“Mainstream politics is impossible” Steve Carne, 999 Call For The NHS’ website wizard, concluded grimly in an email to me last week (see him in Groundswell’s first film trailer).
The cause of his pessimism? The Tory Government’s announcement of a 2nd Reading debate and vote on a Royal Commission On The NHS on March 11th.
Campaigners fear that its remit will call State-funding of the NHS into question and advance the case for private sector funding using US-style private health insurance.
A Royal Commission spinning out 3-years of hearings could also act as a fire-blanket on opposition to the continuing NHS squeeze. Bland assurances that dissidents’ cavils would be dealt with in due course by the Commission would pour oil on the troubled waters of public opinion.
In the meantime the dismantling of the NHS, now at full tilt since the Election, could be coup de grace’d in time for the fulfilment of David Owen’s grim prediction that, under a Tory Government, “The NHS in England will be completely destroyed by 2020.”
Is the scheduling of the Parliamentary debate on the Commission on the same day as the Reinstatement Bill’s 2nd Reading a sign of the Bill’s attempted oxygen-starvation by the privateers? And a backhanded compliment to its potential appeal?
The NHS Commission’s proponents include Save Our NHS campaigners’ bete noire politicos who have enriched themselves through their ministerial expertise like Alan Milburn – the former New Labour Health Secretary and now wealthy consultant to a range of companies in the private sector with substantial interests in the NHS.
All this recalls a bit of past blog of mine:
The film catches the disenchantment with how politicians have become enmeshed by Big Business and the banks over the last 30+ years, a disgust even, which crosses party lines.
It’s not just the literal corruption of ‘cash for questions’. It’s a more insidious corruption whereby Parliamentarians like Malcolm Rifkind really do see the pocketing of a £60k backhander as an ‘entitlement’ just as bankers do their bonuses.
Labour supremos like Blair and Mandelson gliding qualmlessly through the revolving door out of politics and into lucrative consultancies and directorships, and a cross-party political establishment that leaps to bail out a bust and corrupted financial sector, reinforce the public’s image of a ruling order who, as Joanna Adams quotes in Groundswell, “know the price of everything and the value of nothing”. (August 8th 2015: Too Much Monkey Business)
It’s not just ‘socialist’ freethinkers who are questioning the poisoning of our political and civil institutions. In addition to Tory Boy turned Corbynista John Miller’s One Nation Corbyn (www.sochealth.co.uk/2015/10/11/one-nation-corbyn/ recommended in my previous blog Get Back! The Bill That Can Save The NHS) here’s a revealing new blog in the Daily Mail by Peter Hitchens Letting Rip Against All This Reshuffle Garbage.