One of the things that I’m most proud of as a British Citizen is that despite it’s failings, we have a free-to-access healthcare system that steps in to help people when they most need it. It is one of those things that epitomises what freedom is – take it away and suddenly you realise how good it was.
When I was living out in India, my eyes were opened to just how much the NHS can affect peoples lives. In the UK, should someone have an ectopic pregnancy, it’s tragic. However, should the same thing happen to someone without the necessary money to pay for the treatment, then it will most probably be fatal. As if that wasn’t enough, if the family are able to scrape the money together to afford the treatment (at an over-inflated price, just to spite them) – then the money they’ve gathered probably includes some loaned from the local loan shark.
It therefore saddened me, when on BBC News at 10 last night, there was an article on the ‘crisis in Bangor.’ Due to the new limits that the Coalition is due to put on immigration, Bangor will be without enough Doctors to service the region, therefore (as the reporter put it) “there could be a crisis, or even an outright catastrophe!”
According to the same report, Bangor relies on immigrant Doctors (traditionally from Commonwealth countries) for much of its medical needs.
Unfortunately this is where the problems becomes a little more complex. In countries like India, Somalia, and other Commonwealth countries – migrants come and train at Universities in the UK, with the hope of being able to earn a British Wage, and pass that wealth back into their own economies – by sending money back home. Unfortunately the outcome of such behaviour is a brain drain away from the developing countries, as the more ‘skilled’ workers get poached by the ‘developed’ countries.
I sometimes think back and wonder if someone was reading this blog in many years time, and I had built myself into a politician, what would be made of comments such as these. During the pre-election debates, not a single Politician was arguing for the good of the world – but intent on focusing their efforts on the continuation of our traditional way of live, albeit at the detriment of many other countries.
It’s a hard thing to accept – that by living the way we do that we’re causing the death and destruction of other people on our same Earth. The globe is shrinking fast, as more and more people populate it, and our channels of communication improve. In the same was that isolation was a failed policy for America in the lead up to World War II, isolation for Britain is a recipe for disaster. I’m not saying we should join the Euro and start singing a European National Anthem – but I think we should look more carefully at the medium to long term effects of our foreign policy.
Too much policy recently has been about short term gains for the current population. It’s all been about maximising now. How can we make ‘now’ better? It’s time to start thinking about how to make the future better. How can we make sure that our living standards now are not a ‘Concorde moment’ – and how can we use the privileges that we’ve inherited for the good of our fellow man?