Over the past few decades we have decided that certain things about the UK must forever remain in their current state. Our 'empire state of mind' has infected more than just our foreign policy and now dictates that domestic policy should be never changing. The rise and rise of 'little Englanders' is now less about how we view the world and more about how we view the way this country works.
And for that Britain can, and must, fall. It won't have passed you by that the latest 'scandal' to hit this green and pleasant land is that of the waves of immigration. Our shores are not just lapped at by a gentle worry, but by a constantly eroding tide of fear. This kind of press is exactly what the EU debate enjoys and it makes me think Cameron is right. Brexit will lead to war, but I doubt it'll be an external one and it'll probably just happen online. The latest figures from the ONS apparently show that instead of us having taken 900,000 foreign ex-pats into the country over the past 3 years we've taken about a billion. Or 2.4 million if I was to be less flippant. However, if we read the stories carefully there are two points made that even I, a blind Bremainian, can acknowledge. The NHS is strained and our schools are full. Now if you ran a business that grew to be massively popular what approach would you take? Would you keep doing things the same way, running out of stock and constantly making customers angry? Perhaps you'd tighten your entry policy. If you did would you prefer those who are more likely to pay into your business? Or perhaps you'd change things up a little. Maybe, like Apple, you'd reluctantly introduce new products and new ways of thinking. As a business you would adapt and thrive, not just survive. But we've become Little Englanders in more than just our view of the outside world. We've now come to hate all that is new about our education system and healthcare and are holding them up as religious institutions. And whilst some would argue that the church must evolve, very few would demand that of our public services. These two institutions are practically the only things that drag us out to protest until it's time for supper. When it comes to the NHS and schools we've created a religion of same. So putting aside the debate about whether we let in more contributing foreign ex-pats or not, let's address the root cause of complaint in Blighty right now. Our services are over stretched. The NHS is, in my opinion, an outdated and broken system that we are scared to fix. Every government and political party promises to pump in billions and eradicate waste, yet every government continuously fails. We get hordes of Englanders with pitchforks at the very utterance of the word privatisation and no one sits down to ask what that means. In a blog in 2012 Health Minister Simon Burns writes how the government wants to increase competition in the NHS and how this can improve care. That would get peoples backs up. But he goes on to correctly point out that
"Charities or Social Enterprises run by health care professionals - and indeed, some private sector providers - can sometimes be better placed to offer very specialist support that patients need".
This is exactly what the NHS should be about. Free at the point of access, to all, and giving better care by use of 'privatisation' such as charities. I couldn't give two hoots if the ambulance whisking me away is government owned or from St Johns Ambulance, as long as it's a good quality service and free. Simon Burns goes on to list two great charities who are making this impact. Whizz Kidz have improved wheelchair services for disabled children and Eastbourne Wound Healing Centre have a great record of giving excellent care. Mr Burns concludes that services like Whizz Kidz;
"drive up quality and are the most effective way of offering patients some kind of meaningful choice"
Then we look at the world of education. We've a government policy that has seen hundreds of new schools across the UK and more kids in good schools than ever. Yet people are demanding we keep the system as it used to be.
This religion of same, this refusal to adapt to the world we live in, will be the end of us. Forget being in the EU or not. We are in a global world where increased movement of people won't slow.
Sometimes something has to die for something better to take its place. A pack is only as strong as the weakest wolf, and those who are weak are not left running with the pack for long. That's a strong analogy to use, but I think we need to be ready to let some of our precious traditions die.
If Britain is to face the world strong and to give itself a future, then it needs to look inwards and ask what we are doing wrong. Instead of complaining that our services are full because of migrants, we need to ask how we can make our services better. Do we really believe that if we only let in 10,000 people a year that the NHS would suddenly work better?
Whenever someone tells me we need to face the world with a Dunkirk spirit, or they recall the bravery of the Blitz, I like to remind them that we were being bombed and under attack. War demanded we become stoic and the threat of extinction made us change. 1666 saw London burn to the ground. What replaced it was better, cleaner, more impressive.
It's not the world's problem that school desks are full and hospital beds filling corridors. It's ours. It's our failure to adapt and change and our religion of same same same.
If we want things to improve then we shouldn't be demanding less of the world and blaming contributing foreign ex-pats. I'd rather give free healthcare and school places to those who pay in than to those who refuse.
If we want more hospital beds and more school places then Britain, as we know it, must fall.
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