Sunday, August 20, 2006

New Labour in its dotage endangers our health service

As Blair staggers through the final months of his tenure as Prime Minister there is no let up in the push to privatise our health service. Yesterday’s Guardian reports on plans for six new hospitals built using the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) whilst other hospitals face closure (including Central Middlesex hospital shown above).

Mike Jackson, senior national officer for Unison, is quoted in the Guardian as follows: "Using PFI to finance these schemes is a waste of taxpayers' money. PFI schemes are expensive, inflexible and adding to the current financial burdens of many hospital trusts." We also know that there is no public support for further privatisation, based on recent opinion poll evidence.

UNISON members are preparing for action to defend our NHS from Cornwall to South London and for a strike against the privatisation of NHS logistics. Why should UNISON members have to be doing this under what is supposed to be a Labour Government?

Meanwhile Stephen Byers (who is famously not too keen on the unions’ relationship with the Party) thinks the Government’s priority should be to end inheritance tax! This lack of focus by one of Blair’s chief outriders on the real issues confronting the country shows just how out of touch the Blairites now are. Unfortunately they are still calling the shots in Government.

I am sure I read somewhere that we on the left were not in favour of inherited wealth :)


A soft socialist said...

Byers = idiot. I'd put him in with Mandelson and Milburn.

There are so many more ways that Gordon could show he way in touch with people that this silly tory policy.

Restoring the earnings link for pensions was good. Extending the minimum wage to all workers and thinking about our foreign policy would all be better than any of Byers' crackpot ideas.

A soft socialist said...

Yes he is into his PFIs, but much of the good that new labour has done has come from Gordon.

We just need to give him a gentle leftwards shove!

Jon Rogers said...

I think we may have to agree to differ on that one Adele!

I'm afraid Gordon Brown is lost to the left. Privatisation is an unpopular as well as an ineffective way of delivering public services, but he is totally wedded to it.