Brexit is based on a peculiar kind of unfounded British superiority [Private Eye – Letter]

This letter to the Private Eye was published recently.

It is a very good example of the kind of pompous, nationalistic and completely unsupported by reality, superiority that seems to underpin Brexit thinking.

A Brexitballs reader has written a reply, below.

Martin Kennedy’s letter to the Private Eye


Dear Martin,

I see that unfounded British nationalistic superiority is still manifesting itself in a strange “concern” for “poor” countries (Letters, Doctors without Borders, P.21 Eye 1506).

Of the 60,000 employees of the NHS who choose to self-report their nationality as being from an EU country, according to a House of Commons research briefing, a majority are from “old” EU members, like Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Ireland, Sweden. They are not “poor”.

The fact that some in the UK imagine these rich developed European countries to be “poor” and in need of British pity for their health services, is testament to the strange unfounded superiority complex that underpins Brexit thinking. The WHO, relatively recently, ranked the French health service as the best in the world, Italy’s second. Newer EU members like Poland, are not “poor” either, nor would they recognise this concern for their health services. Poland is one of only two countries on earth to have posted uninterrupted GDP growth every year, for 20 years. A more recent report in the Lancet ranked the UK’s NHS below the systems in Spain, Greece, Slovenia and many other EU countries.

As for the claim that free movement makes “it possible to import medics from elsewhere in the EU…diminishing [health services] in poorer ones”, since 2015 there have been more new doctor registrations in the UK from non-EU countries, than from the EU.

Use of the word “import” is also telling, as if these doctors and medical professionals are inanimate resources to be exploited, rather than living human beings with fully formed lives, worthy of equal respect and status. I wonder if you’d say a British doctor, from “poor” Britain, working in Germany, or even America, is “imported”, in the same way.

The rest of Europe doesn’t need British manufactured pseudo-pity for what they fantasise as being “poor” countries. Or unwarranted sympathy for the hellish 3rd world healthcare conditions they must imagine Czechs, Germans or Italians have to suffer through!


A Brexitballs Reader


–       Research Briefing NHS staff from Overseas

–       Nuffield Trust – NHS Workforce in numbers

–       Lancet report on world healthcare systems

– World Health Organisation – Country health system rankins 2000

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