April 19, 2012 12:31PM

A British Socialist Opts for Private Health Care

With the possible exception of the Scottish parliamentarian George Galloway (here he is saluting Saddam Hussein), no other politician in modern‐​day Britain has been as staunchly socialist as the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone (a.k.a. “Red Ken”). The bane of Lady Thatcher in the 1980s and a fan of Hugo Chavez in the 2000s, “Red Ken” has been a poster child for the British left for decades. As far as he was concerned, no taxes were too high, no government intervention in the economy too excessive. It was with some glee, therefore, that I read that Red Ken is also a bit of a tax dodger – using apparently legal but not very “lefty” ways to limit his tax exposure. But wait, there is more… Ken has recently attacked the plans of the Conservative government to make the National Health Service (NHS is a monopoly public health provider) a little less socialist. “The people of our capital city deserve top quality care and demand our health care should not be broken up, sold off or be privatized by the back door,” he wrote. Lo and behold, it turns out that Red Ken has been benefiting from private health care for some years. Even by the low standards of contemporary politics, this is an extraordinary degree of hypocrisy.