Posts Tagged ‘Cuts’

Is Keir Starmer Planning to Further Privatise the NHS If He Gets Into Government?

January 8, 2023

This deeply concerns me. A few days ago the mellifluous Irish left-wing vlogger, Maximilien Robespierre, posted a video asking if Keir Starmer was planning to push the privatisation of the NHS even further if or when he gets into 10 Downing Street. I didn’t see more than a few seconds of the video, but it seemed to be based on Starmer’s cagey response to how he would solve the country’s current crises. While Starmer has promised to repeal the anti-strike legislation, which would definitely be a great step if he actually does it, he answered that question by stating that Labour would not be spending its way out of these problems. This looks like an attempt to assure Tory voters that Labour is now fiscally responsible and no longer the high-spending party of traditional Tory caricature. But the current problems in the Health Service and other sectors are partly caused by decades of cuts and underinvestment. In the case of the NHS, the funding has also been gobbled up by increased administration expenses created by privatisation. So where is this extra investment, and improved services, supposed to come from? Blair tried to solve this by pushing the NHS’ privatisation further than Tories had dared. Not only were further NHS services outsourced to private healthcare providers, but he also created the Community Care Groups of doctors, who were responsible for commissioning medical services. These CCGs were granted the powers to buy in private medical services, and to raise additional income privately. Starmer is a Blairite, as shown by his vehement persecution of the Labour left and embrace of neoliberalism. One of the great commenters on this blog has suggested that he’s an admirer of the Swiss healthcare system. This is a mixture of state and private medical insurance, the degree depending on wealth. In the case of the very rich, it’s all, or nearly all, funded by private health insurance. In the case of the poor, it’s state-funded according to whether they can afford a level of private insurance. I have a feeling Nick Clegg of the Lib-Dems believed in the same kind of continental system. This obviously violates the fundamental principles on which Nye Bevin founded the NHS: that it should be universal and free at the point of delivery.

No-one wanted Blair to push through his NHS privatisations and there was electorally no need for it. By the time Blair was elected in 1997 the country was so thoroughly fed up of Tory misrule and their policies that Blair could have pursued a traditional Labour policy of renationalising it as well as funding it properly. But Blair was a Thatcherite and intensely concerned to get the Tory press and Tory voters onside, to the point that Rupert Murdoch has been described as an invisible presence at cabinet meetings. Blair’s pursuit of Tory policies left traditional Labour voters and members feeling betrayed and disenfranchised and the party lost both. They only continued winning elections because the Tories were worse.

I joined the Labour party a few years ago, inspired by Corbyn’s commitment to genuine Labour party policies and the protection and renationalisation of the NHS. I really don’t want to see it privatised by Starmer as Blair did.

If Starmer does push through further measures to privatise it, not only will he betray this country’s working people, making them poorer and with less available healthcare, then it will also have disastrous consequences for the direction of politics in this country. The recent surge of identity politics following the Black Lives Matter protests back in 2020 has also resulted in a backlash and the appearance of anti-woke parties further to the right, like Reform, led by Richard Tice, and Laurence Fox’s Reclaim. If working people become alienated from politics because whichever party you choose, economically they’re all the same, it leaves the way open for the far right. That was shown very clearly in Margaret Hodge’s neck of London, where Hodge did so little to tackle the rise of the BNP that the stormtroopers at one point had seven members on Tower Hamlets council. Their fuehrer, Derek Beacon, even sent her a garland after their squalid electoral victories. What has been shown to work against the fascist parties and unite working people of different ethnicities and religions is effective, traditional Labour welfare policies. These are desperately needed in themselves, but without them there’s the possibility that Britain may go the same way as the continent in the rise of extreme right-wing nationalist parties.

Renationalising the NHS and restoring the welfare state will not only massive improve the health, wellbeing and prosperity of the British working people, but will do much to stop the racial division and alienation fuelling the drift towards the parties of racial division, friction and resentment.

Lying Sunak Claims the NHS Is Better Now Than It Has Been

January 6, 2023

I can’t let this pass. One of the left-wing YouTubers put up a short video reporting and commenting on an absurd claim by our absurd premier that the NHS is doing better now than it has been. This is very obviously completely untrue, as is shown by the various right-wing YouTubers now claiming the health service is irredeemably broken and can only be fixed through radical policies. By which they mean privatisation, but they’re not quite saying that yet. Ever since Maggie Thatcher, whenever there’s been a crisis in the NHS the Tories robotically recite the line that it’s now better than it has been, that they’re putting more money into it than Labour, even when they’ve just announced a new round of cuts. In short, they start lying. Just like they lie about everything. But this really takes the biscuit. Sunak has shown his obvious contempt for the British public by repeating this lie when everyone can see, very plainly, that the reality is the complete opposite.

But he actually hasn’t done anything different from all the Tory PMs and administrations before him. It’s just that the contempt and the lies are obvious.

Don’t believe him or them. Get them out, and a real government that cares about its working people in.

Diane Abbott Slams Rishi Sunak’s Bogus Promise about Continuing Maths Education Until 18

January 5, 2023

Yesterday, our latest prime minister, Rishi Sunak, announced that as well as tackling the state of the NHS and channel migrants, he would make it compulsory for school students to continue to study maths until 18. This was, he announced, necessary to combat poor maths literacy. His speech has impressed precisely no-one, and has been extensively torn to shreds by commenters like Owen Jones and Novara Media. After all, it’s the Tory policies of underfunding, cuts and stealth privatisation that have created the mess the NHS is in, in the first place. As for the channel migrants, they’ve been unable to tackle that either, except with Patel’s plan to send them all to Rwanda, a country suffering serious human rights abuses. That plan was condemned by the public and also, I believe, various judicial authorities.

Abbott in a tweet stated that Sunak’s plan for continuing maths education until the school leaving age was bogus because the Tories had cut teacher’s pay, as well as underfunding education generally. She’s absolutely right, as I can remember from my schooldays when schools were increasingly decaying thanks to cuts to funds. Except for the academies, of course, which were given more far more than state schools. Critics have also wondered whether Sunak will even have time to implement this reform before the possibility that he and his wretched party are voted out at the next election.

There’s also been an interesting opinion piece in the Groaniad by a lecturer in mathematical biology. He argues that it’s unnecessary, as maths is already the most popular A Level subject, far outstripping its nearest rival, psychology. He also states that making it compulsory would further decrease the numbers of people taking arts and humanities subjects, as they’d have to give up them as well as choose another STEM subject to harmonise with the maths. He also makes the excellent point that making it compulsory might put people off it even more by forcing them to study a subject they hate.

To me, it just looks like Sunak trying desperately to look like he’s actually doing and standing for something, whereas in fact he stands for nothing except the worn out Tory policies that have driven the public services into the ground and working people to desperation. The fact that he has nothing to say was shown very clearly just before Christmas, when he, or one of the Tories, announced they wanted to meet the railway unions, but wouldn’t talk about wages. As wages are part of the issue, this negated the whole point of any meeting. Again, it was just an exercise in public relations. He wanted it to appear that he was doing something and prepared to negotiate while the reality was the complete opposite.

Sunak is flailing about with nothing to offer, and it’s obvious.

Simon Webb’s Speech to the Traditional Britain Group: A Critique

December 29, 2022

One of the great commenters on this blog asked me the other day if I’d watched Simon Webb’s speech to the Traditional Britain Group, which has been posted up on YouTube. Webb is the man behind History Debunked, in which he criticises, refutes and comments on various historical myths and distortions. Most of these are against Black history, as well as racial politics. Occasionally he also presents his opinions on gay and gender issues. Like other YouTubers and internet commenters, you need to use your own discretion when watching his material. Sometimes, when he cites his sources, he’s right. At other times he’s more probably wrong. As much of his material is against mass immigration, particularly Black and Asian, and he believes that there is a racial hierarchy when it comes to intelligence, there’s some discussion of the man’s political orientation. He’s definitely right-wing, reading the Torygraph and attacking Labour as ‘high spending’. But it’s a question of how right-wing. Some people have suggested he’s English Democrat or supports a similar extreme right fringe party.

The other day he gave a speech at the Traditional Britain Group, which is a particularly nasty set of rightists within the Conservative party. There was a scandal a few years ago, you’ll recall, when Jacob Rees-Mogg turned up at one of their dinners. Mogg claimed he didn’t know how far right they were, but was shown to be somewhat economical with the actualite when someone showed that he’d actually been warned against associating with them. They are fervently against non-White immigration and some of them have a dubious interest in the Nazis and the Third Reich. I’ve also been told that their members include real Nazis and eugenicists, which is all too credible. They also want to privatise the NHS. I found this out after finding myself looking at their message board a few years ago. They were talking about how they needed to privatise the health service, but it would have to be done gradually and covertly because at the moment the masses were too much in favour of it. Which has been Tory policy for decades.

Webb’s speech is about half and hour long, and takes in slavery, White English identity and how Blacks have taken ownership of the subject so that it’s now part of theirs, White guilt over it and the industrial revolution and how White Brits are being made to feel ashamed of imperialism. He also blamed Tony Blair for mass immigration and claimed that it was due to this that the health service was collapsing.

The British Empire

He started off by saying that when he was young, everyone believed that the British Empire was a good thing and that we had brought civilisation to Africa and other parts of the world. I don’t doubt this. He’s older than me, and so I can believe that the received view of the Empire in his time was largely positive. Even the Labour party broadly supported imperialism. Its official stance was that Britain held these countries in trust until they were mature enough for self-government. This has changed, and there is a general feeling, certainly on the left, that it’s something we should be ashamed of. But this has come from historians and activists discussing and revealing the negative aspects of colonialism, such as the genocide and displacement of indigenous peoples, enslavement, forced labour and massacres. The end of empires tend to be particularly bloody, as shown in the various nationalist wars that ended the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans and the French possession of Algeria. Britain fought similar bloody wars and committed atrocities to defend its empire, as shown in the massive overreaction in Kenya to the Mao Mao rebellion. Jeremy Black, in his history of the British Empire, also argues that support for the empire fell away from the 1970s onwards as British youth became far more interested in America. I think the automatic condemnation of British imperialism is wrong and one-sided. It’s also somewhat hypocritical, as the same people condemning the British Empire don’t condemn other brutal imperial regimes like the Ottomans. It’s also being used by various post-colonial regimes to shift attention and blame for their own failings. But all this doesn’t change the fact that some horrific things were done during the Empire, which politicians and historians have to deal with. Hence the shame, although in my view there should be a space for a middle position which condemns the atrocities and celebrates the positive.

Britain and Slavery

He then talks about how slavery is now identified solely with Black transatlantic servitude. But he argues that the White English can also claim slavery as part of their identity. He talks of the first mention of the English in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, when pope Gregory the Great saw some English children for sale in the slave market in Rome. Asking who such beautiful children were, he was told they were Angles. At which Gregory punned, ‘Non Anglii, sed angeli’ – ‘Not Angles but angels’. At the time of the Domesday Book 10 per cent of the English population were slaves. And the mob that tore down Colston’s statue in Bristol were unaware that the city had been exported English slaves over a millennium before. These were shipped to the Viking colonies in Ireland – Dublin, Wexford and other towns – from whence they were then trafficked internationally. Slavery existed long before Black transatlantic slavery. The first record we have of it is from 4000 years ago in the form of document from the Middle East recording the sale of slaves and pieces of land. While they weren’t aware of transatlantic slavery at school, they knew slavery existed through studying the Bible. The story of Joseph and his brothers, and the Israelites in Egypt. But slavery has now become identified exclusively with Black slavery and is part of the Black identity. It’s because we’re supposed to feel guilty about slavery and feel sorry for Blacks that Black people over overrepresented in adverts, on television dramas and even historical epics, such as the show about the Tudors where half the actors were Black.

Webb is right about slavery existing from ancient times. There are indeed documents from the ancient near eastern city of Mari in Mesopotamia recording the sale of slaves along with land and other property, as I’ve blogged about here. One of the problems the abolitionists faced was that slavery existed right across the world, and so their opponents argued that it was natural institution. They therefore also claimed that it was consequently unfair and disastrous for the government to abolish it in the British empire. He’s right about Pope Gregory and the English slaves, although the word ‘Angli’ refers to the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that settled and colonised England with the Saxons and Jutes after the fall of the Roman Empire. Angles in Anglo-Saxon were Englas, hence Engla-land – England, land of the Angles, and Englisc, English. Bristol did indeed export English slave to Ireland. Archbishop Wulfstan preached against it in the 11th century. We were still doing so in 1140, when visiting clergy from France were warned against going for dinner aboard the Irish ships in the harbour. These would lure people aboard with such promises, then slip anchor and take them to Ireland. The Irish Vikings also imported Black slaves. One chronicle reports the appearance of a consignment of blamenn, blue or black men in Old Norse, in Dublin. David Olasuga has also claimed that they imported 200 Blacks into Cumbria. Bristol’s export of White English slaves is mentioned in a display about it in the city’s M Shed Museum, which also contains the statue of Edward Colston. I do agree with Webb that there is a problem with popular attitudes towards slavery. Its presentation is one-sided, so that I don’t think many people are aware of it and its horrors outside the British Empire, nor how White Europeans were also enslaved by the Muslim Barbary pirates. I very strongly believe that this needs to be corrected.

Black Overrepresentation on TV

I don’t think it’s guilt over slavery alone that’s responsible for the large number of Black actors being cast on television, particularly the adverts. I think this is probably also due to commercial marketing, the need to appeal to international audiences and attempts to integrate Blacks by providing images of multiracial Britain. Many adverts are made for an international audience, and I think the use of Blacks has become a sort of visual shorthand for showing that the company commissioning the advert is a nice, anti-racist organisation, keen to sell to people of different colours across the world without prejudice. At home, it’s part of the promotion of diversity. Blacks are, or are perceived, as acutely alienated and persecuted, and so in order to combat racism the media has been keen to include them and present positive images of Black life and achievement. There are organisations dedicated to this task, such as the Creative Diversity Network, as well as systems that grade companies according to how they invest in multicultural enterprises, such as television and programmes with suitably racially diverse casts. Webb has himself talked about this. He’s also stated that Blacks are disproportionately represented on television, constituting only 6 per cent of the population but a very large proportion of actors in TV programmes and adverts. This might simply be because other, larger ethnic groups, such as Asians, aren’t so concerned with entering the entertainment industry and so aren’t represent to the same extent. Hence, Blacks sort of stand in for people of colour as a whole. As for adverts, I’ve also wondered if some of this might be purely commercial – a concern to sale to an emergent, affluent, Black market, perhaps. It also struck me that it might also be a make work programme. As I understand it, there are too many drama graduates for too few roles. This is particularly going to hit Blacks and other ethnic minorities because Britain at the moment is still a White majority country. There have consequently been demands for colour blind casting, as in Armando Iannucci’s recent film version of Oliver Twist. A year or so ago one Black actor announced that there should be more roles for Blacks or else they would go to America. As for the casting of a Black woman as Anne Boleyn, this seems to follow the theatre, where colour blind casting has existed for years. I think it also follows the tacit demand to create an image of the British past that conforms to modern multicultural society rather than how it really was. And some of it, I think, just comes from the feeling that as modern Blacks are as British as their White compatriots, so they should not be excluded from appearing as historical characters who were White. I think these considerations are just as likely, or more likely, to be the causes of the disproportionate number of Blacks appearing on camera than simply pity for them as the victims of slavery.

Blair Not Responsible for Mass Immigration

Now we come to his assertion that Blair was responsible for mass immigration. When he made this declaration, there were shouts, including one of ‘traitor’. I don’t believe that Blair was responsible for it, at least, not in the sense he means. The belief that he was, which is now widespread on the anti-immigrant right, comes from a single civil servant. This official claimed that Blair did so in order to change the ethnic composition of Britain and undermine the Tories. But did he really? This comes from a single individual, and without further corroboration, you can’t be sure. In fact Blair seems to have tried to cut down on immigration, particularly that of non-Whites. In order to dissuade people from coming here, he stopped immigrants from being able to apply for welfare benefits. The food banks now catering to native Brits were originally set up to feed those immigrants, who were no longer eligible for state aid. I also recall David Blunkett stating that they were going to cut down on immigration. The Guardian also accused Blair of racism over immigration. He had cut down on non-White immigration from outside Europe, while allowing White immigration from the EU and its new members in eastern Europe. The right had also been concerned about rising Black and Asian immigration for decades, and in the 1980s Tory papers like the Depress were publishing articles about unassimilable ethnic minorities. This started before Blair, and I don’t think he was deliberately responsible for it.

But I believe he was responsible for it in the sense that many of the migrants come from the countries Blair, Bush, Obama and Sarco destroyed or helped to destroy in the Middle East, such as Libya, Iraq and Syria. Blair had made some kind of deal with Colonel Gaddafy to keep migrants from further south in Libya, rather than crossing the Mediterranean to Europe. This was destroyed when Gaddafy’s regime was overthrown by Islamists. The result has been the enslavement of Black African migrants, and renewed waves of refugees from North Africa fleeing the country’s collapse.

He also stated that the industrial revolution, which was something else that was traditionally a source of pride, is now considered a cause for shame instead. Britain had been its birthplace and given its innovations to the rest of the world. However, we are now expected to be ashamed of it through its connection to slavery. The cotton woven in the Lancashire mills came from the American slave south, while sugar came from the slave colonies of the Caribbean. We’re also supposed to be ashamed of it because it’s the cause of climate change, for which we should pay reparations.

The Industrial Revolution and Climate Change

Okay, I’ve come across the claim that the industrial revolution was financed by profits from the slave trade and that it was based on the processing of slave produced goods. However, this is slightly different from condemning the industrial revolution as a whole. You can lament the fact that slavery was a part of this industrialisation, while celebrating the immense social, technological and industrial progress itself. After all, Marx states in the Communist Manifesto that it has rescued western society from rural idiocy. The demand that Britain should feel ashamed about the industrial revolution because of climate change comes from Greta Thunberg. It is, in my view, monumentally stupid and actually shows an ignorance of history. It’s based on an idealisation of pre-technological societies and an idealisation of rural communities. It’s a product of European romanticism, mixed with contemporary fears for the future of the planet. But the agrarian past was no rural idyll. People in the agricultural societies before the urbanisation of the 19th century had very utilitarian attitudes to the environment. It was a source of resources that could be used and exploited. The nostalgia for an idealised rural past came with the new generation of urban dwellers, who missed what they and their parents had enjoyed in the countryside. And rural life could be extremely hard. If you read economic histories of the Middle Ages and early modern period, famine is an ever present threat. It still was in the 19th century. The Irish potato famine is the probably the best known example in Ireland and Britain, but there were other instances of poverty, destitution and starvation across the UK and Europe. Industrialisation has allowed a far greater concentration of people to live than would have been possible under subsistence agriculture. Yes, I’m aware that overpopulation is a problem, that industrial pollution is harming the environment and contributing to the alarming declining in animal and plant species. But technological and science hopefully offer solutions to these problems as well. And I really don’t want to go back to a subsistence economy in which communities can be devastated by crop failure.

The call for climate reparations, I think, comes from Ed Miliband, and in my view it shows how out of touch and naive he is. I have no problem the Developed World giving aid to some of those countries threatened by climate change, such as the Pacific islands which are threatened with flooding due to the rise in sea levels. But some countries, I believe, are perfectly capable of doing so without western help. One of these is China, which also contributes massively to carbon emissions and which I believe has also called for the payment of climate reparations. China is an emerging economic superpower, and I see no reason why the west should pay for something that it’s doing and has the ability to tackle. I am also very sceptical whether such monies would be used for the purposes they’re donated. Corruption is a massive problem in the Developing World, and various nations have run scams to part First World donors and aid agencies from their money. When I was at the Empire and Commonwealth Museum one of these was a scheme for a hydroelectric dam in Pakistan. The Pakistani government was calling for western aid to finance the project. Britain refused, sensing a scam, for which we were criticised. Other countries happily gave millions, but the dam was never built. All a fraud. I suspect if climate reparations were paid, something similar would also happen with the aid money disappearing into kleptocrats’ pockets. There’s also the problem of where the tax burden for the payment of these reparations would fall. It probably wouldn’t be the rich, who have enjoyed generous tax cuts, but the British working class through indirect taxes. In short, it seems to me to be a colossally naive idea.

But these ideas don’t seem to be widespread. When he announced them, there were shouts from the audience to which Webb responded that it was coming, and they should wait a few years. Perhaps it will, but I’ve seen no enthusiasm or even much mention of them so far. They were mentioned during the COP 27 meeting, and that’s it. Thunberg’s still around, but after all these years I think she’s somewhat passe. At the moment I don’t think these ideas are issues.

Mass Immigration Not the Cause of NHS Crisis

Now let’s examine his statement that it’s due to immigration that the NHS is in the state it’s in. This is, quite simply, wrong. He correctly states that while Britain’s population has grown – London’s has nearly doubled and Leicester’s grown by 30 per cent – there has been no similar provision of medical services. No new hospitals have been built. As a result, where once you could simply walk into your doctor’s and expect to be seen, now you have to book an appointment. And when it comes to hospitals, it’s all the fault of immigrants. He talks about a specific hospital in London, and how the last time he was in that area, he was the only White Brit in the queue. This was because immigrants don’t have GPs, and so go to the hospital for every problem. We also have the problem of sick and disabled people from the developing world coming to the country for the better services we offer. A woman from the Sudan with a special needs child will therefore come here so that her child can have the treatment it wouldn’t get in the Sudan.

I dare say some of this analysis is correct. Britain’s population has grown largely due to immigration. One statistic released by a right-wing group said that immigration was responsible for 80 per cent of population growth. It’s probably correct, as Chambers Cyclopedia stated in its 1987 edition that British birthrates were falling and that it was immigration that was behind the rise in the UK population. I don’t know London at all, and I dare say that many of the immigrants there may well not have had doctors. I can also quite believe that some immigrants do come here for our medical care. There was a case a few weeks ago of a Nigerian woman, who got on a flight to London specifically so that she could have her children in a British hospital. I think this was a case of simple health tourism, which has gone on for years, rather than immigration.

But this overlooks the fact that the problems of the NHS has been down to successive Thatcherite regimes cutting state medical care in Britain all under the pretext of making savings and not raising taxes. Thatcher closed hospital wards. So did Tony Blair, when he wasn’t launching his PFI initiative. This was supposed to build more hospitals, but led to older hospitals being closed and any new hospitals built were smaller, fewer and more expensive. Cameron started off campaigning against hospital closures, and then, once he got his backside in No. 10, carried on with exactly the same policy. Boris Johnson claimed that he was going to build forty hospitals, which was, like nearly everything else the obese buffoon uttered, a flat lie. And Tweezer, Truss and Sunak are doing the same. Doctors surgeries have also suffered. Many of them have been sold off to private chains, which have maximised profits by closing down those surgeries that aren’t profitable. The result is that people have been and are being left without doctors. If you want an explanation why the NHS is in the state it is, blame Thatcher and her heirs, not immigrants.

Conclusion

While Webb has a point about the social and political manipulation of historical issues like the slave trade and the British Empire, these aren’t the reasons for the greater appearance of Black actors and presenters on television. Blair wasn’t responsible for mass immigration, and it’s underfunding and privatisation, not immigration, that’s responsible for the deplorable state of the health service. But he’s speaking to the wrong people there anyway, as the TBG would like to privatise it.

I am not saying it is wrong to discuss these issues, but it is wrong to support a bunch of Nazis like the TBG, who will exploit them to recreate all the social inequality, poverty and deprivation of pre-modern Britain.

Short Questionnaire by 38 Degrees Seeking People’s Views on the State of the Health Service

November 25, 2022

Here’s another email I got from the internet petitioning organisation seeking to gauge people’s views on the current state of the health service, and the particular issues they are most concerned with, as part of a wider campaign to defend it. Two of the questions, not on this email but there if you answer the questionnaire, ask you if you would be willing to speak to TV, radio or the press or talk about it on social media, and ask you for your telephone number if you would like to be part of that aspect of the campaign. I filled it out, as I am very concerned and angry about how they’re treating the NHS, but clearly not everyone will want to take it that far or give their home phone numbers.

‘David, the 38 Degrees community has been campaigning for YEARS to get the NHS the funding and workforce plan it desperately needs. It’s why we drove an ambulance with our message to Rishi Sunak across the country over the summer. [1] Now, we need to think about our next move.

If we’re going to keep fighting for what’s best for our NHS, it’s going to take all of us getting involved. And that means we should all have a say in what we do next. By taking this quick survey we’ll know what’s really important to all of us, and then together we can plan our next big NHS campaign.

So, David, will you take a quick survey and have your say on what we should do next? It takes two minutes. Here’s the first question to get you started:

How concerned are you about the current state of the NHS?

Very concerned

Concerned

Neither concerned nor unconcerned

Not concerned

Not at all concerned

Not sure

Things are so bad that ordinary people can’t help but speak up. A 77-year-old patient caught Prime Minister Rishi Sunak off guard by telling him to “try harder” to improve nurses’ pay, and a patient told Health Secretary Steve Barclay that he was doing “bugger all” about long ambulance waits. [2]

38 Degrees has a proud history of campaigning to protect our NHS. From fighting for a fair pay rise for NHS staff, to ensuring the NHS is properly funded and staffed, as well as opposing plans to raise the age limit for free prescription charges – we’ve fought relentlessly for an NHS we can all be proud of. [3] And with so many challenges left that fight is far from over.

By sharing your opinion in this short survey, we’ll be able to prioritise the issues we campaign on together. But to make the best plan we can, we need all of us to share our views.

So will you take this short survey today to help us keep fighting for the future of our NHS? It only takes two minutes. Here’s the first question to get you started:

How concerned are you about the current state of the NHS?

Very concerned

Concerned

Neither concerned nor unconcerned

Not concerned

Not at all concerned

Not sure

Thanks for your support,

Flo, Mike, Jonathan, Angus and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:

[1] Express & Star: Ambulance protest greets Tory Party members at hustings
[2] The Guardian: Woman confronts Steve Barclay on NHS outside hospital
Evening Standard (paywall): Rishi Sunak told by patient to ‘you are not trying, try harder’ to give nurse’s pay rise
[3] 38 Degrees: NHS Staff Pay Rise Campaign
38 Degrees: We need to properly fund and staff our NHS now!
38 Degrees: Keep prescriptions free for Over 60s

Our Nurses Are Striking against Real Starvation Wages

November 25, 2022

According to the news, the NHS nurses are going on strike on the 15th and 20th of December. I don’t want the nurses to strike, but I don’t blame and absolutely support them. Or rather, what I should say is that I don’t want the nurses to have to strike. Because I don’t believe they have a choice. I went to one of the fringe Labour meetings online a few weeks ago. I can’t remember whether it was organised by Arise or the Labour Assembly Against Austerity. Not that it really matters. One of the speakers was a medical professional or activist with the NHS. And what she said was really chilling. One quarter of the country’s NHS trusts – I don’t know whether this is Britain as a whole or just England – were running food banks for their nursing staff. For the nurses! And we have student nurses considering dropping out, because they can’t afford to feed themselves and study! And that obese abomination Therese Coffey wanted the NHS budget cut further. Like all the other right-wing Tories, including Farage, who boast about they’re going to cut waste. The Irish vlogger, Maximilien Robespierre, asked in one of his videos whether she was the most odious Tory politician. She had responded to an interviewer’s question by saying that if nurses didn’t like it, they should look for work elsewhere. It’s the standard Tory answer that you hear trotted out whenever there’s a strike. Presumably Coffey thinks we could get more poor immigrants to work for cheap wages to replace them, as one of these horrors suggested we could do to plug the labour shortage in other industries. I’m sick of Coffey, sick of Hunt, and sick of the Tories full stop.

Defend the NHS!

Pay nurses a living wage!

Tories out!

Reform Party Launch Attack Ad against Tory ‘Consocialists’

November 20, 2022

Mad ultra-brexiteer Mahyar Tousi is highly delighted with the latest promotional film from Richard Tice and the wretched Reform Party. He showed it on one of his videos earlier today or yesterday. The film shows a hammer striking a piggy bank with the message that pensions are being hammered. It then talks about how Brits are being hit by Tory austerity and that the country is paying the price for 12 years of failed Tory policies. This is because Rishi Sunak and the rest are ‘Consocialists’. The Reform Party, however, offer growth and prosperity based on lowering taxes and eliminating waste. But note the contradiction – lowering taxes and cutting waste is Tory policy, and it translates into lowering taxes for the rich and cutting services, particularly the welfare state. So, what’s all this bilge about ‘Consocialists’? I can only think it’s because when Covid hit, suddenly the Tories had to put cash into the economy to support the businesses that were closed and the people that couldn’t work due to the lockdown. And the Tory hard right, which includes Tousi and the others the ad is aimed at, have bitterly resented it ever since. I think if they’d had their way, they wouldn’t have initiated the lockdown but carried on with the nonsense about herd immunity. Which means letting the old and weak die in order to allow the rest to become immune to the disease. But the nonsense of ‘Consocialism’ also harks back to Farage nonsense about ‘Liblabcon’ and how they were all the same, with only UKIP being different.

No, the Tories are not socialists. They have cut welfare provision to the point where, for many of the most vulnerable people, it no longer exists. That’s why people are being forced to use food banks. The Tories fully support private industry and are covertly trying to privatise the NHS and convert it into a system of private healthcare funded through private health insurance like America’s. They were also behind the privatisation of the utilities, which has been a disaster. Privatisation has not brought greater investment, just further cuts to services in order to boost boardroom pay and shareholder dividends. As for tax, they have cut taxes – for the rich. These are all policies that Tice and his vile crew will follow if in they get into government. And the results will be the same: abysmally poor public services, mass poverty and ill health with a privatised health service.

The Tories and Reform are just two branches of the same party. Don’t vote for them.

JOE’s Satirical Parody of the Tory Government as the Zombie’s from ‘Thriller’

November 1, 2022

JOE is another YouTube channel that cuts the speeches and pronouncements of politicians and celebrities to make them appear to say stupid things as satire. It was Hallowe’en yesterday, so they’ve created this suitably seasonal musical parody. In this clip, they send up the Tory government by having Jacob Rees-Mogg intone a twisted version of Vincent Price’s spoken words in the 1980s Michael Jackson hit, ‘Thriller’. This shows the Tories rising from the graves as a true Zombie government, who have trashed the economy, jacked up mortgages, devastated people’s pensions. Jeremy Hunt is once again a psycho who will make more cuts to the NHS than Norman Bates. And Liz Truss is Chucky, the killer doll.

Drunk Tory Calls for the Privatisation of the NHS

September 29, 2022

This comes from the Daily Blase’s channel over on YouTube. Edward Lee, Tory MP for Gainsborough, staggered to his feet in the House of Commons today and said the quiet part out loud. Directing his remarks at health secretary Therese Coffey, he declared that it was not the fault of the healthcare workers that the NHS was in the state it’s in. It’s the fault of the institution itself. The NHS was the last example of collectivist socialist government. It should be abolished and replaced with the social insurance programmes France and other countries have, because they have better health outcomes than we have. Why, he concluded, should only the rich have private healthcare? To this Coffey responded by saying that the government didn’t view it that way.

As Mr Blase said, the florid-faced Tory blamed the NHS for its problems, rather than 12 years of Tory austerity. He’s quite right. We used to be ahead of much of the continent in health outcomes, but thanks to cuts and privatisation we’ve fallen below the other countries. And this is a direct result of forty years of unquestioned Thatcherism and the stealth privatisation Thatcher inaugurated. He also said that Coffey doesn’t really have any real difference of opinion to him. She’s just embarrassed he spoke so plainly about Tory policy. Again, he has a point. But it’s not just the Tories that wanted to privatise the NHS. Nick Clegg when he was Dodgy Dave’s deputy prime minister also thought it would be a good thing if we changed to a continental style insurance system.

This is an extremely right-wing government. Far more right-wing, it’s been said, than Thatcher’s. Get them out.

Are the Tories Really Preparing a ‘No Confidence’ Vote against Truss?

September 26, 2022

This is the headline I saw on a video from one of YouTube’s rightwingers earlier this evening. I hope so, and given that Truss and Kwarteng’s massive tax cuts have given the screaming terrors to the financial markets, with the result that pound is only a few pence away from dollar parity, so they should. But it wouldn’t surprise me either if they all stick to her, repeating the line like a mantra that it’s a great budget which will boost the economy. It isn’t, and it won’t. It’ll just lead to more misery and cuts to the welfare state and the NHS as the working class will be hit in order to pay back the loans the Tories will have to take out.

Well, get Truss out and the rest of her wretched party.