“We should be realistic, this is our politics now”
This was the take-home message at the end of Newsnight, the flagship late-night current affairs show of the British Broadcasting Corporation. It was sobering.
The subject of conversation was the increasingly fragmented political discourse in the United Kingdom and, in particular, a series of chants which took place outside Parliament which were aimed at Conservative MP Anna Soubry (who, contrary to most of her party, has campaigned against Brexit).
As I work in a hospital on the opposite side of the River Thames, I witnessed some of these chants yesterday.
Anyone who is not very worried about what is going on in our country now is burying their heads in the sand more deeply than a psammophile ostrich. This is very frightening indeed.
Just as much of our media have consistently mimicked Völkischer Beobachter and Der Stürmer of 20s Germany, some of the most vicious and thuggish portions of our society are now more empowered than ever, and police and reporters stand by idly whilst the societal, geopolitical and economic futures of this country is their bully’s playground.
This is your future, your childrens’ future. The kind of country we are about to become unless something alters our path drastrically…
Awake! awake O sleeper of the land of shadows, wake! expand! I am in you and you in me, mutual in love divine. Fibres of love from man to man thro Albions pleasant land. In all the dark Atlantic vale down from the hills of Surrey A black water accumulates, return Albion! return!
Except from Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant — Blake
Lord Buckethead is an experienced political campaigner, leader of the Gremloid party, and possibly humanity’s future overlord. Having garnered three-digit numbers in the Finchley and Huntingdon constituencies battling Margaret Thatcher in 1987 and John Major in 1992, he took a respectible 249 votes in Maidenhead against Theresa May (beating the Christian People’s Party, Just Political Party, Monster Raving Loony Party, two independents, and Elmo).
Watch John Oliver announce Lord Buckethead as the UK’s future Brexit negotiator.
My boss is of Jewish origin, his parents emigrating from Germany and Poland. He lost relatives in Auschwitz. He is a phenomenally loyal NHS Doctor. Earlier in the year he said that the language being used by media and politicians is eerily resembling 1920-30s Germany and the rise of the Nazi party. I wasn’t paying too much attention, but I valued his statement as he is a remarkable observationalist .
He was right, this style of rhetoric and the undercurrent behind the statements echoes Das Reich and Das Shwarze Korps. I’ve never employed Godwin’s law before – but we are veering on the abyss which leads to National Socialism.
Jeremy Hunt and the government appear to be on course for the world’s first routine 7-day health service. Unfortunately, this pioneering endeavour is hindered by a marked gap in resources. Currently (as according to NHS Providers) 80% of acute hospitals in England are in financial deficit, compared to 5% three years ago. Missed waiting time targets have risen from 10% to 90% during the same period. In recent years, healthcare expenditure per capita for the United Kingdom has been stagnant in comparison with other developed countries:
On the path to establishing this revolutionary provision, a number of steps have been taken to ensure that the foundations are as flimsy as possible. Jeremy Hunt has pushed a junior doctor contract which undervalues them and discriminates against women. He has also removed bursaries for student nurses and allied health professionals. This has nurtured an atmosphere in which applications to work abroad have skyrocketed and the portension of mass exodus hinted at in recent years may well come to fruition. Following recent events, a significant (13.5%) reduction in medical school applications over the last twelve months is unlikely to help matters.
So the question arises, how does Mr Hunt seek to introduce this 7-day NHS with negligible funding and staffing levels? And, perhaps, the answer has been there all along…
Back in 2007, before landing the job of health secretary, Jeremy Hunt asked the Chief Medical Officer to review three homeopathic studies. He also signed an Early Day Motion supporting the provision of homeopathic medicines (including simple saline solutions diluted to negligible concentrations) which “welcomes the positive contribution made to the health of the nation by the NHS homeopathic hospitals”, and “calls on the government to support these valuable national assets”. In 2014, he again called for herbal remedies to be made available on the NHS.
When one of his constituents wrote a letter to Mr Hunt disagreeing with the evidence basis for such treatments, the Secretary of State for Health responded:
“I understand that it is your view that homeopathy is not effective, and therefore that people should not be encouraged to use it as a treatment. However, I am afraid that I have to disagree with you on this issue. I realise my answer will be a disappointing one for you”
Our Minister for Magic Health’s judgement on this matter may have been influenced by another Conservative MP, David Tredinnick. Indeed, Jeremy Hunt’s request for the homeopathic studies to be reviewed was made at the behest of Mr Tredinnick, who has previously advised parliament that blood does not clot under a full moon, advocated the use of homeopathy as a treatment for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria and asked that homeopathic borax be used to control foot-and-mouth disease.
Are Mr Hunt and Mr Tredinnick on to something? The combination of drugs for treating TB vary between £5000 and £50-70000 depending on whether the variant is “normal” or “drug-resistant”. Dilution to homeopathic doses can make these expensive drugs much less costly.
Even better, nature’s finest Witch Hazel, which has been used for TB (albeit in the 19th century), comes in at a tidy £2.99 per bottle from your local chemist and can last for months if the degree of dilution is precise. It can even be grown on hospital grounds, generating further savings.
The workforce could also be rationalised in a homeopathic 7-day NHS. The impact of Jeremy Hunt’s contract for junior doctors (indeed, the need for doctors in the first place) can be negated by alternative healthcare practitioners, some of whom might not even require an income. A new hospital druid role potentially offsets the vast increase in applications to Australia and New Zealand and reduction in medical school applications.
Mr Tredinnick is also a firm believer in astrology as a “useful diagnostic tool” which, alongside complementary medicine, could take “pressure off NHS doctors”. As a Capricorn, the zodiac does indeed advise that his opinion should be reliable and trustworthy for Jeremy Hunt’s Scorpio. Mr Tredinnick states “I do foresee that one day astrology will have a role to play in healthcare.” Conceivably, that day may come sooner, and we will have alternative medicine permeating into our accident and emergency departments. This delightful sketch from comedy duo Mitchell and Webb might not be too far from the truth:
When the practical and economic feasibility of a routine 7-day NHS has been roundly debunked by senior doctors, service providers and analyists, it is only natural to ask how this is going to happen. Maybe, we ought to be thinking a little more naturally ourselves, and prepare for our complementary secretary of state for health to give us a very complementary 7-day routine NHS.
Live reaction on the day that Britain leaves the EU.
The sequence at the end belongs to the movie “Threads” , a television film from 1984 detailing the build-up and the aftermath to a nuclear attack on Sheffield.