I listen to Jeremy Hunt talking on the radio about the NHS. He is calm, softly spoken, subdued. It s Friday 12th February.
Jeremy does not make wild claims about how many £billions the Government is investing in hospitals. He seems to accept that there is very little he and his Government can do. Accepts that things are happening in hospitals that are unacceptable. Jeremy doesn’t know what to do.
There is so much wrong that Jeremy does not know where to start. He could start with money. But it would probably just disappear in the same way that the £billions already going into the NHS disappears, caring for sick, injured, aging people.
Money might help, but the NHS project has been messed around so much, it’s now a dysfunctional organisation. Just like so much of our so-called society.
After 40 years of policies propelling us in a particular direction, following an orthodoxy of how services should be provided, how the country, the world, should run, there is very little chance of changing that direction.
Poor Jeremy Hunt. He is the beneficiary of 40 years of chopping, changing, cuts, re-investment and re-organisation. Now no one knows what the hell to do with the NHS. Likewise social care. Soon to be followed by education.
Parents will soon find their local school suffering in exactly the same way their local hospital suffers. And just like nurses are not to blame, so the teachers are not to blame. Nor the care-workers.
In fact the workers in every industry, every sector, are not to blame for what is wrong with so many things in our country. It’s not the fault of the jobless. Or the immigrants. Or the disabled. Or the unions. Or the young. Or the old.
Remember when you were told it was the trade unions who were dragging us down. It was the trade unions and their militant members who were to blame for our economic woes. We needed to tame the unions and take away their power. We did that, and look what happened.
Remember when the nationalised industries were the problem. Wasting money. Inefficient. Poor service. The solution was privatisation.
Privatise rail, energy, water, everything, and all the problems would disappear. And today the railways are in the news doing their best to rip-off passengers. Energy companies with their confusing tariffs. And how the hell the water companies compete I have no idea.
Remember when we built millions of homes. Mostly council homes, with long tenancies and affordable rents. And then we sold them and did not build any replacements. And said the private sector would provide all the homes we’d need.
And then we sat back and waited …….. until the free market sorted it all out.
And now there are no homes to rent, and those that are for rent are unaffordable. And those who want to buy a home can’t afford a mortgage. And house prices are astronomical, and wages are low, and you never get a pay rise. And we found out the big builder’s five-star quality ratings are in decline, and house build quality is in decline.
So now the Government is going to sort this terrible problem faced by the people. By getting the private sector to build a million homes in double-quick time. But they’re going to need thousands of builders, mainly from the EU.
Remember when we you were told that the next car you buy should have a diesel engine because ………… And now you can’t breathe the air because of the nitrogen oxides. And you were conned by the big diesel car manufacturers. And you can’t sell your diesel car because suddenly no one wants a diesel engine vehicle. The price of diesel has risen and it’s the cause of God knows how many deaths by air pollution.
And here we are, with all our public services sliding into chaos and collapse. A work force that is totally subjugated. Wages falling. Not enough homes. And even if we build more homes, people cannot afford to rent or buy them. And air pollution kills thousands every year.
But we have a few very wealthy people. And they are getting richer. And the Government doesn’t seem to mind, they even try to make them richer, whilst making the poor worker who can’t afford their rent, a lot poorer.
Not to mention taking away the worker’s right to fight for a share of the wealth. So who is to blame?
The people who decide the policies? The people who make the decisions? The people who can’t see the problem? The people who ignore the problem? The people who have the power to change things but don’t, or wont? The electorate?
When I listened to Jeremy Hunt, he sounded like a man who had run out of ideas. He sounded like a man who realised that everything that had been tried for the last forty years, not only had not worked, it had made everything a lot worse. He sounded like a man who didn’t know what to do.
And Jeremy Hunt is not the only one who doesn’t know what to do. Westminster is full of people who don’t know what to do. Especially about the things that matter.
There is only one thing the politicians in Westminster know how to do , that’s bullshit, trick, con and persuade the electorate to vote for the same set of failed people, with their failed ideas and their failed policies.
The last forty years may have worked for a few. The last forty years have not worked for that majority of the electorate. Whatever happens next has to be really thought through, and the chance of Westminster doing that is pretty remote.
If we make judgements based on our emotional response to the last forty years we will elect more extreme versions of what has gone before. Our policies were not tough enough. We were soft on the groups who we blamed. Maybe it’s time we sorted these problems once and for all.
But if, instead, we think about the policies, we just might think those policies were wrong, and those who proposed the policies were wrong. It may well be time to look for an alternative that works for the majority.
The ground is prepared. The seeds have been sown. What will flourish in our pleasant land?