Those who like to look behind the headlines to spot the implicit stories that accompany them are not all conspiracy theorists. Some point out things that follow logically from the initial story.
Today, for example, a massive pre-birthday present is announced for the NHS, at 70 now approaching what some think should be its retirement age. Arguments can rage, but probably won’t, about whether we should be doing a major restructuring, even a privatization, rather than committing ourselves to pouring ever more cash down its insatiable maw. The source of the cash boost is worth noting. It is, the Prime Minister tells us, a “Brexit dividend,” in that at least part of the bung will come from the money we will not longer send to the EU, post Brexit.
So Point One is that those figures in the side of the bus, the £350m extra available for the NHS, the figure ridiculed, exposed, and cast as a complete lie by Boris Johnson, has now been taken on board and vindicated. Yes, there is a Brexit dividend for the NHS, says the Prime Minister, and here it is.
Point Two is no less interesting. The NHS will get the money if, and the implication is only if, we stop sending money to the EU and divert it to the NHS instead. To do that we have to come out. We have to stop paying our annual dues, either as a membership fee, or as a substitute payment to continue enjoying single market access. The PM has nailed her colours to the mast. If we don’t come out, the NHS will not get its extra cash. It is inconceivable that the additional funds announced will not, after all, be delivered, because the EU is to get them instead. This is simply not going to happen. It means we’re coming out. And those still clinging to the floating driftwood hope that we might somehow still stay in, will now have to admit that this can only be done at the expense of the NHS. The PM has committed the country to stop sending the money to Brussels.
It also means that every doctor, every nurse, every health worker from surgeons to lift attendants, now has an interest in joining the Brexit side. No withdrawal equals no NHS cash. It is now in the interest of every NHS worker to lobby for withdrawal, or that birthday present will never come. The extra wages that it will make possible, the additional treatments, the new facilities, all will be sucked into Brussels if the exit deal does not go through.
This is the story behind the story. The PM has committed herself to delivering what the British people voted for. She has done it publicly, and tied the fate of Britain’s beloved NHS to that delivery. We’re coming out.