Public health doctors have unanimously hated Thatcher and her legacy, and to show his scorn Gabriel Scally, a public health doctor, tells us on Twitter that his response to her death is to contribute to the memorial fund for Michael Foot, who was truly a great politician.
This tells you pretty much everything you need to know about Thatcher and the mandarins of 'public health'. If, as I can well believe, she was really "unanimously hated" by these people then more power to her elbow. It only goes to confirm that the whole 'movement' is dominated by half-witted left-wingers who should keep their opinions about politics and economics to themselves.
Gabriel Scally is a case in point. Like Smith, he continues to admire Michael Foot, a man who was wrong about every important issue of his lifetime and whose manifesto in the 1983 election is widely regarded as the worst ever. Like every socialist leader in my lifetime, he was rejected by the electorate.
Scally also admires Angela Davis, an unedifying radical far-left activist who was somehow invited to speak at a public health conference in San Francisco.
Members of the American Communist Party talking about Palestine at a supposed public health conference nicely highlights how divorced the movement is from medicine and how far it has morphed into a third-rate student union. If you watch the audience's wildly enthusiastic reaction to Davis's call for "socialism for us all" (at 5.50 minutes), you'll understand why someone like Margaret Thatcher was not a natural partner for the movement.
Smith gives a couple of examples of her time in office which further illustrate the problem:
My first association with Thatcher and health was the attempted suppression of the Black report. It was a report on inequalities in health commissioned by Labour when still in power from Douglas Black, a former president of the Royal College of Physicians. The attempt at suppression was farcical and guaranteed that the report gained far more attention than it would have done if published in the normal way.
Thatcher was indeed no fan of the Black Report, nor should she have been. It was inspired by the socialist academic Richard Wilkinson who later co-authored The Spirit Level and is certainly no fan of her. It was a blatantly political document designed to push the government towards further income redistribution. Thatcher released it on a bank holiday so that it would get minimal publicity, but she was undermined by civil servants who made sure it was well reported.
Also suppressed in those early days was a government report on alcohol that showed clearly that increasing its price was the most effective way of reducing the harm it caused.
How little public health has changed! Thirty years on and they are still treating the law of demand as if it were an exciting new scientific discovery. Then, as now, the doctors never understood that the mere fact that raising the price of a product will, ceteris paribus, reduce consumption is no reason to do. In any case, Thatcher raised alcohol taxes many times when she was in office and her government funded Alcohol Concern from its inception in 1985—two facts that Smith fails to mention.
I was, and still am, keen on public health, and Thatcher with her ideological commitment to individualism and disbelief in society never liked public health.
First of all, that perpetually misrepresented quote about society needs to be read in full:
"There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate."
Secondly, individualism is about self-reliance, personal responsibility and living one's own life without being coerced by the state. Naturally, therefore, it is incompatible with 'public health' in the corrupted sense by which that term is understood today. I am grateful to Smith for reminding us that 'public health' is necessarily at odds with personal liberty. That is why so many of us see it as one of the greatest threats to freedom in Britain today.
By the way, if you are interested in Margaret Thatcher—whether you love her or hate her—I recommend you watch Martin Durkin's documentary on Channel 4 tomorrow at 7pm.