The Tories laughably claim that the NHS is “safe in our hands”. At the same time, there are vested interests at the top of government with links to private healthcare firms. Cameron and co.’s attacks on doctors and cuts to the NHS demonstrate the rottenness of the Tories and the capitalist system that they defend.
The declaration by the Tories that they are “the party of the working class” is about as true as their assertion that the National Health Service is “safe in our hands”. These laughable claims have been exposed by their attacks on the junior doctors and their relentless efforts to “outsource” health care to the private sector.
Although the junior doctors have massive support for their struggle, with 98% of them voting in favour of industrial action, David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt are both threatening to use the “nuclear option” and impose the “contract” on the doctors.
Everything that is useful, according to the Tories, must be making a profit, and there are rich pickings to be made from privatising health. The government is therefore attempting to undermine the NHS through the expansion of the internal market, the introduction of personal healthcare budgets under the cover of free-market “choice”, and calls to increase the role of private insurance.
This is not simply “ideological”, as there are vested interests involved at the very top of government. Some 70 Tory MPs have links with private healthcare firms. This includes Cameron, the Prime Minister, and Hunt, the Health Secretary. Cameron’s own health adviser, Nick Seddon, is a former lobbyist who has championed drastic NHS staff cuts and GP changes. The former Tory Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, after pushing through the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, stepped down as an MP, accepted a life peerage and strolled into a number of new positions.
Lansley is now an adviser for Roche, a Swiss pharmaceuticals giant that has made a killing from the Cancer Drugs Fund set up by the same Andrew Lansley. He plays a similar role for Bain & Company, an American management consultancy competing for NHS contracts freed up by a certain Andrew Lansley. He is also a consultant for Blackstone, a private equity company that has been criticised for asset-stripping British care homes.
The Labour Party, which founded the NHS, must offer a real alternative. Their demand should be for the immediate nationalisation of all the private health companies and pharmaceuticals, without compensation, in order to protect the health of the country. These private corporations have bled the service for far too long. The health service, instead of being run by unelected boards of bureaucrats, should be run democratically by medical staff and patients.
The decline of British capitalism
Big business and the Tories are ruining the country. Tata Steel has just announced another devastating 1,050 job losses, 750 from Port Talbot alone, on top of the thousands already announced last year. Soon there will be no steel industry, as with the coal industry. They rushed to bailout the banks, but they are prepared to see this vital industry go to the wall. “The market must decide,” they say, but only public ownership can save the jobs. The working class, which produces the wealth, are being forced ever-downwards, while the bosses are becoming stinking rich. The High Pay Centre have calculated that the average FTSE 100 boss would “earn” more than the average annual pay of a UK worker in just two days at the office!
The free market fundamentalists at the Adam Smith Institute rushed to the defence of the bosses, saying, “CEOs make really important decisions that can make or break the firm.” And yes, what a mess they have made. Swathes of industry have been destroyed, including the loss of millions of jobs, over the past 30 years. In its place, they have created a low skill, low pay economy. They have failed to invest in industry, instead putting their cash overseas or into financial speculation. In 2010, for example, money put into research and development grew in real terms by 3.7% in Germany, 1.3% in Italy, 1.2% in France, but in the UK it fell by around 3%. This is a graphic reflection of the crisis of British capitalism, for which workers are being asked to pay.
The Establishment vs. Corbyn
Clearly, we need a fighting alternative to the Tories and the big business interests they represent. Unfortunately, Corbyn is being constantly attacked by the right-wing cabal within the Parliamentary Labour Party, including by members of his shadow cabinet. Even the “independent” BBC has colluded with the right wing to publically air the resignation of junior shadow cabinet ministers. Army generals have publicly come to the aid of the Establishment also, with threats of a coup in the event that Corbyn becomes prime minister.
The right wing in the Labour Party have the full support of big business, who wish to keep the party in “safe hands”, namely in control of those who defend capitalism. They are the agents of the capitalists and the Establishment within the Labour movement.
Such a specimen, a former chairman of the PLP, a certain Lord Watts, recently told a gathering of the House of Lords: “It is not the job of the parliamentary Labour Party to sit around developing ultra-left wing policies which make them feel good.”
Our learned Lord then went on to attack Corbyn and the “hard left” for sitting around in their £1 million mansions eating their croissants at breakfast and “seeking to lay the foundations for a socialist revolution.”
This is a typical attack from a Blairite who views any challenge to capitalism as “ultra-left”. Clearly opposed to Corbyn, he paints the Labour leader in the most hostile colours, including the dreaded consumption of croissants. The ermine-clad Watts and the rest of the right wing scoff at the idea of “socialist revolution” or “socialism” because they have wholeheartedly embraced the “market” and reject the need to change society.
The epoch of austerity
However, all attempts by Labour to “reform” or patch-up capitalism have ended in failure. Capitalism has now entered into terminal decline. This has opened up an epoch of austerity and counter-reforms. This is set to intensify in the coming period. The only alternative to this nightmare is the implementation of a bold socialist programme that will take over the commanding heights of the economy and plan it in the interests of the majority.
By taking hold of the economy, we can put an end to the plight of unemployment, austerity and industrial closures. Production would be based on need, not profit. Instead of booms and slumps, productive capacity would be planned and put to full use in building homes, hospitals, schools and raising the living standards of the majority. With such resources we could drastically cut the working week while increasing pay, as well as reducing the retirement age down to 55 and increasing pensions. Such a socialist plan would transform the lives of every man, woman and child.
Such a transformation would provide a beacon to workers in crisis-torn Europe and throughout the world. A socialist Britain would become the stepping stone for a socialist Europe and in turn a socialist world, in which we would put an end to poverty, hunger, war and the destruction of the planet. This is a future worth fighting for!