Posts Tagged ‘Funding’

Management Consultants Raking in £3,000 a Day from the NHS

May 4, 2023

One of the great commenters on this blog remarked a little while ago that they had seen or heard something to the effect that although Blair did give increased funding to the health service, much of this disappeared into the pockets of management consultants and administrators rather than actually reaching where it was needed – the medical professional on the front line, for example. The pro-democracy organisation Open Democracy has published a piece reporting that the NHS spends £3,000 per day on private management firms. The piece by Adam Bychawski begins

‘NHS England is paying management consultants day rates of up to £3,000, despite the government claiming it cannot afford to give nurses and junior doctors a real-terms pay rise.

Some executives from top consulting firms including Deloitte and PA Consulting are being paid the equivalent of an annual salary of more than £600,000 by NHS England for their services – more than double what its own CEO is reportedly paid.

Deloitte, which charged the most for its consultants last year at up to £3,000 a day, was ironically hired to help NHS England improve how it keeps track of its spending on private companies.

The findings come after a deal was struck between health unions and the government for a 5% pay rise for more than a million NHS workers. Ministers had dismissed demands for an above-inflation rise on the grounds that it would be unaffordable.

Unite and the Royal College of Nursing rejected the offer, with the former saying that it fell well short of the current rate of inflation. Both are planning to continue with strike action, while the British Medical Association (BMA), which represents junior doctors, is continuing negotiations. The BMA is looking for a 35% pay rise to make up for 15 years of below-inflation pay increases.

Unite’s national lead officer Onay Kasab called the figures “a damning indictment of a government that seems intent on destroying the NHS and has learnt nothing from the pandemic, when it allowed the health service to be plundered by private sector profiteers”. He added: “The money would be much better spent providing a proper pay rise for NHS staff to end the recruitment and retention crisis that is crippling health services.”

The day rates were disclosed to openDemocracy through a Freedom of Information request only after the Information Commissioner’s Office warned NHS England that it could be taken to court if it continued delaying its response.

The figures also show consultants from PA Consulting were paid up to £2,500 a day to provide NHS England with support for its Covid vaccination programme between December 2022 and March 2023.

More than a dozen consultants from Ernst and Young were paid up to £2,343 a day last year to give NHS England recommendations for a system that would make it possible to share patient health records electronically between trusts.

The health service also forked out up to £2,350 a day on consultants from KPMG to support improvements to its digital services.

NHS England told openDemocracy that the rates are negotiated centrally by the government.

“It is absolutely appalling to see huge sums of money syphoned off into consultancy firms in this manner,” Julia Patterson, chief executive of NHS campaign group EveryDoctor, told openDemocracy. “At the very least, there should be published reports annually demonstrating the added value provided by contracting strategic advice.

“Local healthcare experts – such as the NHS clinicians, who are woefully underpaid – would be much better placed to offer advice about the planning and processes within their respective areas.”

The sums raise questions about whether the government has learnt from its disastrous NHS Test and Trace scheme, which was criticised for relying too heavily on private sector consultants. Deloitte staff were paid up to £6,000 a day to work on the programme despite an inquiry later finding that it failed to slow the pandemic.’

For further information see: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/nhs-england-consultants-deloitte-kpmg-pa-consulting-ernst-young/

Get the privatisers and profiteers out of the NHS, and the Tories out of government.

Public Satisfaction with NHS at Lowest Ever

March 29, 2023

I’m sure you’ve also seen this on the news. According to a new poll, public satisfaction with the NHS is at is lowest since people started being survey about it in the 1980s. The Tories must be delighted, as this is all very much engineered. Despite all the lies that they prize the NHS and that it’s in safe hands, they’ve been aching to privatise it since the Maggie Thatcher. So budgets have been cut, leading to the shortage of beds that proved disastrous during the Covid epidemic. Services have been privatised and outsourced, with the private healthcare companies also imposing cuts in order to keep profits up for their shareholders. Grotty Tory politicos have already started to demand outright privatisation and the levying of charges, despite the fact that the latter violates the fundamental ethos of the NHS that it should be free at the point of use. And I’ve no doubt that their mouthpieces in the media will get more outspoken in their demands for its privatisation. GB News’ Nana Akua has already posted any number of videos on YouTube demanding it, or something very like it.

What the Tories won’t like is that the public still support it. This is a major problem for those demanding it be sold off to private enterprise. You can find them online complaining about the public’s continued support and discussing ways that it should be broken. Labour should be out defending it, and I’m sure some Labour MPs are sincere when they say they will. But not Starmer. He’s a Blairite, and Blair did more to privatise the NHS than the Tories had dared. Moreover, Starmer has surrounded himself with American private healthcare firms as his advisors. When somebody asked him about it, he’s supposed to have snapped that he didn’t answer questions about his advisors. Which is a blatant dodge, if ever there was one.

I hope Labour does get in, because another bout of Tory government will destroy this country. But if they do, I definitely want Starmer held to account and continually pressured to retain and expand the NHS. With no lies or evasions countenanced.

38 Degrees Petition Against Pharmacy Closures

March 14, 2023

Here’s another part of the Tory engineered crisis hitting the NHS, and probably one you may not have heard of. I got this email petition today from 38 Degrees on behalf of a new campaign group, Save Our Pharmacies, against the mass closure of NHS pharmacy services. Lloyd’s have put something like 1,300 of their chemists up for sale or closure. One of the pharmacies near me is due to be sold to an independent rival. I’ve also heard tales of terrible service about some of the other local pharmacies. In one incident, people queuing for their medicines were left without them when the pharmacy closed because the pharmacist was due to go to another chemists’. The impression I’ve got is that they’re short of staff, and this is having a disastrous effect on customer service. And then the government increases the pressure by telling everyone to see them instead of going to the doctor. This is why I’ve had no hesitation in signing this petition. I hope you will do so too.

‘Dear David,

Your local pharmacy could be on the brink of collapse if the Government doesn’t announce more funding. [1] The closure of pharmacies could mean you and your family not being able to get the treatment or medication you desperately need.

Since 2015, funding has been cut by 30% and hundreds of pharmacies that play a huge and vital role in our communities have closed their doors for the final time. [2] This simply cannot continue.

That’s why the Save Our Pharmacies campaign group have started a petition calling on the Health Secretary to safeguard NHS pharmacy services and ensure local pharmacies have a future. [3] The petition has already been signed by thousands of people and continues to grow.

So, David, if you want to make sure your local pharmacy can keep its doors open, sign the petition now, and send a clear message to the Health Secretary: save our pharmacies!

YES, I’LL SIGN!

Campaign created by Save Our Pharmacies campaign group

Sign the petition

To: The Health Secretary and NHS England
What: Please provide immediate, fair and sustained funding, to safeguard NHS pharmacy services and ensure local pharmacies have a future.
Why is this important: Our local NHS pharmacies are on the brink of collapse, despite having proven during the pandemic that they are more needed now than ever. Since 2015, their funding has been cut by 30% and 720 pharmacies have permanently closed, putting vital NHS services at risk. Without fair funding from the Government, many more pharmacies will be forced to close.

Something the government can do straight away is to fund a ‘Pharmacy First’ Service in England so people with minor illnesses can be treated on the NHS by their local pharmacy, instead of having to wait to see a GP for a prescription.

Community pharmacies provide vital health and social care in communities across the country, including the most deprived neighbourhoods. Please back our local pharmacies – so they can continue to keep people well and save lives

Read more…

Sign the petition

Thank you for being involved,

David, Megan and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:
[1] Sky News: Hundreds of community pharmacies ‘could close due to rising costs’
[2] See note 1
[3] Save our Pharmacies
38 Degrees: Save our pharmacies – protect vital NHS services

Starmer Declares that Labour Has Passed the EHRC’s Stipulations on Cleansing the Party of Anti-Semitism

February 15, 2023

Or does he mean the Wrong Kind of Jews and others accused of anti-Semitism ’cause their evil socialists and critics of Israel?

I got this round-robin message from the leader of the Labour party this afternoon.

‘Dear David,

In October 2020, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published a damning report into antisemitism in the Labour Party.

At that time, I was clear the Party accepted the EHRC’s report in full and would implement all of its recommendations. We agreed an Action Plan with the EHRC in December 2020, and since then, we have worked tirelessly to right the wrongs of the past and to tear out antisemitism from our Party by its roots.

Today, it was announced that the EHRC have been satisfied with our progress and the significant changes we have made. Accordingly, the Action Plan has formally concluded.

You can watch the speech I gave today about this here.

While this is an important moment, it is not one for celebration. Rather, it is one for reflection. As to how a Party that has always prided itself on its anti-racism and its commitment to equality could have fallen so far.

This announcement demonstrates we have turned the corner. However, the job of restoring Labour is not complete. It shows we are heading in the right direction, and I assure you that there is not a hint of complacency in that confidence. I know there is still much to do.

We will not rest for a moment until not only have we changed the Labour Party for the better, but our country, too.

Thank you,

Keir Starmer
Leader of the Labour Party’

The storm of allegations of anti-Semitism against the Labour party and individual members, often men and women of deep integrity and humanity, and which cost Corbyn the election and the party’s leadership, were whipped up by a corrupt political and media establishment appalled at the prospect of a return to power of a man committed to genuinely empowering working people. They baulked at the renationalisation of the utilities, despite the fact that every day shows this is urgently needed. They hated the idea of reversing the privatisation of the NHS and most of all they feared and loathed the return of strong trade unions, workers’ rights and proper welfare state that actually supports its citizens. There was also a foreign policy element too. They also hated Corbyn because he was an idealist who shared Robin Cook’s dream of an ethical foreign policy and specifically his support for the Palestinians.

This fear and loathing was shared by the right-wing, Zionist section of the Jewish community that considers itself that communities official ‘establishment’. This included the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which in reality speaks for the United Synagogue and no-one else, two Chief Rabbis, who both led contingents of Jewish Brits on the ‘March of the Flags’ in which Israeli bovver boys terrorise the Arabs of East Jerusalem, the Jewish Leadership Council, which split with the board because they weren’t right-wing and pro-business enough for them, and various other organisations that were set up in the wake of the bombardment of Gaza to promote Israel and drive away support for the Palestinians. These included the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the woefully misnamed Jewish Labour Movement, whose members don’t have to be Jewish or even members of the Labour party. Their accusations were taken up by the British mainstream, who’d found that smearing Corbyn as a Commie and Trotskyite hadn’t worked. But the charge of anti-Semitism stuck. Corbyn backed down when he should have fought, and sacrificed his allies in the belief that this would placate his enemies. It didn’t, and people like the mighty Tony Greenstein knew it wouldn’t and tried to tell him so. But he didn’t listen.

And then there were the vipers within the Labour party, who collaborated with all this. The right-wing faction that conspired against Corbyn at every opportunity, whose members were on Conservative websites and forums, who misdirected election funding from where they were needed, organised coups and bullied Black and Muslim members. They also did their best to conceal instances of real anti-Semitism from the leadership in order to keep the smear going.

When are these malign enablers of real anti-Semitism going to be thrown out of the party?

Well, I reckon they won’t, because they supported Starmer. And Starmer was also personally keen to keep the smears going as a tool for his purges of the left. Hence, even though he was told by his lawyers that he would win a court case against one set of allegations, he folded and gave them the money they demanded.

Israel’s Far Right government this week has declared they’re going to recognise a slew of illegal Jewish settlements in Palestine as punishment for the disturbances at Christmas. This is in contravention of international law. Where’s a statement condemning this from Starmer? Oh, wait, he’s ‘100 per cent Zionist’, so there won’t be one. This is despite the fact that numerous Zionist human rights organisations like B’Tselem have condemned the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. And suffered for it from militantly nationalist regimes that have declared them, like the Jews in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, to be the enemy within.

And what does this statement mean?

It looks like, although the EHRC is satisfied, Starmer still intends to continue his witch hunt because there is still much work to do and we have to reflect on how an anti-racist party became steeped in anti-Semitism. Well, when you realise that the majority of those accused of anti-Semitism were Jews, who had often experienced real abuse and assault because of their religion or ethnicity, and that one of the gentiles smeared and purged was a Black anti-racist activist who had worked with the Board of Deputies to combat real anti-Semitic violence by the BNP in the 1980s, it’s clear that this is all bogus.

The anti-Semitism smears and witch hunt were a tissue of lies from beginning to end. And Starmer knows it, and supported it. And it looks like he means to keep the pressure up even after it is all supposed to have ended.

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.

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.

‘We Own It’ Meeting Yesterday to Defend the NHS – A Brief Review

October 21, 2022

The pro-nationalisation, pro-NHS movement ‘We Own It’ held a Zoom meeting yesterday about the need to defend the health service from the Tory’s pernicious ongoing privatisation and discuss the demonstrations and protests they were organisations. It was hosted by the very well-informed and genial John Bosco and had a range of excellent speakers. It was to last from 6 pm to 7. 30, but I left after 50 minutes. This review thus necessarily does not cover the full event and all its speakers. Those I heard were Kate Osborne MP, Ben Goodair, the scientist behind the research showing that privatisation and outsourcing is actively killing people, Ron Mendel, an activist from my home city of Bristol and Zack Palansky, the deputy leader of the Green Party and member of the London assembly. And what they had to say was chilling.

Kate Osborne reminded us that a few years ago, Jeremy Hunt sold off the blood department of the NHS to the investment company, Bane, which then sold it on for a tidy sum. As a result, there’s a crisis in the blood section of the NHS, which has been forced to issue an ember alert. As for present health secretary, Therese Coffey, she is actively campaigning for the cash-starved NHS to get less money. She urged people to expose the false narrative that private industry is aiding the NHS. It isn’t. And to show how desperate conditions are for workers in the health service, one quarter of NHS trusts are running food banks for their own staff.

Ben Goodair’s work showing that outsourcing has actively produced excess deaths was published in the Lancet. Much of his talk was about the methodology they used to research this. He stated that one in ten patients in the health service is now being treated by a private healthcare company. He and his colleagues looked at the impact of privatisation by examining the use of private companies hired by the CCGs, the collections of doctors that Blair set up to control doctors’ spending. Not all CCGs used private healthcare companies. Many don’t, or only use to them to a small extent. But the study found that where they were used extensively by the CCGs, deaths rose significantly the next year.

Ron Mendel is an American, now living in my fair, home city. He has personal experience of the immense cost to the patient of private healthcare. He was speaking from Israel and Palestine, where he has been trying to work for peace between the two communities. He revealed that in Bristol, the Integrated Care Trust is currently running at a £36 million deficit. According to research by the University of Glasgow, between 2012 and 2019 there were 344,000 excess deaths.

Zack Palansky made it very clear that he and his party were fully behind the principles of the NHS: that it should be universal, publicly funded and free at the point of use. He stated that dental care needed to be defended as well as health – an important point now that, thanks to Thatcher’s privatisation and its consequences, millions of people don’t have an NHS dentist. He also pointed out that in 2015 Catherine Lucas, their leader, had launched an NHS reinstatement bill in the Commons to reverse the privatisation of the NHS. The Green Party, he declared, would reverse the 2012 Health and Social Care Bill. This is the pernicious bit of legislation that exempts the government from providing healthcare, the fundamental duty of the health secretary when it was founded by Nye Bevan. And he also stated that party leaders and MPs should join workers on picket lines.

We Own It as a whole stressed, they were not party-political and stated that many Tory voters wanted the privatisation stopped and the health service properly funded. But they recognised that most of the people campaigning were on the left. As well as urging their supporters to sign their petition against privatisation, they are also planning to set up a mass demonstration against it in Parliament Square on 25th February next year. They want at least 557 people there, to represent the 557 people who have needlessly died due to NHS privatisation.

The meeting was extremely well attended. There were 315 people there, from all over the country, and part of the organisers’ message was that these should be active in small groups in their local areas. If people are able to do this, it means that the organisation’s impact may be greater than those numbers suggest.

We Own It are doing great, important work as the NHS comes under attack from the Tories. We need the lie that outsourcing and privatisation is helping the health service to be absolutely refuted and political leaders who are willing to stop and reverse it.

Grotty Daily Mail Shills for People to Abandon NHS and Go Private

August 26, 2022

I’ve just been to the barbers for a haircut, and while waiting I leafed through some of the papers left out. One was the Heil, so I looked through that. Okay, I’m not proud of it, but it was something to read while waiting. Needless to say, it was as it usually is. There’s a story about the cost of housing asylum seekers and the channel migrants. But what really disgusted me was an opinion piece. This was by a supposed NHS consultant urging patients to ‘beg, borrow or steal’ to go private.

This is essentially the Tory strategy for running down the NHS, ever since Maggie Thatcher. She wanted the health service privatised and replaced by an American-style healthcare system funded by private health insurance. She was only stopped by a cabinet revolt and the finding of her personal secretary, Patrick Jenkin. Jenkin had been to America and knew exactly how poor in comparison the American system was. So Thatcher had to content herself with aiming to get 10 per cent of the population to take out private health insurance.

She also began process of piecemeal privatisation, selling off or opening up the ancillary services to private competition. This process was carried on by John Major’s administration and then by Tony Blair, who was ostensibly Labour. And Cameron, Tweezer and Bozo have in turn continued the wretched process. Private healthcare firms are allowed to compete with the NHS itself for contracts for medical services. Thanks to this privatisation, administration costs in the NHS have sky-rocketed where they approaching the levels -25 per cent or so – which the American private health system spends on administration. Privatisation does not bring savings. Quite the opposite. At the same time, the Tories have cut spending on the NHS, and grotty Tories like Truss and Mogg are saying they’ll cut more NHS ‘waste’. Meaning, presumably, more expensive privatisation and cuts.

The only way to cut waste is to renationalise the NHS.

But the article shows the direction of travel British healthcare is taking under the Tories: a two-tier system, with poor NHS services for the people at the bottom, and expensive private healthcare for those who can afford it. And the Tories stand to profit from it personally. Under Cameron, 100 MPs had personally connections to private healthcare firms.

If you really want to ensure that you and the rest of this great nation has the healthcare it needs and deserve, then kick the Tories and the other privatisers out, and demand the renationalisation of the NHS!

Liz Truss Member of Pro-Privatisation Organisation against the NHS

August 10, 2022

Bog-eyed, pork and cheese promoting Brexiteer Liz Truss is this fortnight’s issue of Private Eye, dated 12th-25th of August 2022. And as any fule kno, that ain’t good. The satirical magazine has revealed she’s a member of a bonkers free trade organisation which wishes to have the NHS privatised and its funding replaced by social insurance, like what they have on the continent. The snippet about this, on page 9 of Ian Hislop’s mighty organ, runs

Health Threat

Would-be leader Liz Truss has offered little on how she would fix the crixix in the NHS, beyond soundbites on cutting management and installing a “strong” health secretary and withdrawing plans to “level down” health workers’ pay in regional rates.

Nor has she mentioned to the Tory faithful that she is on a six-strong board of parliamentary supporters for the obscure think-tank, 1828. Its mission? To “champion freedom and make the case for free markets and limited government.

1828’s advisory board includes Eurosceptic Julian Knight, climate “luke-warmer” Matt Ridley and other assorted right-wingers, including former Ukipper Douglas Carswell. In 2019 it published a “Neoliberal Manifesto for a freer and more prosperous Britain”. But for whom? Its health chapter condemns the NHS record as “deplorable” while ignoring years of Tory government underfundiing, and calls for “far-reaching reforms” – ie a new social health insurance scheme, ,similar to that used in “Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Israel, among others”.

In 2020 Truss said: “1828 is huge part of what’s happening to the right of politics, where a lot of new ideas are coming to fruition. There will always be a need to fight for the forces of freedom.” Is an expansion of NHS plc on her not-so-hidden agenda?’

It certainly looks like it, which is why she, nor Sunak nor indeed any other Tory should be allowed anywhere near the NHS.

Tories very definitely out!

Mail Claims Majority of Brits Would Go Private to Jump NHS Queues

March 5, 2022

Okay, yesterday I flicked through the Daily Mail. I’m not proud of it, but there was precious little else to read and I was in the barber’s waiting for a haircut. The Heil was there as one of the newspapers put there for the customers to peruse while waiting. There was, as you’d expect, a great deal about the war in Ukraine. But what struck me was a little article at the bottom of a page further in. The headline of this little piece announced that, according to polls, 85 per cent of Brits would consider paying for private treatment to jump the queues in the NHS. I didn’t read any further, as I was feeling a bit rough already from the anticancer drugs, and didn’t want to feel worse. I don’t know what polls these were, who was behind it or even how accurate they were.

But I bet the Tories and the Heil were delighted.

The Tories and the Labour successors have been pushing for the privatisation of the NHS ever since Maggie Thatcher. She wanted to sell it off and replace it by an American-style for-profit system, financed by private health insurance. She was prevented from doing so by a massive cabinet revolt and the information from her secretary, Patrick Jenkin, of how terrible the American system was in practise. So she satisfied herself by aiming to get at least 10 per cent of the British public to take out private health insurance. The Tories also went on to try and get the NHS opened up to private healthcare companies, firstly through the Private Finance Initiative, in which new hospitals were supposed to be a joint project between the state and private industry, but which largely results in the state having to shoulder all the costs. This was then followed by Blair’s NHS reforms, in which the new health centres and polyclinics were supposed to be built and run by private firms for the NHS and the introduction of the Care Commissioning Groups of doctors within the health service, which were empowered to raise funding through private means as well as buy in services from private health companies. Alan Milburn, the former health secretary, wanted the NHS to be sold off completely and become nothing more than a kitemark on services provided by private healthcare companies. And private healthcare companies were to be allowed to compete for NHS contracts. These reforms were taken over and extended once again by the Tories under Dodgy Dave Cameron, Tweezer and now the blonde abomination occupying No. 10. At the same time, NHS budgets have repeatedly been cut as part of an efficiency scheme which has left the health service which lower levels of funding than other first world countries. And this is all part of pattern.

Mike has repeatedly quoted the awesome Noam Chomsky, who has said that the right’s strategy for gaining popular support for privatisation is always to run it down through repeated cuts before finally privatising it.

And that’s exactly what they’re doing here, and I doubt it’s a coincidence this story emerged just as the House of Lords was prepared to go through a reading of the government’s Health and Social Care bill which will push the NHS’s privatisation even further.

The Tories will no doubt blame the queues on Covid. The disease is part of it, but the queues and the problems of the NHS in coping with it were due to over ten years of Tory cuts and privatisation, which has seen the bureaucracy and consequent administration costs increase as service has declined. it’s been remarked that the Tories never waste a crisis to make things worse. And that’s what they’re doing with the Coronavirus and the delays it’s caused in routine health treatment.

And right-wing internet media hosts are all too keen to help the Tories privatise the NHS.

Alex Belfield, who says he’s about to depart YouTube for Ustreme and a paywall at the end of the month, has posted numerous videos demanding the health service’s privatisation. So has Nana Akua on GB News, Calvin Robinson and Nigel Farage. The latter should be no surprise, as when he was head of UKIP he’d made noises about it being possible that Britain would have to turn to a system of funded by private health insurance. But these people are only saying what the Tories believe secretly.

Don’t believe that the Tories even remotely care about the NHS. Many of them, including the owners of the right-wing rags, will be delighted by this story.

Get them out, and get their collaborators the Blairites out of Labour.