Posts Tagged ‘Worcester’

David Rosenberg on Tory Support for the British Union of Fascists

October 9, 2018

Last week, David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group put up an article describing the events culminating in the ‘Battle of Cable Street’. This was an attempt by Oswald Mosley and his thugs in the British Union of Fascists to terrorise the local Jewish population by marching through the East End of London. He didn’t get very far.

Rosenberg’s article describes how Mosley and the rest of his thugs were beaten off, despite a police presence to guard them, by an anti-fascist coalition of Jews, including the Jewish People’s Council Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism, Irish Catholics, trade unionists, the Communists and Independent Labour Party, as well as the Labour League of Youth. This was despite advice from the Board of Deputies and Jewish Chronicle that Jews should remain indoors and not attempt to resist the Blackshirts marching through their neighbourhood. The confrontation between Mosley and his thugs, and their defeat by working class, radical Jews and gentiles, has become the stuff of legend. I’ve heard folksongs about it. It’s naturally celebrated as the time working class Brits very definitely showed ‘No Pasaran!’ to Fascism.

The article’s also worth reading for what Rosenberg says about the support for Mosley in the Tory party and the House of Lords. I think it was Rosenberg, who was so shocked by the current president of the Board, Marie van der Zyle, who declared that the Tories were ‘good friends of the Jews’, that he put up a list of notorious episodes of anti-Semitism in the party. Of their support for Mosley and the BUF, he writes

Two major parliamentary debates on antisemitic terror in the East End took place in 1936. MPs detailed the wave of attacks on their Jewish constituents, but the only response Home Secretary John Simon could muster was to call for “all sides” to behave reasonably. Pathetic, though perhaps better than the sniggering of Tory backbenchers in the House in 1934 after violence erupted at a 15,000-strong fascist rally at Olympia in June that year.

The rally audience included 150 MPs looking for political inspiration, while
House of Lords members turned up in black shirts. The violence at Olympia was one way. Eighty anti-fascists needed medical treatment, yet Tory MPs parroted the BUF line that anti-fascists had attacked Mosley’s thugs. William Greene, Conservative MP for Worcester asked in the House: “Is it not a fact that 90 per cent of those accused of attacking Fascists rejoice in fine old British names such as Ziff, Kerstein and Minsky?” Frederick MacQuisten, Conservative MP for Argyll enquired: “Were some of them called Feigenbaum, Goldstein and Rigotsky and other good old Highland names?” A fellow Tory MP, Captain Archibald Ramsey frequently railed against what he called the “Jewish
imperium in Imperio (empire within an empire),” claiming that the correct term for “antisemite” was “Jew-wise”.

There’s also a photo of Captain Archibald Maule Ramsay in dress uniform. He was one of the most venomous and splenetic of British Fascists in this period. I think he was the head of one of the various pro-Nazi, British anti-Semitic organisations.

Rosenberg’s article concludes

As recent political interventions have shown the “advice” offered to the Jewish community from its self-defined “leaders” has not improved in the decades since. The current Board of Deputies president, Marie Van der Zyl displayed either political ignorance or amnesia when she told an Israeli news channel recently that the Conservative Party have “always been friends of the Jewish community”. Meanwhile, anti-fascists must face up to the renewed threat to minorities, not just here, but elsewhere in Europe and America. We still have much to learn from those who united in resistance and built an anti-fascist majority in their communities in 1936.

https://rebellion602.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/he-didnt-get-to-first-base/

He’s absolutely right. On this side of the Pond the past few weeks have seen UKIP’s party conference, which under Gerard Batten has become much more openly racist, and which as speakers Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars, Carl Benjamin, AKA Sargon of Akkad and ‘Count Dankula’, all of whom have extreme right-wing, anti-feminist and Islamophobic views and are fiercely opposed to immigration. The EDL are back on the rise and over the other side of the Atlantic Donald Trump has very strong connections to the Alt-Right and real anti-Semites. In Europe, ultra-nationalist, racist and anti-Semitic parties have taken power in Hungary and Poland. And the Tories, who have now allied themselves with Far Right parties like the Sweden Democrats and True Finns, aided the Hungarian president, Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party last week by voting against an EU motion censuring them.

We do need a revived antifascist movement, both here in Britain and abroad, to combat this. And this means a revived local, working class activism. Margaret Hodge, the Blairite MP for that part of the Metropolis allowed the BNP to take control of Tower Hamlets council because she did precious little to oppose them. As a token of their appreciation, they sent her a bouquet of flowers when seven of them got elected to the council. As the Jewish bloggers have pointed out, it was when activists from the left of the Labour party and other radical groups started traipsing round the borough knocking on doors and alerting local people to what the BNP really represented, that the Nazis were finally voted out.

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Private Eye in 2006 on the Closure of Health Services due to Privatisation in Redditch

September 23, 2013

Mike in the last post I’ve reblogged from his site has commented that the real problem behind Labour’s welfare policy is Unum. It is this criminal US insurance company that is sponsoring Anne Maguire’s invitation-only conference on welfare policy. The company has already sponsored similar events by Labour’s rivals, the Libdems and Conservatives. The fact that the Labour party is offering a platform to them indicates that its welfare policies differ little from those of the Coalition, despite its promises to sack Atos.

The privatisation of the NHS began under the Conservatives, but was continued and expanded under New Labour as part of Blair’s ‘Third Way’. In their issue for the 9th to 22nd June 2006, Private Eye reported how the costs of the Private Finance Initiative was forcing the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch to consider closing its maternity, paediatric and gynaecology units. Furthermore, there was evidence to suggest that the Primary Care Trust was referring orthopaedic patients not to the Alexandra Hospital, but to a private hospital in Kidderminster. The article runs

‘how NHS Privatisation Works

Double Whammy

Question: Why can’t the Alexandra hospital in Redditch do aaything to prevent the threatened closure of its maternity, paediatric and gynaecology units?

Answer: Because it is caught between a rock and a hard place in New Labour’s privatisation of the NHS and is powerless to act.

One of eight hospitals in the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust, the Alex receives payments from its local Primary Care Trust (PCT) for treating the patients the PCT refers to it. However, the two trusts on which they Alex depends are both having to pay such a high price for privatisation initiatives elsewhere that through no fault of its own, deep cuts are now threatened at the NHS hospital.

The first problem for the Alex is that the Worcestershire Acute Hospital Trust is saddled with a £30 m deficit which, campaigners claim, is largely due to the crazy sums it has had to pay for a PFI hospital in Worcester (See Eyes passim). Given the 30 m black hole, and the fact that hospital managers cannot cut their payments to their PFI contractors in Worcester (Catalyst Healthcare: a consortium of Bovis, Sodexho and Bank of Scotland), they are looking for savings elsewhere in the NHS and considering a plan to cut 720 jobs, which includes closing maternity and related services at the Alex.

Ironically, these NHS cuts at the Alex in Redditch might actually mean more money being paid to the PFI contractors in Worcester. For under the PFI deal, if more than 90 per cent of the beds at the Worcester hospital are occupied at any one time, the hospital trust must make extra payments to the consortium. So, if Redditch women continue to have babies after their local maternity unit is closed, and if they then travel to Worcester to give birth, they will fill beds at the PFI hospital and trigger extra payments to the private sector. Brilliant!

Meanwhile the Eye has seen documents suggesting that managers at the Alex believe their local Primary Care Trust is diverting orthopaedic patients away from the Alex to a private unit in Kidderminster. The PCT, it turns out, has a block contract with a private Independent Sector Treatment Centre (ISTC) run by Canadian firm Inter Health; and it has to pay for a certain number of operations at the ISTC each year whether the private firm carries out the work or not.

Last year the PCT tried to negotiate away a £193,000 overspend with Inter Health because of “under utilisation”; and the trust’s latest Financial Risk Plan warns that up to £1m could be lost this year unless it restricts NHS activity while “maximising use of ISTC capacity”. So yet more money will be diverted away from hospitals like the Alex.

The internal document from senior staff at the Alex claims: “the local PCT are advising a lot of patients that the waiting time is longer than it actually is at the Alex and therefore would they like to travel to the Independent Treatment Centre at Kidderminster.”

The PCT denied to the Eye that it was trying to force patients to go private in Kidderminster, claiming that patients and doctors made their own decisions based on “informed choice”. Yeah, right.

A local campaign to “Save the Alex” has been launched, but New Labour ministers remain committed to both the PFI and ISTC schemes. Rather than provoke cuts, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt claimed they would”build capacity” in the NHS. Some mistake, surely?’

This story more or less illustrates everything that’s wrong with the Private Finance Initiatives and the gradual privatisation of the NHS by successive Right-wing administrations. It shows how the NHS is being starved of money, and forced to make further cuts in order to finance inefficient private health companies, which include multinational corporations seeking to make a profit over here. It shows how local health care is frequently closed down and sacrificed for the profit of these private companies elsewhere. This does not just include hospitals. I’ve already blogged a piece from a previous Private Eye about the closure of three GP’s surgeries in London after their clinic was taken over by a private health care company. In contrast to the rhetoric put out by the American and Tory supporters of private health care, it clearly is not more efficient. Indeed, it is much less so, especially as it needs to be supported by the state to gain funding.

The Tories in the run-up to last year’s election suggested that they would end the PFI. They haven’t, and won’t. That was another broken election promise from a party whose members, such as Iain Duncan Smith, have consistently lied and dissembled about the detrimental effects their policies have to the poor. It is not just New Labour that uses lies and spin. The corruption and indifference to the needs of patients extends even to the commissioning authorities. At the moment, the only local authorities, which commission health care, who have written into their constitution that private firms may only be used when this is of benefit to the patient is Bristol and one of the London boroughs. This will continue as long as there exists the revolving door by which ministers and civil servants join private companies as directors once they retire or leave government. For these people, it really is a case of ‘trebles all round’, in the words of Private Eye. And hang the ordinary patients.