Posts Tagged ‘Wassermann’

Lies and Secrecy in the Tory Privatisation of the NHS

March 16, 2015


Yesterday I put up an extract from Robin Cook’s Fabian Society pamphlet, Life Begins at 40: In Defence of the NHS, refuting health insurance as an acceptable source of funding for the NHS. Cook had been prompted to write the pamphlet in response to a review of the NHS by Maggie Thatcher. He was concerned at the way the review seemed less interested in improving the performance of the NHS as a state institution, than in opening it up to the market. Cook’s fears have been born out in the decades since. The Tories introduced the internal market under John Major. The role of the private sector in the NHS was then taken up and expanded further by Tony Blair. Now, nearly three decades after Cook wrote his pamphlet, the Tories are once again privatising the NHS.

This is being done piecemeal, and is shrouded in secrecy and denials. There are 92 Tory and Lib Dem MPs who stand to gain financially and commercially through their business contacts with private healthcare firms. Andrew Lansley himself has advocated the dismantlement of the NHS and its replacement with a private, insurance based healthcare system. So has Nick Clegg in the Lib Dems. Yet when one Tory official candidly stated that ‘in five years the NHS as we know it will not exist’, Tory Central Office immediately started issuing denials and spurious clarifications. The original statement made it clear that they expected the NHS to be sold off, and what remained of its bureaucracy would merely be concerned with processing the private insurance claims.

Not so, according to the ‘clarification’ issued by the Tory apparatchiks. What he meant, they claimed, was that the Tories would cut simply cut bureaucracy and improve efficiency. He never said anything about privatisation. ‘Onest, Guv.

It’s a lie. And the Tories have a long record on lying. To go back to the beginning of Cameron’s government, the plastic-faced android Toff promised that NHS spending would be ring-fenced and protected from cuts. This has most definitely not been carried out, and indeed the Tories have tried to purge the records of that promise ever having been made from their own internet site.

This is just part of the Tories’ long term strategy of secrecy and denial when it came to NHS privatisation. Thatcher also claimed that she would not privatise the NHS. Even so, documents released a year or so ago under the 30 year rule show that the review she commissioned argued for its privatisation. One of the authors of the report was Wassermann, who is now one of Cameron’s assistants on health policy.

Cook in his pamphlet also remarks on the secrecy surrounding the compilation of the review, and the way Labour researchers were denied information on it. Cook wrote:

This is not Review by independent inquiry but Review by Cabinet sub-committee. Entertainingly in the first week after the Review was appointed the Table Office of the House of Commons declined to accept parliamentary questions about it, as internal Government committees officially do not exist.

Not that we have learnt much more since questions have been accepted. Ministers have refused to publish any of the evidence submitted to the Review as some of it may have been confidential. They have refused to name the organisations who submitted evidence on the imaginative grounds that “it would be impracticable to try to distinguish between those communications which see themselves as specifically ‘submitting evidence’ and those which do not, but which may, nevertheless, be relevant to the continuing review process”.

Even our attempts to obtain the official remit of the Review have been baffled by the formula that the Review is “wide-ranging and fundamental”.

Tory policy on the privatisation of the NHS has not changed in the decades since then. It is still one of secret privatisation masked by public denial.

Tory Secrecy and Lies about Workfare

The privatisation of the NHS is not the only area of Tory policy, about which the government remains secret in order to prevent any criticism. Johnny Void has repeatedly blogged about how the identity of the firms involved in the Tories’ workfare scheme have also not been released. In this case the Tories have admitted that they are afraid that the scheme is unpopular, and fear that if the names of the participating companies were made known, they would be placed under massive pressure to withdraw. As a result, the scheme would be unworkable.

Lies and Secrecy about Sanctions Deaths

And Mike over at Vox Political and other bloggers about disabled issues have also met with refusals for their inquiries into the numbers, who have died after being assessed as fit and well under the Work Capability Assessment. Mike has estimated the number to be about 55,000 a year. Yet we cannot know the real figures, because the government says they are collating them for release later as part of government policy. They’ve been doing this for two or three years now. And if you try to ask for this information, you will see your request turned down as ‘frivolous’.

Secrecy about Honours Candidates

And yesterday it was reported that the Tories weren’t going to announce their honours list until after the election, because there were fears that too many of the MPs named would have been caught up in corruption scandals, like Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind.

So much for Cameron’s vow that this would be the most open and transparent government.

The Tories are privatising the NHS, and literally killing people with the sanctions system. This is being covered-up through lies and denials. Just as the party has always lied and covered up the truth.

Fuhrage Speaks with Forked Tongue on the NHS. Again.

March 15, 2015

Farage was talking about the NHS and UKIP’s plans for it again in the Torygraph yesterday. He claimed that medical incompetence by NHS doctors nearly killed him. He was saved, again by the NHS, but left with the body of a 70 year old. He then outlined his plans to reform it. Mike has posted this article about it, NHS: has UKIP U-turned yet again? It begins

“UKIP believes in our NHS. That is why we have a credible plan to help it back on its feet.”

Don’t laugh – that is what UKIP’s website actually says about that party’s plans for the National Health Service. Current UKIP policy is that it supports the NHS, even though Nigel Farage has said it’s “a debate we’re going to have to return to”.

Previously he had admitted – on camera – that he would replace the NHS with a US-style health system.

Mike points out that he seems to be telling people that he will preserve the NHS while recommending that everyone who can should get private health insurance, despite the fact that very many people can’t afford it.

Mike’s article can be read at

This was essentially the Tories stance under Maggie Thatcher. She claimed repeatedly that she did not want to privatise it, all the while encouraging everyone to take out private health insurance. She also wanted to enable people to opt out of it. Those who did, would see their tax bill cut as they would become exempt from NHS contributions. She also set up a study, partly authored by Wassermann, now an advisor to David Cameron, about privatising the NHS. This was suppressed, but as recent Tory policy shows, it is still at the heart of Tory policy.

The NHS is being privatised piecemeal. There are 92 Tory and Lib Dem MPs, who support its privatisation and stand to gain commercially from it as directors and senior employees in private healthcare companies. These include Iain Duncan Smith. Nick Clegg is no better. The Lib Dem Orange Book, the key ideological text for the Neo-Liberal wing of the Lib Dems, has a chapter advocating the privatisation of the NHS.

And the Kippers have also repeatedly demanded and advocated the privatisation of the NHS. The Fuhrage has said he wants it replaced by a US-style insurance system, as Mike has pointed out. His deputy, Paul Nuttall, has said that the NHS ought to be privatised. So have many others.

But the Fuhrage also has enough political nous to realise that saying this outright will cost him the support of the ordinary, working and lower-middle class voters his party needs to win any kind of major electoral support. So fudges the issue by appearing to say two different things. Yes, he’s in favour of it. He wants to cut the bureaucracy introduced by Thatcher and the Tories as part of their plan to create an internal market.

But he also wants to replace it with an insurance system, and advises people to get private health insurance.

This policy, of apparently advocating retaining the NHS while planning for its abolition, has been stated most blatantly by the Traditional Britain Group. This is an extreme Right-wing think tank, which a few years ago attended fringe meetings at the Kipper party conference. They are venomously anti-working class, racist and Islamophobic. They openly demand the complete abolition of the welfare state. They also want to privatise the NHS, but have also said that this is impossible in the short-term because it is so massively popular. Thus they intend to retain it, but only for as long as it is political expedient.

And Nigel seems to have learned his lesson from them. He and his party have absolutely no plans or desire to retain the NHS. But they want you to think so for as long as they can get you to vote for them.

As for medical negligence and the comparative merits of private healthcare, the amount of iatrogenic disease (iatrogenic-caused by doctors) in America is horrendous. Part of the problem is that doctors are paid more if they operate. And so there are many cases of people undergoing unnecessary operations, simply because the surgeons get more cash.

And this is the system Nigel wants to introduce to the UK, and is trying to deceive you into believing is more reliable than the NHS and its medical staff.

Don’t be taken in.