Last Saturday on ITV’s The Jonathon Ross Show, TV personality and comedian Rufus Hound announced that his candidacy for the European Parliamentary elections in May, standing for the single issue National Health Action, NHA, party. This is something that I think we (those of us who value the spirit of the NHS) should all be grateful for. The government is changing the NHS, big business is coming and no one seems that angry. Well at least Rufus is...
"David and Jeremy want your kids to die (unless you’re rich)"
A provocative title for his accompanying blog post, which of course has helped to fuel discussion. However, I think Mr Hound was right to use this, let’s face it anything that aggravates Toby Young, I am going to look upon gladly. OK, it is dramatised, but based on the evidence we have, it does seem that Misters Cameron and Hunt want an end to the NHS as we know it (an NHS that does indeed do its utmost to prevent any child from dying). We have had top down organisation and privatisation, from parties that promised the opposite pre-election, with an opposition who seem to accept the changes, and had themselves help start the privatisation of the NHS. You can see why Rufus has turned to NHA party, why hasn't everybody else?
What will Rufus achieve? To be honest I don’t think a lot. If he actually manages to be elected, as a MEP his campaigning will be in Brussels not Westminster. There is one key piece of legislation that the NHA will be looking to stop, the EU/US free trade agreement, which if passed including the NHS will mean that privatisation will not be reversible. The health and social care act opened up contracting opportunities in the NHS for multinationals and the free trade agreement will mean that future governments will be powerless to reverse the private contracting of these overseas companies. The three main parties are broadly supporting this agreement. Good Luck Rufus.
Rufus has already achieved something though. He has brought the issue he feels so strongly about to the public’s attention, in a way that no backbencher, lobbyist or journalist ever could. Since his announcement NHA party has been discussed across national media. People realise the NHS is being changed and are starting to speak up. I hate to think of the NHS going the same way as Britain’s utilities. Shareholders and profit should be nothing to do with the health and well-being of the country.
Apparently not all clowns are evil.
Rufus Hound: Comedian, Radio 4 presenter, argumentalist, and now would be politician.
Some further reading:
Trade secrets: will an EU-US treaty enable US big business to gain a foothold? http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f3574
It’s time to get serious about NHS, says comedian Rufus Hound. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/its-time-to-get-serious-about-nhs-says-comedian-rufus-hound-9086435.html