Holier - and Healthier - Than Thou

Submitted by Janine on Sat, 07/15/2006 - 11:32

Hat tip to John Angliss's blog for this snippet ...

Apparently, the House of Lords, while discussing bird flu, was most concerned that men of the cloth should get the medicine first. Why? Because they are 'key workers' of course!

Health Minister of State Lord Warner agreed that "ministers of religion will play an important role during an influenza pandemic", but the Lord Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham insisted on pressing the matter further. The clergy, apparently, are essential to "social stability and cohesion" so should be front of the queue for the drugs.

Surely the Bishop - preacher of love-thy-neighbour selflessness - could not possibly be motivated by a desire to get out alive even if his flock drop down dead?

I've always thought that the 'key worker' concept is well dodgy. It has been used to provide 'affordable' (otherwise known as 'barely affordable') housing in London for teachers, nurses etc. Which is no doubt good news for those teachers and nurses, but not as good news as a big pay rise, or a revival in council housing, would be. And no consolation to cleaners, shopworkers and others who work long and hard for not much dosh.

Any discussion of which groups of people are prioritised for medical treatment makes two very dangerous assumptions. Firstly, that there will not be enough treatment to go round. And secondly, that some people's lives are more valuable than others. Socialists should not have a bar of this.

In the meantime, in the bird flu pandemic does strike, laying on of medicines, hospital beds and health workers would be much more 'key' than laying-on of bishops' hands.