Thursday, 2 January 2014

Labour and NHS

Isn`t it typical of this government that as soon as the leaders of ten NHS organisations complain that there is never a measured view of how the NHS is performing, Liam Fox, a "senior Conservative" and a "former GP", sticks his oar in with yet more criticism. "Health indicators lagging behind other countries", "detriment to the patients", and "huge amounts of waste" are just three of the usual criticisms he and fellow Tories have been using in interviews, articles and other media outlets since the 2010 election, and some even before. What this is, as we have seen over many years, is all part of the Tory propaganda which concentrates on constant fault-finding of the state-owned institution to justify its privatisation, with the so-called failings often the inevitable result of job and financial cuts made by the government itself! Individual examples of failure are highlighted to give misleading impressions of the institution generally; huge media coverage follows, with the BBC often at the helm, leading to hysterical and alarmist conclusions, empirical evidence ignored, inaccurate data quoted repeatedly, with, of course, the costs to the taxpayer exaggerated. Remember Tory annoyance with the opening ceremony of the Olympics? The NHS is a main target for privatisation, with the process already started, with the overall aim being further reduction in the size and role of the state, and a mouth-watering pre-election promise of tax reductions to gullible Tory voters.
    There are certain aspects of populism, such as immigration and welfare cuts, Labour would do well to steer clear of, but the maintenance of a state-owned health service is a different matter altogether. Just as the widespread abhorrence of the activities of the City institutions, with their mis-selling scams, interest fixing and tax avoiding schemes, can reap electoral rewards for Labour, providing it has the bottle to take decisive action, so the people`s love for the NHS demands it be supported. Let`s hear that support now, and not just from Andy Burnham; the whole party needs to shout it from the rooftops, before the Tory and Ukip propaganda machines spread even more bile in the build-up to the European elections. The country does not want the NHS privatised, as there is so much evidence, from railways to energy, that privatisation leads to the desire for profits taking precedence, to so-called "efficiency" leading to job cuts, and to needs of shareholders having priority over consumers.It would mean the end of the NHS as we know it!

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