Anorak News | The Choice Is Yours

The Choice Is Yours

by | 24th, June 2004

‘AT the next General Election, voters will be presented with a clear choice – do they want more choice or do they want more choice.

‘Do you want me to take out your appendix or your spleen?’

Parents will be able to choose which schools their kids go to; patients will be able to choose which hospitals they are taken to; and criminals will be able to choose which prison they’re locked up in.

It’ll be choice with everything – and believe us, we are going to be well and truly sick of the word by next summer.

Both major parties appear to have chosen choice as the battleground on which the next election is going to be fought.

That’s all well and good, but what of the voters who don’t want any choice? What choice have they got? Or, er, is that just the point?

Anyway, the Guardian lays out the choice on its front page – the faux-sincere Tony Blair or the smarmy Michael Howard.

Blair promises choice as ‘one important mechanism to ensure that citizens can indeed secure good schools and health services in their communities’.

‘We are proposing to put an entirely different dynamic in place to drive our public services,’ he says. ‘One where the service will be driven not by the Government or by the managers but by the user – the patient, the parent, the pupil and the law-abiding citizen.’

What about the rest of us? What about the healthy, childless, law-breaking section of the population? Who speaks for us?

Certainly not Michael Howard, who was also banging on yesterday about abolishing NHS waiting lists by giving patients choice – the choice to die before making it to hospital, the choice to spend their life savings going private etc.

Choice is not limited to NHS patients either – under the Tories, people with private health cover will have the choice of claiming 50% of their treatment costs back from the public purse.

This will in turn lead to a substantial reduction in insurance premiums, thereby giving Toby and Annabel the choice between going on holiday to Tuscany or buying little Zara a pony…’

Posted: 24th, June 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink