Oliver Letwin once said that ‘the NHS will not exist under the Tories’, at the time it was construed by the Tories as a gaffe by a man known for being a complete idiot. Letwin also once proposed to effectively cut education and healthcare funding from government spending (and threw secret government documents in a park bin). But of course, it wasn’t really gaffe. Here we are.
In one very small way, I’m glad the Lords didn’t go nuclear on the Health and Social Care bill. There are two forces that I hate in British parliamentary politics, the first is the collection of self serving, reactionary, bigoted zombies in the Conservative Party, and the second is the House of Lords, which is pretty much the same, but with some bishops thrown in for good measure. I’d hate to have been forced to choose between the legitimacy of the House of Lords and the fact that they struck down such a nasty piece of legislation. In the most short term, self-serving way possible, I can now have it both ways, I can blast the Lords for being toothless, and blast the Tories for destroying the NHS.
The NHS is effectively going to be sold off to ‘any willing provider’, and if anyone thinks that’ll make the NHS better, think again. The privatisation of the NHS amounts to the redistribution of wealth from the poorest in society to the richest. We all pay our taxes, and now, when the tax revenue that previously went to the NHS goes to private companies who will doubtless be handed massive contracts to provide services, some of our taxpayers money will go to paying the multi-million salaries of the CEOs of these companies.
Look at Serco, a company that does almost nothing other than fulfill contracts given to them by the last Labour government. Our tax money goes to pay the salary of Serco’s CEO, who last year took home £4,000,000. We hear about these so called ‘council fatcats’ who take home more than the Prime Minister (which is such an utterly meaningless statistic, but that’s a post unto itself), but nothing of how, under this new system, the tax payer will be lining the pockets of the super rich. (Not that they don’t anyway, with those marvelous bail-out packages).
This is the wholesale privatisation of anything and everything. And somewhere in all this is a Liberal Party complicit in the destruction of William Beveridge’s dream.