Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Hash Tags, Twitter And The NHS.

Ok, so upfront I should say, I'm not to fond of hash tags ..##.. I don't like the look of them and, truth be told, they're not easy to find on my keyboard, it involves a key tapping pattern that occurs for no other purpose than to produce a hash tag, it is the only symbol I use out of a bunch that are to be found under the top row of keys if you press down the big key between Ctrl and Alt on the left hand side, which on our Logitech wireless keyboard appears to think it starts Windows, we use a Mac so it doesn't, and it also says Alt option, but I only use it with 3 for #. Here's the whole row `¡€#¢∞§¶•ªº–≠ not being an expert at typing, I haven't a clue where I would use most of those or what they might be called.

Almost he only time I use # is #followfriday on Twitter. Personally, I think #unfollowmefriday would be more appropriate as I seem to loose more followers on a Friday than any other day of the week, but since I can never work out who the deserters are I figure they weren't that important. I have a hardcore group of twittermates who seem to have always been there who have become strangely important to me, and seem to be a bunch of good people, I wouldn't like to loose any of them, but all those life coaches from California and inspirational speakers from New York and Chicago, well, I figure they are the ones who disappear when their Twitter Apps automatically unfollow all who don't follow them back, which seems like a colossal waste of time to me, since it was probably some other App which followed me in the first place!

Now hash tags are popular on Twitter, and very useful too, identifying searches and trending topics and giving me quick clues as to which tweets to ignore and which to take notice of. Of course there is the novelty value of seeing something daft becoming a trending topic, but that is wearing a bit thin now. Some have been very important and influential on an international scale, such as the recent elections in Iran, then there was the European Parliament and local council elections here in the UK back in June with the hash tag I used myself quite a lot #stoptheBNP and variations along that theme. These thing have influence, and if they only bring something to the attention of folk who may not otherwise have been aware, they are doing some good.

Now anybody that know me knows that I was brought up to be a good socialist. Not a popular label now I know, but whichever way round you put it, that is what I am. My political heroes are all on the left, try as I might I can see nothing of worth in the conservative party, the thought of them forming any sort of government honestly fills me with horror. This is not the time to go into explanations, it is just the way I see things based on experience. So I found the latest hash tag on Twitter which I noticed yesterday quite intriguing, #welovetheNHS. Wow! since I hear nothing but moans a grumbles about the NHS and its failures this one came as quite a surprise, so I looked into it. I found Daniel Hannan MEP on Fox news in a programme called Freedom Watch, here is the url if you feel the need to see it, for your own sanity I would advise against.. you will have to copy and paste, I'm not clever enough to turn it into a conventional click on it link!

Mr Hannan is basically placing the blame for all that he feels is wrong with Britain today at the feet of the NHS. He did say some nice things about the staff, but if you follow his reasoning he would have to otherwise the conservatives wouldn't have a hope in the next election! Now I am only speaking from personal experience, but without the NHS I don't think I would have survived childhood, In fact I doubt I would have survived my birth way back in 1951, without the help of the NHS. My mother certainly would not have survived. In 1985 history repeated itself and without the NHS my daughter and I would probably not be here. Ten years later my mother was being helped and encouraged by the staff of the Royal Marsden through her last few months. These things are priceless. Surly in a civilized society health care is a right, not a privilege. We pay taxes and we pay national insurance, we have to and it is only right that we do, this is what pays for a National Health Service and without a healthy nation what the hell is there? Even the most Conservative of Capitalists must be able to see that without a healthy work force your profits are going to suffer and heaven forbid your shareholders not having enough coming in to pay for their own private health care!

I only used the hash tag once and seem to have upset someone with it, I'm guessing a supporter of Daniel Hannan. Of course there are things wrong with the NHS, too many highly paid managers to mention one, and yes I know there are many other issues which need to be addressed. I can't get the support I need for my autistic daughter because there are not enough psychologists available, also at the moment for me to attend an out patients appointment for a long standing health problem the hospital is so far away I have to take three separate buses to get there, but you take the rough with the smooth, and you are grateful for what you get. But just imagine, if all the money that goes to the private insurers (and their shareholders) were to go into caring for the sick, things would be different. I do not believe that there is room for conventional profit making in health care. You make your profits from luxuries, not necessities, but like I said at the beginning of all this, I was brought up to be a good socialist. There is only a limited number of people I am going to see eye to eye with. Fortunately a lot of them are on Twitter, for which I am eternally grateful!

If you got this far, thanks for sticking with it to the end. There is a lot more I could say, but to be honest I don't want to. I've said what I needed to say, though it took me a while to get to the nub of it, if I ever did! But Nye Bevan, for all his faults, will remain one of my heroes because without him we wouldn't be saying.. #welovetheNHS...

1 comment:

  1. Ah well, pains me as much as it does you Irene but I agree with all you've put. I'm still in awe at the NHS, far from perfect of course but one of the finest and best intentioned projects by any country, anywhwere.
    It's all to easy to criticise and lickspittles a la Daniel Hannan will stop at nothing to undermine so they can get their hands on more filthy lucre.
    Like yourself I'm not a great user or that fond of # but in some cases i:e #welovetheNHS it's a brilliant way to follow together and convey ourselves collectively.