Will only a wealth tax of 86% above £60,000 save the NHS ?

A whiff of unrest is emerging in Norwich. When the opportunity to escape state inflicted confinement presents itself, I take a brisk morning walk around the city’s quaint riverside pathways and underpasses. One morning I stumble across a rather curious bit of graffiti written in white chalk. “Tax the Rich Fund the NHS” it reads. Two minutes later, I encounter another, and another, and another – like as not the work of an angry downtrodden progressive whose immediate reaction to the sight of Jacob Rees-Mogg is regurgitation. But as the days passed on, more popped up. This was not the work of one person.

Appetites for insurgence seep through the cracks. It starts with posters, pamphlets, graffiti – a notable increase in the amount of local nut jobs preaching about government injustices on the street. Then protests and riots follow. In 2011, when the Egyptians faced President Hosni Mubarak’s Draconian rule, little writings calling for revolution appeared on the sandblasted walls of Cairo. The same occurred in Johannesburg during the seventies. Cultural workers used graffiti and scribbled their anti-apartheid messages all over the city. They were the seeds that promoted and galvanised revolutionary sentiment.

Far from suggesting Britain is on the verge of revolution, what has become apparent is that any threat to our beloved NHS is a potential catalyst for widespread unrest. It has attained quasi-religious status; people pay homage with weekly claps, adorn their windows with tributes and sing ‘Over the Rainbow’ hymns outside their homes. It is Britain’s new health deity. Never has the public held our national health service and its workers in such high esteem. Any announcement of spending cuts and the mob would drag minsters and special advisers alike out of No. 10. We now live in a world where neighbours humiliate one another on Facebook for clapping abstention.  

So what will happen rollbacks start? As each hour goes by, lockdown extols a heavy price. Rishi Sunak’s job retention schemes, welfare boosts, and tax deferrals all equal one thing; increased spending paired with a strangulation of state income. According to Price Waterhouse Cooper there have been 1.4 million new Universal Credit claims with around 30% of businesses reducing employment and hours for their workers. Prior to COVID-19 with an expected 1% growth in GDP, estimates tell us GDP will shrink anywhere between -3% and -7%. The budget deficit could rise to 8% to 12% of GDP. Sectors such as transport, hotels, and food services could see their annual output decreased anywhere from 15% to 40%.

Another round of austerity measures to reassert spending control lurks around the corner. The circumstances will force government to comprise on its manifesto promises, abandon new policy and delay certain welfare initiatives. How severe public disenchantment will be depends on how well Johnson’s cabinet can paper over the fissures. If NHS service standards drop while demand skyrockets and liberal media outlets capitalise on tales of incompetence, pockets of protest could spring up across the country. A surge in medical care because of the failure of previous regular treatment, surgery and check up delays will be the first test post-lockdown.

Norwich is not a particularly affluent place. Litter-ridden concrete council estates and dilapidated outer-high streets overshadow the facade of trendy independent foods shops attended by its progressive pink-haired citizenry, litter-ridden concrete council estates. Homelessness is all too visible and the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital holds the worst A&E patient delay time in the country. It is also home to two universities – including an arts university where Labour MP Clive Lewis enjoys cult-like influence. It has all the social and economic problems that its progressive population cares about and is likely to act on. CQC’s announcement of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust as the worst performing mental health trust in England only lends them more weight. 

No one quite knows what will happen post-coronavirus. We have nothing to go on. But if it has taught Britain anything – besides the petty antics of curtain twitchers – it is how much the public values its national health service. Any efforts to restructure – the mob will shout “privatisation”. Any efforts to outsource and ease pressure – “they are selling to Trump!”. Mere accusations of underfunding – “Tory austerity kills!”. The government has little manoeuvrability. Boris’s recent reliance on the service leaves him vulnerable. It is all too easy for critics to accuse him of having taken the service for granted.

The underground revolutionaries of Norwich require two things; lack of confidence and an unfathomable social injustice. Failing to address, or even the efficacy of failing to address, the problems in our NHS covers both.

Norwich may be the first domino. And like a pebble dropping into a pond, the ripples will spread. Keep an eye out…

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18 Comments on Will only a wealth tax of 86% above £60,000 save the NHS ?

  1. Half-witted Leftists don’t seem to know the rich already pay for the NHS. Here are some stats for them:

    The top 1% pay 27% of the total tax take (TTT)

    The top 5% pay 50% of the TTT

    The top 10% pay 60% of the TTT

    47% of British adults pay no tax at all.

    All those on salaries under 30k pay tax but take out more than they put in.

    Even if Leftists were aware of these figures, they would still shriek “tax the rich” but then again, all Leftists are as wicked as they are ignorant.

  2. The NHS is an idol. Like Baal in the Bible, it has hundreds of false prophets. Where is our Elijah?

    “And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked the ‘clappers for carers’, and said, Cry aloud: for the NHS is a god; either the NHS is talking, or the NHS is pursuing, or the NHS is in a journey, or peradventure the NHS sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, and drank disinfectant, till the blood gushed out upon them.”

    What a ludicrous world we live in.

    • The NHS is not an idol, it is an icon.

      And if you look up the 20 second clip that has been misreported by all western media including the vicious, bigoted BBC you’ll see that Trump has been traduced again.

      • Mr McManus:

        I venerate icons (including my favourite icon of St Photius the Great, who presides over my bathroom) having been instructed to do so by the 7th Ecumenical Council. But I don’t venerate the NHS. The worshippers of the NHS seem to me to be idolaters, not iconodules.

        I DuckDuckGoed your phrase “the 20 second clip that has been misreported by all western media including the vicious, bigoted BBC”, and the first result on the list was “This video has been removed for editorial reasons – BBC”. So I have no way of knowing for certain whether or not Trump was traduced. But I’m willing to bet that he was.

        While we’re discussing the BBC, take a look at this page:
        https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/help/issues/bbc-radio-4/unbelievable-truth-s17

        I have a recording of the episode that was intentionally not repeated, and I can tell you that it was censored not because of the intermittent obscenity and continuous cultural marxism, but because “funerals” was one of the topics.

  3. It helps to understand the mindset and assumptions of the generation who established the NHS in the immediate post war period – specifically the assumption that Britain had a vast Empire available to ultimately fund healthcare free at the point of use.

    The imperial money pot is long gone yet the NHS money pit remains, with incompetent management shamelessly hiding behind the frontline staff eg why not enough PPE, why not enough testing kits, both surely the primary purpose of NHS procurement staff?

    Rather than worshipping at the fake alter of the NHS cult, we as a society would do far better to look beyond our borders, abandon this “envy of the world” fantasy talk and learn from Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand what world class healthcare really is.

    • As it happens, the mindset of some of those who instituted the NHS, including the then health minister, was that costs would fall as existing problems were treated and cleared away. The empire had nothing to do with it. Incompetent management? Maybe so in parts but perhaps you could point to a sector that has perfect management: rip-off energy companies? public transport? the banks and finance sector? the legal profession?

      Why not enough PPE or Testing Kits? After WW1 Churchill wanted all tanks and weapons reserved for what he rightly believed would be another war. Luckily there were people with more sense who melted the lot. Are you really saying that we should stockpile deteriorating equipment for a once-in-a-century contingency that we cannot foresee?

      I won’t engage you about Aussie/NZ as I have relatives there who complain all the time that their system isn’t a patch on the NHS. I see that Taiwan’s partly privatised system has had to be brought in-house because providers were swindling the taxpayer. Who’d have thought that might happen.

      • The resources of empire mentality, ie that the UK had the virtually unlimited wherewithal to fund, that eliminates any effective boundary and enables the bottomless moneypit.

        Supermarkets (note the plural, it really is crucial to have competition which is what the NHS “,too big to fail” monolith is lacking) are a positive example of effective management right now.

        The point about Aus/NZ/Taiwan is what Boris needs to adopt in the UK without delay, what works, eg closing the borders!

        As regards PPE, having the indigenous manufacturing capacity would have been a commonsense insurance and don’t forget the circa 2016 report on precisely the need for UK pandemic preparedness – WuFlu is no surprise.

        • Pardon me Fenlander, I should have read your rebuttals here before my rather wordy riposte to Michael. You have pre-empted me. Thanks.

          • Granted Stephen and thank you for sharing an alternative viewpoint, many eyeballs make for shallow bugs and seeing as how NHS is funded by all then it must submit to scrutiny by any and all of us who are picking up the bills both direct and indirect.

            Accountability that’s the key, as much as anything to tease apart the frontline staff, carers and volunteers who are each willingly risk-taking with their own health to help others, from those who have failed to keep up supplies of PPE and critical equipment or indeed even to follow expert advice commissioned by HMG and provided back in 2016, see https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/03/28/exclusive-ministers-warned-nhs-could-not-cope-pandemic-three/

            Benchmarked globally the UK response clearly falls short in terms of what ultimately counts, excess mortality due to (not with) covid-19, as evidenced in Taiwan/Aus/NZ and others.

            There will come soon enough proper enquiry and before then there must be anticipated subsequent waves of infection so now is the time for the UK to herd with what the best of the rest of the world’s nations are doing surely?

    • The Empire had nothing to do with it. Far from providing finances to the British Government, one of the reasons we allowed its dissolution was that it was too expensive. The withdrawal of armed forces from east of Suez followed as well. The more Socialist successive governments became the worse things became.

  4. You are right about England needing a revolution sir and if I were the kind of chap to consider the wilful act of defacing private property. I might be inclined to scrawl something along the lines of:

    ….”Shut the NHS, and free its caring but demotivated doers, the doctors, nurses and vital ancillary staff from marxist ideology… NOW!”

    It might be a bit wordy, but nevertheless, it makes more sense than bashing one’s bonce against a brick wall.

    Here is another one.

    …. “Privatise the NHS, and allow the market to satisfy the needs of the carers who frequently have to make do with empty hands.”

    Do these uneducated nutters not understand that the NHS is a noose that is destroying every area of competence that it infests?

    • Methinks you have never had anything to do with the NHS as staff or patient. Privatise? The only bits already privatised have been a failure and, in the case of buildings, a rip off. Much the same as has happened with other public services. The patron saint of capitalism himself (Adam Smith) recognised that health, education and a number of other utilities were not suitable for market forces.

      A fine example of private health exists across the Atlantic. Costs per person range from x2 to x3 what we pay in the UK and on international rankings (unreliable, granted) the US comes in somewhere about the level of Colombia. Or look at Germany, massively expensive and with wasted spare capacity that suits the balance sheets of private insurance companies.

      Our PM has extolled the virtues of our system (long before he needed it) as one that gets the whole country, figuratively, gathered at a patient’s bedside wishing them well.
      Nowhere is there a system that treats all comers equally better than ours does, and compared to the EU we are cheap and efficient.

      • As with the railways, bus services, criminal justice and education, the parts privatised have not been privatised. They are state, or very nearly, services run by private companies the the benefit mainly of the private companies and no-one else.

      • I have had a lot to do with the NHS thanks, and I see mayhem everywhere.

        I will not go into that here, but I would just wish to point out that in many places across the world there are examples of publicly funded (ill) health systems, where a great deal of the pointy end is privatised… i.e. not just the supply of medicimes and infrastructure as is the case here.

        Remember that in both these areas, the managers that arrange supply are legendary for their failure to get the best deal. A supply of paracetamol for instance can be had from the local supermarket for pennies, the NHS managers pay pounds.

        This is repeated when it comes to the provision of buildings, complete with their wonderful lease agreements that have enriched so many property empires. A nearby hospital has corridors that are as wide as the Wembley Way, and tiny little rooms, with little privacy for recipients of care.

        Among the nations that are better at providing these services is Germany which is virtually all privatised. If you work or live in Germany, you still compulsorarily provide the funds (hypothecated) that pay for the privatised services and provisions to be provided by privately owned companies. The system is generally regarded, both in fact and by reputation to be far more efficient, and better than our marxist outfit.

        The NHS is one of the biggest employers on the planet, after the Chinese army and a couple of other similar “services”.

        Our system is what the Americans call a money pit, as is theirs, which is in hock to the lawyers as opposed to ours, which is crippled by statisticians and centralised management, designed to provide a skeleton service that is good for nothing, apart from stressing the staff. The counter to the NHS is NOT America.

        For instance, if I want to smoke, or get fat, that is my business, I do not need to spend every day being talked down to by some bureaucrat and his massive advertising fund.

        Note that as in my initial comment, I do not criticise the actual and very stressed carers, who do the best they can under the circumstances.

        • I’ve been treated for cancer and other problems for the past 12 years in a university hospital trust, world leading with hundreds of clinical trials running – the very best form of private/public partnership. Big Pharma takes great care of its massive investment and their monitors plus the university researchers make it hard for mediocre managers to survive – so they don’t.

          I agree your point about managers but I think it’s wider than just the NHS. For example, we now have Academy trusts running schools that have failed to raise standards and have syphoned money that should be in the classroom to a class of managerialist duds, full of BS and not giving a damn for the ethics associated with their role.

          One answer might be to democratise management and make it cooperative. I see no reason why a hospital, a school, a police force and other services should not be managed by the workforce: an elected group run things for three years and then are replaced. You would not have a managerial group whose interests and incomes diverge from the people doing the work. In would like to see a few experimental efforts in that direction.

  5. Another scenario is that the pestilence passes more quickly than the press/BBC want and we are back on our feet before Christmas. We recovered from two world wars pretty quickly (and ancient plagues were soon forgotten). The NHS, after all, was born into post-war economic circumstances.

    High tax rates are unlikely is my guess. Those with savings are more likely to be hit by HMG letting inflation rip and keeping interest rates low. It’ll be Mr Brown’s (and Adam Smith’s) friend Prudence who’ll foot the bill.

    • The pestilence already passing, and public forbearance with it.
      If Boris is as shrewd as supposed he will ride this wave of recovery and have the economy accelerating just in time for the Tory Party conference in October.

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