In the months leading up to 23rd June last year you may have seen a massive red bus, with the words ‘We send the EU £350 million a week let’s fund our NHS instead’ plastered across it.
That photo of Boris Johnson next to the bus is etched into the minds of those who even briefly watched the news during the EU referendum. It was an attractive idea to get people to vote Leave.
With a National Health Service that is on its knees desperately requiring urgent funding, a promise to invest if we leave the EU was genius – and a lie.
For the record, if the NHS budget only increases with inflation, the estimated funding gap will be at £30 billion by 2020-21. If it makes savings of 2-3%, the gap will be £8 billion. Admittedly, the latter is less frightening. And, with all of that extra funding the NHS is going to get since we’re quitting the undemocratic bureaucracy - returning sovereignty to Britain with Nigel Farage leading the way in a purple cape - things won’t be so bad.
Apart from the obvious fact that has emerged in the House of Commons this week.
On Thursday night, MPs voted on whether they should give the NHS – our NHS, the one we will do an awful lot to protect and keep as a cradle to grave health anchor – £350 million per week.
No prizes for guessing what happened.
Boris Johnson voted against the motion to fund the NHS. He voted against the pledge on the bus he travelled around the country in, preying on one of the biggest issues in the minds of the people. He told them leaving the EU would mean that funding goes into the NHS. He then proceeded to vote against that promise, exposing just how much of a hypocritical buffoon he is.
Boris isn’t the only one, though. Other Leave campaigners prominent in the Conservative Party voted against the bill too. Ian Duncan Smith (the one who resigned from David Cameron’s cabinet and cried on TV because of how sorry he felt for people less well-off than him) voted against giving the NHS the funding his campaign promised. Michael Gove, Priti Patel and Andrea Leadsom also decided to make a mockery of 52% of people who voted Leave in the referendum.
We have known for some time that hypocrisy remains in our democratic system.
These political figures who lied to us and told us to ignore experts have gotten what they wanted and left everyone else to deal with the mess they left behind. Knowing that you deliberately voted against a pledge you made to persuade people to vote in your favour shouldn’t be something that rests nicely.
Whatever happens next, it’s important we don’t forget or overlook this shambolic display of hypocrisy. However often it happens, we should never become accustomed to it.