Ian Birrell has a profoundly disabled daughter. He has seen the NHS at its best and at its worst. He wrote powerfully about the impact this has had on his political views back in 2005, when David Cameron became party leader. He writes again today, detailing the ways in which he and his family have been inexcusably let down as well as wonderfully well-served. His final point is that it is precisely because our health service is so important that we need to be clear-eyed about its faults and ruthless about remedying them:
"My daughter is still alive, for which I give thanks to the support, dedication and friendship of many in the health service. But it is precisely because I am such a fervent admirer that I believe it is so shameful that the NHS is allowed to limp on in its current state. For too many people, especially many of those most in need of its help, it is something of a disaster zone. The NHS is a sick institution, and cheap political point-scoring will do nothing to solve the problems. We need to find a cure."
Do read the whole thing. Love is not blind. It is not the same as sentimentality. It can be tough. It is honest. It celebrates what is good, and puts right what is not. You cannot love the NHS and leave it unreformed.