Imagine my delight when I heard Dan Hannan was back in the news? Ever the eager beaver where Mr Hannan is concerned, I was like a giddy school kid waiting for the page to load and yearning to see what words of wisdom he had to impart this time. When the page finally loaded I couldn’t have been more disappointed. I was gobsmacked to see Dan has launched a scathing atack on the NHS claiming that he “wouldn’t wish it on anyone”. His comments came in response to news that the Republicans have launched television adverts slamming the NHS as ‘evil’ ‘socialist’ and even ‘Orwellian’. I usually find myself entirely in sync with my Republican colleagues but on this occasion I couldn’t be more opposed to their sensationalist suggestions.  The fact is that the medical care in America, the same care Mr Hannan endorses, is horrificly unequal. People with life threatening illnesses often find themselves unable to cover the cost of their healthcare and thus severely compromise their recovery. This only adds to the individuals sense of distress and fear not just physically but mentally, after all is there any point getting beter if youve had to sell almost everything you own to pay for it?!

Esitmates claim that there are 47 million Americans without health insurance and many millions who suffer unneccessarily. I passionately believe that when it comes to healthcare the people have a universal right to have it provided for them, in large part, by their government. Having experienced the horrific expense of the American healthcare system first hand, where a mere ambulance call out can cost upwards of $400, I know that the NHS, whilst flawed and poorly administrated, is an invaluable institution that all Conservatives should strive to protect. After all our job as Conservatives is to conserve that which we as a nation cherish and believe to be an irreplacable part of our national fabric. The NHS is part of that fabric. It is an institution that emmerged out of the ruins of war ravaged Britain and breathed new life in to our struggling people. It survived the wreckless Labour government that led us to the Winter of Discontent and even emmerged relatively untouched from the ravages of the Thatcher revolution. Indeed in Thatchers timeless words “The NHS is safe in our hands”.

It has stood the test of time, weathered revolution and war and has become an integral part of the British political tradition. We as Conservatives must promise to protect it. I am not going to be so arrogant as to comment on how the American system should progress and reform because frankly I do not know enough and I recognise the fact that universal healthcare would be much more expensive and difficult to implement under the US system of government. But one thing I am sure of is that where our NHS is attacked I and many other Conservatives will fight back and say “Hands off our NHS!”.  At the most basic and fundamental level my defence of the NHS stems from my passsionate belief in the inailiable right of every individual to life. In a nation as wealthy and privellaged as ours I believe we have a moral duty to provide free if not massively subsidised healthcare (and thus right to life) to all our people blind to background, wealth or status. What we should be talking about is how to reform and revive this invaluable institution.


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