Posts Tagged ‘Health Care’

Hitler, Mussolini, Trump and Rhetorical and Political Inconsistency

March 9, 2016

A number of media commenters have pointed out the inconsistencies and contradiction in Donald Trump’s speeches as he tries to drum up support for his presidential campaign. Kyle Kulinski over at Secular Talk, for example, has pointed out how Trump has argued for separate, and opposite positions on the Middle East, healthcare and the economy. For example, on the Middle East he has at one moment declared that America should go in much harder to carpet bomb whole cities, and torture and kill not just terrorists, but also their families. At other moments, sometimes just after he has argued passionately for the preceding policy, he has completely reversed his position. Instead of renewing America’s campaign in the Middle East, he has argued instead that America should not get involved, and instead leave Vladimir Putin to sort out ISIS.

His position on healthcare is similarly muddled. At one point he appeared to be arguing for something like the socialised medical service advocated by the Democrat, Bernie Sanders. He has then immediately reversed his position, and stated instead that he intends to repeal Obamacare, and increase competition and free enterprise. He has since been forced to clarify his position, and has since released a detailed description of his policy. This makes it clear that his policy is based very much on increasing competition, and allowing the insurance companies to deny or increase charges for people with severe and difficult to treat forms of illness. And by the way – this is exactly one of the reasons why supporters of the NHS in England actively oppose the introduction of insurance based health care. It actively denies care to those most in need, the chronically sick.

Trump’s stance on industry and the economy is also unclear. He has said at various points that if he got into power, he would prevent corporations leaving America to keep jobs in the country. At other moments, he’s stated that he intends to keep wages low. The two positions aren’t quite contradictory. Corporations are moving abroad to take advantage of the cheap labour available in the Developing World. So keeping wages low would encourage some companies to stay in America. This would, however, keep blue-collar workers in the in-work poverty into which they’ve been plunged by the Neo-Lib policies of successive administrations.

Hitler’s own policies, as stated in his speeches, were also a mixture of contradictory attitudes and positions. He at once appeared to be anti-capitalist and the defender of capitalism, and tailored his rhetoric to suit the differing audiences in the places where he was speaking. In rural areas with a strong tradition of anti-Semitism, he’d concentrate on stirring up hatred and resentment against the Jews. In industrial areas with a strong background of working class politics, either Socialist or Communist, he’d instead focus on the ‘Socialist’, anti-capitalist elements of the Nazi programme. And in 1929, speaking to a meeting of leading German businessmen, he claimed to be the defender to German private industry against the forces of Marxist Socialism.

Mussolini too changed his position frequently. Denis Mack Smith, in his biography of the Duce, Mussolini (London: Paladin 1983) describes how Mussolini’s frequent changes of position, and adoption of extreme views, came from his attempts to drum up excitement and interest amongst his audience. On page 39 he writes

Mussolini’s journalistic style prompted him to take an extreme position whenever possible. Extremism was always dramatic and eye-catching. He was far more concerned with tactics than with ideas, and his violent changeability was bound to seem confused it measured by strict logic; but he had discovered that readers liked extreme views and rarely bothered much about inconsistency. If he appeared successively as the champion of the League [of nations] and then nationalist, as socialist and then conservative, as monarchist and then republican, this was less out of muddle-headedness than out of a search for striking headlines and a wish to become all things to all men.

And on page 40 he notes that Mussolini

called himself a man for all seasons, ‘an adventurer for all roads’. As he said, ‘I put my finger on the pulse of the masses and suddenly discovered in the general mood of disorientation that a public opinion was waiting for me, and I just had to make it recognise me through me newspaper.

This sounds very much like Trump. And like Mussolini, Trump is also fiercely nationalistic and xenophobic, attacking Mexicans and Muslims, and encouraging the violent expulsion of protestors from his rallies. Trump probably wouldn’t be a ruthless butcher like Hitler or Musso, but he would turn America into a much less free, much more authoritarian and brutal place.

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Private Eye from 2009 on Corporate Lobbying at the Tory Party Conference

March 8, 2016

Private Eye printed this piece about the corporate sponsorship of the Tory conference that year in their issue for the 4th – 17th September 2009.

Conference Countdown

David Cameron has warned lobbyists to keep their distance at the Conservatives’ forthcoming party conference in Manchester. With the keys to No. 10 within his grasp, the last thing Dave needs is another cash-for-access scandal. But corporations that want to get close to the PM-in-waiting can always go the think-tank route.

Policy Exchange is the most Cameroonian of these bodies, and its preliminary conference timetable shows how easy it is for business interests to pay for face time with shadow ministers.

Shadow energy minister Charles Hendry will be speaking about “energy security and decarbonisation” courtesy of Oil & Gas UK, the trade body for the North Sea oil firms, alongside the group’s chief executive. As the meeting is being paid for by the oil lobby, energy security will most likely trump global warming, and wind and wave power, like energy saving, will not get much of a look-in.

Shadow health minister Stephen O’Brien will be discussing whether funding for long-term care should be by “individual, state or partnership”. The answer may well be by “partnership” because the meeting is being paid for by Partnership Assurance which specialises in funding elderly care through equity release and insurance schemes and so has a direct interest in less government funding for elderly care.

Fellow shadow health minister Mark Simmonds meanwhile will discuss whether “We need more public health initiatives for the worried well?” The obvious answer would be ‘No we don’t”, but as the meeting is sponsored by Alliance Boots, which would love to be involved in government health initiatives to drum up more business, the answer may well be in the affirmative.

Shadow business minister Mark Prisk is addressing a meeting called “Britain won’t be great if we don’t make anything anymore”, paid for by the arms firm BAE Systems. He will speak alongside BAE’s spin doctor, Bob Keen. BAE’s contribution to Britain’s greatness includes taking huge amounts of the defence budget for military kit marred by cost overruns and late delivery – overpriced and late schemes like the Astute Class Submarine (£1bn over cost, four years late) about which the Tories have been making a fuss.

The British Airports Authority, so close to the current government, is taking no chances with a new administration and so is sponsoring a meeting on “infrastructure” with George Freeman, Cameron’s “A List” candidate for the safe Tory Mid Norfolk seat. BAA’s spin doctor, former spokesman for Tony Blair Tom Kelly, will also address Tory delegates at the meeting.

Shadow culture minister Ed Vaizey meanwhile will be talking about “the future of television ” on a platform funded by BT Vision, alongside the TV-on-the-internet firm’s chief executive. BT Vision of course currently lobbying the government to merge with Channel 4. So no hidden agenda there.

This shows how duplicitous Cameron has always been in trying to deny the corporatist agenda behind the Tory party. He wanted to hide the influence of the lobbyists at this party conference, just as his lobbying bill is supposed to make government more transparent by limiting them at Westminster. In fact, it’s aimed at charity and other political pressure groups and denying them access, and leave the corporate big boys untouched.

And it also shows the very deep connections between his Tories and the corporations seeking to profit from privatisation and government outsourcing.

The Young Turks Examine Trump’s Alternative to Obamacare; and How It’ll Hurt the Poor

March 7, 2016

Donald Trump has been loudly proclaiming throughout his campaign that he’ll repeal Obamacare and replace it with his new, improved system. In this clip The Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur, John Iadarola and Jimmy Dore go through his proposals to show how some of his ideas, which superficially sound good, will leave for the poor and long-term sick much worse off.

First off, Trump intends to repeal the mandate obliging the insurance companies to provide insurance for everyone. They note that this is a policy that not even the other Republicans wanted to be seen endorsing. Indeed, they were all for the mandate when it was a Republican policy. As soon as it was adopted by Obama, a Democrat, they turned against it. And Trump was just as fickle. They argue that he never in fact knew what the mandate was when he telling everyone that he supported it. When he found out that the other Republicans were against it, then he joined them and attacked it as well.

Trump’s proposed reforms would also remove the obligation of the insurance underwriters to charge the same for those with expensive or long-term illnesses. It would allow them to charge more for those with pre-existing illnesses.

They make the point that Trump was telling everyone that under his healthcare plans, no-one would be left to die in the street. But this is what his policies would lead to. They also point out that he doesn’t spell out what the consequences of this policies would be on his website, but it’s clear from reading the conditions he lays out for his health care plan that these are what would result. They also point out that Trump could say more or less anything, no matter how nonsensical or contradictory, provided he shouted it and used an insult. The only person, who actually bothered to tackle him about this in any detail was Marco Rubio, and then Trump folded, as he didn’t have an answer. Of course none of the Republicans have any idea what they’d replace Obamacare with. The only person who does is Bernie Sanders, who wants a system like the socialised medical services in Europe.

Trump also promises that he’ll make the cost of medical care tax-deductible. This looks good, but it’s another way of giving money to the rich and depriving the poor and middle class. It’s largely only the rich that itemise their taxes, which is one of the requirements of this part of Trump’s health care plans. Also, the poor and the middle class don’t actually make enough money to be able to pay enough in tax for deductions for the costs of medical care to be possible. It’s why Obamacare actually has tax credits for the poor and middle class. So this is another way in which the poor will lose out in favour of the rich if Trump gets in.

And finally there’s Trump’s plans to let people in one state be able to buy insurance in another. The Turks here point out that instead of promoting competition, what’ll happen is that all the insurance companies will move to the state with the lowest taxes and least regulations, like Delaware. The result will actually be less competition between firms, and less legal protection for insurance policy holders.

So Trumpcare will result in more people being uninsured and uninsurable. It won’t stop people dying in the street from lack of medical care. But on the other hand, it will benefit the rich while fooling the poor into thinking he’s doing something for them. Just like Conservatives and Republicans have done down the years.

Secular Talk on Alex Jones’ ‘Libs Are Demonic Villains Who Want Blood’

March 4, 2016

This is yet another piece from Secular Talk, and I’m reblogging it because it answers some of the accusations the American far right throw at anything even vaguely liberal or left-wing, as well as showing just how peculiar their opposition to Obamacare is.

Kyle Kulinski is here commenting and taking apart an interview on Alex Jones’ Infowars programme with a right-wing documentary film maker, Joel Gilbert, who has produced a movie, No Such Thing as Utopia, attacking the left and its economic and social doctrines. Jones and his guest accuse liberal policies of devastating the economy and deliberately attacking the family, leaving millions of families without fathers. Deprived of paternal guidance, the boys from these broken homes turn to crime. It was liberal policies, of course, that has left Detroit the wrecked, dying city it now is. They claim that liberals are all secret Marxists intent on a entering and corrupting mainstream political parties, like the Democrats. And then Alex Jones goes off on a mocking sneer about how liberals are like ‘gangster-type felons’, extremely bloodthirsty wanting to inflict a genocide, but in public affect a simpering attitude of ‘But I’m so Liberal!’

As for Obama, they claim that his intentions were ‘never good’, and that he only intended to cut the deficit in half.

It’s rubbish, of course. Kulinski challenges them to name one Marxist policy the Democrats have. There isn’t one. They are, in his view, centrist corporatists. As for the devastation of Detroit, that’s often been claimed by the right to be due to ‘socialist’ policies and the trade unions. The simple fact is that it was wrecked by NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. The corrupt, corporatist system destroyed middle class, factory jobs that kept people employed. This meant that all the jobs were exported abroad. It wouldn’t have matter, who the people of Detroit would have voted for – Democrat, Republican, Fascist, Centrist, Communist. And the economy’s going to remain like that until another industry comes into to revive Detroit.

He also tears into the Republican accusation that Obamacare is a Marxist policy. In no way is it. This may surprise you – it certainly did me – but it was first suggested by – wait for it! – Richard Nixon. It was also supported by Bob Dole. Newt Gingrich supported it during the Clinton administration. Even the far right, all-American Heritage Foundation made notes on it.

Obama himself has honoured his promise to halve the deficit. Bush left the country with a staggering debt of $1.4 trillion. Under Obama, it’s gone down to $480 – $460 billion. As for Obama’s supposedly evil intentions, Kulinski states that it’s ridiculous, but the stance is also shared by people on the left. Everyone rationalises that what they’re doing is good for the country.George Bush, with whose policies Kulinski radically disagrees, thought he was doing his best for the country. Even Joseph Stalin rationalised his monstrous crimes against the Soviet people and the countries he conquered in this way.

And if you want to point to Detroit as an example of what liberalism does, how about Mississippi as an example of the effects of Conservatism. It is the poorest, most obese state in America, with the lowest levels of education and the highest rates of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. He also adduces the Scandinavian countries – Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. They have the best middle classes in the world, best standards of health care, best social safety nets and they’re people all self-report that they are the happiest. And they’re incredibly liberal.

The Young Turks: Alex Jones Goes into ‘Jiggle Rage’ at Raw Story

March 1, 2016

I thought I’d post this up as another piece of light relief. Yes, it’s another article about yet another rant by Alex Jone, the main man behind the conspiracy website Infowars. Jones had Tucker Carlson from Fox News on his show, talking about how the Democrats were now the ‘KKK with minorities’. The liberal news organisation, Raw Story, covered their discussion, mentioning that Jones’ show was ‘internet only’. Jones took this as a slight on his mighty show, and the following foam-flecked rant is the result.

The Turks’ Cenk Uygur, presenting this piece, points out that saying that his show is only on the internet isn’t a slight, as the internet is triumphing everywhere over old broadcasting -radio and television. Nevertheless, Jones starts ranting about how he was on AM/FM radio back in the 1990s, how his viewing figures now are so huge ‘they can’t be aggregated’, the various cities broadcasting his show. he then shouts about how Raw Story are absolutely right, and nobody’s listening to him, he doesn’t exist, he doesn’t produce massively downloaded films and DVDs, including the ‘No.1 downloaded film, Loose Change,‘, which have been seen tens of millions and hundreds of millions of times; that climate change is all true, but you can save yourself by paying Al Gore and then further rants against carbon taxes, gun control, and Obamacare. He also claims that Raw Story is funded by George Soros. Uygur points out that Raw Story are a genuinely left-wing news organisation, and that they, and the Young Turks, certainly are not funded by Soros and his organisations, despite the claims that they are.

Secular Talk on Marco Rubio’s Claim that the Republicans ‘Are Not the Party of the Rich’

February 21, 2016

It seems that Marco Rubio, one of the Republican presidential candidates, has taken a leaf out of the Conservatives’ book from over here in Blighty. He gave a speech claiming that the idea that the Republicans were the party of the rich, and the Democrats were the party of the middle class and workers was ‘the biggest lie’. This is pretty much the line the Tories are peddling over this side of the Atlantic. Cameron has been loudly yelling that the Conservatives are now the true party of aspiring working people. So in the interests of attacking Conservatives on both sides of the Pond, here’s what Secular Talk’s Kyle Kulinski says about Rubio’s claim.

He points out that their claim to be the party of the poor is based on their campaign for tax cuts. The idea is that once people start earning, they’ll keep more of what they earn through the cuts in taxes the Republicans have given them. Except when the Republicans talk about tax cuts, they don’t mean for the poor. Kulinski points out that Obama cut taxes for 90 per cent of Americans and raised taxes on the rich. By contrast, McCain cut taxes, but only for the rich.

He also points out that the idea that a flat rate tax is a fair tax is also a myth, as in effect it actually raises taxes for the poor. Once you do the numbers, it’s always a regressive tax, according to economists. For example, if the Republicans say that they’re going to replace taxes with a flat rate of 15% for everyone, it sounds fair. However, in practice it’s a rise in taxes for everyone with an income under $50,000. It’s another tax cut to the rich.

Furthermore, the Democrats are more likely to spend money on safety net programmes, which benefit the poor and middle class, like Medicare, Medicaid, social security and so on. The Republicans, by contrast, don’t really want to spend money on any of that, except when it’s bailing out their corporate donors. Then the Republican attitude that capitalism is virtuous because it punishes the bad and rewards the good goes out the window. The banks wrecked themselves and trashed the economy, and the Republicans couldn’t rush in fast enough to give them money, because they paid for their campaigns.

This is all true, and applies pretty much to the Tories and Labour over here. The Tories are all about cutting welfare spending. These are welfare programmes that actually help the poor, and the working and middle classes. Not the rich. Under the Tories, the tax burden for the poor has actually risen as tax cuts have benefited the rich. And the Tories over here also like to talk about flat rate taxes. Remember when they were loudly hailing the ‘Community Charge’ – Maggie’s poll tax as ‘democratic’, because everyone paid the same? It was a flat rate, and so in effect raised taxes for working people. Some of the Tories were naturally enthusiastic about it, because it meant they paid the same tax for their mansions as ordinary people in their semi-detached and terraced homes.

And as for the ‘aspiration’ the Tories are making much of, social mobility has stopped. It was pretty much stagnant under Bliar and New Labour, and Clinton in America. It’s completely stopped now. All due to Neoliberal economic policies.

So Rubio, the Republicans and Cameron’s Conservatives are all wrong. They are the party of the rich, and the Democrats and Labour are the party of the poor and middle class. Don’t be taken in by the propaganda that it’s otherwise.

Book Review: From Beveridge to Blair – The First Fifty Years of Britain’s Welfare State, 1948-98

July 15, 2013

Beveridge Blair Book

By Margaret Jones and Rodney Lowe (Manchester: Manchester University Press 2002)

This is a documentary history of the first fifty years of the British welfare state written by two history lecturers at Bristol University. The book is part of a series of collected documents on aspects of contemporary history, aimed at sixth-formers and university undergraduates. The book’s blurb states

‘The creation of Britain’s welfare state in 1948 was an event of major international importance and is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of Attlee’s Labour government. On its fiftieth anniversary, for example, New Labour proclaimed ‘at its birth, the vision was broad … We need to capture that original Vision.

Yet the term ‘welfare state’ is now used, even by New Labour, with extreme hesitation. Moreover, although the public services it represents (such as the NHS and education remain at the heart of British politics, the election of Mrs Thatcher in 1979 reopened a fundamental battle over whether these services are best provided by government or the market.’

The blurb states that the book is intended ‘to inform and stimulate debate by providing a concise introduction to the evolution of both the structure of the welfare state and the attitudes towards it.’ It has an introduction, and then chapters on the political debate, social security, health care, education, housing and personal social services. There is also a chronology of events giving the year, the government of the time, and the events in the above departments of the welfare state.

The Introduction

This begins by noting New Labour’s ambivalence towards the welfare state, shown in the muted nature of the celebrations of its fiftieth anniversary in 1998. It then has the following sections: Defining the Welfare State; the Core Policies; the Exception of Employment Policy; and the Evolution of the Welfare State.

The Political Debate

This chapter is divided up into sections, each containing documents relating to that subject or area. The first is on Democratic Socialism, and has pieces on Marshall and the Evolution of Social Equality; Titmuss and the Virtues of Collective Action; The ideological Divide between Labour and the Conservatives, written by Anthony Crosland. The next section, Reluctant Collectivism, has extracts on One Nationism’ the Market and Community Case for State Welfare. Following this is the section on the New Right, with an extract from Hayek’s Roads to serfdom; the Institute of Economic Affairs and Choice in Welfare; Sir Keith Joseph and the Origins of ‘Thatcherism’; Charles Murray on the Emerging Underclass. The next section is on New Labour, and contains extracts from the 1994 Commission on Social Justice; There is a section on Incorporating Feminist Perspectives; after this is the sections on Frank Field and ‘Stakeholder’ Welfare, setting out his ‘Key Political Assumptions’; and Anthony Giddens and the Third Way.

Social Security

The chapter opens with the a brief description the types of benefits available and debates surrounding its nature and the principles by which it should be governed. It then has the following sections:
The Expansion of Social Security, with extracts on the Beveridge Vision, with its Three Guiding Principles of Recommendations, the Six Principles of Social Insurance, Flat Rate of Subsistence Benefit, Flat Rate Contributions, Unification of Administrative Responsibility, Adequacy of Benefit, Comprehensiveness and Classification. The next section is on Bevan’s abolition of the Victorian Poor Law, the Times’ summary of the Atlee’s welfare state, the introduction of earnings-related benefits, and Equality and Pensions. The section after this is on ‘Modernising’ Social Security, with sections on Thatcherite Principles, Breaking the Benefit-Earnings Link; the 1985 Social Security Review, the 1986 Reforms, Re-thinking Labour Policy, the 1998 New Deal and the Working Families Tax Credit. The next section is on the Controversy between Universalism and Selectivity, with sections on Choice in Welfare, Defending Universalism, Targeting and the 1976 introduction of child benefit. After this is the section on the Poor, with extracts on the Reality of Poverty in the 1950s, the ‘Rediscovery’ of Poverty in the 1960s, Low-Income Families in the 1970s, and Living on Social Security. The last section of this chapter is on Poverty and Social Exclusion, drawing on the 1999 census.

Health Care

The chapter on Health care also had an introduction to the issues involved, and then sections on the Vision, with an extract on Wartime Plans; the Allocation of Scarce Resource, with extracts on Bevan on Finance, The Guillebaud ‘Economy’ Report, 1956, and Enoch Powell and the Fundamental Dilemma; Restructuring the NHS, with extracts on the 1974 reorganisation, the Managerial Revolution, the 1988 Thatcher Review, the Introduction of Internal Markets, New Labour and the NHS; Controversies, with sections on Bevan’s Resignation, Pay Beds, and Privatisation and the 1988 Review; Health Outcomes, with extracts from the 1980 Black Report, and Health Inequalities.

Education

This chapter has sections on The Vision, comprising extracts on the Wartime Ideals, Scientific Manpower, Conservative Ambitions, Higher Education, Nursery Education, Special Needs and Multicultural Education; Controversy: Comprehensive Education, with extracts The Case for the Defence, from Robin Pedley’s argument for it, the Conservatives attempt to reinstate choice in 1970, Labour’s insistence on reinforcing compulsion in 1974, and the Thatcherite Response; Controversy: the National Curriculum. This begins with a discussion of William Tyndale School, which became a national scandal. The teachers there were extreme advocates of ‘child-centred learning’, who didn’t really want to teach. Private Eye’s Ian Hislop included the scandal about the school in his history of education broadcast one Christmas a few years ago. One pupil at the school said violence from other pupils was so bad you daren’t go there without being ‘tooled up’. One teacher taking a reading group simply wrote on the blackboard, ‘I hate reading groups and sent the children out to play’. When confronted with the fact that most of the pupils at the school couldn’t read, the teacher’s replied that neither could people in the Middle Ages, ‘yet they built cathedrals’. The result was an outcry that resulted in the teachers involved rightly losing their jobs, and a campaign to introduce a national curriculum. Other extracts in this section include James Callaghan’s speech launching a great debate on the National Curriculum in October 1976, Shirley Williams as a representative of Old Labour on a ‘Core’ Curriculum, Margaret Thatcher’s Response and Attacks on the National Curriculum. the last section is on the consensus on education in the 1990s, composed of two extracts, the first on the Thatcherite Revolution, and the second on Labour’s continuation of the same policies.

Housing

The chapter on Housing has sections on the campaign to end the housing shortage from 1945 to 1955, consisting of further sections on wartime plans, Bevan’s position, the Conservative Vision and Macmillan’s Achievement; the Restoration of the Market, with sections on the 1957 Rent Act, the 1959 Labour Manifesto attack on the Conservative’s record, the Milner Holland Report into the operation of 1957 Act, and scandals such as that of the brutal slumlord, Peter Rachman, the 1965 Fair Rent Act, the shift from building new houses to the renovation of older properties, the 1972 Housing Finance Act,and Anthony Crosland’s attack on the 1972 Act. The next section, Eroding Public Provision, 1979-1998, has sections on the sale of council houses, the fiasco of the 1984 simplified housing benefit, which bore out Crosland’s previous criticisms of the 1972 Housing Finance act, the 1988 Housing Act, New Labour’s adoption of the same principles, and the implementation of the divide between provider and purchaser. The next section is on Causes Celebres, with sections on the outrage over Peter Rachman’s brutal treatment of his tenants in the East End; the explosion in the Ronan Point block of flats, which ended the construction of tower blocks, the foundation of the homeless charity, Shelter; the controversy over Clay Cross, in which the local council refused to raise rents resulting in a bitter political campaign that resulted to the radicalisation of the welfare state and the Winter of Discontent; and the New Labour Social Exclusion Unit’s Report on homelessness.

Personal Social Services (In other words, those requiring a Social Worker, Probation Officer or similar Care Worker)

This chapter on The Personal Social Services contains sections on the Statutory Sector, with extracts from the 1965 Seebohm Report, the 1986 Audit Office Report on the failure of the policy of ‘Care in the Community’, and the Thatcherite Solution. This is interesting, because it was delayed due to its recommendation that local authorities should work to clear objectives with proper government funding. The best care was to be provided for those in need regardless of the whether the organisation providing it were state, voluntary or private. The Tories did not naturally like this, as it appeared to enlarge the role of the government, not reduce it. The next extract in this section was New Labour’s Solution. The section on the Volutary Sector begins with Lord Longford’s defence of voluntarism, extracts from the Seebohm and 1978 Wolfenden Reports and the Conservatives’ re-prioritisation of voluntary provision in 1981. The next section, Children in Need, has a extracts from Lady Allen’s letter, highlighting the terrible conditions endured by children in care homes; the death of Dennis O’Neill, a 13 year old boy, who died of maltreatment at the hands of his foster parents; the 1948 Children Act, the 1960 Ingleby Report; the death of a seven year old girl, Maria Colwell, while supposedly under the protection of social workers; the 1989 Children Act, New Labour and the Crisis of Child Care, the 1997 Utting Report on the systematic abuse of children in care homes, and testimony by the children themselves on the failure of legislation to protect them.

The book is a fascinating overview of the first fifty years of the welfare state, as recounted and described by the people and events that set it up and shaped it. It shows the transition from the state provision of welfare services established at the Welfare State’s inception after the War to increasing private and voluntary provision of services, as well as reports on the failure of these policies. Critical to the process of privatisation has been the ideas of Von Hayek, introduced into Britain by Americans such as Charles Marshall, and into the Conservative party by Sir Keith Joseph and his protégé, Margaret Thatcher.