Azara Blog: Nick Clegg launches cowardly attack on the NHS

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Date published: 2008/01/20

The BBC says:

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has launched an attack on the way the NHS is run, describing it as a service in "crisis".

In his first major television interview since becoming leader, Mr Clegg said: "It is one of the most unequal health services in the modern world."
The Lib Dems would introduce locally elected health boards, Mr Clegg told the Andrew Marr show, and if patients' needs were not met they would be able to have private treatment paid for by the NHS.
He said the "great crisis" in the NHS is that after 10 years of "unprecedented" spending, it was full of inequalities because of the centralised "top down" way in which it is managed.

"If only the National Health Service was a national health service.

"It is one of the most unequal health services in the modern world.

"In Sheffield, the city where I'm an MP, if you are a child born in the poorest ward in Sheffield, you will die, today in 2008, 14 years before a child born five miles down the road in the wealthiest ward and the Health Service, the National Health Service, isn't providing equitable outcome.

If this is the best argument Clegg can make, he should quit now before he makes a further fool of himself. No institution in the world produces "equitable outcome" if by "equitable outcome" you mean that all social classes have to have the same outcome, no matter what. Most people would deem it "equitable" if everyone were given equal opportunities in life, not if everyone ends up in exactly the same situation as everyone else.

And it is not the fault of the NHS that poor people do worse in life. Poor people just do worse. Period. Perhaps the Lib Dems believe the government can magically socially engineer the universe so that poor people do not end up at the bottom of the pile and that rich people do. Funnily enough, Clegg's brilliant "solution" to the "problem", namely to "introduce locally elected health boards", would make no difference whatsoever to any social divide.

Of course Clegg is one of those spoiled rich people who has done very well in life because of the situation he was born into, rather than because he has any talent, so perhaps this speech is just an attempt to pretend that he can slum it with the best. If he wants to condemn his own privilege in life, and admit that he got where he is because of who his parents were, then let him do so, rather than cowardly attacking the NHS. If Britain had a few less upper class twits in parliament and a few more people with brains, the world would be a better place.

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