It's taken me a little time to brew over the remarks made by Rick Santorum regarding the National Health Service of England and Wales.
At first, my knee jerked in accord with most Brits when I heard what he had to say. You may see for yourself in this video clip.
At the time, Santorum was under a bit of pressure with a mike thrust under his nose, but he must be able to take that, and then he comments that the NHS "devastated British society".
He also stated that it spelt the end for the British Empire. I think our Empire was at an end long before Nye Bevan brought in the NHS but let's overlook that and focus on whether we were "devastated" by health reforms.
As a nation we love the NHS, despite the fact that it's under the thumbscrews of consultants who rule the roost and ensure that management and practice are firmly rooted in the 1940s.
It is horrendously expensive, wastefully so and it's also pretty crap!
What do I mean by that?
I mean that it uses old technology (if it uses technology at all); it cannot put patient records online so it relies on paper files going back to the days prior to penicillin, the General Practice service is risible and can only half cope with coughs and colds (any complaint outside of runny noses is a mystery to the Doctor).
Again, electronic communications appears beyond them and as for patient satisfaction surveys - forget it!
When you finally, after many months, struggle to a hospital for a consultation you have to beat the consultant to a pulp before he/she will authorise an operation or a scan or any bleep thing for that matter.
And when, after a year or two, you are admitted for your operation, you are fed food that appears to have passed its sell by date in the days of Florence Nightingale.
But we love it - we cherish it, because, you see, it's free! And because the nurses are such angels (which they are).
Well, we do pay extortionate taxes to fund its profligate lifestyle but that's all right, we must be grateful and not complain. It was much worse for Grandfather who had to have his leg amputated with a penknife and a rusty saw with no anaesthetic!
The point is, that a catchall state funded organisation is pretty well bound to be full of flaws.
If you remove the competitive edge, provide a thick tissue of bureacracy so that no challenge to the system can be upheld, instigate political correctness to the enth degree, allow racial discrimination (from the ethnic minorities involved) and alien cultural practices to flourish and chuck well over £700 billion at it, what do we expect?
When Santorum made his NHS comment he followed through by mentioning the name of one Margaret Thatcher, whom he obviously admires. Good.
Having seen the Lady Thatcher film, The Iron Lady this week I was reminded (by newsreel footage) of just what a grim Britain she inherited back in 1979.
Constipated by trade union greed and menaces, violent with mobs running out of control, communists behind every door of industry and commerce. Banana Republics around the world were getting out of hand and threatening British outposts and citizens.
The poor were being well and truly kept poor and then, a Lincolnshire grocer's daughter came along into a heavily male dominated Parliament and kicked it all into touch.
Whatever one thinks about her, she was one amazing woman and leader. I just wish that she had been Health Minister in the Heath Government rather than Education Minister, she would have given the NHS a good shaking.
What has all of this got to do with the Catholic Faith and Rick Santorum?
Well, I'm still saying my Rosary for Rick's success.
If ever the US (and the world) needed a good Christian leader, now is the time.
And we should not write him off just because he criticised the NHS.
Rather we should embrace him with our hopes and prayers and wish him every success.
Anyone who can damn the Health Service and praise Lady Thatcher in one sentence has got to be Presidential material.