Skip to content

The health crisis generates a dirty war in the final leg of the elections in the United Kingdom

December 10, 2019

Johnson suffers his biggest skid and his team counterattacks to divert attention from the effects of ten years of cuts


The health system crisis has broken out in the most awkward trance for the British Prime Minister's re-election campaign, emphasizing the two most compromised elements for his absolute majority aspirations this Thursday: the troubles of the National Health Service (NHS) in English), the institution with the highest electoral voltage in the United Kingdom after a decade of 'tories' cuts, and the credibility of Boris Johnson.

The proof of the importance of health appears in the dirty war unleashed less than 48 hours after the opening of the schools, with disinformation maneuvers and the filtering of harmful private conversations that confirm the 2019 ones as the most abject generals in the recent history.

At the start of the last and definitive week, Johnson's reaction to a journalist's attempt to show him the image of a 4-year-old boy on the floor of a hospital in Leeds, in the north of England, has already remained as the most serious lack of his career for Number 10, which until now had passed without excessive shocks. Maybe the prime minister's clip by introducing the reporter's cell phone in his pocket to settle the issue resembles an anecdote, but it undoubtedly reinforces Labor's message that, with conservatives, the NHS is in danger.

The campaign sets are unpredictable, but the one starring the 'premier' just days from the generals, showing a clear inability to show empathy and park the political discourse to dimension a human drama, affects the core of his mission to legitimize his mandate at the polls. In spite of the corroborated campaign of discredit to present as false the photograph, published first in a regional newspaper and this Monday in the 'Daily Mirror', a tabloid of lefts of cut, the damage was done.


The only consolation for Johnson is that the offensive planned by his rival to raise ammunition in the matter of NHS has been marred by the dire leak of a private recording of Labor Health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth. Member of the opposition dome, Ashworth argues that this Thursday the game will lose and questions both the perception of Jeremy Corbyn in the street, and the number 10 machinery itself.

The audio, broadcast on a platform linked to the Conservative Party, has blurred the operation designed by Labor for the decisive hours before the vote, but does not eliminate the threat that, from the beginning of the countdown to 12-D, the Healing pump had meant for Johnson's hegemony.

In fact, Ashworth, who tried to defend the tone as a “joke,” has considered spreading his conversation as an attempt to divert attention from the health crisis. Not surprisingly, summoning the polls in the middle of winter, exposing the electoral yearnings to the constraints of a system on the verge of “collapse”, according to professionals in the sector, was one of the great risks for elections raised in Brexit.


As a consequence, Labor from the beginning tried to transfer the attention of divorce, to focus on health and social assistance, two areas deeply touched after a decade of austerity with the 'tory' seal. Its promises of investment in the matter, as in almost all areas, far exceed those of conservatives and, crucially, capitalize on the reputation that the left has traditionally enjoyed as a political flagship of the NHS.

But beyond the purely electoral dialectic, statistical reality has been responsible for justifying why Johnson has a lot to fear, with politically toxic figures such as those that confirmed the worst waiting times in hospital emergencies since the records exist , with one in six patients waiting more than four hours to be treated.

A fact that beyond the numerical coldness and, like the 'premier' should have learned in the 2016 referendum, resonates in the imaginary of a voter willing to dump his frustration at the polls. A trance in the sacrosanct NHS, the most inviolable of the institutions north of the English Channel, has the potential to have the most robust advantage, if the message that the cuts of the conservatives are behind a drama that exceeds the drama barrier of statistics and affects the general bulk of the population.

The influence of health in the British collective mentality is such that, in 2016, the brains after the pro-Brexit campaign had exploited it to decant the plebiscite in their favor. The unfounded promise to dedicate to the NHS the 350 million that, according to them, London sent weekly to Brussels crystallized in an electorate that, ironically, could claim Johnson, the moral godfather of the divorce, the return of the debt.