Sunday, 26 April 2020

Lockdown ramblings

I think the above is rather beautiful. All the living Doctors (well, nearly) together to praise the doctors and carers and medical supporters of the UK. Matt Smith has a very nice house, I like that Colin Baker's wearing a Thirteenth Doctor T-shirt, and if anyone wants to bitch about Jodie Whittaker and Jo Martin being on there, they can fuck off. It's a pity Eccleston didn't do it, especially as he's such a vocal NHS supporter, but there's a lot of complications between him and the BBC so better not go there. Tom Baker is OK! Although he's looking so old now. David Bradley is missing too, although you can watch him on season two of After Life, if you don't mind crying your bloody eyes out.

It's a good, important message. I've not been joining in with the raucous applause and saucepan rattling, mainly because it winds the dog the hell up as it is, but I totally support people celebrating the NHS like that. I support the idea of Comic Relief and Children in Need coming together (which isn't that big a deal, they're both run by the BBC) to raise money in an impromptu event, to support those in particular need right now. Even though there's still the sour taste left by people in luxurious mansions telling us flat-dwellers "we're all in this together" and the super-rich asking that we delve into our pockets to donate. Stephen Fry and Prince William had better have coughed up some serious money.

That's the problem. With every glorious coming together like this, I can't silence my cynical side. (Which is, you know, my main side. It's probably three sides out of four, like a grumpy rhombus.) The Big Night In event wasn't to raise money for the NHS per se, but that's the unspoken understanding. I'm not going to go into the government's response to the pandemic in much detail, there were mistakes but I think it's been largely sensible except for the baffling refusal to engage with the EU over ventilator supplies. However, having spent ten years systematically defunding the NHS, then making all foreign-born doctors and nurses feel unwelcome in our country, clapping for them seems a bit offensive. The NHS isn't perrfect, but we're lucky to have it, and it's been so utterly shafted by the Conservative government that it's barely able to cope with the normal level of healthcare needed.

No we have old men and women raising money for it, and doing incredibly well. It's amazing that they've achieved that, and if anyone wants to give extra to the NHS, good for them. But the NHS is not a charity, it is a national organisation that is paid for by taxation. We have already paid for the NHS, only to see funds diverted and the organisation eviscerated. This is a clear step along the path to the NHS becoming a private organisation supported by donations, and that is appalling.

Meanwhile, we have tax dodgers like Gary Barlow asking us to donate to national causes, and the Prime Minister, among others who voted against a rise in nurses' pay, clapping the workers they've deliberately harmed. It's sickening.

Please come together and celebrate, and give what you can. But don't believe it when we're told we're all in this together.

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