Conscripting school-leavers to serve as corvée labour for councils crumbling under the burden of social care would be socially poisonous and morally absurd.
Immigrants, too, get old. Assuming standards of medical care remain, or improve as the science advances, enormous movements of migrants would be constantly required just in order to pay the bills of earlier waves.
In the end, I’m with Nigel Lawson: these alternatives would produce marginal gains at best, and at worst decades of distraction from the real path back to a stronger health service.
The intellectual heft of figures like him will be vital in ensuring that it moves forward, rather than languishing in the same ideological dead-ends that sunk it in the first place.
Although politicians like to elide them, long-term thinking and putting difficult things off until tomorrow are not the same thing.
The year-on-year temptation to divert resources from expensive training to importing qualified medics will be immense – and matching the terms on offer in places like Australia impossible.
A small sliver of the housing wealth that is largely in the hands of those of us who have benefitted from rising house prices would go a significant way to filling the funding gap.
And this is the fundamental problem: it allows us to dodge a broader long-term industrial strategy, precisely because the short-term labour fix is so easy.
We kick off a ConservativeHome project on strong families, better schools and good jobs today – indispensable means of achieving a smaller state and a stronger society.
In Central Bedfordshire, Council Tax is being frozen. One reason is early intervention for elderly residents, delaying the point where they need to move into residential care.
Basic services – the NHS, policing, schools, road maintenance, refuse collection, you name it – have gone to rack and ruin. Life expectancy has fallen sharply. We still have, to our shame, by far the worst drug death levels in Europe.
The two systems are reinforcing a hospital merry-go-round. We must deal with system divergence; and deliver fairness and affordability via a co-payment regime to exempt the most impoverished.
We have the opportunity to invest in technology that the private sector has been using for decades; it is cheaper than ever and has been tested with our populations already.
The data shows estimated cost savings to social care of £6.8 million. But of most importance is the impact the technology is having on people’s lives. One resident said “it literally saved my mother’s life”.
A lower tax burden will be impossible without less supply of government. And for there to be less supply, there must first be less demand.