We are upcycling this old one because – guess what – they (you know who we mean!) are at it again…running own the NHS to soften us up for health plans and privatisation. YouGov (which has a certain bias…) have conducted a poll which managed to make 58 per cent of us feel dissatisfied and pessimistic about the NHS.
This government is great at recycling. It recycles lumps of tax payers’ money and public assets and services and turns them into earnings and profits for private companies. Some of the recycled money gets recycled again into donations to the Conservative party. Some of it gets recycled into dividends for shareholders some of which can then be recycled into individuals’ private houses and swimming pools and tennis courts and holidays and all those essentials of life.
The government has a problem, though. It is beginning to run out of public assets to sell. The utilities – water and power companies – have gone. Telecoms, British Aerospace, the Royal Mail, the railways. All sold off and a lovely story created that it democratised share ownership and the shareholder base. It’s not all been big stuff, mind you. Plenty of firestations, hospital sites and school playing fields have also been flogged off. And once they’re gone, they’re gone.
Selling the contracts to take over public services is another way to recycle our money into private hands: refuse collection, the probation service (there’s been some reversal there, so disastrous was the move), prison services, cleaning of public buildings, school meals provision… the list goes on and on. After all, a private company will always do things so much better, won’t they?
The pandemic has been absolutely fabulous for recycling our money! Many, many billions ‘spaffed’ on Test, Track and Trace, billions squandered on PPE which was unfit for purpose or magically produced by companies with no experience in the field and no connection bar being donors to the Tory party.
You can read all about it, starting here with a Byline Times piece or take a look at the Good Law Project’s ongoing legal proceedings to bring government to account and lay the corruption – for that is what it is – bare for all to see.
Anyway…back to the problem. What has the government got left to sell?
The NHS and Channel 4 for starters. I’ll leave Channel 4 for now. Suffice it to say, this government are not too keen on their investigative journalism or politics coverage…oh no! FAR too probing!
The biggie, though, is the NHS. Oh, I don’t doubt they’ll keep the brand. Look how they deliberately badged the Serco-run, Dido Harding-‘supervised’ Test, Track and Trace as an NHS service. Vaccination was, naturally, done by our saviours in government. Scant mention of the NHS for that success story.
But look what is happening… we are being nudged, insistently and persistently, to the conclusion that the poor old NHS has run its course and can only be saved by the intervention of private providers who will heroically ease its burden and salve its pain. And we will all be expected to clap and sing and be grateful, because we will have been made to feel that we could no longer rely on the NHS alone to make us whole.
Think we are being alarmist? Here’s Laing Buisson, healthcare business intelligence company:
And the Daily Mail:
Don’t forget that Johnson and Vote Leave cynically used the NHS to push people into the self-sabotage that is Brexit and that this government refused to back a move to ensure that the NHS would be protected in any trade deals. They cannot be trusted to tell the truth about anything!
Quite simply, we are being gaslighted, manipulated. Take the BBC today. A carefully-constructed wholly negative story of people forced to ‘go private’, designed to nudge us out of our devotion to the NHS and into scepticism and mistrust. No mention of the systematic under-funding of the NHS since 2010.
Don’t get me wrong. I am sympathetic to the personal tragedies detailed in the BBC piece and I know some appalling stories of friends driven to beg, borrow and scrape money together to fund treatment which could not wait without jeopardising their chances of survival. But we are being fed this information right now because the government seems hellbent on handing a larger slice of the NHS cake to private companies. More of us will start thinking that maybe we should have medical insurance, just in case. Bingo! Nudge theory has delivered again, just as it did with Europe and Brexit.
The bottom line is that US companies have been salivating over the NHS for some time now. Trump knew it was the jewel in the crown. Biden has shown that he is focused on the US, too, and will no doubt want US companies to extract value from any deal he may get round to doing with the UK.
Meanwhile, we need to be vigilant and follow the money…