There you have it. The future of the NHS depends on how you vote on 8th June. Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state for dismembering the NHS, effectively said so today. Hunt’s words formed part of an old Tory slogan that having an NHS depends on a strong economy. What he, and his Tory friends, actually mean by this is simple: if the economy tanks badly you can kiss goodbye to the NHS and when we complain about it they will say “told you so.”
Today, Hunt made a subtle change to the Tory line. He brought the forthcoming Brexit negotiations into the equation. He said: “If we get a bad outcome, it will be terrible for the British economy. We won’t be able to lock in our recovery, there will be less money for the NHS – all of our public services.” What’s more, Hunt managed to keep a straight face throughout.
So, if we get a “bad outcome” – and any outcome May comes up with will be worse than what we already have – the NHS and just about every other vital public service is in serious danger. And if May is true to her word that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, it will be just as well to not get ill at any point in the future unless you are as wealthy as Jeremy Hunt.
Unless you were born yesterday – or believe every word you read in the Mail and Sun – you will know full well that the NHS and the Tory Party are not natural bedfellows. The NHS only just survived a sustained assault from Margaret Thatcher’s government from 1997 which took it near to a point of ruin. It was New Labour, under Tony Blair, which made record investment in our NHS, investment that ended once the Tories assumed power again in 2010. Now, with Labour destined for a long period of opposition at best and oblivion at worst (and most likely), the Tories have their biggest opportunity to get rid of the NHS once and for all. And now they have the excuse to do it.
Brexit will be long, complex, tortuous, painful, damaging and expensive for our country. Chancellor Phillip Hammond has already set aside £60 million of our money, which surely could be better spent, to deal with the financial storms which will soon hit. We already have a slowing economy where growth has been based almost entirely on borrowing and consumer spending. What happens when the borrowing and spending stops? Why, the government has lower tax receipts. Some things will have to give.
I have no faith in the ability of Theresa May to negotiate her way out of a paper bag, never mind “the best possible deal for Britain”, whatever that is supposed to mean (which is nothing). But I do believe that she is cynical enough to carry out an exercise whereby Brexit goes horribly wrong, as I suspect it will, and armed with a substantial three-figure majority can get rid of the NHS “at a stroke” and blame everyone else in the process. It will be the EU, those remoaners, Jeremy Corbyn, who will by then returned to the backbenches voting against everything the Labour does, the BBC and everyone else, except her.
Jeremy Hunt has admitted the NHS is on the line and a vote for Theresa May’s nasty Tory Party is a vote to end the NHS. Think about that one when you get in the polling booth and vote for that hard Brexit.