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THE government was accused today of hijacking the rainbow symbol used to show public support for the NHS for its own propaganda purposes.
On Thursday, it spent tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ cash on a four-page advertising “wrap-around” supplement on every English national and local newspaper – except the Morning Star and the Financial Times.
Their front pages bore the rainbow symbol and the government’s much-derided “stay alert!” slogan, which has replaced the stronger “stay at home!” message.
The supplement’s propaganda told people to maintain social distancing at work, though unions point out that this is impossible in workplaces such as factories, building sites and warehouses.
NHS campaigners have now condemned the government’s exploitation of the rainbow symbol.
We Own It director Cat Hobbs said: “It is outrageous that they have hijacked the rainbow symbol, which shows our love of the NHS, and used it to promote their new strategy.
“They should not be allowed to do it, especially in the context of protecting public safety, because it does the opposite.”
Paediatrician Dr John Puntis, co-chair of the Keep Our NHS Public campaign, said he hoped the government would soon be publicising “PPE now” and “keep the lockdown” – “unless this was no more than a cynical move designed simply to mislead the public into believing there is some popular support for their antics.”
We Own It campaigns officer Pascale Robinson added: “What’s particularly sickening is that the government is attempting to harness public affection and dedication to the NHS to promote its easing of lockdown, while at the same time undermining the NHS at every turn.”
Ms Robinson highlighted the award of contracts to manage the response to private companies such as Serco and Deloitte, as well as ministers’ attempts to pass a trade Bill that fails to protect the NHS from being sold off to US healthcare companies.
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