Posts Tagged ‘Gianfranco Fini’

Tories Waffle to Prevent Bill against Privatisation of the NHS in Parliament

March 13, 2016

Mike over at Vox Political has put up another important piece reporting a filibuster in parliament to ‘talk out’ a bill by the former leader of the Green party, Caroline Lucas. The four Tories, who waffled and blustered in order to prevent the bill being discussed or passed, were David Nuttall, Phillip Davies, Phillip Hollobone, and Sir Edward Leigh.

Mike writes:

It’s hard to think of Philip Davies without imagining that the people of Shipley were so disillusioned with Parliament that they sent a motion of the bowels to Westminster as a sign of their low esteem.

The sh*t from Shipley was one of four Tory MPs who waffled their way through the time allotted for Caroline Lucas’s Bill to stop the creeping privatisation of the National Health Service.

By their actions it is therefore easy to conclude that Davies, Philip Hollobone, David Nuttall and Sir Edward Leigh want to take free healthcare away from their constituents as soon as possible.

That’s very bad news if you live in Kettering, Bury North, Gainsborough and the afore-mentioned Shipley.

For more information, go to:

When Tories talk about ‘our NHS’ it means they think they own it already

The title to Mike’s piece is ‘When Tories talk about ‘our NHS’ it means they think they own it already’. This is exactly right at a number of levels. As I have been blogging about recently, I had a commenter on my blog criticise me when I claimed that Nye Bevan was the architect of the NHS. He was. The commenter maintained that the NHS was a policy of the National government during the War, which produced the Beveridge Report upon which the NHS is based. Also true. He also pointed out that Churchill also backed the NHS. Again, true, but Churchill was also very cautious in his support, and only broadcast his backing for it after the Labour Party had demanded a parliamentary debate about its early implementation now in 1942. The Tories turned this down, leaving the report to spend two years in committee. At which point the government realised that the Tories had shot themselves in the foot, and given the next election to Labour.

Now the argument over the creation of the NHS is important. It’s true that the Beveridge Report united Labour, the Liberals and left-wing Tories in its support. However, the Tories need to lay claim to it in order to assure the population that they have their best interests at heart, and won’t do anything to deprive them of it. In the 1980s and 1990s Thatcher’s and Major’s government declared that they weren’t going to privatise the NHS, and that it was only the Tories that knew how to run it efficiently and effectively.

This has been shown to be bunkum. It was either Thatcher’s or Major’s government that picked a fight with the dentists, causing them to leave the NHS en masse. The result has been the decline in cheap dental treatment for the poor and unemployed, and the corresponding decline in the health of the nation’s teeth. Well, the Americans have always made jokes about how we’ve got bad teeth. It’s even in Orwell. Possibly one of the public school wags in the Tories thought it would be a jolly good jape to play up to the stereotype, at least with the peasants. Make them all look like gap-toothed yokels, what? Spiffing! She also introduced fees for eye tests, and as a result fewer people saw the optician. She and her ministers solved this problem by lying about it, and so told the press that since charges were introduced, more people were actually going to have their eyesight examined.

Right. Pull the other one.

As for the statement that only they could keep the NHS in budget, this is a massive, sick joke. The Tories introduction of the internal market in the NHS has created more bureaucracy, along with Peter Lilley’s introduction of the Private Finance Initiative. This is a ruse by which the millions contracted by the government in debt for certain projects are kept off the record books, even though it’s immensely more expensive than normal procedures of funding infrastructure development. In a way, it’s ironic that it was Lilley that dreamed the scam up. He’s been compared on various satirical shows with Nazi officers, and something similar to the PFI was used by the Italian dictator, Mussolini, to finance infrastructure spending in Fascist Italy. Or perhaps it isn’t a coincidence at all, considering how well parts of the Tories got on with Gianfranco Fini’s ‘post-Fascist’ Alleanza Nazionale. And the results of the Tories’ latest mismanagement of the NHS has been to push it even further into debt, no doubt in preparation for its eventual sale.

And the commenter, who turned up here to criticise me for crediting the creation of the NHS on Nye Bevan also let the cat out of the bag there. He claimed that an opinion poll showed most people weren’t concerned if healthcare was private, so long as it was free. Well, that contrasts with the 85% of people in other polls, who definitely don’t want the NHS to be privatised. Presumably the people, who aren’t concerned if it’s private are all friends of Sam Cam, like the businesspeople who supposedly came out in supported of Cameron’s policy. This was later revealed to be not a spontaneous display of support, but due to Sam Cam ringing round their friends.

Don’t be fooled. Since Thatcher, the government has wanted to privatise the NHS. They are laying claim to it in order to sell it off.

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Private Eye on the Similarity between the Private Finance Initiative and Mussolini’s Finance Policy

March 9, 2016

I found this very interesting piece about the similarities between the Private Finance Initiative, which was originally devised by Peter Lilley in the Tories and then taken over wholesale by Bliar and Broon in New Labour, and Mussolini’s employment of a similar policy to get private finance for his schemes, while also keeping the debt off the books. It’s from the 16th – 29th May 2008 issue of Private Eye.

Private Fascist Initiative

A reader alerts the Eye to a 1940s history of Benito Mussolini, uncovered by a US think tank, and makes an unkind comparison with Gordon Brown’s current favourite policy.

More strapped for cash that Brown ever was, “Mussolini resorted to subterfuge to pay contractors without increasing his budget. He would make a contract with a private firm to build certain roads or buildings. He would pay no money but sign an agreement to pay for the work on a yearly instalment plan. No money was paid out by the government. And hence nothing showed up in the budget.

“Actually the government had contracted a debt just as much as if it had issued a bond. But because no money passed, the whole transaction was omitted from the treasury’s books. However, after making such a contract, each year the government had to find the money to pay the yearly instalments which ran from ten to fifty years.

“In time, as the number of such contracts increased, the number and amount of the yearly payments grew. By 1932 he had obligated the state for 75 billion lire of such contracts. The year payments ran to billions. What he did by this means was to conceal from the people the fact that he was plunging the nation ever deeper into debt.”

The author, American John T. Flynn, added in a footnote: “For a full and interesting discussion of this weird chapter in fiscal policy see “Twelve years of Fascist Finance by Dr Gaetano Salvemini, 1935”. So yes: the private finance initiative, cornerstone of “eleven years of Brownite finance”, was in fact one of the Il Duce’s barmier ideas.

Osborne promised at the 2010 election to discard the Private Finance Initiative. He’s signally failed to do so for the past six years of Tory misrule. And as the Tories have had links with Gianfranco Fini’s ‘post-Fascist’ Alleanza Nazionale, this is yet another similarity between them and il Duce’s regime.

Tory MEP Hannan Describes French Front National as ‘Left-Wing’

March 31, 2014

Daniel Hannan

Tory MEP and supporter of NHS privatisation Daniel Hannan. In his view, the Front National are left-wing.

Following this morning’s post tracing the accusation that the National Front/ BNP are left-wing parties to the pamphlet by Stephen Ayres of the National Association For Freedom (NAFF), now the Freedom Association, The National Front are a Socialist Front, I received this comment from Buddyhell:

Hannan has today written a blog that describes le Front National as “far-left”. He will not be told. Even his stablemates attack him for the way he lazily draws lines between fascism and socialism. In essence, Hannan is smearing the Left with these assertions.
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100265536/france-has-given-up-on-its-politicians-with-good-reason/
.

I’ve blogged before about the way Fascism included left-wing elements amongst a number of competing and contradictory ideologies and groups. Mussolini had started off as a radical Socialist, but broke with the party over his support for Italy joining the First World War. Jess has also commented on this morning’s post about the nature of Fascism, pointing to a report in the Guardian for the 13th October 2009 that Mussolini was being paid £100 a week by MI5 in 1917 for his continued vocal support for the Italian war effort. See http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/oct/13/benito-mussolini-recruited-mi5-italy. ‘The name’s Mussolini. Benito Mussolini’, she remarks drily. Unfortunately, Mussolini was never that suave. According to Denis Mack Smith’s biography, he got thrown out of at least one school for spending all his time in the local cemetery drinking, using foul language and seducing the local girls. He also raped one young woman, who had the misfortune to catch his eye. He did like sharp suits, however. After haranguing the crowd dressed in the rough clothes of a worker, he used to go home and put on a smart suit and patent leather shoes. So, with the promiscuity and the suits, a bit like Bond, but only a really nasty, thuggish one.

Mussolini and the Corporate State

Mussolini seized power by promising to defend the middle classes and private property from the threat of Socialism and organised labour. The Fascist squadristi pursued a campaign of violence and terror against the Socialist and Communist parties and their supporters. In power, Mussolini created the corporate state, which presented Fascism as a radical alternative to laissez-faire capitalism. The corporations were industrial bodies consisting of the trade union and employers’ organisation for a particular industry or sector of the economy. Parliament was replaced by a Council of Corporations. Each corporation sent three delegates – one from the union, one from the employer’s organisation and one from the Fascist party to represent ‘the people’. It was partly based on Syndicalism, a form of Anarchism that seeks to replace the capitalist state by a system in which industry is owned and managed by the workers themselves through their trade unions. Mussolini called his system, ‘National Syndicalism’. Several of the architects of the corporative state were former syndicalists, like Pannunzio and Michele Bianchi.

A similar system had also already been advocated by Alfredo Rocco and the Italian Nationalist Association, representing the interests of the extreme Right-wing industrialists. Their programme included state-organised cartels, and single, state-controlled union, and the destruction of the political role of Socialist party. Under the Fascist regime, strikes were forbidden and a special system of Labour Courts was set up to settle industrial disputes. Although the Fascists claimed to have solved the conflict between capital and labour, the reality was that the unions were under the strict control of the state, which favoured the industrialists and employers. Pannunzio did argue for a more radical corporate system, in which the corporations would take over the direct running of the economy, which would lead to the erosion of the differences between capital and labour and transcend private industry. His plan was, however, attacked by the industrialists and the Fascist party as ‘Bolshevism’. Noel O’Sullivan, in his book, Fascism, suggests that the corporate state was never more than half-hearted, and had been set up by Mussolini to suggest that his regime was based on more than brute force.

Radical Anti-Capitalism and the Salo Republic

After he was ousted from power, Mussolini established a Fascist rump state, the Italian Social Republic, under German control around Salo in the north of Italy. In his constitution for the new state, il Duce declared that he was going to smash capitalist plutocracy, and make labour the ‘indestructible basis’ of the state. There were to be workers’ councils, profit-sharing, social housing and land reform. He also nationalised some of the larger industries. It’s questionable how serious these anti-capitalist measures were, as the Salo republic and its leader were nothing more than German puppets.

Fascism and the Right to Private Property

After the War, the British Fascist leader, Oswald Mosley, initially supported a pan-European corporate state. However, in his 1968 autobiography, My Life, he rejects the corporate state as too cumbersome. He advocated instead a form of the prices and incomes policy, while promising to protect and support private industry. Trade unions would still be permitted, but would be confined to managing the welfare system.

Despite advocating a strong and economically powerful state, Fascism has generally aimed to protect private industry and property, within certain limits. Article 8 of the Constitution of Fiume, the proto-Fascist state established by the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, guaranteed ‘the enjoyment of property legitimately obtained’, as well as other features of liberal democracies, such as sickness and infirmity benefits, as well as assistance for the involuntarily unemployed. Mosley, in his answer to Question 42: Do you believe in Private Enterprise? in his book Mosley: Right or Wrong? (London: Lion Books 1961) made it very clearly that it had his full support:

Yes, certainly. Private enterprise must always be the main motive of the economy. Most men work for themselves and their families, and want to do so in freedom … All men and women should have freedom to live and work as they like, and to enjoy the fruits of their labour in freedom and peace without interference or robbery by the state or vested interest. We must reduce taxation in order to prevent the present interference and robbery by the state. But we must also have strong government to protect the individual against interference and robbery by vested interest, monopoly, etc. (pp. 58-9).

Fascism as Neither Socialism Nor Capitalism

Although they ally with the Right, Fascist regimes have also presented themselves as being a ‘Third World Alternative’ between Socialism and capitalism, in which private industry is retained but made to act socially in the interests of the state. One Fascist slogan was ‘neither left nor right, but forwards!’ In the 1980s there was a scandal in Germany when it was found that the German Liberal party, the Freie Demokraten, had been infiltrated by Neo-Nazis.

Origins of Fascism in Pre-WW I Conservative Elites

Despite this, historians such as Richard Thurlough in his Fascism in Britain, 1918-86, have seen the origin of Fascism in the radicalisation of agrarian elites against modernity and the threat of a radical working class. British Fascism had its roots in pre-First World War Die-Hard Conservatism, which wished to emulate some of the welfare successes of Bismarck’s Germany as part of an efficiency campaign to strengthen the British Empire, a policy which necessarily also included military expansion.

Thus, while Fascism does indeed contain genuinely revolutionary elements, it is not Socialist and in practice sides with the Right and traditional Conservatives against the Left.

Daniel Hannan and the ‘Left-Wing’ Front National

Daniel Hannan, however, sees the Fascism as a form of Socialism. In his column in today’s Telegraph covering the electoral gains made by Marine le Pen’s Front National, he describes the party as moving in a left-ward direction. He writes

It is important to understand that Marine Le Pen positioned herself to the Left of the UMP and, at least on economics, arguably to the Left of the Socialists. She railed against capitalism and globalisation, called for higher expenditure, and supported state-run energy, healthcare, education, transport and financial services. Where her father used to complain about welfare scroungers, she wants a more generous range of entitlements. Where he used to describe his party as being of the Right, she recently told Le Monde that it was “neither Right nor Left, but founded on the opposition of the current political class, on the defence of the nation, on the rejection of ultra-capitalism and of Europe”.

Front National Programme Fascist Anti-Capitalist, but not Left-Wing

While this approach certainly looks left-wing, and is almost certainly designed to win voters from the Socialists and the Left, it does not mean that the Front National are now a Left-wing party. Le Pen fille is merely stressing the anti-capitalist element of the Fascist tradition. In fact her statement that the Front is neither Right nor Left, but founded on the opposition of the current political class, on the defence of the nation, on the rejection of ultra-capitalism’ could be taken as a general statement of Fascist ideology, with the possible exception of opposition to Europe. And it’s important to note here that she rejects ‘ultra-capitalism’, not capitalism itself.

How serious the Front National actually is about this ostensibly left-wing programme is moot. Mussolini’s original Fascist programme was little different from that of the radical Socialists and Syndicalists, but he soon rejected it in order to gain Conservative support. Hitler also made little effort to implement the Socialist parts of the 1926 Fascist programme for the same tactical and ideological reasons. And the Tricolour Flame of Berlusconi’s former coalition, led by Gianfranco Fini, is a ‘post-Fascist’, centre Right party.

Front National Voters also Rejecting Neoliberalism, Not Just French Political Class

Apart from characterising the Front National as now rather left-wing, Hannan’s view of the victory is also flawed. He sees it as a rejection by the French people of the traditional political class due to the country’s economic problems – three million unemployed, high taxation and crippling strikes. But this doesn’t seem borne out by the Front’s tactics. If they were genuinely seeking to reject Socialism, rather than the Socialist party, then Le Pen would have no need to advance a Socialistic political programme. It instead looks like Le Pen is trying to win working class voters alienated by the political class’ support for the EU and its international, Neoliberal economic and social policies, as well as hostility to immigration. And if the French electorate were rejecting Socialism, then they could simply vote for the UMP, or simply give up voting and turn inwards into apathy and cynicism, as in Britain. The UMP have made some gains, but it looks like many of them are responding to Le Pen’s attack on the EU, its open borders and Neoliberalism.

Hannan is, however, a man of the Tory extreme Right. He’s also an opponent of the EU, but strongly supports Neoliberalism, including loudly calling for the privatisation of the NHS. He thus doesn’t want to admit that the Front’s gains may show a positive rejection of laissez-faire international capitalism, as well as the political class advocating it.