This satirical tweet just flitted through my timeline:
NEWZ-SPOOF: “Charging migrants for A&E will be similar to how one pays for their children’s school fees” Confirms senior source.
I say satirical, just in case it’s not entirely clear from context. The context being the behaviours of our current government since the last general election.
Got me thinking, though. The NHS is being privatised piece-by-piece. Been a while since it was a UK-wide health service anyway. That wasn’t this government but the New Labour regime which came before. New Labour simply prepared the ground for this government to do its worst.
They’re already talking of charging for GPs’ surgeries, putting caps on repeat offenders (ie patients who visit the doctor too frequently), postponing operations to the point where private will become the only option … and it may all be scaremongering or it may all be a process of softening us up. Whatever the reality, it’s now being unabashedly talked about – where it never was before, whilst shame impeded public airing.
The latest wizard wheezes apparently include the idea of charging migrants. “You want a foreign appendix out? You pay foreign rates,” would appear to be the argument. Now whilst to many of us on the left this appears manifestly stupid, anti-human and downright immoral, such sensitivities don’t seem to be experienced on the other side of the fence. So I thought, today, I’d think-tank the same process into the justice system – in particular the police service. Let’s run with the idea and see how far it takes us.
Imagine a Spanish person, a person exactly like my children in fact, was mugged on the streets of Chester in broad daylight. He or she would surely be divested of their credit and debit cards, their money and other documents – as well as their mobile phone and maybe trainers. Hobbling as they might to the nearest friendly police station or officer, they would inform the authorities of what had transpired. However, on requesting their name the authority in question would realise its essential “foreignness”, and would remember that recently-introduced procedures now required evidence of nationality and residence status. Fortunately, the muggers would decide to leave the mugged with his or her national ID card, thus at least confirming the former if not the latter. The police officer would then, of course, be sympathetic to the situation but would have their hands tied as far as helping out was concerned. Unless, that is to say, in the absence of properly-documented residence status, the Spanish person in question was able to pay the official migrant service fee.
Or let’s stretch the comparisons even further and ask what might happen if such a service fee was introduced for the fire service. Or, God forbid, if you found yourself on a stricken ferry in British waters and couldn’t evidence your right to be winched to safety.
That all these analogous situations are now going to be introduced first to this rump of a health service I mention can, I suppose, only mean one thing: one day that Spanish person, or indeed that English person him- or herself abroad, will, in the moment of the most extreme distress, have to cough up the vilest of antisocial charges any so-called social grouping could invent for itself.
For when I suggest we need to get a perspective on NHS privatisation, that – precisely – is the perspective I mean. If your government can already justify using the privatisation of health provision to mug your body and mind, just think how easy it will become for them to unleash the idea of first- and second-class crime victims – especially when “foreigners” are involved.
As well as, by so doing, undermine the essential integrity and absolutism of key liberal concepts around personal and private property.
One for the Daily Mail‘s readers, that one.
Oh what fun we’re going to have!