No one knows at twenty, thirty or forty what their final days will be like.
In 2009, George Osborne delivered those words to the Conservative Party Conference as he announced a pay freeze for public-sector workers (which is still in force seven years later) as well as savage cuts to the welfare state. And we laugh at that now, but the tragedy is it still affects millions today.
Now we have “Strong and stable government”. The Tories, those masters of spin who could persuade turkeys to vote for Christmas, are deceiving us again – you can fool some of the people all of the time is their mantra. They have made a dramatic wealth grab from the weakest and sickest who need social care. Their only crime is to be ill or worse suffer some chronic condition such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or dementia… the list could go on but I am no doctor.
A universally funded NHS will cure a cancer patient, or heart attack victim, and fix me up in accident and emergency- but a weak and frail person will have to pay. They are the Tories’ new targets. Can you imagine the rush to get patients into their own homes knowing that they will have to pay once they step outside the hospital door?
Spinning carefully the Tories announced that patients would be able to keep their last £100,000.
The same party which under Thatcher persuaded people to buy their own homes is now taking those homes back to pay for their social care often at exorbitant weekly rates. I hope middle England and the house millionaires of the South East rise up and kick these Tories where it hurts – in the box – the ballot box.
And care home providers must be rubbing their hands with glee.
With echoes of the speech of George Osborne (now discredited and sacked by May) which declared “We’re all in it together” as he announced the savage cuts and the public sector pay freeze, Theresa May announced, yesterday “We will introduce the first new Mental Health Bill for 30 years, to put parity of esteem at the heart of treatment and end the stigma of mental illness once and for all.”
Yet despite the stupid phrases, – what does parity of esteem mean?- the Conservative spin machine turns on. Now we have “Strong and stable” Theresa May hitting at the weak, sick and humble.
No one knows at twenty, thirty or forty what their final days will be like. Throughout our lives, we have paid our taxes, saved a little here, invested a small sum there. But when it becomes clear we have a chronic problem- a long term degenerative disease- our mind may go and we may be too weak and feeble to argue, we must pay for our treatment. It’s like having an insurance policy only to find when making a claim that we didn’t read the small print and the claim is invalid.
Why can’t we pay taxes that comprehensively cover all of us?
We are one nation, but the Tories believe we are two: the strong and stable go to one side and the aged weak and infirm go to the wall.
In a rather interesting sideline, May inclined her head to Thatcher. No, she couldn’t steal Children’s mid-morning milk, she could take their lunches!
I’m voting Labour if you hadn’t spotted it.