Inspired by the lies Dan Hannan has been telling the US media about our wonderful health service (and don’t forget that Cameron has still not condemned Hannan’s comments), the American right has started laying into it even more.
The Brits aren’t standing for it. Comedy writer Graham Linehan started a backlash on Twitter with a #welovetheNHS hashtag campaign, and it’s been at or near the top of the trending topics ever since. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about…you’re just going to have to find out, aren’t you, there’s only so long I can explain the 21st century to you.) Here are some of the highlights:
‘my Mum recently got a new knee, so now I can call her the bionic woman. She’s always had great care from dedicated individuals’
‘Three out of four of my young family have been carted off by the same helpful fast responding paramedic’
‘In Wales the prescriptions are free!’
‘because my mum needed intensive care for 6 weeks at Christmas and we wouldn’t have been able to afford it in the USA’
‘If it wasn’t for them I’d be missing 1 finger, 1 eye, 1 child, and 1 wife.’
‘cos they dont make you wait, as a 9 year old is screaming in pain, for the credit card to clear before treating you. Unlike some.’
‘But for the NHS I would be a single parent of 3 and would have spent every penny we had on cancer treatments.’
‘Because through all the terror,the chemo,the not knowing there was never ‘are we covered’ or ‘can we afford it’.’
Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I was so proud to be British. The people running Twitter accounts for government departments and the NHS itself have been bowled over by the level of support. This isn’t something that was started by the government or John Prescott or LabourList – and although most of the people I follow on Twitter are Labour members, Labour supporters or at least broadly left-wing, there is no way Labour members alone could have driven a Twitter trending topic. (Believe me, I know – I’ve tried to do it before.) This was something that ordinary British people did – coming together to share our experiences of a system we know isn’t perfect, but that we know we couldn’t do without.
I hope Americans on Twitter will have taken note of the support we have for our health service and that it goes some way to counter the lies the American media (and British Tories) have been telling. More than that, I hope it demonstrates to Hannan that our NHS is politically untouchable. This electoral bloc is much, much bigger than 1.4 million.