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The health of the nation must be the government’s number one priority

Our representative democracy has failed us, and is failing us. The story of Andrew Lansley’s Act to privatise the NHS – introduced and pushed through with no democratic mandate - epitomises this.

But you can see and hear our democracy failing by tuning into Parliamentary debates: pointless hours of dull rhetoric and evidence-light posturing until the division bell rings and hundreds of MPs or Lords appear as if from nowhere, herded in to vote by the party whips.

You can see and hear it failing in the weekly baying, shouting and gesticulating of Prime Minister’s Questions, behaviour that wouldn’t be tolerated for a moment in any workplace or even in public. And evidence has now emerged of what has long been obvious – David Cameron’s attempts to stage manage PMQs. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10617436/David-Camerons-attempts-to-stage-manage-Prime-Ministers-Questions.html

Our politicians refuse to be accountable or responsible. At election time they’re at best calculating, at worst plain dishonest. Our system of government has decayed to the point of being unfit for purpose. How government operates directly affects what government does. It needs to be made to work for us and not just for foreign companies, banks and lobbyists.

This is why the 12th Point in the NHA Action Planis so important, and so relevant. The National Health Action Party demands that we: “Make the social determinants of health an absolute priority in the design and development of all government policies.” 

Poverty, poor education, pollution, processed foods, unaffordable gas and electricity, stress, lack of housing, threats to personal safety, unemployment: all are examples of social determinants of health. We say every policy and every piece of legislation introduced to government must pass this test to become law: 

When implemented, will this make the people of the UK more healthy - or less?  

The 12th point of our plan therefore demands a change to the way government works. It is a first small step in taking back our government and making it work for our benefit, and for that of generations to come.

I believe that there is such a thing as society, and that the struggle for the NHS is a key part of the struggle to put the wellbeing of society back at the heart of what government does, how government works and what government is for.

There are many ideas circulating about how to improve politics and how to improve the way government works.On our website we say we want to act as and be part of a new politics , not the politics which has failed our country.

Member, supporter, sympathiser: what else can we do to change politics, politicians and policies. How can we create a political system which makes the health of the nation the number one priority for government?  

By John Hully, Executive member of the NHA Party

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