Wednesday, August 19, 2009

War of the Words

I often find it amusing to see how often The War of the Worlds radio broadcast of 1938 is used as the go to metaphor in doom and gloom stories. I would not normally mention a specific example, but I am strongly impelled to in this case as it gives me an opportunity to deviate off message and register my disgust at the negative attacks on the NHS presently clogging the American press.

I’m a British resident with a mother in her 80s and I also have a young daughter, so I can talk from experience of both ends of the spectrum. I’m particularly incensed that according to certain American commentators and politicians, my mother should be dead under the NHS. Well, here’s the truth. She would be dead, if NOT for the NHS. During a recent serious illness, at no point did anyone suggest she should be discarded, tossed aside, left to die! She was treated without question of cost – in fact, when we suggested that private care might be best to speed things up (because yes, the NHS can be slow) her consultant, (who would have pocketed the fee) urged us to stick with the NHS as he would have better access to the full suite of medical resources. My daughter also has had exemplary treatment. What American commentators seem to forget in their pathological hatred of anything that smacks of socialism, is that here in the UK, you can get private care quite easily, so we’ve got the best of both worlds. I’ve seen television programs showing thousands of impoverished Americans turning up at charity health fairs, some having travelled hundreds of miles in a desperate quest for free treatment. So how dare the right wing disparage our NHS when America clearly can’t look after its own people with anything approaching care and dignity. Rant over. Normal service will now be resumed.