Tuesday 26 June 2012


So, I wake up on a Monday morning and I really don't want to go to work. The same thing happens on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. And sometimes on Saturday and Sunday as well. I think that makes me normal. What sets me apart from the hoi polloi, however, is that as hungover as I may be, as crotchety as I sometimes feel or, as much in agony as I am this week (nursing a new and interesting, probably age-related, knee injury) I still go into work.

I'm self-employed, so illness isn't an option. If I don't go in I don't get paid and that isn't something that causes me much distress because I grew up without any sense of entitlement for the simple act of existence. I look to nobody to steer my ship and expect nobody to man the boats if I hit the rocks. Although, I admit, it would be great if the NHS, for which I have paid all my life would look kindly on my need for pain relief when it all gets too much.

Nurse! Pass me my keyboard I have work to do!

But that isn't going to happen is it? In the never-ending quest for votes, socialists on all sides (for there are few enough other types of politician these days) woo the electorate by spending ever more of their money on stuff to placate the necessitous. And what better way to grow your electorate than to create more need and hence more needy? The country can easily afford to staff and stock hospitals with the right people and placebos to treat pain, disease, old age, trauma and good old bleeding. But where's the fun in that?

No, what we need are ever more impressive infirmities, maladies and melodrama. We need to celebrate the complexes, exaggerate the ailments and fill our waiting lists with the sicknesses, signs and symptoms of advanced disorders befitting our increasingly pallid, infantilised and ineffectual population. Tell somebody they are unwell and lo' they will take to their state-funded bed and wait to be cured.

"But our hospitals are overcrowded!" they wail, as low self-esteem competes for attention against eat-too-much-itis.

"Then we shall build more!" sayeth the 'profit' "Build it and they will come!"

"But you spent all our money!" they object.

"Why, we shall spend thy children's money then. And thy children's children's..."

"And there will be enough nurses?" they ask.

"Nurses? Fuck off! What use are nurses against the modern malaise?" spake the profit. "We need consultants and accountants and managers and alchemists and hoodoo and voodoo that you do so well..." And thus was born the private finance initiative.

How's that working out for you South London Healthcare NHS Trust?

I really don't care whose fault it is. I couldn't give a damn what colour tie they wear to the House of Commons. Somebody - and it might as well be me - needs to stand up and say it out loud. There's nothing wrong with you. Now fuck off out of my hospital and get back to work you malingering poltroon!

There, that's fixed the NHS. No need to thank me.

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