AH, the twinkling of the fairy lights reflected in the eyes of poor Timmy as we looks around the hospital ward, and the gaiety of the nurses as they swish almost soundlessly from bed to bed with good cheer, as doctors chortle with their young charges...
Well that would have been nice but that Edwin ‘Scrooge’ Poots, our Health Minister, is to close the ward and slam a big “For Sale to the Private Sector” around the hospital gates as they clang shut for the last time.
And he’ going to charge for prescriptions too! Merry Christmas to all!
But, wait, is that really Scrooge McPoots? Under that grey suit, does there lurk the vision and demeanour of a super hero, ready to leap into the fray, the saviour of our ailing and obese NHS in Norn Iron? Tough Poots on the outside, but Edwin’s warm and gushy to make sure Little Timmy has his leg amputated in time for Christmas so he can make slum employers feel guilty in time for next Yuletide?
Truth be told, no-one’s even sure how it will shake out as the Compton Review of health and social care takes sail over the potential closure of half the wards in hospitals, the reduction of A&E departments and the ‘Fat Tax’.
Now that was the genius move! Before any lobby group or community organisation could whip up a head of steam to turn any given MLA into a ‘Not In My Back Yard’ closure hospital NIMBY, the media moved in 24 hours from radio shows about hospital wards to the ethics of the ‘Fat Tax’.
Chubby people all claimed it was their right to munch merrily away, while slim folks pontificated and smokers heaved a last drag of delight that they weren’t the targets any more.
Thus Mr Poots can glance a steely eye around the chamber and the next time an MLA speaks about how his Hicksville hospital in the boonies has to stay open, he can measure the girth of the waistband of said MLA and consider uttering the immortal words: “So, now we know who ate all the pies!”