Personally, I can’t think of a cage that needs to be rattled more than the HB District Health Board.

So I’m stunned by the joint advertising campaign, now appearing in HBT and community papers, that incumbents are coordinating in a concerted drive to get voters to re-elect them as a team.

On the one hand, I wonder if these folks are so out of touch that they don’t bother to read the bad press the health care system gets. When was the last time you read or saw a media report that was remotely positive about the system, or had a success story to tell?! About the only part of the system that gets admiring press is Cranford Hospice, and even they are recently reported as struggling to find doctors.

Still, our local Health Board incumbents have the chutzpah to run as a successful team, their ads touting “Experience You Can Trust” and “Knowledge That Works for You.” You gotta be kidding! More of their medicine we surely do not need.

Now, I guess they’d say that the problems facing the health system are “bigger” than what the Board is empowered to deal with on its own. Sure, there’s some truth to that. But when the status quo sucks, all the voter can do is send a message to those “in the game” and closest at hand … and that happens to be these incumbents.

At the same time, I admire the political shrewdness of these folks. If for no reason other than to get the most bang for their advertising buck, they’ve linked arms … and resources. But beyond that, they’ve calculated that most voters won’t in fact look into the bedpans, and translate their dissatisfactions — whether concerning integrity of process or equity in access or quality of care — into votes against the incumbents. Too many voters will simply hold their noses and take “the devil you know” option.

The enviros & accountable government candidates for local bodies — in this case a combination of challengers and incumbents — should take note of this strategy. You could have adopted it too, but too little organizing time and too much personality conflict, mutual skepticism and political naivete got in the way. It seems ironic. Somehow, unable to support one another, you still expect voters to support each of you.

There’s a reason why “strength in numbers” has persisted as an aphorism for eons!


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