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Hell in a handcart

To protect the NHS, stay home (at elections)

This is doing the rounds on social media right now.

It’s funny, but like the best political jokes it has sharp teeth. How many of the people standing outside clapping for the NHS on a Thursday evening voted for a party that’s stripped the NHS bare, refused to pay staff properly, refused to consider its workers key staff when deciding who can live in the UK, refused to stockpile adequate protective equipment, refused to take part in a ventilator purchase scheme for ideological reasons and conducted ongoing privatisation by stealth?

How many of the people demanding footballers pay some extra cash are making similar demands of the UK’s super-rich?

How many of the newspapers calling NHS nurses and doctors angels and promoting NHS fundraisers are owned by billionaires and published by companies carefully structured to avoid paying tax?

NHS underfunding is not an act of God. It’s an act of politicians. And no amount of charity campaigning will fill the gap between what the NHS needs and what the government has been willing to give it – especially once the coronavirus crisis is over and the government can get back to business as usual.

The NHS is desperately underfunded, its staff underpaid and its recruitment hampered by our immigration and Brexit policies. That didn’t start with this coronavirus, and if we don’t demand real change those problems will continue long after COVID-19 is beaten. And when the next pandemic strikes, we’ll be just as unprepared.