So, last night I was on The Jonathan Ross Show with Robert Lyndsay. We’re promoting the show we’re in together so you’ll hopefully see us on lots of things together over the coming months. Well, in truth, hopefully you’ll just come and see the show :)
I also came out. Yes. That’s right. I know we live in enlightened times, but it was still very hard to do. In case you missed it, I’ll repeat it.
I’m… I’m… I’m going to become [bork]… a politician.
In May, I will be standing as a prospective Member of the European Parliament, and doing so for The National Health Action Party.
For anyone who follows me on Twitter, I doubt that my party of choice will come as too much of a surprise. I’ve been tweeting endlessly over the past few months about the dangers the NHS currently faces, but over Christmas, something changed. My wife – similarly passionate – suggested that we were becoming “those people”. Those people who whinge on and on, wringing hands and asking “But why isn’t somebody doing something?!” – instead of actually doing something.
So, we decided that we’d do something. We just didn’t know what. Neither of us imagined it would involve one of us becoming a… [double bork]… politician.
The NHS is the one of the single greatest achievements of any civilisation, ever, anywhere in the history of the world. Great Britain decided that being broken wasn’t your fault. If bits of you got smashed off, started going wrong or gave up entirely, it would do it’s best to stick them back on, put them right or find you a new one. It essentially made being healthy a human right.
Up until 1948, only wealthy people had access to doctors. Your likelihood of surviving disease was based on your income. In other words, if you were poor, you were fucked. Then came World War Two and with it a generation of young Britons who died in foreign fields, fought for queen and country, opposed fascism and sacrificed nearly everything. The only way through it was for everyone to pull together – prince and pauper, dustman and duke. The sense of nationhood that sprang from this tragedy, the sense that “we’re all in this together”, meant that within three years of the war finishing it was decided that the state would cover the healthcare costs of its citizens. That, regardless of your own personal wealth, you could expect medical attention as and when you needed it.
In short, compassion won.
Well, it won for a short while. The millionaires that currently run things have decided that you (assuming you’re not a member of the Bullingdon Club, or a trustafarian) can go fuck yourself. This place is for them, not you. Why should you get free healthcare? Why can’t they take that big pot of money ear-marked for medicine and just start sharing it out amongst themselves? People are desperate when they’re sick and nothing’s as easier to monetise than desperation. Big, rich, private heathcare companies have donated millions to the Conservative party and now they’re calling in the debt. Jeremy Hunt is killing the NHS so that his owners can bleed you dry.
I don’t believe the NHS is perfect or that it doesn’t need to change. I have known people have terrible times and feel completely betrayed by it. Sad, but true. However, the vast majority of those who use it are delighted. The NHS is composed of incredible human beings whose capacity to care is a combination of vocation, education and genuine kindness. Of course some of them screw up from time to time – sometimes with tragic results – but that’s because they’re human beings. Fallible human beings. And if you employ over a million of them, (as the NHS does), mistakes will be made. The NHS is imperfect, yes, but it’s still totally kick-ass.
It’s also the most cost effective health care system in the world. For every pound spent on the NHS, it returns a value of five times that to the economy. And we need to stop taking it for granted and tell the shower of outright bastards that are stealing it from us to back off. It’s ours, not theirs.
So that’s what I’m doing. There’s no way I should be an MEP. I’m not smart enough, or machiavellian enough, to survive in modern politics. My closet barely closes for the number of skeletons. I’m an ex-touring stand-up and professional show off, not a statesman. But then the NHA is wholly made up of people who don’t want to be politicians. Literally, none of them. It’s just that it turns out that the people who do want to be politicians – i.e. politicians – are a pack of duplicitous c**ts who have absolutely no interest in ensuring that free healthcare – provided according to need, not wealth – remains the cornerstone of our brilliant country. Somebody has to do something. So it looks like it’s going to have to be us. It’s a nightmare.
So, please, read the stuff on the NHA website. If you want to know how these politico douchebags are taking away your kids access to medicine, it’s all right there. The NHA folks are way smarter than I am. And nicer. I mean, most of them are doctors, ffs. You don’t get smarter or nicer than that.
Once you’ve got wise to these vampiric fuckers, get angry. Start making noise. Tweet. Facebook. Tell people what’s going on. Write to your MP. Tell them to stop what they’re doing. Tell them to act in the best interest of the people who elected them (y’know, almost as if that were their fucking job).
We can’t afford not to take a stand. The lives of our children, of our grand-children, of our great grand-children may very well depend on it.
(Thanks for reading this much text. I tried to be succinct, but there’s so much to say. Should probably have got an editor instead.
Oh, and sorry for all the swearing. I’m just a bit like that.
Anyway, cheers for reading.)