Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Only go to the doctor if you are not ill.

The definition of a banker is someone who will lend you an umbrella so long as it is not raining. The Demos Think Tank has decided to adopt the same approach to health care and welfare.

A report published on 12 March has called for patients who exercise regularly and avoid fatty foods to go to the front of the queue. They have also suggested that welfare claimants should be penalised for not "behaving responsibly."

So anyone who is unwell is to blame for their condition and should be punished. People in wheelchairs ought to go out jogging. People who can only afford Sainsbury's basics should be penalised for not buying fresh vegetables. Demos have also suggested that the supermarkets should help to spy on claimants "with the claimant's consent". And if they withhold their consent? Back to the end of the queue!

This is not a million miles from the antics of ATOS who said that a man in a coma was "fit for work". In both cases the "all sick people are scroungers" and "it's all their own fault anyway" philosophy prevails.

It came as no surprise when Westminster Tories suggested that people on benefits who they judged to be too fat (or too thin or too tall or too short presumably) were not entitled to benefits. What is surprising perhaps is that Demos describes itself as a "left of centre" think tank.

I wonder where Demos think "the centre" is. Somewhere to the right of the Daily Mail perhaps. Nothing signals the degeneracy of New Labour more than the "tough on scroungers" rhetoric which is now emerging. Tough on scroungers except MPs. Tough on scroungers except the bosses of corporations who vote themselves massive bonuses. And tough on scroungers except the filthy rich who live on unearned income.

And of course Demos members and New Labour ministers can always get to the front of the queue for health care by going private. Old Labour used to object to that sort of thing - New Labour has a more flexible morality.

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