The NHS and negative nationalism

I have fractured my ankle, not seriously but enough for it to be in a cast for the next four weeks. And a great cast it is too, bright orange plastic set off with a smart little black bootie. Nice. The handiwork was carried out by a nurse at Kings College Hospital in Denmark Hill, London.

In the last four days I’ve been to a Doctors surgery, two A&E departments and a fracture clinic. On every occasion I have been afforded the highest level of service, efficiency and kindness. The experience was genuinely touching and has confirmed what I’ve always thought about the NHS, that it is a fantastic institution staffed by great people.

I’m always amazed at why something that should be a source of national pride falls prey to the tabloid press on a daily basis, along with another great organisation, Transport For London. Negativity, very much like conservatism, is the easy way out of appraising the positivity in any area of our society. It also underpins the current fashion of turning the nose up at anything British, a term referred to by George Orwell as negative nationalism.

The thing with the tabloids is that their form of negative nationalism only applies to those institutions that are not traditionally conservative, the NHS or TFL for example. They would never apply it to what they consider to be mainstays of strength and decency like the police, armed forces or the royal family.

The Broadsheets go in for negative nationalism too, but for them it’s the more liberal concerns of culture, food and sport that are always better somewhere else.

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