06 March 2010


Like many people who like to consider themselves well informed, Dr Grumble listens to the Today programme most mornings. Unfortunately he hears the beginning and never the end. The best interviews are timed to reach the ears of the important people in the world. Real workers traditionally start work at 8 o'clock. Bosses start work at 9 o'clock - or later. Dr Grumble has never understood why this is. If the time you start work determines whether you are a worker or a boss, Dr Grumble falls into the worker category. Easily.

Today being Saturday Dr Grumble might actually hear the end of the Today programme. There does not seem too much real news around at present so perhaps that's why today on Today they eventually got round to mentioning that 13 hospitals in London are under threat of closure. Dr Grumble has known about this for some time and he was surprised that it was only today that Today caught up with this stale news. Perhaps they don't consider it important. Or maybe it is not contentious. It is political but it is not party political. This is what John Lister says:

The cuts are political. They’re not party political because both Labour and the Tories are committed to essentially the same programme.

Dr Grumble did say that he expected this blog would take a more political direction as the election neared. Dr G actually had it in mind to tell you how to vote. But the problem he has is that he hasn't yet found a party with different policies from the present incumbents. Quite a lot of people are aware of this anomaly which may be why one of the parties is trying to advertise its way out this rather fundamental problem by implying that they stand for change.

Now that Dr Grumble has realised he is a worker it is time to look at the Socialist Worker's take on this. Dr Grumble never thought he would ever become a fan of the Socialist Worker. But our democracy is very weak at present. We do need an alternative view. At present all we really have are the red team, the blue team and the yellow team. Party politics has become little more than one of those games you play at management training meetings when you are allocated to a red, blue or yellow team and plan the future with the aim of reaching the same bottom line.

Party politics no longer has passion. No longer is there real argument about real issues. No longer are there two sides to every story. Is it any wonder that so much in politics seems to revolve around personalities? There is nothing else. Where's the meat?

What we want and so desperately need is something different on offer. But there is nothing different. People want change. We all know that. But one thing is for sure: they won't get it here. They might get something even worse. The electorate are not daft. They see what Grumble sees.

With no other way forward on offer, the NHS we know and love is doomed. It is the most awful tragedy. It will cost us dear. But it seems there is no way out of the direction in which we have been forced. We, the people, have not chosen this route for our beloved NHS. Neither the policies or their implementation have been discussed. In today's parlance there has been a certain lack of transparency if not complete opacity. All this has, of course, been most deliberate. As a consequence the public know little of the true depth of the catastrophe that is about to be unleashed. Compounding the public ignorance, the media show little real interest in the NHS. The Today programme addresses the hospital closure only as the briefest of asides on the quietest of quiet news days. The BMA, not know for its alacrity, has reacted far too late. (Dr Grumble will leave you to guess the reason.) The fate of the NHS is, to be realistic, already a fait accompli.

If you can bear to listen to how New Labour caused this impending disaster by surreptitiously bringing their policies into line with those of their predecessors, watch John Lister in the video. If you feel for the NHS like Dr Grumble, make sure you have a tissue to hand. Or a box of tissues.


Anonymous said...

I didn't need any tissues; that wasn't arousing in the slightest!


Dr Grumble said...

Sorry if you were bamboozled into listening to the video, anonymous.

Perhaps that is the problem. How the health service is organised is actually rather boring. People have not been fired up over what is taking place in the NHS and probably won't be until they see the consequences. By which time it will be too late.

Stuart Jeffery said...

Can I urge you to look at what the Greens are saying too? We have just revamped our entire health policy and I suspect we are very close in thinking!

Not only are we fighting the privatisation and marketisation of health care, we are very likely to make a breakthough into Westminster in May.

Dr Grumble said...

Thanks, Stuart. I will definitely put the Greens' health policy on my reading list.