So, I say, they come to the UK to work in Our NHS, I say. Surely this is an Uncommon Privilege, I say. You are always saying it is a Privilege to be a Doctor, I say. Why should they not pay for such a Privilege? I ask.
It is a Philosophical Privilege, says the Owner, but it is not a Practical Privilege, since it is Hard Work in a service which is understaffed, underfunded, and run on Goodwill and decency, she says, one which could not survive without such persons being willing to leave their homes and commit their careers and lives to it. One is paid for Philosophical Privilege by Honour and a sense of Self Worth. One is paid for Practical Struggle by Practical Reward. To do otherwise is like expecting Aragorn and Legolas and Gimli to battle the Forces of Darkness without food or Armour, supported only by the gratitude of the Hobbits.
Are you not Mixing your Metaphors? I ask. They are Nurses and Doctors, not the Fellowship of the Ring, I say. It is hardly the Fight against Sauron, I say.
It totally is the Fight against Sauron, says the Owner, assuming the face that she usually reserves for Mogg when he tries to bite her ankles (I have asked him to desist but he claims he cannot resist Red Wellies.) You try working in the NHS for your whole life, she says. It is tough, she says. You have to stay up all night and learn to live on the Coffee Creams that remain in the Quality Street tin the patients have given you when all the Purple Chocolates are Gone, she says. You have to fight illness with limited resources, she says. It is like battling Orcs and Goblins on the hospital stairs with one hand behind your back and no Wizards, she says. One does need to Mix One’s Metaphors to conclude that it is an Endeavour of Uncommon Courage and Commitment similar to that facing Aragorn at the Black Gate, she says. Nobody would have expected Aragorn to pay to be there, she says.
I will allow them that they show Courage and Commitment with one hand behind their backs in the face of Goblins and Orcs, I say, but you have Just Confirmed that they both Take Our Jobs in the NHS, and also eat our Coffee Creams, I say. They cannot expect Something for Nothing, I say.
No, says the Owner, they come and Apply for Jobs which we need to fill. They compete fairly for them. And nobody wants to eat the Coffee Creams. I have never understood why they make them. Even Aragorn would not have eaten the Coffee Creams. There is not a Single Coffee Cream in the whole of Middle Earth. I think they are made in Mordor.
I will allow them the Coffee Creams, I say, and the Competing Fairly for jobs that nobody else can do, I say, but they cannot expect to be able to use the NHS for free.
They do not use it for free, says the Owner, they pay taxes to the Prime Minister just as you and I do.
I do not pay any taxes, I say. My Cheese is my Own, I say.
Just because the Prime Minister and Mr Cummings have not yet asked for your Cheese, says the Owner, does not mean that they never will. But the NHS workers from overseas pay their Taxes. They have as much right to use the NHS without paying a surcharge as the Prime Minister.
I heard they do not pay as much Tax as the Prime Minister, I say. I am troubled that the Prime Minister may want my Cheese, I say. I am thinking of becoming a Cheese Exile, I say.
They do not earn nearly as much money as the Prime Minister, says the Owner. And the trouble with being a Cheese Exile, she says, is that you would not have access to the Isle of Mull Cheddar you Much Admire and would have to instead eat the Cheese of Goats.
Why do they not earn as much as the Prime Minister? I say. I do not like the cheese of Goats, I say.
The Prime Minister decides what they are paid, says the Owner, and he apparently chooses to pay himself Rather More. But the paying of their taxes is a condition of their being given the Jobs. Just as a change of cheese is conditional to Cheese Exile.
I grant you that they pay their taxes, I say, but they still eat more of the Coffee Creams than the Prime Minister, I say.
I doubt that, says the Owner. But moreover and on Top of that it is Professionally and Morally Obligatory, once in the role, to Save the Life of the Prime Minister, she says.
That is an honour they can rarely have expected, I say. Surely they should pay for the Privilege of treating the Prime Minister?
Indeed, says the Owner, an honour indeed. But they should not have had to pay extra for it, says the Owner. That is like asking Aragorn to hand over his Armour whilst eating all the Coffee Creams with one hand behind his back whilst Facing the Armies of Mordor bearing nothing but the Gratitude of the Hobbits.
It is a good job the Prime Minister has changed his mind and seen the Light, I say.
Indeed, says the Owner, I imagine Sauron wished he had done the same. No coffee creams for him any more.
Although I think your Metaphor has got slightly out of control, I say.
I do not care, says the Owner. I have proved my point.
With the assistance of the Moral Dog, I say.
Agreed says the Owner.
Whose presence is akin to the sudden arrival of Gandalf at the Black Gates just as Aragorn is handing over his Armour whilst eating all the Coffee Creams with one hand behind his back whilst Facing the Armies of Mordor bearing nothing but the Gratitude of the Hobbits, I say.
The Moral Dog is possibly Labouring the Point, says the Owner.
Thankyou, I say modestly. The Moral Dog. Always ready to Labour the Point. Although only when the Point is a Good One.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.