Left Out Liberal

A left-wing/liberal look at the UK's General Election of 2005.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


From the result of the totally unscientific but nevertheless interesting quiz on who I should vote for, what shocks me is the distance between me and Labour. This is due to a combination of their lurch to the centre-right, and the moving of the Lib Dems to the centre-left, but it is saddening that the party I would naturally have voted for in the past has changed beyond all recognition.

Yesterday's manifesto was an appalling mix of privatise this, subsidise that and "give people greater choice". Normally, I quite like choice. I believe people should be as free as possible. But when it comes to education and healthcare, choice should not come into it. Everyone should have the opportunity to get the best available without having to choose between arbitrary two star and one star hospitals. I don't know about you, but next time I keel over in the street I certainly won't be using my dying breaths to shout, "Take me to St. Thomas' hospital! Only they have a four star rating in heart surgery! They will save me!"

I just want the local hospital to do the job and do it well. This is the failure of New Labour. Even for an outpatient appointment, I don't care that the hospital 50 miles down the road does better vasectomies than any in the land. How am I supposed to get there to take advantage of it? Why can't my hospital 5 miles away do it just as well?

Naturally, the people who gain from choice are those who can afford to exercise it. If you're poor and have no car, then you have no choice but to go to the nearest hospital anyway. So once more, we see another Labour policy that will only benefit those who are better off. In any case, regardless of wealth, it's still a hassle to be moving round the country. Why do we need choice when it comes to healthcare? All we want is a uniform standard NHS hospital close enough to everyone. Meanwhile, those "failing" hospitals will get less patients, and there may even come pressure to close them.

Worse is the fact that, if I'm reading this correctly, by 2009 patients will be able to choose from any hospital in the land, as long as that hospital can provide the operation to NHS standards and equivalent or better financial cost. So taxpayers money could theoretically be going nicely into the back pocket of private hospitals. Kerching! In that case, why not do away with the NHS and simply institute a national system of healthcare insurance?

Labour are taking us closer and closer to the privatisation of the NHS via Peter Hain's famous back door. Do not be under any illusions that this is the party of socialism. They are not even social democrats.
"Healthcare is too precious to be left to chance... This means defeating those who would dismantle the NHS" - Labour 2005 Manifesto
Yes, Tony. It is too precious to be left to chance. It is also too precious to be left in your heads. You are dismantling the NHS. You must be defeated.


At 6:15 am, April 15, 2005, Blogger Rice Rockette said...

there's no point voting. I gave up on it years ago. just don't bother!

At 11:29 am, April 16, 2005, Blogger Eddie said...

I'm curious as to what makes you say that. I'm not critical, as I was considering not voting in this election either. I just wonder what your motivation for not voting is.


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