Margaret Thatcher died recently. She was exceptional in many ways, I for one took exception to her. But whatever your opinions of her were, at least you knew where you stood. Her opinions were controversial at times but they were never hidden. She said exactly what she meant.
Compare this with what is going on today. We now have a Conservative prime minister who has stated that it is not their intention to privatise the health service. He has stated that the Health Service is safe in Tory hands. But the truth of the matter is very different from the spin. The NHS is in the process of being dismantled quietly and insidiously.
The past few years has seen an unprecedented transfer of services towards the private sector. It is happening in the name of the Tory dogma of ‘Opening services up to competition’, this seemingly innocuous phrase hides a lot of changes which are happening behind the scenes, with as little publicity as the government can manage.
Of course services which have been ‘Opened up to competition’ almost never go back to the NHS because once the service as it existed within the NHS has been dismantled the people and expertise have moved elsewhere, the equipment has been sold or recycled, the rooms have either been used for other services or have been rented out to the private company who are now providing the service.
It is very difficult once a service has been privatised to re-instate that service within the NHS and this almost never happens.
The current CON/DEM politicians are very patient, many small steps in their desired direction, each one so small as to be imperceptible to the general public can achieve their objective. It works like a ratchet. It is only necessary to ensure that there are no steps in the opposite direction.
It may take many years to achieve their goal, but the Conservatives will keep moving relentlessly towards it privatising the NHS bit by bit until a hospital is just a building within which private companies provide various services and the NHS will exist in name only.
That will be a sad day indeed.