Let’s say there are two tribes. One goes to great lengths to ensure that no-one goes hungry, no-one goes homeless and the sick and the elderly are looked after in a caring, compassionate and unconditional manner. The second tribe is quite the opposite; everything is about survival and competition. The tallest get the best fruits, the strongest kill the meatiest animals and build the best homes and those who don’t measure up are effectively cut loose.

On the face of it, a private investment deal that went from a valuation of £1bn in 2006 to £18m today would attract little sympathy. Some rich group, that presumably doesn’t know what it’s doing, that belongs to the latter tribe in the above paragraph and that has deep pockets backed by Qatari investors is it? Well, yes and no.

The situation I am referring to is Southern Cross Healthcare, a UK company that has had a dizzying fall from grace but runs a huge number of care homes, including some 100 in Scotland, so any financial implosion would have unthinkable consequences for the tens of thousands of elderly residents that are now at the mercy of open markets. This is more than a case of schadenfreude at the rich getting poorer, much more.

Southern Cross is, to use a well worn phrase, too big to fail. Many of these care homes have no obvious new owner and many of the areas involved have no alternative provision. The residents can surely only stay in the buildings they currently live in but a liquidated company will surely want to sell off its assets to meet its debts.

Figures quoted in The Guardian suggest around ~£240m is required to prop up the Group to pay rent for another year which is surely better value for money for the Government compared to the tens of billions pumped into banks, much of which has continued to puff up over-inflated salaries in the financial sector.

This issue epitomises the mistrust and distaste that many either side of the border reserve for the Conservatives, reckless private financing of a very public concern. The same could be said for the railways (30% more expensive in the UK because of privatisation). And, worryingly, the issues surrounding this company could easily apply to the NHS in future (south of the border) if private involvement is allowed to infiltrate the Health Service. It is good to know that nurses, doctors, the Greens, Labour and even the Lib Dems are wise to the complicated risks at hand but Britain stands at a crossroads and a public NHS and a country that still competently looks after its weakest is at risk.

I know which tribe that I believe the Conservatives are regrettably closer to and I know which road I believe they are trying to take the country down. The fate of Southern Cross is Cameron’s first test and 31,000 elderly residents await his Government’s next move.

This is one issue where a Government going tribal is acceptable, it just depends which tribe it picks.