Friday, 13 May 2011

Health is the most important thing

I don't hold with people making hypocritical statements of regret about the misfortunes of their adversaries, when really they couldn't care less, and I'm not going to make one now. Thankfully I don't have to.

When I heard yesterday that Barnet council leader Lynne Hillan is gravely ill my heart sank. I'm genuinely sorry to hear the news.

I've never felt any personal animosity towards her, even when I've been trying to put awkward questions to her at public question time during Cabinet meetings. On those occasions she has batted them wearily away. I can appreciate now just how wearily.

The anti-cuts group, Barnet Alliance for Public Services, had planned a protest at the council AGM next Tuesday 17 May but we have called it off in deference to the general mood. Why? Because, one, we would be accused of disrespect if we went ahead and, two, probably foremost, our hearts would not be in it.

Instead, we are encouraging people to attend the march for the NHS in central London. I think there is a certain fittingness to this. I do think that some Tories genuinely believe that opening the NHS up - further - to market forces will actually make it better. I think they're wrong, but I wouldn't say they are evil! I like to think that Hillan would be in this camp.

On the other hand, there really is a small, greedy minority who are simply rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of all the profits they are going to make if Andrew Lansley's proposed reforms (the Health and Social Care Bill) go ahead. It is these parasites we need to drive away from the NHS in the next few months.

For each of us individually, health - not making cash - is the most important thing, and that's true for our collective health service, the NHS, as well.

March to save the NHS!
Tuesday 17 May
Assemble: 5.30pm, University College Hospital, Gower Street, for a march to Whitehall. March scheduled to set off at 6pm, due at Whitehall at 7pm.
Nearest tube stations: Euston Square, Euston, Warren Street

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