They started appearing on Twitter last week: emotive declarations of love for the National Health Service.
They appeared with the tag #welovethenhs accompanied with moving statements: "because it saved my life" and "because my mother is still alive" and so on.
One can hardly complain about such declarations and explanations of love.
In this largely wretched, hate-ridden, and generally uncaring world, any mass campaign of statements of love is surely a welcome phenomenon.
Indeed, we should perhaps do these love statements more often.
There could even be a new Twitter tag #welovejackofkent followed with explanations such as "because he writes in nice short paragraphs" or "because he writes in the form of Sun editorials".
If these statements of love for the NHS were just for some positive reason then all one should do is nod and perhaps even join in.
But I wonder if they were serving another purpose.
Perhaps wrongly, I formed the impression that they were attempts to close down a debate, opened up in part by the Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan. He has for sometime been critical of the NHS model of health provision and recently appeared on US television and explained why. The background to this is that the US are themselves in the midst of a political controversy about reforming their own provision (or lack of provision) of health services.
I can here declare two interests.
First, I am fond of the NHS.
I have no illusions about it. In many ways it is a racket: an expensive and inefficient mix of pharma profiteering, PFI profiteering, sloppy procurement, self-interested professionals, incompetent management, Luddite public sector unions, and woeful IT development. All this masked by the soppy but powerful sentimentality of the NHS brand, making it almost impossible for any politician to promote genuine reform.
All that said, however, the NHS does ensure treatment free at the point of use for the poorest in our society. Any other model seems to risk greater social exclusion. For me this is the most important test.
Also, in my view, placing public health provision on to an insurance policy basis does not remove the current complicated racket, but merely adds grasping insurance companies to the mix.
However, I could be wrong.
It may well be that there is actually a better model of health provision, including for the poor, than the NHS. It may even be that the NHS should be dismantled rather than reformed.
I rather doubt it, but it is an important debate, and one which should not really be closed down too readily.
And here I can declare a second interest.
I was at university with Daniel Hannan and knew him slightly. And although I have not spoken with him for some fifteen or so years, I have followed his political career with interest.
He is a rare political creature; not only is he sincere, his actions are actually connected to his stated beliefs. Moreover he has an independent mind, stocked with international comparisons and contrasts on many matters, not just health provision.
I do not agree with his views on many issues (now less than ever given my drift to the left), but it is always worth listening to him.
So it is useful to read what he has actually written on the subject, rather than creating a straw mman, for example here.
If he is right, and that other countries' models do have better public health outcomes, then this is an important contribution to the debate about health provision. And, if he is wrong, then this should be clearly set out.
But the wrong approach to his critique of the UK model of health care provision is, in my view, to rely on sentimentality of the #welovethenhs campaign.
It is not only discredited CAM practitioners with their misconceived legal claims that can effectively limit important debates on public health.