There is a period of my life that I have yet to blog about. I think the primary reason as to why I’m so hesitant is because I still can’t rationally fathom exactly what I feel, or why I feel it.
It’s just a big grey fog.
It’s the UK General Election, last May.
Regular readers will know I’m a public sector worker, working for the NHS, Britain’s often-criticised attempt at free, impartial health care. Both my parent’s families come from what the UK deems “working class” backgrounds and unions played a big part in family life for years. Therefore it made sense I would vote Labour (UK equivalent of Democrat) even if I didn’t think much of their candidate Ed Miliband.
Research polls had been spewing data for months leading up to May. And many people thought the result would be so convoluted and uncertain that the likelihood of a repeat of a coalition government was a serious possibility. Even UK satirist and commentator Charlie Brooker couldn’t accurately call the result, both offering his own opinion on the subject in a pre-election special, and lampooning it at year’s end.
The Conservatives were strong, but uncertain, Labour had no direction, the SNP were building momentum north of the border, on the heels of their narrow defeat in their quest for independence. The Lib Dems were dead men walking (and they knew it), UKIP was screaming “Immigrants” every ten minutes and the Green Party wanted to put the Queen in a council house.
In hindsight it’s a pity Screaming Lord Sutch was dead, the figurehead and founder of the Monster Raving Loony Party would’ve fitted in nicely amidst all the jostling.
I think a lot of people thought a coalition was a serious possibility. No one party would gain the majority and post-election deals would have to be struck in order for someone to acquire the power.
I was on holiday at the time, nestled in the Welsh countryside, surrounded by family, friends, sheep and a log fire for company.
On election night we watched a movie, I forget what.
Movie ends, turn on the television.
My mom burst into tears.
I just felt numb. A feeling that I still feel writing this. Disconnected, out of step, unimportant.
I admit that I can be really gullible at times. Especially around people. I like to think it’s because I want to see the good in everyone. That everyone wants to do the right thing, help themselves, help people who can’t, and so on. It makes me a sap, apparently.
Even as I write this, it’s still unclear as to how the predictions could be so wrong. Some theories suggest people are hesitant to divulge who they’re going to vote for, especially if it’s for a party that isn’t favourable with the majority.
I have no problem with this, you can vote for who you like. And it’s not uncommon for many people to switch votes if they don’t like the look, or more importantly the proposed polices and experience of a particular candidate.
I freely admit that Ed Miliband would’ve been a questionable PM. Especially with what’s happened since May 2015 – Paris, Syria, more refugees – I find it hard to imagine him uniting a country in those circumstances. So that is at least some credit to the job Cameron’s currently doing.
My real issue is with everything else.
You want to clear the deficit. But you seem to be doing it off the backs of the poorest and the most vulnerable. You’re fighting a war on poor people.
You’re crowing about there are more people in work, which is true. But the majority of the jobs are zero-hours contracts, a situation that gives the employee little benefits, no sick pay and makes them live on eggshells, waiting for the next shift.
A lot of the child-benefits are being axed or curtailed. To the extent that one tear-strewn mother accused a Conservative MP, live on Question Time, or reneging on their promises to leave such benefits alone. I actually laughed at that.
You’re trying to push through legislation that makes it harder for public sector workers to strike, curtailing the power of the unions.
The Junior Doctors fiasco shows no signs of ending.
VAT is still 20%.
And you really, really, really don’t like the NHS. And this is why I voted Labour.
A popular saying in the UK: There is only one religion in the UK, the NHS.
Myself, my friends, we’ve been struggling under the pressure for a while. Years. Plural. A jump in urology surgery of over 45% in a working week in the last five years and minimal additional staff. We acquired an additional Band 6 last year, the first since 2010.
We do the job because we love it. We do the job because it pays. Because if not us, then who?
The media, most of the papers in the pocket of pro-Government owners, run slogans of a badly managed, failing, incompetent, lazy NHS. And it has reached the point in my head that I would actually like the NHS to stop for a week. Like an experiment. For one week there is on free healthcare in the NHS. If you go to A&E you’ll be asked if you can afford the treatment (not via insurance, just liquid available cash), if you can’t then you can’t be treated. Go home, take painkiller.
If you have elective surgery, home visits, care of the elderly, pre-natal care, GP appointments, you’ll be billed after the care is provided. In the case of the surgery, if you can’t pay, you’ll be sued. In case of the appointments, if you can’t pay, the appointments cease.
What’s the problem? This is a business.
The Government have recently decided to withdrawal the free tuition for UK nurse training. The NHS is so bad it cannot afford to cover the tuition for the nurses it trains, uses as free labour and will eventually employ. It makes sense, no other vocation has free tuition, why should nurses not be saddled with tens of thousands of pounds of debt?
So the government forms a “spider trap” out of healthcare, controlling the labour going in, the labour working there, and the organisation as a whole. Well done. Kudos for ingenuity.
I guess the point I’m trying to make here is if you think dragging everyone down to a level where everyone is unhappy and in debt is a good thing, I’m not sure you are someone I want to run my country. Just saying.
You want to clear the deficit of the country, fair enough, but if you break whole parts of the country to do that, is that something you want to be remembered for?
I’m like Buffy. There’s a whole lot I don’t understand about the world. But I am a nurse. That means I have to try my best to do the right thing, and remember to duck.
Which, oddly enough is a line I took from Deadpool, when I used to be an avid fan of the comic, back in the day.