The older I get, the more letters I seem to write to MPs and Lords. I’m not sure if this is entirely due to the ravages of age, or if it’s just that I enjoy getting multiple identical responses from Gerald Kaufman’s intern. I do have a thing for House of Commons notepaper, maybe this could explain it. I stole some once when on a tour of the House of Commons at the age of 16. Always intended to use it to cause an international incident, never got around to it. Anyway, here’s a letter I’m about to post to Lord Greenway. Apparently the correct way to address the letter is to “The Lord Greenway”. As opposed to just any old Lord Greenway, I suppose. Incidentally, should you want to pester a Lord, you can do so using this.
Dear Lord Greenway,
I am writing regarding the Third Reading of the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill. I have attempted to research your current views on this bill, but have not found anything conclusive and so beg your forgiveness if we are already of the same opinion.
There are many faults with the bill, which have been widely debated in the press and which I will not waste your time with here: I am sure you are already well aware of the implications. However, the elements of the bill that I consider to be dangerous will be seen by some as being desirable. While I believe in a National Health Service, there are some who believe a privatised system to be the superior system. While I believe that healthcare should be equally available to all, there are some who believe that the quality of care should depend on the amount one is able to spend. I do not expect the opinions of either side will ever change. However, one principle that I would hope both sides share is that of democracy.
The Government entered Parliament under a promise that they would not attempt a top-down reorganisation of the NHS. Instead, they are attempting to shoehorn this convoluted, labyrinthine, Trojan Horse of a bill through Parliament. The medical establishment are against this bill, the public are against this bill. The only people in support of this bill, so far as I can see, are those who will profit from it. If the Government wishes to privatise the NHS, they should not do this through stealth. They should go to a General Election, laying their plans before the public. The debate should be had before the public eye and the public should have the option to decide for or against this dramatic change to their health service.
I believe that the duty of the House of Lords is to protect our democracy. The second chamber exists to provide checks and balances against the first. If ever checks and balances were necessary, it is now. I beg you to attend the vote on the 19th of March and vote against the Bill receiving the Third Reading. If you do not feel you can go this far, I beg you to vote to defer a final decision until the risk register has been released. In short, I beg you to use your vote to ensure the National Health Service remains in the hands of the British people, rather than in the hands of multinational private health companies.
On a final, personal note, I would like to tell you about my grandfather, Jim Turner. He was in the Navy during and following the war and was stationed in and around Singapore. He was always of the opinion that the best thing to come out of the war was the founding of the NHS, that it was an example of something truly worth fighting for. These days, few of us have to physically fight to protect the things that make Britain great. When institutions like the NHS are threatened however, we must fight with whatever means are available to us. You have a far greater power to influence the course of events than I and so I implore you to use your vote.
With hope and the kindest regards,