graham-linehanThe Twitterati have once again exploded with indignation, but this time it’s in defence of our own NHS. Father Ted scribe Graham Linehan stumbled across this anti-Health Care reform editorial in the Investor’s Business Daily. The original version actually made for even more infuriating reading thanks to this paragraph:

“People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.” 

That section has since been excised, as the author was apparently totally unaware that Professor Hawking was British (great research guys.) Meanwhile, the article sped around the world so fast it popped up on Stephen Hawking’s radar fast enough for the good Professor to publish this short & sweet response: 

“I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high quality treatment without which I would not have survived.”

lego2Back on Twitter, Mr Linehan’s rallying cries made #welovetheNHS a trending topic within the hour

Everyone was tweeting their positive NHS stories, from brain surgeries and helpful GPs, to our own Head Chef’s declaration that the NHS saved his life. Personally, the NHS has saved both my parents and delivered two beautiful babies into my arms. I can’t imagine doubling our mortgage to guarantee healthcare, and thousands of fellow Tweeters seem to agree.

By the time Imperial Stormtroopers were getting in on the act, the pro-NHS Twitstorm had grown to such proportions that it began to catch the attention of the press, with the Telegraph picking up the story, and then The Washington Post, who offered this final thought:

“How strange that we can get better and more accurate information about international health systems from Twitter than from many of our major media outlets.”
But then, Lo, the King of Twitter did spake, and he sayeth unto the people: “Know this, Republicans. Even the most right wing British politician wouldn’t think of dismantling our health service.” Bravo, Sir Stephen, Bravo.
But then – oh for shame – he was proved wrong when the most ignorant, underhand attack was launched by one of our very own countrymen on that goatbrained shitehorn, Fox News. Mr Linehan flagged it up as follows: ‘Backstabbing Tory Daniel Hannan with bag of shit, Glenn Beck. Watch with open-mouthed incredulity here:’


‘Prescription for Truth’ my arse. I cannot describe how apoplectic that makes me feel. The idiocy on display is simply dazzling – even for Fox News – and it makes me despair at the thought of millions of Americans turning their backs on Health reform as a result of such self-righteous pigheadedness. Thankfully there are saner Stateside voices, such as Steve Benen from The Washington Monthly:

“It’s worth emphasizing, for those who remain confused and misled, that Democratic reform proposals would not create a British system. The comparison doesn’t even make sense in any substantive way, and the very premise of the IBD attack, which has been widely parroted by the far-right, reflects a fundamental lack of intellectual honesty and seriousness.”

And with that I’ll leave you with Graham Linehan’s last Tweet on the matter, a Retweet, in fact, from an American friend:

“No more apathy. Now’s the time, my fellow Americans. Contact your representatives & let them know: #USHealthcareNOW.”

Please do so, and please continue to Tweet your NHS love through #welovetheNHS.

+++UPDATE: 13.08.09 – Woke up this morning and it’s all over the media, particularly the radio phone-ins; both Richard Bacon on 5Live and Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 making a huge deal of Republicans using the NHS as a stick with which to beat Obama. Cue a deluge of calls that, for once, have nothing but positive things to say about our glorious Health Service. Huzzah!+++

+++UPDATE: 14.08.09 – BBC News is still running it as their top story, with Tory leader Cameron having to publicly rebuke Daniel Hannan for his American folly. Last night, Channel 4 went over to Graham Linehan’s house to quiz him over why he started the whole affair, and you can watch it here. You can also watch The Daily Show’s riposte to Glenn Beck here. Let’s hope & pray Obama squeezes this Bill through, despite Fox’s pernicious lies. For the ten thousandth time, damn you Murdoch!+++ 



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