Much like they do when anyone dares to express the wrong opinion about the proper way to make a cup of tea or the correct way to queue, Britons have been speaking with one angry voice, rising up on social media in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweet about their ‘broken’ National Health Service.
It’s like this:
Yesterday, the Cheeto-In-Chief tweeted this:
The Democrats are pushing for Universal HealthCare while thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working. Dems want to greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care. No thanks!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2018
The tweet was referencing an actual demonstration that took place over the weekend, but like a lot of Mr Trumps’s pronouncements it managed to be such a deft inversion of truth so as to be an almost Dadaist piece of art. Yes, thousands of us marched here to protest our health care, but the message of that march seems to have been lost somewhere in transit over the mid-Atlantic. For rather than being up in arms about the existence of a universal, free-at-the-point-of-use health service that ensures that everybody, no matter what their financial situation, is able to receive the care that is their human right, Britons were in fact marching to defend this system.
Why does it need defending? Well, it has been the case for a few decades now that successive governments have to various degrees introduced elements of the private sector into the massive system that is the National Health Service (NHS). This has increased exponentially since the Tories came into power as part of a coalition in 2010, and billions of pounds worth of contracts now regularly go out to tender to private healthcare providers interested in plundering the NHS. The government’s end goal is full privatisation. Our current Health Minister Jeremy Hunt once co-authored a book about the need to privatise the British health service, and he is leading the charge in the way that has proven so effective for so many public services around the world:
Step 1: Defund and demoralise
Step 2: Watch the system deteriorate
Step 3: See people get fed up with poorer service thus making a private alternative more palatable
Step 4: Gradually introduce a relatively affordable and efficient private alternative
Step 5: Diminish and abolish public service, moving all people onto a private system that quickly then ramps up costs while worsening service.
This process has been in progress for quite some time in Britain, but thanks to a complicit media and effective government messaging the public has been slower to react than they should have. Now they are relatively woke. It has taken patients dying in hospital corridors, hospitals having to cancel urgent operations, junior doctors striking for the first time in history, and humanitarian crises being declared, but the public is waking up to the fact that their beloved NHS is slowly being stolen from them. Despite the protests and despite the multiple red alerts being sounded by doctors, nurses, and hospitals, however, the government still refuses to offer up the much-needed funds in order to alleviate the problem. Death by a thousand cuts is the agenda after all.
And so the British march.
And so too do they take umbrage when the President of the United States misrepresents/misunderstands their marching as an attack against their beloved health service.
‘You daft orange cockwomble!’, they all seem to say in unison. ‘You silly misshapen fucktrumpet! We’re marching in protest of the bloody government neglecting our health service, not because we want to see that service replaced by one that looks like yours!’
A rather characteristically more polite form of rebuttal came from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party has pledged to reverse the rampant privatisation of the NHS, and who responded to Mr Trump this way:
Wrong. People were marching because we love our NHS and hate what the Tories are doing to it. Healthcare is a human right. https://t.co/Pmo2xYSqZh— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) February 5, 2018
Others chose a different tack:
Hey, Britain here. Literally nobody here would ever want to trade our National Health Service for what America has. https://t.co/RQD0fIlMEV— James O'Malley (@Psythor) February 5, 2018
Trump needs to take his nose out of our NHS, I suggest he looks in his own backyard where his regime is plotting to deny vital healthcare to millions of fellow Americans. The last thing our NHS needs is a phoney president making comments to undermine it! Just butt out for once 😡— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) February 5, 2018
Mr President, we’re marching to protect it, not privatise it. It’s a concept you may be unfamiliar with. Called democracy. https://t.co/tG9JRVJyyS— Rachel Clarke (@doctor_oxford) February 5, 2018
Brits love the NHS and Trump denies millions of Americans decent health care. The ignorant turd’s guaranteed a big protest if he ever visits Britain https://t.co/1i01JB6KBu— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) February 5, 2018
Even our NHS-destroying Health Secretary got in on the action:
I may disagree with claims made on that march but not ONE of them wants to live in a system where 28m people have no cover. NHS may have challenges but I’m proud to be from the country that invented universal coverage - where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance https://t.co/YJsKBAHsw7— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) February 5, 2018
Not everyone was fooled, however:
So 60,000+ people march through London to #FundOurNHS— Dr Lauren Gavaghan #NHSLove (@DancingTheMind) February 5, 2018
Not a squeak from Jeremy Hunt as he’s at a spa.
Now Trump tweets some nonsense about the NHS, & immediately Jeremy Hunt responds like the hero.
Don’t be fooled by the show.
Donald Trump's tweet about the NHS being crap and Britons rebelling against universal healthcare seems to be based on him watching this morning's Fox News interview with Nigel Farage. Compare and contrast here: https://t.co/5Jgk2oGcR1— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) February 5, 2018
I interviewed an American doctor who received a bill for the resuscitation of her baby who eventually died. The unborn baby hadn't been insured so no cover. I'd prefer the NHS to that Mr Trump.— Nihal Arthanayake (@TherealNihal) February 5, 2018
Donald Trump claims the NHS is so bad people are on the streets marching against it.— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) February 5, 2018
Here's how the US and UK health systems rank against each other. https://t.co/8LbQuAiwcf pic.twitter.com/FbzREUQLw2
Donald Trump spends his time on Twitter insulting people around the world and now is insulting our NHS. If he does decide to come to our country, he will be welcomed by millions of angry British people.— Nadeem Ahmed (@Muqadaam) February 5, 2018
People are so proud of the NHS in the UK that it starred alongside James Bond in the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. Imagine an American Olympics trying to highlight our health care system when the biggest cause of personal bankruptcy in the US is medical debt. https://t.co/Qjcx4N2owz— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) February 5, 2018
Remember it is Trump who will be doing those “very big” US-UK trade deals with Theresa.— Dr Lauren Gavaghan #NHSLove (@DancingTheMind) February 5, 2018
And our NHS is potentially very lucrative.
The NHS is currently being packaged into bundles very much like the American model. (ACO’s / “integrated health systems”) pic.twitter.com/4VVIjCc1pI
Billionaire-in-chief Trump laughably claimed a *pro*-NHS march in London—an anti-austerity protest demanding more funding—is a sign that universal healthcare is "not working" in the UK.— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) February 5, 2018
In reality, it's capitalist healthcare that is miserably failing herehttps://t.co/juviTdpBTm
Life expectancy, UK vs. US:— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) February 5, 2018
🇬🇧 male: 79.4; 🇺🇸 male: 76.9
🇬🇧 female: 83.0; 🇺🇸 female: 81.6
Healthcare spending (OECD):
🇬🇧: 9.9% of GDP
🇺🇸: 16.6% of GDP
🇺🇸: 28 million https://t.co/Qjcx4N2owz
I do find it fascinating that immed after 60,000+ #FundOurNHS march demanding govt fund & staff NHS properly - Theresa May & Hunt now coming forth as the heroes against the Trump villain.— Dr Lauren Gavaghan #NHSLove (@DancingTheMind) February 5, 2018
Well played. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻https://t.co/qu71nbPViD
When we need an opinion from an ignorant, racist, misogynistic, science-denying bigot, you can be sure we call.— Rachel Clarke (@doctor_oxford) February 5, 2018
Until then, kindly keep your vacuous prejudices to yourself.
That is all.
The NHS https://t.co/15JueE9Qcb