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This from Colleen Brannon, Ryde. Ed
This is a call to arms.
Last week, in my view, your MP betrayed you.
Mr Seely, elected to represent you, was one of 340 MPs who voted against a clause to the Trade Bill that would have guaranteed protection for OUR National Health Service in any future trade negotiations.
Zero protection for the future of our NHS
As it stands, our current trade bill offers zero protection for the future of our NHS and other public services. There is no real framework for scrutiny, initial consultation or continued consultation as negotiations progress. The UK Parliament and its citizens are not afforded the same rights as our EU counter parts to scrutinise and approve trade bills. There’s no transparency and citizens and MPs have no ability to be heard.
This is absolutely undemocratic, a view expressed by many, including Mr Seely’s Conservative colleague Jonathan Djanogly.
Is this how you imagined taking back control would look?
USA has more negotiating clout than the UK
I’m sure the USA would be glad to expand their lucrative healthcare market, Donald Trump initially said the NHS would be ‘on the table’.
The USA has more negotiating clout than the UK, seeing as our trade with them accounts for 13% of our exports, yet only 3% of their exports are traded with us, and they have much more recent experience in negotiating bilateral trade deals. Without protection, Our NHS (or what’s left of it), is at risk.
Lip service is simply not enough
The future of our NHS, our most important and invaluable institution should be protected in law, as Clause 17 sought to ensure, and I cannot fathom why any MP claiming to represent us, The People, could vote against it. If Mr Seely and the Prime Minister are so certain the NHS will not be a negotiating chip in a future deal, why did they vote in this way?
Why should they feel it necessary to keep their options open? On this issue, lip service is simply not enough.
Successive Governments think nothing of breaking promises
Our PM and MPs like Mr Seely promise that the NHS will never be for sale, and I would love to have faith enough to believe them, but I have seen successive Governments make promises and think nothing of breaking them, time and time again. Royal Mail, British Gas, British Rail, British Telecom…all sold.
The writing is on the wall. The future of our NHS, already struggling after years of underfunding and privatisation, is far too important to rely on promises, or wishes, or prayers. Clause 17 would have cemented those promises into law, if only MPs such as Mr Seely had voted for it.
72 years of keeping us safe
We forever owe a huge debt of gratitude to OUR NHS, and every single person, from cleaners to technicians, nurses to doctors, who serves within it.
72 years of keeping us safe and healthy, of caring and repairing our most precious loved ones, of being there for us to rely on in our darkest and most traumatic moments. All of that before you even begin to consider the resilience and commitment each and every one of them has shown in the last few months during this pandemic.
We owe it to our children and grandchildren
They all deserve a pay rise. They all deserve you and me to fight for the institution they serve and we rely on, with everything we have got.
We owe it to our children and grandchildren, not just to hope, but to fight to make sure our NHS will be there for them, publicly ran, publicly, owned, publicly funded and free at the point of use, like it has been there for us, as our grand grandparents, who built it for us, intended.
Hold the MP accountable
So I urge you to challenge Bob Seely, ask him why he voted as he did. In person, by phone, in emails and letters. Be vigilant. Join Isle of Wight Save Our NHS (Facebook Group) and take part in campaigning actions.
If MPs are not willing to ensure the future of OUR NHS, it’s up to us to do everything we can to hold them to account and to protect it.
Image: © Simon Wells – The Photographer’s Studio