There’s been a surge of messages on Twitter with people talking about the benefits of the NHS, using the tag #welovethenhs.
It’s been a reaction to some of the more absurd arguments being deployed in the US that (a) Obama’s plans would make the US health system like Britain’s and (b) Britain’s health system is a disaster. Not only is (a) not true, but neither is (b). Given that the NHS costs less and covers more people than the US one it’s perhaps no surprise that so many people have reacted badly to some Americans saying how awful the NHS is.
But the view that the NHS is better than the American health system has been widely held in Britain for a long time. In all the debates around the NHS’s future in the UK – and it’s not perfect, so there’s plenty of talk about how it could be made better – saying “let’s copy the US” is pretty near nowhere on the policy or political agenda.
So what has triggered this wave of messages? Step forward, Graham Linehan, the comedy writer behind Father Ted and the IT Crowd. (For the record: I do not sound, look or behave anything like anyone in the IT Crowd. At all. Really.)
The First Post has the story:
Linehan was moved to start the public backlash in disgust at claims being made about the NHS in the United States by right-wingers seeking to derail Barack Obama’s $1trillion healthcare plans.
The campaign has drawn acknowledgement from Gordon Brown, who tweeted that the “NHS often makes the difference between pain and comfort, despair and hope, life and death”, his wife Sarah Brown, and a host of comedians including Stephen Fry and Dara O’Briain.
But the most heartwarming messages of support – posted with the #welovetheNHS hashtag that allows the website to group the posts together – have come from members of the general public.