Poem on privatization of British healthcare


This video is Michael Moore’s film Sicko; with Dutch subtitles.

Here comes a poem about the tendencies of the Thatcherist-Blairist-Brownist British governments towards privatization of the National Health Service.

The Bevan! in the poem is Aneurin Bevan, the British “Old” Labour minister, who founded the National Health Service in the 1940s.

The “should be living at this hour” line is borrowed from this poem by William Wordsworth:

Milton! thou should’st be living at this hour:

LONDON, 1802.

Milton! thou should’st be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters

This line has become standard in deploring the decline of British poetry; or, in this case, of British Labour ministers.

From London daily The Morning Star:

POETRY: Poem of the week

edited by John Rety

Poem of the week: For Aneurin Bevan by Danielle Hope.

Bevan! You should be living at this hour
the NHS has need of you. She is a shell
sapped of spirit, a disoriented hull
a revengeful return of the Mayflower.
Her decks brim with pristine shops and babble,
burble like a jaunty airport mall.
Her cargo strains with episodes, manpower
and medicines, each counted to cut costs.
Below she battles ageing, accidents and old super-bugs
that breed below adverts for tomorrow’s drugs.
Passengers please travel on for health care
you’ll find private dentists, stocks, shares
and lawyers on each turning of the stair.

About the poet

Danielle Hope was born in Lancashire but now lives in London. She has had three collections of poetry, Fairground of Madness, City Fox and The Stone Ship, published by Rockingham Press.

John Rety of Hearing Eye Press and Torriano Meeting House is a former editor of anarchist paper Freedom.

VIRGIN Care has been awarded over £2bn of NHS contracts in the last five years alone, ringing alarm bells over the further privatisation of the NHS. In a single year, Virgin Care won deals worth £1bn to provide services to the NHS: here.

256 thoughts on “Poem on privatization of British healthcare

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