Why I don’t agree with clapping for the NHS

Our weekly clapping is drowning out the reality of this government’s handling of the pandemic and its neglect of the NHS



As a socialist, I fully support universal healthcare. That’s not to suggest those principles need to accompany each other but I say it to provide context. Although my political leaning has likely increased my lamenting of the underfunding and under-resourcing, and the often little discussed mismanagement, that the NHS has aggressively been subject to under successive Tory and Tory-led governments.

I stand in solidarity with the NHS and those who staff it. I angrily deplore the aforementioned having caused such an emotional, mental and sadly physical cost to those staff during the peak of the pandemic and beyond. The government’s call to protect the NHS is ironic given successive Tory governments have consistently given the NHS a kicking. Moreover, they have lambasted its staff alongside other public sector workers they have vilified.

Photo by Hello I'm Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

It’s because of this that I don’t agree with the weekly clapping for the NHS. It is an empty gesture, driven by the jingoistic rhetoric employed by a Prime Minister who portrays Covid-19 as a wartime enemy, as he whips up the government’s braying supporters into a frenzy. His strategy has been to evoke public sentiment akin to the Blitz spirit as he seeks to channel his inner Winston Churchill.

Boris Johnson does share some of his wartime hero’s qualities; most notably those that relate to race and compounded by a misplaced hubris with regard to Britain. Only, we’re not at war and Johnson doesn’t have a physical enemy to place before the British public. Consequently, his bombast around Covid-19 is a distraction at best from the abysmal handling of the pandemic by an incompetent and unethical government.

When we clap for the NHS, our cheers and applause, with a cacophony of banging pots and pans, drown out the sombre and chilling reality of this government’s handling of the pandemic. It provides a smokescreen to conceal their bloodied hands as they show callous nonchalance towards protecting lives. From the outset, they instead sought to throw a protective ring around the economy in their commitment to the toxicity of