By JR on Saturday, April 21, 2012
The British Left are so attached to their dysfunctional socialized medicine system (the NHS) that they despise private hospitals. So when one of them uses a private hospital it is seen as letting the side down. But the NHS is so bad that the temptation to bypass them is strong. And the Labour candidate for Mayor of London has just done such a bypass.
The most egregious such bypass was by "Red Queen" Barbara Castle, during the Wilson government, who was famous for saying that it was "obscene to carve your way to a hospital bed with a checkbook". But when her son got sick, guess where she sent him? And she sent him under a false name!
You will find no mention of that episode in Wikpedia or anywhere else much outside my writings but there is a 1975 newspaper article here which mentions her words on the matter.
I remember the episode well personally as I had just written a book on politics at the time. The internet has a short memory but I don't
Despite her towering hypocrisy, Harold Wilson still elevated her to the peerage
Ken Livingstone’s campaign to regain the London mayoralty faced embarrassment last night after Labour peer Lord Sugar urged voters to reject him. Lord Sugar said that ‘no one’ should vote for Mr Livingstone, despite him being the official Labour candidate.
The damaging outburst came after Mr Livingstone was forced to admit using an unnamed private healthcare firm to carry out annual health checks unavailable on the NHS.
The revelation yesterday opens the former mayor up to accusations of hypocrisy, as he has vociferously campaigned against the Coalition’s ‘privatisation’ of the Health Service.
Shortly afterwards, Apprentice star Lord Sugar took to Twitter to tell his 1.8million followers: ‘I don’t care if Ed Miliband is backing Livingstone. I seriously suggest NO ONE votes for Livingstone in the Mayoral elections.’ He later added: ‘Livingstone must NOT get in on May 3.’
The intervention could amount to a breach of party rules, and will trigger calls for Labour leader Mr Miliband to discipline the business mogul, who served as enterprise tsar under Gordon Brown.
Earlier this week, in answer to a comment from a journalist that he was looking tired, Mr Livingstone insisted that he had lost a stone during his campaign against Tory incumbent Boris Johnson, and his doctor was pleased he was ‘so fit’. He said: ‘I’ve been having an annual medical for about ten years. This is the best it has ever been.’
A spokesman for Mr Livingstone later confirmed that the medicals were carried out by a private firm, saying: ‘Like many people he has an annual check-up from an external provider – if he ever needs to see a doctor for anything it is with his local GP, or with other NHS services.’
Just a few weeks ago, Mr Livingstone wrote: ‘The people of our capital city deserve top-quality care and demand our healthcare should not be broken up, sold off or be privatised by the back door.’
Earlier in the campaign for the May 3 election, Mr Livingstone was criticised for channelling his income through a private company to reduce his tax bills, despite describing people who use these kind of legal tax avoidance measures as ‘rich b******s’.
A spokesman for Mr Johnson said yesterday: ‘This is yet another example of Ken Livingstone’s hypocrisy. ‘Now we learn that while campaigning as a defender of the NHS he uses private healthcare.’
A Labour source said: ‘There is a long history of Alan Sugar and Ken Livingstone not being the best of friends. Lord Sugar wasn’t encouraging people to vote for any of Labour’s rivals. ‘Lord Sugar is a Labour peer but his views have always been very much his own.’
A spokesman for Mr Livingstone – who was once expelled from Labour after standing as an independent candidate in his victorious 2000 mayoral campaign – said: ‘Everyone knows that Ken and Lord Sugar aren’t that friendly.’
Lord Sugar also tweeted that he would not consider standing as mayor himself. ‘It’s been suggested I run for mayor,’ he wrote. ‘Not possible, too many commercial conflicts, no time, more to the point I would not know where to start.’
Two years ago Lord Sugar - or Sir Alan as he was known then - was tipped as a favourite to replace Mr Livingstone as the Labour candidate for the job. He was thought to be one of the only people likely to be able to oust Boris Johnson from the seat.
The Apprentice star and founder of Amstrad told the London Evening Standard at the time that he was flattered by the poll, but there were many conflicts with his numerous business interests.
Last week, Mr Livingstone was accused by his own party of crying 'crocodile tears' after it emerged that a political broadcast that made him weep used paid 'supporters’ reading from a script.
The Labour mayoral candidate wept at a screening of his advert featuring 28 unnamed Londoners spelling out why the capital needed Mr Livingstone back in charge.
He had described the saccharine production as a 'real tearjerker'. Labour leader Ed Miliband even patted his shoulder to console the former mayor as he rubbed his eyes during the screening on Wednesday.
In reality, Mr Livingstone had seen the film the night before, raising questions about why he was apparently caught off-guard. Last night Labour admitted that the 'ordinary Londoners' had actually been reading from a script.
They were also paid expenses for their time after the advertising agency BETC hired people from the street.
It is also believed one of the 'actors’ is a paid-up member of the Labour Party. The advertisement was created by film-maker Johnny Maginn of Mustard Films.