00:35 GMT +318 June 2019
Listen Live
    A protester holds a placard in support of the NHS in front of the Elizabeth Tower, also known as Big Ben at the Houses of Parliament during a march against private companies' involvement in the National Health Service (NHS) and social care services provision and against cuts to NHS funding in central London on March 4, 2017

    Save Our NHS – Boycott Fraudage and His Brexit Party

    © AFP 2019 / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS
    Columnists
    Get short URL
    Tommy Sheridan
    1172

    I know full well Thursday is European Election Day but I want to appeal to each and every Brexit supporter to think about the National Health Service first and foremost before you cast your vote for a Brexit supporting party.

    Some things in life are simply more important than others. The NHS is one of them. It is a life giver, a life enhancer and a life saver. If you are for Brexit don't vote for Nigel Fraudage's Brexit party as he stands Full Square for the dismantling and destruction of our NHS.

    He is a slippery con-man millionaire passing himself off as a man of the people when in fact he is for the millionaires not the millions.

    I support Brexit. I oppose the EU because I believe it is fundamentally anti-democratic and anti-socialist. However I could never vote for a reactionary right wing party like the Brexit Party or UKIP just to register opposition to the EU. The NHS would be demolished if the Brexit Party or UKIP got their way. By all means throw out the bathwater by voting for a party also committed to Brexit on Thursday but don't also throw out the baby by endorsing the right wing lunatics at the head of the Brexit and UKIP parties. If Brexit is more important to you than the survival of the NHS I accuse you having misplaced priorities and certainly not fit to call yourself a socialist. If you run alongside the other rats in the sewer don't be offended when you are accused of being a rat.

    In the last two weeks the value and substance of the NHS has been underlined a thousand times over for me. A close relative and loved one was diagnosed with cancer of the liver. Within days they were invited to meet with incredible Consultants who explained in lay man's terms micro-surgery techniques designed to zap the cancerous cells without significant damage to the healthy tissues and organs. Skills developed over several years of hard and detailed training would be deployed to save the life of a person who would otherwise be nudging death. The wonder of the NHS indeed.

    READ MORE: British Establishment Will Do Everything to Stop Brexit — UKIP Scotland Leader

    Then on Sunday I awoke to a call from my sister Lynn around 7.30am informing me that after taking advice from the NHS 24 Helpline an ambulance had been called as my mother was suffering from stroke-like symptoms and was in a bad way. My mum was 81 on May the 5th and has not been well for days so it was not a shock to be told she required urgent medical attention. It was, however, scary. Those of us lucky and privileged enough to still have living parents want them to last forever. My dad didn't make it to 81 so I constantly worry about my mum's health.

    We are blessed as a family to live close to one and other. My two sisters live across the road from my mum and I live within a 5 minute walk. By the time I got to my mum's wee block of flats the ambulance was parked outside. I climbed the flight of stairs to her home with fear and anxiety. The two paramedics were busy testing her vital statistics and placing an oxygen mask over my mum's face. She was completely disorientated and in a state of delirium. It is the worst state I have ever seen her in over many years of significant illnesses and ailments.

    My mum has had breast cancer twice and lived to tell the tales about her lumpectomy and mastectomy. She has had the severely debilitating fibromyalgia to try and cope with for over 15 years. She has glaucoma, spondylosis, severe arthritis, angina and significant osteoporosis in her spine. She is often referred to as a medical miracle but she battles on. Often she says she lives for spite. Other times she refuses to contemplate leaving this earth while Rupert Murdoch still lives. In her more optimistic times she says she lives to see her granddaughter Gabrielle and great grandson Kyle grow up. In truth without the continual care and intervention of our NHS she would be a memory.

    So while I appreciate some people have a different experience with NHS care and treatment that leaves them less than satisfied, and undoubtedly those stories of failures and mistakes make many more headlines than all the success stories, I want to shout loud and proud in this column about how wonderful the NHS is as an idea and institution. It is built upon the most basic tenet of socialism. From each according to their abilities. To each according to their contribution. Every UK taxpayer contributes to NHS through National Insurance.

    READ MORE: Every 5th Patient in England Has to Wait Over 2 Weeks to Visit Doctor — NHS

    Sure the wealthier in society pay higher taxes than the average or poorly paid worker but that is right and fitting. Indeed if the richest individuals and their multi-national companies actually paid all the income tax, capital gains and corporation taxes they are supposed to we would have an even better and more efficient NHS to boast about. The richest avoid paying anything from £25 billion a year up to almost £120 billion a year to the exchequer. Imagine the difference that money could make to hospitals, clinics and GP surgeries?

    I'm not long back from visiting my mum in hospital. She was very poorly yesterday with a serious chest infection, urine infection and leg infection all of which had caused her mild stroke and delirium. She was kept in the Acute Receiving Unit for close observation overnight. She was still very weak tonight and requires intravenous antibiotics to fight her infections but she is better than she was on Sunday morning. The truth is the NHS saved her life. From the NHS 24 staff to the incredible paramedics, stressed admin workers, hardworking nurses, undervalued auxiliaries, reliable cleaners and porters, skilled doctors and consultants all of them are team NHS and we simply have to cherish and nurture them more.

    I'm proud the Scottish Parliament has introduced legislation to ensure safe and minimum staffing levels across both our health care and social care sectors. It was contained in an SNP Government Bill which received unanimous backing at the start of May. The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill goes further than the welcome safe NHS staffing measure introduced in Wales in 2016 as it applies to all clinical staff groups and also includes social care.

    The bill strives to ensure providers in both sectors have the "appropriate" workforce in place to deliver "safe and high-quality care".

    Absolutely spot on but if Nigel Fraudage got his way our wonderful and essential NHS would be ripped to pieces in favour of US style insurance schemes that provide only for the wealthy. My mum received first class care, attention and treatment on Sunday that saved her life. My close relative will receive surgery to tackle his cancer and save his life. Neither of them was ever asked about their financial means. Both of them worked throughout their lives and contributed taxes which built, sustained and developed our health service into the free at the point of use service it is today. Don't allow any politician or businessman to endanger this health service. The rich can always look after themselves. It's the millions not the millionaires who concern me.

    READ MORE: Scholar: Tories Could Back May's Brexit Deal Out of Desire for Self-Preservation

    And never forget our NHS employs thousands of immigrants who come to live in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and train to become the surgeons, doctors, nurses, auxiliaries, porters, cleaners and catering staff who save our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Immigrants put much more into society than they ever take out. They should be encouraged to come and made welcome while they are here. That is another reason to reject Fraudage and his wolf whistle racism which seeks to stoke intolerance and hatred against human beings whose only ‘crime' is to have a different skin colour or culture. We should preach more love and tolerance and less hate and division.

    On Thursday reject the anti-NHS agenda of the Brexit Party and UKIP. Say no to their anti-immigration poison designed to blame poverty on the poor and let the rich off Scot free for their low wage and corporation tax dodging policies. Throwing milkshakes at right wing racists and political fraudsters like Fraudage and Robinson may provide some temporary satisfaction but refusing them any electoral support is much more effective and longer lasting.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik

    Related:

    Labour Party Withdraws From Brexit Talks With May's 'Disintegrating' Gov't
    Tories Split As May Faces Coup Amid Struggle to Pass Brexit Deal Through Parl’t
    ‘No Chance’ Theresa May’s Brexit Deal Will Get Through Parliament – Journalist
    Tags:
    Brexit, National Health Service (NHS), United Kingdom
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik