It’s 3 weeks now since we filmed Green MP Caroline Lucas on the day she tabled the National Health Bill (NHS Reinstatement Bill), which provides for the de-marketisation of the NHS and the reinstatement of its original public service remit.
Though critics like Lucy Reynolds point to some shortcomings in the Bill it still appears to provide a coherent policy document for future legislation to properly secure the NHS.
And since the withdrawal of the Labour Party leadership’s Efford Bill on March 3rd it’s the only card in play for those fighting to save the NHS – and by all accounts considerably superior to the Efford in securing this objective.
Why are Labour MP’s not jumping aboard it? Thus far it seems that less than a dozen have signed up. Do they know something most of us don’t?
Like how much of the Party’s funding comes from parties with a substantial interest in the NHS’ privatisation – the property and financial sectors, by far their biggest donors. And its third biggest private donor, a hedge fund CEO with $15 million invested in the USA’s largest healthcare corp United Health. Who happen to be a prime bidder for the current $1.2 billion NHS Staffordshire sell-off and potentially a big player in the NHS stakes. And who happen to have former United Health Europe President Simon Stevens heading up NHS England.
Could that have anything to do with why the Labour leadership seems content to allow the private sector to maintain its jemmy in the NHS provided its profits are capped at 5%, as Miliband announced last Friday in his Election campaign launch?
The PFI privateers, with their creative accountants already ensuring minimal taxable UK profits, must be laughing all the way to their tax havens.
Particularly as they know that well-placed critics like the Kings Fund thinktank have rubbished Labour’s claims to have secured exemption from EU competition rules – which keep NHS budgets up for grabs by the private sector as long as any part of them remains privatised.
Miliband’s pronouncement suggests that the worst fears of Labour’s critics from its own heartlands, like Joanna and the Crazy Gang and their 999 Call For The NHS supporters, are well founded.
They have put their name to the National Health Bill. But they now know how long the odds are against the Parliamentary process saving the NHS, even if Labour get a working majority. So what now for them?
Meanwhile I’ve seen the first rough-cut of some of the Groundswell material. It looks encouraging. If you can say that of a snapshot of the Labour Party sow in the process of eating its own farrow.