On the streets of Great Britain, a conspiracy is taking place. It is the conspiracy of selfishness. In issues spanning this year’s general election debates, candidates and party leaders have been careful to pander to those who are interested in themselves.
In health, for instance, a YouGov polls shows that over half of people in the UK believe NHS treatment should be rationed for obese patients, and forty percent that doctors should take into account alcohol intake when deciding whether to give care. Meanwhile, Katie Hopkins is writing in the Sun that we should be using gunships, not aid boats, to help asylum seekers sailing across the Mediterranean from terror and turmoil in the Middle East, and Nigel Farage is telling the nation at the ITV debate that he would reduce the number of immigrants ‘claiming’ HIV treatment on the National Health Service.
These people are wrong. The NHS’ beauty lies in the fact that it is universal and free. By placing conditions on the care that we give to our citizens, we allow the state to take more control in the lives people lead, and we reduce the lifestyle freedoms people in this country enjoy. Farage and the nationalist commentators exacerbate the problem when they bring issues of immigration into it, when they imply something much darker: that the health and lives of immigrants are worth less to us that of people who live here by accident of birth. When Hopkins suggests that we should attack those who want to escape the horror of Islamic terror, she suggests that the lives of other human beings are meaningless because of their passports.
Times of global hardship and economic scrimping at home can give rise to feelings of protectionism, of nationalism, and of selfishness. We should remain vigilant against those who wish to capitalise on that.