Wednesday, July 6, 2011

[NEW on LifeLube] Duchess on NHS, Independence Day and family values

[LifeLube is bloody thrilled to present Duchess a new, semi-irregular column featuring the ramblings of an English Duchess. This is the first - more to come.]

Although some of my detractors will say otherwise, I was not even conceived when the National Health Service was created in the UK on the 5th July 1948.

Embodied to provide universal healthcare free at the point of access for all UK nationals, the NHS is one of the few healthcare services in the world that has held onto its socialist basis that healthcare is a basic human right, irrespective of class, age, gender or sexual orientation.

I’ve been blessed with reasonable health so my tax contributions, and those of my husbands, have been mainly spent on those less fortunate, which as a diamonte socialist is fine by me. I mean it may be awful to say, but the rich can’t afford the poor to be ill, toilets don’t clean themselves, so it is everybody’s interest really.

I should confess but completely entre nous, over the years the odd unfortunate run in with something nasty acquired in a questionably dark establishment from a handsome young sailor, has meant a visit to a sexual health clinic. I really despair at the thought of any country where sexual health services are on a payment basis, it is distressing enough to be battling with something amiss down below without having to hack the emergency credit card out of the freezer or take the family jewels into hock. Discreet and to the point, sexual health services were less traumatic than I expected and the introduction of the fast-test HIV testing means I was in and out in less time that it takes to have a facial at Aveda.

It is somewhat ironic that the NHS was founded the day after US Independence Day, not that I’m a colonialist, I mean if you want to run things yourself who am I to want to take the helm, but it is interesting how the two countries have diverged. Despite its size the UK has remained independent from Europe and has held its own on the International stage, some might say at the sake of our local best interests, but hey that’s politics.

The US is much larger and in many ways more traditionalist than the UK, the division between the two polls of politics appears to be growing and the republican rhetoric seems to be more blunt and ruthless than before, but that may all be because I was always distracted by Nancy’s pearls before. The rise of the Tea Party political movement seems in some ways similar to our UKIP and BNP parties, brutal nationalism and a return to ‘traditional’ ‘white’ able-bodied’ ‘heterosexual’ family values all veiled behind delicate cucumber sandwiches and rather questionable tea.

Personally I’ve always wondered when people start mentioning family values, it reminds me of a rather inbred branch of the family who lived in Wales and developed a disturbing and very distinctive shape to their upper dentition a little reminiscent of horses teeth. In these modern times I wonder what family means? Blood relations is the term used on medical forms these days, and the reality of modern life is that few of us spend our lives nestled in the family home. Like any dutiful child I try to have dinner with my parents at least once a month and touch base every week, but I consider my family to be broader than just my blood relations. My friends who have been part of my life for almost half of my years on this earth are family as well, they know my deepest secrets, the shame and the joys that should never been revealed until everyone is very drunk at my wake. Someone once said to me that your family are those who in your darkest moments don’t judge, don’t preach, don’t ask for anything in payment or kind, but simply hold your hand and give you love and support….and on that deep and profound note it’s time for to take the butler out for a spin…until next time!

Duchess xx

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