Tychy is not inclined to admire the current Health Secretary Andrew Lansley and whatever-it-is that he is doing to the N.H.S., but it would be in itself a sign of poor health if somebody under thirty was lying in bed at night worrying about healthcare. I have a robust constitution, mostly because I drink Guinness and smoke cigarettes to build up my strength. The majority of people will only finally see the inside of a hospital, and realise that the facilities are filthy and that the staff are bastards, when they are in their nineties, and by then they will be so senile that nobody will listen to them. But MC NxtGen looks younger than myself, and so why is this terrible rapper going like the clappers – with one of those three thousand words a minute raps which leaves the poor listener feeling exhausted – over the latest restructuring of the N.H.S?
Perhaps “NxtGen” means the next generation to die, which would make NxtGen about eighty, and one of those elderly relatives who collect at each other’s funerals, and of whom you can never remember which are still alive. “Great Uncle NxtGen, didn’t he die last summer along with Auntie Phyllis?” “No dear, you’re thinking of Grandpa Freestyle.” Alternatively, NxtGen is younger than I thought and he is unaware that they restructure the N.H.S. every time the clocks change, that all the hospitals were built under PFIs anyway, and that this latest reorganisation of the N.H.S. is about as apocalyptic as a dose of swine flu.
There is precious little substance to feed the scaremonger monster, but as NxtGen will have it, Lansley wants to sell the N.H.S. to Walkers Crisps, who have bribed the Health Minister by means of lucrative advisory fees. But even if Walkers Crisps were running hospitals – and even if bowls of their crisps were placed on the tables of GPs’ waiting rooms, alongside the leaflets about contraception – then I would still eat Kettle Chips, which are far more agreeable, and Walkers would have gone to a great deal of trouble for nothing.
But this is devastating stuff:
I mean, sinister.
You know the public’ll finish ya.
And is your brain really that miniature?
Musically, this is agony, but on Comment is Free and Liberal Conspiracy the song is accompanied by outpourings of adulation hoping that it “goes viral,” “trends” and, rather betraying the age of the fans, gets to “number one” (I don’t know if they still have such a thing these days.) But unlike Crass or Billy Bragg, at least back in the day, NxtGen is the ultimate bourgeois spiv: a fresh faced, upwardly-mobile young Blairite, a figure grimly familiar from student politics, and his glossy video has been no doubt funded by wealthy parents or some sort of think tank. The Guardian reports that he is a humble refuse collector, which assuredly says more about the Guardian than NxtGen, but Political Scrapbook hints that the Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall might have something to do with his video.
NxtGen’s earlier number, “Money on my Mind,” delivers the traditional urban grab-every-penny, get-real-paid shtick, which seems altogether unfortunate in the light of his playground taunt that Lansley is “greedy.” Indeed, as Lansley has been always careful to present himself as a “compassionate” Tory, NxtGen’s jeering that he is a “tosser” and a “codger” can only seem unpleasant and a little embarrassing. The rap backfires because you find yourself feeling mildly sorry for the guy being disrespected, and this is quite an achievement. I do hope that NxtGen goes into the City or fashionable activism, because if this is the standard of protest song that one can expect in the coming months, then it’s going to be a long recession.