Sunday 24 April 2022

Why trying to stay alive is political

 It's easy to think of politics as the stuff they talk about on politics shows. Being ill at a time of national crisis, has brought me face to face with the fact that politics is about the everyday thing of being alive or - as in my case - trying to stay alive or finding that other people are trying to keep you alive or helping you get on your feet again (rehab). So it is that I've found that at every stage of coming home, there has been a constant political conversation and row going on about - for example - funding of the NHS, how the government approached the idea of an epidemic (social health policy or leave it to the market?), our attitude to old people, sick people, disabled people and vulnerable (so-called) people.

Then again, the partygate scandal has ripped a hole in the idea that the government is on our side when it comes to wanting to protect us. It shows them as thinking of themselves as a special case, as people who don't need to abide by the rules they set for us. I see that as analogous as to the way public health and education are run: - largely by people who are looked after by private medicine and who are educated in private schools. There is an inbuilt separation (or that they build in the separation) between them and us whilst at the same time giving themselves the right to run our health and education according to their world view.
Meanwhile, it doesn't take long to hear people on phone-ins or on social media slagging off the NHS, nurses, doctors, schools, teachers and conjuring up images of the people working in this sector as lazy, unfairly rich, unfairly leisured. In fact, the people who talk this way have turned any praise of nurses, doctors, teachers, assistant teachers into political statements. Believe it or not, there's a journalist who has posted a picture on twitter of nurses and doctors having a pizza together and claimed that in doing so they were doing just what Johnson did with Partygate. One problem: the photo of the nurses and doctors having a pizza was before lockdown! I'm particularly enraged by this because the nurses and doctors in the photo are the very people who helped save my life. What this makes me think is that this person's sneering tweet has made a statement by me like 'I"m grateful to people at the Whittington who saved my life' into a radical political statement! That's where we're at.