Monday, 27 January 2014

David and Jeremy really don't want 'your kids to die'

There are reports coming from North Korea suggesting Kim Jong-un has ordered the execution of every blood relative of his uncle – himself purged and killed last month – including women and children.

In November last year, the Oxford Research Group estimated more than 11,000 children had been killed in the conflict in Syria.

Across large parts of Africa, militias specialising in terror, such as the Lord’s Resistance Army, abduct, drug and force children to fight, rape and pillage. The statistics are blood-chilling.  Reports suggest tens of thousands of children have been abducted by the LRA in countries including Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.

In too many conflicts, children are seen as disposable, cheap cannon fodder; expendable. And, in all the cases above, it can be argued that those responsible for these deaths genuinely do not care other people’s children are dying.
Now consider this headline:

David and Jeremy want your kids to die (unless you’re rich)

It appears above a blog by comedian Rufus Hound in which he talks about his decision to stand as an MEP for the National Health Action Party. Evidently, Hound feels passionately about the NHS and is furious about what the coalition is doing with it. He deserves credit for wanting to stand for election and actually try and do something about it, rather than being a chatshow-sofa and stage bound dilettante comedian like Russell Brand.

But it’s also very clear that while David [Cameron] and Jeremy [Hunt] may well be making an enormous hash of the NHS with their exceedingly top-down and bureaucratic reforms, they do not want anyone’s ‘kids to die’. I know it's hyperbole but it’s an absurd, ad hominem, attack which does Hound no credit at all and is unlikely to be the message the NHAP really wants communicating. 

Too often in political discourse, sensible debate gets sidelined and replaced by lazy stereotypes and cheap bribes. For example, it isn’t ‘class war’ to raise the top income tax band to 50p; voting for the Labour Party is not akin to supporting the gulags and terror of Stalin and supporting the Conservative Party does not equate to being a fascist. If Hound wants to command serious attention, he should let the details of his blog do the talking and not resort to such a crude, simplistic, headline. 

It’s well known that the prime minister lost his son Ivan back in 2009, after suffering from cerebral palsy and epilepsy. At the time, David Cameron paid very heartfelt tributes to the efforts of the NHS. Hound may profoundly disagree with the government’s reforms – and even the most generous critic can find much to question – but to suggest Cameron ‘wants’ other parents to suffer the heartache and pain he went through is particularly unpleasant. 

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