It is a feature of my psychology (and perhaps yours, too) that I never really lose my rag in political arguments, except when confronted by unreasonableness on the part of those I know and love. At which point I blow a gasket. So it fell that the other day I was sitting at some dinner party next to the wife of an old friend, and she started in on the classic posh-liberal routine, about why only the Labour Party can really be trusted with the NHS. “What you Tories don’t understand,” she said, as I glowered at my plate, “is the role the health service plays in bringing us all TOGETHER.
“It unites the NATION. I was sitting in a ward the other day, after having some operation done, and thinking how MAAHVELLOUS it was to be among all these people, from all walks of life, and all races, and I realised we were all in a sense equal. I mean, I don’t think I ever feel so close to the rest of society as I do in a hospital.” Really? I said. Not even on the beach?
“Not the kind of beaches I go to,” she tinkled; and on she went, explaining how maahvellous it was that the duke and dustman were treated alike in our glorious New Jerusalem, watching the same TV, eating the same spotted dick, attended by the same starch-bosomed nurses. It was a wonderful system, she said, and to prove her point she revealed her own recent miracle experience.