This is the truth of Boris Johnson’s brave new Britain: the public purse can pay for the privileged to have helicopter rides home from hospital, while a homeless woman didn’t qualify for hospital treatment until after she had given birth on a cold Cambridge street.
The woman, aged around 30, gave birth to twins who were around 11 weeks premature on Sidney Street, outside Trinity College, Cambridge on Monday.
Is this the kind of medical care the fifth-largest economy in the world provides to its people?
How did this woman become homeless? Was she unable to pay the bills because Tory wage or benefit policies are so prejudiced against the poor (which means most of us)?
Homelessness has rocketed under Conservative rule – and this can only be because Conservative policies dictated that it should happen.
And a homeless person, living on the streets, dies every 19 hours.
One would expect that pregnant women who are homeless would be particularly vulnerable to an early death – especially those in desperate need of medical help because they were giving birth.
Death during childbirth used to be tragically common, after all.
No doubt this would make the Tories unbearably happy; it’s one less “useless eater”.
I read also, today, that the Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed a helicopter ride home after a four-day stay in hospital due to a “pre-existing condition”.
You see how it is?
The privileged people in our society get to have the very best – a place in hospital whenever they need or want it, and the extravagance of a trip home by helicopter – whenever they want it.
And all on state benefits. The Duke is on the Civil List, remember – and that is a state-funded benefit.
Why aren’t the rest of us afforded the same treatment – why wasn’t the homeless mother offered it, if the cash is available to pay for him to receive such treatment?
I’m not begrudging him the treatment; I’m questioning a government that is happy to fund such extravagance for him, while begrudging even a minimum of treatment for her.
It all could have been different, too. Labour would have provided a home and dignity to the woman, and she would have been able to enjoy appropriate hospital treatment.
But 14 million voted Tory. A child becomes homeless every eight minutes (including the two who were born homeless on Monday).
And the benefits we enjoy depend on the identity of our parents (or spouses) rather than being rights enjoyed by everyone.
That’s something to think about, over Christmas.
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