For Sale – Hospitals and Schools
For the Benefit of the Conservative Party
It is a testament to the Labour movement that ordinary people accept the norm that they have a right to education and free health care. Indeed, it is such an intrinsic part of their lives, that many have become complacent, younger generations almost believing it was always thus, when in fact this has all happened within living memory, and can be forgotten just as quickly.
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few. The manna of popular liberty must be gathered each day or it is rotten. The living sap of today outgrows the dead rind of yesterday. The hand entrusted with power becomes, either form human depravity or esprit de corps, the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continued oversight can the democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot; only by unintermitted agitation can a people be sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity” (1)
So while, we go about ordinary lives, quietly, innocently even, working, bringing up families… a government without a majority is taking advantage, by stealth.
Reports show more hospitals are considering private ownership. My own local hospital is Weston General Hospital. ”Weston Area Health NHS Trust has announced that, as a small DGH (district general hospital), it is unable to achieve the Foundation Trust status that the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (HSCA) mandates that all NHS acute (hospital) Trusts must achieve by April next year. As a result, it is inviting ’expressions of interest’ from the ‘health market’:
The Guardian has reported how conditions in private hospitals have deteriorated so much that NHS have stooped referring their patients there due to damning reports on lack of basic hygiene. This is a national scandal and must be halted.
The Mount Alvernia hospital in Surrey, run by BMI Healthcare, one of Britain’s biggest private healthcare providers, agreed to suspend surgery earlier this week after the damning Care Quality Commission (CQC) report.
Care failures cited by the CQC report included a surgeon who operated without gloves in blood-stained shirt sleeves, and a child who was not seen by a paediatrician for seven hours despite their condition deteriorating.
The Local Schools’s Network reports how individuals have been able to benefit at least half a million pounds and probably much more, while those working with children see their pay frozen. Such “consultants” can set up lucrative businesses, for example a Ms Griffin, in which she is listed as a consultant at the DFE and a Director of Griffin Taylor Consultancy Ltd. And here is some information about her company’s financial position. As it is an exempt small company, with only two directors, facts are limited but one thing seems clear, the DFE consultancy business is a very comfortable one.
Some schools who have had experience of such pressure have taken the alternative option to form co-operative schools rather than to hand over such assets to private companies. Local Schools should be run as consortia, working together, not competing for profits and results.. schools should be about children, and their needs. Furthermore, Harold Wilson’s Open University was intended to provide access to life-long learning for all, and not to be subject to unaffordable tuition fees as introduced by the Coalition.
What we see happening is privatization of the NHS and state education, owned by us, you, me, and were intended for future generations. These are services built by thousands of working people: teachers, lecturers, nurses, midwives, doctors, cleaners, construction workers, electricians, IT specialists, cooks – those who are seeing job cuts and wages frozen. Now these precious state assets have become a source of income for friends and contributors to the Conservative Party via Hedge Funds.
It is a myth that private outperforms public. How do you measure performance of organizations such as the NHS or state education – by a healthy, well educated, highly skilled and employed workforce – or by the off shore bank balance of Conservative friends? The newly privatized organizations are answerable to their owners, not their users, their workers, or citizens contributing to society for mutual benefit, whatever their skills are.
The evidence shows a deterioration in quality, where the profit motive is a priority. Labour must commit to a reversal of privatization of public services, and to bring again into democratic ownership and control, our essential utilities and public transport. We must ensure that such services are exempt from US Trade agreements, and this is a platform on which Labour can challenge the likes of UKIP.
Please sign this petition to exempt the NHS, and support the challenge to exempt education too.
After all, the purpose of government is to assist people in achieving a civilized society, and to allow all that live in that society. It’s not just to line their own pockets. It’s time to put an end to it, if it’s not too late.
- This Day in Quotes: Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Freedom
- Two More Hospitals Considering Private Ownership: The Skwarkbox Blog
- The Penalties of Ostrich Politics and Willful Destruction of the NHS and Welfare State
- Guardian: NHS stops referring patients to private hospital after damning report
- Time to Shine a Spotlight in the Academy Brokers, Local Schools Network
- Academisation and Demolition of our Education System
- Think Left: Co-op Schools, an Alternative to Academies?
- What now for Failing Schools?
- We are the conservatives now – the fight to save good local schools: Local Schools Network
- Are we Already in the Post Democratic Era? Think Left
- Think Left Must address the Elephant in the Room
- Exempt the NHS from US Trade Agreements
Tory Ideology is all about Handouts to the Wealthy paid for by the Poor
By Kittysjones, previously published here
People in work, especially those who are paid low wages, often claim benefits. Housing benefit, tax credit and council tax benefit are examples of benefits that are paid to people with jobs. Indeed the number of working people claiming housing benefit has risen by 86 per cent in three years, which debunks another Tory myth that benefits are payable only to the “feckless” unemployed.
By portraying housing benefit as a payment for “the shirkers”, not “the strivers”, Cameron and Osborne aim to convince the public that their draconian, unprecedented welfare “reforms” are justified. 60% of people visiting food banks last year were in work. But unemployment benefits are just 13 per cent of the national average earnings. What Cameron’s Government have done is created extreme hardship for many of those in work, and further severe hardship for those who are unemployed.
“Making work pay” is a big lie that has benefited no-one but the very wealthy, and the reduction in the value and amount of welfare support has come at a time when we are witnessing steady reductions in worker’s rights, and worryingly, the Tory-led Government is stepping up its attack on employment health and safety regulations.
Last week, on the 25th April 2013, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill was granted royal assent, bringing into law the Government’s widely unpopular proposals to scrap employers’ 114-year-old liability for their staff’s health and safety in the workplace. This steady erosion of our fundamental and hard-earned rights in the workplace is linked to the steady erosion of the basic human rights of the vulnerable. The Government have liberated wealthy private companies of any moral or legal responsibilities, so that they can simply generate vast profits by exploiting workers who have increasingly fewer means of redress.
There is also a growing reserve army of labour that may be exploited via the workfare schemes. This will mean that unscrupulous, greedy, profit-driven employers will increasingly replace paid workers with unpaid ones that are forced to work for their benefits or face losing them. This is a politically enforced program of reducing the populations expectations regarding choice, opportunities, rights, and quality of life.
A recent proposal from our “caring Conservatives” is that new in-work claimants should be required to attend an initial interview at a Job Centre “where a conditionality regime should be set up to ensure the individual is doing all they can to increase their hours and earnings”. Claimants “should then be forced to attend a quarterly meeting to be reminded of their responsibility to try to increase their earnings”, with sanctions applied for failing to attend. This may well be the next stage of the welfare “reforms”, incorporating a punitive approach to those in work, as well as those unfortunate enough to be out of work.
There is no absolutely no evidence, sense or logic behind the Tory claim that cutting welfare will “make work pay”. Well, unless we are referring to the greedy employers that will benefit and profit from the welfare reforms and reduction in worker’s rights.Our work will pay, for them.
“Make work pay” is an entirely ideologically driven, dogmatic, absurd and reductionist Conservative superficial sound-bite. There is certainly an essence of all that is Tory in “peremptory”. There is also many a Tory donor in private business that wants to see more profit and a more abject workforce.
The real “culture of entitlement” is not to be found amongst the poor, the unemployed, the sick and disabled as this Government would have you believe. As a matter of fact, most amongst this politically demarcated social group have paid tax and paid for the provision that they ought to be able to rely on when they/we have need of it, it’s ours, after all. The real culture of entitlement comes from the very wealthy, and is well-fed and sustained by our aristocratic and authoritarian Government.
Every time we have periods of high unemployment, growing inequalities, substantial increases in poverty, and loss of protective rights, there is a Conservative Administration behind this wilful destruction of people’s lives, and the unravelling of essential social progress and civilised development that spans more than one century in ontogeny and maturation.
The Conservatives lied about our “generous welfare”. It wasn’t and it certainly isn’t now. Coming at the same time that severe cuts to tax credits and benefits are set to make an estimated 11.5 million households poorer, the Chancellor was accused by Britain’s largest union, Unite of conducting class war on the poor while giving handouts to the rich.
The following cuts came into force in April 2013:
- 1 April – Housing benefit cut, including the introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’1 April – Council tax benefit cut
- 1 April – Legal Aid savagely cut
- 6 April – Tax credit and child benefit cut
- 7 April – Maternity and paternity pay cut
- 8 April – 1 per cent cap on the rise of in working-age benefits (for the next three years)
- 8 April – Disability living allowance replaced by personal independence payment (PIP)
- 15 April – Cap on the total amount of benefit working-age people can receive
In addition, wages have not risen in real terms since 2003 and there are further fears that the Government is trying to pressurise the Low Pay Commission into cutting the national minimum wage from its present £6.19 per hour.
Commenting, general secretary Len McCluskey of Unite said: “Millionaires will be raising a glass of champagne to George Osborne this weekend as he slashes the incomes of people struggling to get by to give handouts to the rich.
“But ordinary people – taxpayers – will be furious that George Osborne has chosen to give away £1 billion to the super-rich while their fuel and food costs rise and wages are falling.
“His party knows no shame. They are trying to claim that their tax cuts benefit ordinary people but this is another lie – the truth is that while those earning over £1 million per year will be an average £100,000 better off, low income families will be around £900 worse off.
“This is not the way to recover our failing economy. Creating real jobs and paying decent wages, including a one pound increase on the minimum wage, will bring down the benefits bill and get people spending again.
“Instead of getting on with the job he ought to be doing, like sorting out the problems he has caused to our economy, Osborne prefers to encourage hatred and demonise the poor, both in and out of work, in an ideological attack on our welfare state.”
“David Cameron and George Osborne believe the only way to persuade millionaires to work harder is to give them more money.
But they also seem to believe that the only way to make you (ordinary people) work harder is to take money away.” Ed Miliband.
Bravo Ed, very well spotted contradiction regarding Cameron’s claims about how “incentives” work. Apparently, the rich are a different kind of human from the majority of human beings.
It’s plain to see that Cameron rewards his wealthy friends, and has a clear elitist agenda, whilst he funds his friends and sponsors by stealing money from the tax payer, by stripping welfare provision and public services down to bare bones.
A simple truth is that poverty happens because some people are very, very rich. That happens ultimately because of Government policies that create, sustain and extend inequalities. The very wealthy are becoming wealthier, the poor are becoming poorer. This is a consequence of ”vulture capitalism”, designed by the opportunism and greed of a few, it is instituted, facilitated and directed by the Tory-led Coalition.
Welfare provision was paid for by the public, via tax and NI contributions. It is not a “handout.” It is not the Governments money to cut. That is our provision, paid for by us to support us if and when we need it. It’s the same with the National Health Service. These public services and provisions do not and never did belong to the Government to sell off, make profit from, and strip bare as they have done
Low wages and low benefit levels, rising unemployment and a high cost of living are major causes of poverty. (“worklessness” is a made-up word to imply that the consequences of Government policies are somehow the fault of the victims of this traditional Tory harshness. It’s a psychological and linguistic attack on the vulnerable – blaming the unemployed for unemployment, and the poor for poverty.) Those are a consequence of Coalition policies. The Coalition take money from those who need it most to give away to those who need it least. That causes poverty. The Coalition are creating poverty via the consequences of policies.
It’s time to debunk the great myth of meritocracy. Wealth has got nothing whatsoever to do with “striving” and hard work. If it were so simple, then most of the poor would be billionaires by now.
This week it was reported that one school liaison officer told how a parent came to her pleading for help because her children were suffering from SCURVY – a potentially fatal condition caused by a severe Vitamin C deficiency. It’s an illness linked with malnutrition and poverty, and has seldom been seen in this Country for most of this Century, due to improvements in medical knowledge, and the development of adequate welfare provision that had eliminated absolute poverty in Britain. Until now. It’s increasing again.
Evil is “that which is moving against the tide of evolution” – Dion Fortune.
The clocks stopped the moment that the Tories took Office. Now their policies mean we are losing a decade a day.
Many thanks to Robert Livingstone for his brilliant art work.
NHS “Choice” is no more than an Illusion
I’ve had the same dentist for the last nearly thirty years, ever since I first came to Whitstable: Howard Paterson of Kelvin House in Nelson Road.
I think I can say that we’ve always got on – as much as you can say that about anyone whose relationship with you is entirely based upon them delving around on the inside of your mouth. At least he recognises me in the street, which is more than I can say for my doctor.
When I first went to see him Kelvin House was, like most dentists, an NHS practice. Over the years it went private, but it still maintained its existing NHS patients. I was one of them, and I’ve been going there ever since.
Until last week, that is, when I was told that I could no longer see Mr Paterson as an NHS patient, hence my sudden need to find a new dentist.
For years, until the opening of the Whitstable Dental Centre on Oxford Street, there wasn’t even an NHS dentist in the town.
The argument that is usually given for this is one of “choice”. It is the same argument being put forward for the opening up of the Health Service to private contractors which took place on April 1stthis year.
But this “choice” is an illusion. Choice only exists for those that can afford it, which means it isn’t a choice, it’s a privilege. Those that cannot afford it have no choice.
Meanwhile, the dentist I’ve trusted for 30 years is no longer my dentist, and I’m forced to start looking around for someone else.