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A Facebook Comment on 'fixing' the NHS

Ugh, this is why I try not to use Facebook any more. Every so often I get tempted to write a sensible rebuttal comment on a post, only to get attacked by illiterates, who are incapable of adding anything useful to the conversation and just attack my polical alignment.

Anyway, as I’m in the mood for a bit of long-form writing this morning…

It is in every elected governments interest to stay in power as long as possible. However, in order to 'fix' the country, and ensure that all citizens are treated fairly, the government is faced with hard fiscal decisions, which will either piss off the majority or the minority. No government wants to piss off the majority as that will affect the government’s chances of being re-elected. So, the government (be it red, blue, or in the past, yellow) makes tax and benefit adjustments around the edges creating the illusion that things are ‘changing’ but in reality, not really doing anything significant.

There are about 300,000 full time nurses in England. That’s about 5.4% of the populous (based on current estimates of 55 million people). If a government thinks it can win the election with a majority greater than, say, 7% (due to how the seats in the Commons works) then that 5.4% who are very angry Nurses won’t be listened to.

However, almost everyone enjoys alcohol. Annoy those people by aggressively raising taxes on it, and as a government, you are risking your re-election chances. They can’t go near tobacco as current estimates put the number of people still smoking at almost 17% - that’s also a big enough demographic to wreck any re-election chances.

The core problem with the NHS is that it has been mismanaged from it’s inception, too many managers, monopolistic supplier policies, flip-flop policies and funding, and a lack of any government prepared to plan for it beyond their (current) four year term.

Finally, we’ve all had those times where we get near the end of the month, and we’ve already run out of money, and have to borrow money from elsewhere to make ends meet. But those loans are a only a short term fix; you may have solved your financial crisis for now, but overall you have less money than you did as you now have extra loans to pay off. In our countries financial system, that’s called the Deficit. There is simply not enough money coming into the treasury to sufficiently pay for all the public services. We could give all the nurses a 10% pay rise, but another service would suffer. If you had to choose, which would it be? Pay the Nurses, but lose all the Fire-fighters?

The only way I see to get any government to start thinking long-term about running the country, is to limit the number of terms a particular party can have. This would reduce the yo-yo vote-winning policies that get rolled out every year before a General Election. If you can’t be voted back in, then you may as well focus on doing something that’s best for the country, even if it does annoy a large swathe of the population. However, we can’t do this, as we currently have a two party system, so preventing the incumbent party from standing after X number of terms, would result in a slam dunk election victory for the other party by default, which is hardly democratic.

Extracted from a comment I made on Facebook - March 2018