Political Dysfunction and Strikes: The Sad State of 21st-Century Britain
Tomorrow, junior doctors in England will embark on their second round of strike action, adding to the ever-growing list of examples of Britain’s chronic political dysfunction.
Junior doctors will stage a 96-hour strike in April as the dispute between the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Government continues.
Members of the union staged their first walkout in March, joining other NHS workers including nurses and ambulance workers in taking industrial action.
More than 250,000 appointments and operations are expected to be cancelled during the April walkout.
The strike will start at 7am on Tuesday 11 April and run until 7am on Saturday 15 April.
Almost 37,000 out of 47,692 eligible BMA members took part in the strike ballot, with 98 per cent voting in favour of walkouts.
Junior doctors who are members of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association will strike on the same days. This union, which represents about 600 junior doctors, accused the Government of refusing to drop pre-conditions for talks to resolve the dispute.
Senior health figures have warned that patients face 10 days of “distress and disruption” as a result of the walkouts.
It’s a tragedy that the National Health Service (NHS) has become a battleground in a political war that has been raging for decades. Both the government and the opposition are to blame, but it’s the people who depend on the NHS who bear the brunt of the consequences.
The NHS has long been a political football, with both parties more interested in scoring political points than finding a sustainable long-term solution. The result is a system that is strained, underfunded, and in dire need of reform.
But the NHS is just one example of the many challenges facing Britain. The country is deeply divided politically, economically, and socially. Brexit is still a pressing issue that the government is struggling to manage. Both the opposition and the government are weak and lack meaningful ideals or vision. The public is disillusioned with politics and the lack of representation they receive from their elected officials.
The junior doctors’ strike is just one example of this broader dysfunction, but it’s a stark reminder of what’s at stake. It’s a symptom of a much bigger problem that requires practical solutions. The NHS is a vital institution that needs protection and support. The government and the opposition need to put aside their differences and work together to find a sustainable solution that ensures decent wages for all NHS staff and the safety of patients.
Courage and conviction
The political climate in Britain is one of fear, caution, and neutrality. Politicians are too afraid to speak from their hearts and take a stand on issues that truly matter. They’re more interested in appearing electable than in representing their constituents. This disengagement results in a political class that seems more concerned with self-interest than with serving the people.
The junior doctors’ strike is a wake-up call for politicians to start taking the needs of the people seriously. It’s time to find the courage to come up with practical solutions to the problems facing Britain. The strike shows the strength of the working class and the political might we can bring in creating systemic change for good.
The junior doctors’ strike is just one example of the many challenges facing Britain. The NHS needs urgent attention, and the government and opposition need to work together to find a sustainable solution. It’s time for politicians to start taking the needs of the people seriously and to find the courage to come up with practical solutions to the country’s problems. The working class has shown its strength, and it’s time for politicians to listen.
If ever we need a reminder of the strength of the working class and the political might we can bring in creating systemic change for good, we only need to listen to this one speech passionately articulated by Michael Sheen.
Micheal Sheen on Nye Bevan & the NHS
Nye Bevan’s legacy: standing up for integrity and a revolutionary NHS
Nye Bevans and his dream of an NHS was long-term, it was far-reaching, visionary in its scope and revolutionary in its effects, he had cast-iron integrity and a raging passion.
This was a man who had no fear in standing up for what he believed in, he made no bones about how he felt.
This was a man who publicly stated, “No amount of cajoling and no attempts at ethical or social seduction can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory party”.
In today’s political climate where politicians are careful, tentative, scared of saying what they feel to fear of alienating a part of the electorate. Where under the excuse of trying to appear electable all parties drift into a morass of gland neutrality, and the real deals, the real values we suspect are kept behind closed doors.
Is it any wonder that people feel there is very little to choose between?
Bevin said, “We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road, they get run down”.
When people are too scared to say what they really mean, when they’re too careful to speak from their hearts when integrity is too much of a risk, it’s no surprise that people feel disengaged with politics.
There is never an excuse to not speak up for what you think is right. You must stand up for what you believe. But first of all, by God, believe in something… because there are plenty out there who believe in grabbing as much as they can for themselves.
Constantly sniffing around for markets to exploit, for weakness to expose, they won’t say it of course, they’re too smart for that!
No one says they want to get rid of the NHS. Everyone praises it across all parties, it is about as powerful a symbol of goodness as we have, so it would be to be too dangerous not to.
But for decades now that is theirs nevertheless been a systematic undermining of its core values. This is beyond Party politics.
The Labour government arguably did as much damage to the NHS as any Tory or coalition-led Party.
This is about who we want to be as a nation and what we believe is worth fighting for. Too many people have given too much, and for too hard for us to give away what they achieved and to be left with so very little.
So those across the whole party political spectrum, and to anyone in any position of power or authority I ask you to search your heart and look at who and what you serve.
To those who’ve discarded all principles save that of profit before all else. To those who have turned their backs on the very idea of a truly democratic society and aligned themselves to nothing but self-interest. To those who would betray the vision of equality, and justice, and compassion for all.
That vision the providing the crucible from which came forth the National Health Service. I say to you as Aneurin Bevan said in Trafalgar Square in 1956.
“You have besmirched the name of Britain. You have made us ashamed of the things of which formerly we were proud. You have offended against every principle of decency and there is only one way in which you can even begin to restore your tarnished reputation, get out! get out! get out!