Nowhere can the disconnect between the real world and the pampered, overpaid, uncaring and just plain nasty world of those in the Baby Shard bunker be seen more clearly than when the goons at the Murdoch Sun go after the NHS. The paper’s hacks, pundits and management do not lower themselves to use the service; they all go private. But they need to keep frightening the readers about it. So they must write about it.
All of which brings us to today’s Sun front page splash, “Taxpayers Foot Bill … £500K Health Tourist … Quads mum jets in for NHS care”. Yes, Sun readers, someone from abroad - and she’s black, just to make the target audience that little bit angrier - has been getting something that all those Ordinary Hardworking Brits haven’t.
But there was, as Captain Blackadder might have said, only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. For starters, the woman concerned did not leave Nigeria intending to use the NHS. Also - minor point this - long distance air travel has, for decades, been undertaken solely by jet-propelled aircraft. So there is nothing unusual about “jetting in”. Even Sun readers get to do it. It’s just more pejorative drivel.
And something else the Sun isn’t putting on its fraudulent front page “exclusive” claim is that they only found out about this case from a BBC documentary. That would be the same BBC that the Sun spends so much time slagging off, but the same BBC that papers like the Sun use to drive lots of cheap copy about shows like Strictly, Bake-Off, and … oh look, what’s that at the top of the front page? Uninformed Doctor Who speculation!
The article concedes “She had flown to Chicago where she has family to give birth after her gynaecologist warned against having quads in Nigeria … But she was turned away for having the wrong paperwork”. This, though, is fine - in the Murdoch press, criticism of over-zealous US immigration officials is Streng Verboten.
What the goons at the Sun have decided is a much higher priority is to demand that the woman is pursued for every last drop of cash that can be wrung out of her, which today’s editorial makes plain: “NHS failure to make health tourists pay for their care is an outrage – they must be chased for every penny … Cash-strapped hospitals are branded unsafe, yet hundreds of millions of pounds are lost because we do not recoup costs from visitors not entitled to free care”. Who brands them unsafe? Er, guess. The Sun does.
It gets worse: “The NHS is seen as a soft touch worldwide”. By whom? Oh I get it, the Sun makes that one up too. Do go on. “Just ten out of 154 Trusts collect half the national total. Too many don’t bother”. How many more Trusts than ten have money to recoup? Ah, but the Sun isn’t going to tell you that, either. Nor the actual cost to the average taxpayer.
So what is the cost of the Nigerian woman’s treatment, and that of her surviving babies? Wonder why the Sun hasn’t included it in its story? Wonder no longer: the cost to each and every taxpayer of that treatment is around ONE PENNY. The Murdoch goons are working their readers up into a lather of hatred for ONE PENNY per taxpayer.
Right, says he rummaging in his pocket, there’s my ONE PENNY. And two … fingers in the direction of the Baby Shard bunker, sponging off the BBC (I paid my licence fee - did you, Rupe?) while accusing others of sponging. Remember folks - don’t buy the Sun.