Over the weekend we got the hardly remarkable news that in these austere times “Patients are being left stranded on trolleys for hours and forced to have treatment in corridors due in part to the loss of hospital beds.” We are also told that local health care is at breaking point. That is according to a report from the Royal College of Nursing. It took just two years it seems for this Tory-led government to get back to 1997.
When the ConDem coalition came into government in 2010 the media were falling over themselves to get a sound-bite about Tory plans to slash welfare. Someone finally collared some Tory culprit or another (Chris Grayling? Irritable Duncan Smith?) who insisted “I wish we didn’t have to make some of these decisions. I wish we had come into power in 1997. The Treasury was awash with money then.” Whoever it was I have wondered why more wasn’t made of that cynical sound bite.
Hands up all those who remember the social conditions in 1997. That’s right, schools were crumbling, public services were failing, old folk were dying of hypothermia in the winter, the sick were dying on ever-lengthening waiting lists and, yes, patients were spending hours on trolleys in hospital corridors – and dying there.
But “the treasury was awash with money.” That’s taxpayer’s money. That’s the money the Tory government insists the Labour government squandered after 1997 on schools, hospitals, public services and care for families, the elderly, the sick and vulnerable. But worry not, the way things are going it won’t be long before the treasury is awash with money again. They already have patients on hospital trolleys and the suicide rate among the disabled is rising significantly.
Soon their scheme will have worked its way out and the poor, weak and needy will have died, reducing the surplus population. Now where have I heard that before?