OK, I’LL level with you: this column does not really go in for what you might call “intelligent analysis”.
Researching the facts, weighing up evidence, drawing finely-tuned conclusions. These are just some of the noble concepts I jettison in favour of a cheap laugh and a couple of puns. Hey, tut all you like but it has got me to the finals of the Regional Newspaper Columnist of the Year award – TWICE! – and even if I did not actually win the thing I made a serious dent in the table wine, which nobody can ever take away from me.
So you will not be surprised to learn that I did not initially know whether selling the NHS abroad – an initiative which began on Tuesday in Dubai – was a good idea.
My instincts told me to be wary, as they often do when people in rimless spectacles start using words like “brand” and “franchise”, particularly around the sacred institution which will one day be tasked with the removal of my prostate (family tradition).
On the other hand, I can also understand the argument that our medical knowledge is a valuable resource which we would be foolish to ignore.
So, like I say, I was torn.
But then something swayed me: one side (those in favour) tried to treat me like an idiot. Now, as we have established, that may be true.
However, it is also very insulting and not a little bit fishy.
It was the Danny Boyle line that swung it. Apparently, foreign interest in buying bits of our NHS was sparked by the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.
Until then, you see, nobody beyond these shores had even heard of the NHS. No foreign people ever worked in it or used it while visiting or studying in the UK.
In fact, they did not even know what “NHS” stood for. If anyone with a funny accent or swarthy complexion ever asked, I guess we just made something up. “Nice Hairdressing Salon”, perhaps, or the “Norman Hunter Society”.
We would have got away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for those pesky dancing nurses. They blew our little secret wide open. Well that is what some people would have you believe.
Let’s be honest. The Olympics opening ceremony was a moment of tremendous pride. But only to us. To expect the rest of the world to have felt the same fuzzy glow is a bit of a stretch. To then suggest that it prompted the wholesale restructuring of their healthcare provision is just plain bonkers.
So why even link the two concepts? Probably because they know we still go all warm and fuzzy when that ceremony is mentioned, and are too busy getting all puffed up and proud to question the wisdom of a profit-driven brain drain.
But, hey, that is just my unintelligent analysis.