if more people are encouraged to go over to the private healthcare system, how does that make waiting times longer? That’s a crazy thing to say. And, it’s a smaller point, but the Tories are not taking £1bn out of the NHS, they’re just not putting that £1bn into it.

It is not enough just to want the NHS to get better.

You mean sitting here saying ‘I want the NHS to get better’ won’t change anything?!

If you value the NHS, you have to vote for it.

Erm, that will be difficult, because the NHS is not a candidate in this election.

We need everyone who wants to keep the NHS free to sign our petition now and send Michael Howard a strong message that the NHS should be kept free.

Michael Howard has signed the petition, because he also wants the NHS to remain free. I’m sure Charles Kennedy would sign it too. So what exactly is the point of a petition, when everyone agrees on a similar position?

Sadly, no salutation from anybody on this, so I don’t know who wrote it. But whoever it was is either trying to deliberately mislead people (something Labour is intimately familiar with), or they’re just to stupid to understand other policies, and look at the merits of them. Either way, someone who’s attempted to ram a blatant lie down the throat of however many people this unsolicited email was sent to should resign. But then, in the Labour party, lying is encouraged, and is certainly not something one resigns over. Is it, Mr Blair?

This 523rd post was filed under: Election 2005.






More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th February 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 31st December 2016)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 30th November 2016)

Diary for 7th June 2008 (published 7th June 2008)

Photo-a-day 83: Blue zone (published 8th April 2014)

Health advice from Charlie Brooker (published 14th October 2005)

Desktop app of the week: ScanDrop (published 18th July 2012)


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