Monday gets even worse as Murdoch serves up some HS2 for the PM to smell
Further to today’s earlier post about David Cameron having trouble inhaling while he is head-down in a hill of sh*t, you may not have thought this possible, but things got worse as the day went on. “I don’t like Mondays” sang Geldof’s Boomtown Rats way back in those innocent days of tertiary and post Punk, but one hopes that – as he sits at home tonight in Number Ten munching on Sam’s home-made Doppia Mozarella with extra Humble – the Prime Minister is capable of being philosophical about how his week got out of the blocks.
Shortly after I posted, various backbenchers, Tory-voting constituencies and new stalking horses popped up to say just how much additional excrement they wanted to pour onto Dave’s hill in relation to his pet project, the HS2 rail link. This is the one that will enable business people only on the train for the cooked-expenses breakfast to arrive in Manchester before they leave London. It’s also the one that is about to take the concept of Nimby to new heights of door-jamb biting opposition.
But the main thing to note here is that Murdoch’s Times once again has the spoon out, and is stirring the heady melange of turds, hate and division prior to depositing it on the only bits left sticking up from the hill, the PM’s calves and feet. The front page lead screamed ‘Tories push high-speed rebellion up the line’: yes, it was another Newscorp exclusive about what the HS2 blueprint will actually say, and why the Party’s grass roots are never going to stand for it. Page 5 had more Tory plotters planning to promote the likes of Graham Brady and Adam Afriyi as stalking horses ‘when’ King David of Camerlot comes a cropper.
You see, this is what happens when you’re the sort of ne’er do well who refuses to stand by Newscorp sociopaths who have broken more laws than Ned Kelly: Rupert will get you. Why else do you think that the Labour Party beyond a few brave backbenchers has an urgent bowel movement every time old scrotum-features tweets something unpleasant about Ed Miliband, or offers warm support to Alex Salmond? Why do you think Jeremy Hunt is Health Secretary, when much of the Tory Party and half the Cabinet would really rather he was the Deputy Foreign Secretary with special responsibility for Bolivian shrimp-farming?
A tame Health Secretary in place is a good thing for an ambitious antipodean-American diversifier to have….and the NHS is another potential medium in which things can be sold – even itself. So today’s Times was an NHS As Brand special. Suddenly, Roop decides, the Health Service is not a sinbin of Commies and truculent nurses desperate to become as incompetently deadly and costly as possible: for while once it was a many-headed dragon burning money, today it is ‘a respected brand the world over with the value of commercial gain for the taxpayer’ (Leader, Page 2), ‘a health service with a lot to shout about’ (Health Correspondent, Page 3), and a thing that should ‘create value and not just be seen as an expense’ (Opinion, Page 20).
You have to hand it to Merdeschlock, when there’s even a passing whiff of more power and mega-money, he is never held back by any commitment to moral consistency. The Digger is the isotopic Dayglo Pimpernel of Mammon: a being capable of both shameless and shameful behaviour at one and the same time – a spinning electron in two places at once, neither of them where you’d expect him to be, because both are where he would never be if the world was sane.
The idea of taking a pale reflection of what the NHS once was sixty years ago – and selling the image of that to an unsuspecting world – is a betrayal of why the world admired us for it in the 1950s. But much worse than that, it is the worst kind of shallow branding bollocks. And I say that as a man who spent four decades at the branding coalface.
On a smaller scale, and with marginally less nefarious objectives, Sir Richard Branson is already powering ahead in the primary care sector of the NHS. Thus far in my neck of the woods – as I pointed out in a recent grumpy post – things can not ‘only get better’, because they are getting worse by the day. Having had my last appointment cancelled at 24 hours notice after waiting ten days for it to happen, I demanded an appointment this morning and was given one that promised a time 53 minutes before I was seen, as such. During this session, the doctor took my bp and found it to be 160/110. I got a concerned look, but suggested by way of riposte that next time, she should take it when I’ve been kept waiting 3 minutes, not 53. Medical people really cannot cope with irony. I fancy this might have something to do their belief that God exists, and they are his representatives on Earth.
Footnote: For those healthy capitalists who might gain the impression that I am not of their persuasion, let me say that I am for entrepreneurial creativity, and virulently opposed to monopolism – be it State or neocon. But for those things concerning the social weal (and the promotion of genuine ethics) I am a massive fan of mutuality.