Posted by

Grumpy with a chance of meatballs

Posted by
07 Oct 2014

Do I have the right to complain about my highly suspect dinner?

If you're ever wondering about why we spent £96 billion on the NHS this year, let me put some meat on the bones for you in the context of a gentleman who spoke at the Labour Party Conference last week. I don't want this to come across as a socialist rant because it's not - it's the opinion of someone living inside the NHS.

The gentleman's name is Harry Smith, 91 years of age, from Halifax and sharp as razor blade. He spoke emotively, eloquently and with elegant simplicity about how Britain has changed since his tragically poor childhood and why it must not be allowed to slip back towards a social divide so wide it cannot be bridged.

With heartbreak in his voice, he explained how, growing up through the Great Depression in a small Northern town, he'd not experienced a childhood as he worked in virtual full time, low paid employment as a barrow boy from the age of 7. He held the audience in the palm of his hand as he described how the desperate poverty that enveloped his family inflicted hunger so bad it hurt and illness which become an inevitable spectre in everyday life. We can only imagine the sadness in his heart when he recalled seeing his sister dumped, nameless, into a pauper's grave. A death from disease at a time when healthcare was the preserve of the privileged few. How could Britain have harboured such depravity only nine decades ago?

But as Harry demonstrated, if there's a collective desire to change, the power of the many can benefit all, promote brilliance and protect the vulnerable. He faught in World War II and returned to Britain in 1945 where he engaged in the post war elections. He voted. One of the proudest moments of his life because he felt he was walking with the likes of Prime Minister Clement Attlee towards a fairer nation and the biggest banner on the march bore the emblem of the NHS. 

We live in a nation where no one is asked to pay a penny for their healthcare - the finest in the world - at the point of receipt. I more than most have benefitted from this incredible reality and I think it's one of humanity's greatest achievements, placing Britain at the forefront of medical progress. Of course, there can always be improvements and savings but we must not allow the NHS - the focus of Harry's hope - to be dismantled by capitalism and the almighty dollar. Each and every person I meet in here at Jimmy's is in it to care for others because it certainly isn't for the fat pay cheques and bonuses. Let's keep it that way because you only have to look at my dinner to work out what happens when you let people make money from public funds - it was pork meatballs and I strongly suspect that they may have been the pork's actual balls. So do I have the right to complain about the food? Of course I do - we paid for it.

In Harry's words, mitts off my NHS Mr Cameron. Mitts off our NHS indeed.

You can watch Harry's speech, his life in words, here on YouTube....




Blog brilliant ! Harry Smith inspirational ! Keep going