NHS Spending

Part of EU Nationals in the Uk – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 6th July 2016.

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Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Health) 6:30 pm, 6th July 2016

I was not on the planet in 1956, so I do not quite remember. We know from the recent cheating that there is a lot more work to be done on the control of car emissions, which cause a lot of ill health, but some of the progress in that area has come from EU regulation. Problems such as poor air quality and climate change cannot be dealt with by one country alone; we need to work together. In a health sense, we have had massive gains in the past 40 years, but politicians have never talked about that.

The EU has been a great whipping boy. All that the public have heard about the EU in the last 40 years is, “It wasnae my fault; the EU made me do it,” or stories about straight bananas. That is the responsibility of everyone who has had access to a microphone or spoken in this place about the EU. We should not be surprised that when people had the £350 million figure drummed into them by being on that bus and on the news every night, they would fall for it. The mainstream media has a lot to answer for in not challenging these figures and not asking, “Exactly what is your plan? Exactly where is that money going to come from?” We should not blame people who want extra money for the NHS for wishfully accepting those claims, even when the cracks appeared around the edges.

Part of the problem has been the quality of the debate. Several of my colleagues warned people who believed in remain not just to go for a “Project Fear” type campaign, and I think that running such a campaign was a mistake. People think that “Project Fear” worked in Scotland, but in actual fact Better Together support started, as a percentage, in the mid-60s and fell to 55%. We started at 27%, and we ended up at 45%. “Project Armageddon” clawed back a little bit in the last two weeks, when we were told that the supermarkets would go and the banks would go, and that we would have no money and no food to buy, but a negative campaign of saying that the sky will fall does not lead to success.