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All parties backed NHS

PETER Bates makes some excellent points in his letter with the headline in which he takes issue with Conservative politicians celebrating 70 years of the NHS (SA Sep 28).

He is correct in pointing out that back in 1945 Conservatives voted 21 times against elements of the NHS Bill before Parliament.

I suspect they did so in pretty much the same way as Labour politicians voted against the Bill to provide the very first state pension.

The NHS was not the sole preserve of the Labour Party and to claim it as ‘their own’ is simply to deny the truth of history.

The NHS owes its existence to the political climate of wartime Britain, when the wartime coalition of 1940-5 fostered a remarkable degree of political consensus.

This resulted in the 1942 report Social Insurance and Allied Services, chaired by the Liberal economist William Beveridge and set out a comprehensive state plan of social care, together with the first public mention of a National Health Service.

The report was very influential, and what cannot be stressed enough is that in the subsequent 1945 general election, all three parties endorsed the Beveridge Report.

It was also the case that all three parties had NHS proposals in their 1945 manifestoes.

The Labour Party won the election and as a result the NHS was created.

However, in truth it would have come into being whichever party had won.

What Peter neglects to point out is that many Labour politicians also opposed the creation of the NHS and voted against it – the parliamentary majority enjoyed by Labour ensured their votes were of no consequence.

Oh and doctors voted against the creation of the NHS by a majority of 10 to 1 with doctors’ leaders stating: “The state medical service is part of the Socialist plot to convert Great Britain into a National Socialist economy.”

Again the reality is that the NHS has always been a mixture of private and state provision, with Labour and conservative administrations awarding NHS contracts to private business.

The largest NHS contract with private businesses is, of course, the contract between General Practices (GPs) which came about because the BMA would never countenance the idea that their members could possibly be mere employees of the state.

How times have changed with GPs selling their businesses and taking salaried positions with their new private corporation owners.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Socialism argument

PRINCE William presented the school pupil with an award. William is one of the working royals who conducts public engagements and who receives public subsidy. There are 18 working royals, each of whom costs the taxpayer an average of £18m a year. Nice work if you can get it!

The term ‘working royal’ is misleading.

Royal engagements take up a very limited amount of their time, most of which is spent pursuing their own leisure and business interests. They do very little to earn their multi-million pound subsidy.

Clarence House confirms that the average engagement lasts about an hour, which means 533 engagements (Prince Charles recent numbers) adds up to around 14 weeks of ‘work’ during the whole year. (Little wonder Prince William is always smiling).

Many engagements involve no travel, and there will often be more than one engagement counted during a single visit.

Prince William’s earlier decision to leave his job as an RAF search-and-rescue pilot after serving only one three-year tour of duty left the taxpayer with a £400,000 bill in training costs that were never recovered.

Yet despite having more time on his hands Prince William has declined to pay much back for the privilege and wealth granted to him.

A lot of these engagements have been entirely self-serving, promoting the royal brand as much as performing any kind of public service.

We have a family of royal multimillionaires demanding that we pay for their pleasure while people go hungry.

There can surely be no better argument for socialism?

Jeff Adams, Bloomsbury, Swindon

Anger and resentment

AFTER her embarrassing visit to Salzburg and an embarrassing address to the nation, the beleaguered PM Theresa May insists she will not “break up my country”.

Don’t worry about that Mrs May, the UK has not broken up, it has in fact been smashed to pieces over many years by governments of all parties.

Governments who have turned a blind eye to people’s concerns over immigration, homelessness, the destruction of public services, social care, in which myself and my brother Martin have witnessed first hand.

Our father suffered a slight stroke in 2011 and was hospitalised for a month.

On his discharge we were told there would be little care for our father at home due to cuts in services at local level. This subsequently led to myself having to give up full-time work to care for our father.

Over the last seven years we have seen austerity bite even deeper.

We have seen thousands of people lose their jobs and pensions, in particular the staff of British Home Stores, whilst at the same time Philip Green the then owner of BHS gave himself a £350 million pay award, not to mention the yacht of the same value and being given a knighthood.

What did the government do about it?

Now we have the arrogance of certain politicians and people who think they are politicians calling for another vote to overturn the EU referendum result and to try to block the UK leaving the EU.

Is it any wonder there is so much anger and resentment towards MPs and politicians in this country?

Mark Webb, Old Town

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