A piece by an NHS doctor…
The more I hear Conservative MPs applaud and fawn over NHS staff, the more I think back to the footage from 2017 of those same MPs in the Commons cheering as they voted down a proper pay rise for nurses. Ellwood was among them, alongside Rishi Sunak, Dominic Raab, Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson.
The true measure of how much others esteem you resides fundamentally in their actions, not words. All this rousing talk of heroes, medals, memorials and flypasts increasingly feels like a clever and calculated distraction. The worth of nurses is so self-evident to this government, for instance, that they are routinely compelled to use foodbanks. And Hancock may have offered Britain’s 1.5 million carers a badge recently, yet two-thirds of them are paid the minimum wage, with many on punitive zero-hours contracts. How convenient that now, with the spotlight on their vital work, their poverty wages are being augmented by lavish ministerial clapping.
Most iniquitous of all, of course, is the government’s willingness to laud us as heroes even while watching us die without proper personal protective equipment. How dare they? Testimony from staff forced to wear bin bags, Marigolds and even sanitary towels as facial protection should shame every member of the cabinet. The irony surely isn’t lost on Johnson that the one thing Hollywood scriptwriters reliably award their superheroes is, at least, a mask and cape?