“Good Health Not Private Wealth”, By Peter Asquith Cowan

           PAC  It was a delight to watch Iain Duncan Smith humiliated and berated by an angry member of the audience on Thursday’s Question Time. Clearly, this lady was incensed at what he is doing to peoples’ lives. His so-called Welfare ‘Reforms’ have received a damning report. The DWP has been singled out by Margaret Hodge MP, chairman of the Commons public spending watchdog. Not only is it facing “meltdown” it is struggling with the delivery of welfare changes that has cost millions of tax-payers’ money. It is also putting out government contracts to private firms and not doing a very good job.
           This Government is committed to destroying  the public sector;  in particular education and health. It is doing so by sly, sneaky, back-door methods, using stealth and lies to hoodwink the public. All that we fought for in two World Wars and hold dear,  is being eroded and transformed in the interests of private business, profit and greed. Services, ordinary working people have come to rely on, are being privatised by stealth and subterfuge in the most disgusting, secretive and  under-hand manner. Half of all public spending is now in the hands of private providers, with (Government) departments hiding behind “ commercial confidentiality.” The pressure has been turned up by the PAC Report to make all government contracts subject to freedom of information laws (FOI) and examined by the National Audit Office (NAO). The public deserve to know more about the scandals of G4S and Serco, Atos and Capita. This Government is resisting this. So it must have something to hide.
            It is time we all stood up against this transformation. A transformation in work contracts in favour of employers and detrimental to employees. Against austerity, Against Welfare reform and against the new “Employment Model”, the brainchild of the CBI that has created this  flexiforce  of workers on zero-hour contracts, temporary and part-time workers, which is increasing job insecurity and workers’rights and threatening pensions and safety at work.  It has been a deliberate ploy to reduce the core of permanent staff and increase the number of insecure self- employed workers, which has risen to 4.5 million and “who are being forced to take up ‘self employment’ as the permanent, full-time jobs they are qualified to do are simply not there.” (Len McCluskey) People are becoming more vulnerable and worse off, less secure in the workplace and financially drummed down. Their future is bleak.
           The threat to the NHS is now less blurred and has come into full focus with one major victory over the process of gradual privatisation, by the Unite Union, other trades unions and community campaigners, in a major victory over Care UK – one of the profit-hungry, private ‘care’ companies – along with Circle Health, another private company which took over Hinchingbrooke health care trust in Cambridgeshire in  February, 2012. The writing is on the wall; unless the people of this country wake up and begin to protest, more hospitals will face the same fate. The victory at George Elliot Hospital in Nuneaton, is a signal to demonstrate that protest and resistance to privatisation can work. It can be effective. If the privateers had succeeded, it would have become the second hospital in two years to succumb to their greedy profit-orientated hands.  It would have been left to the “tender mercies” of Care UK, which had threatened to cut the pay of some of the existing staff by a half.  The efforts of the campaigners and other unions have roundly seen this off, with Unite warning big business to keep out of the NHS. The NHS must be free, publicly owned and publicly run. For the Nation’s benefit, not for avaricious, greedy private companies  who only see profit as a goal. It must be there to serve all the people of this great nation and paid for from the public purse.
           Our NHS, a part of the great ‘vision’ for Britain and a result of the Beveridge Report (1942) is a great post-war achievement. It takes away the huge anxiety over health care costs suffered by almost everyone in other places, most notably like the USA. Our Nation Health Service is and has been until recently the best and the most envied in the world. This coalition Government has set in motion a process of secretive, insidious privatisation through The Health & Social Care Act, to dismantle this wonderful service. The people of Britain have experienced an “Economic Crisis” from 2008 until now, a crisis started by the greed, self-interest and avarice of  bankers – largely American – whose corrupt banking practices spurred on a financial crisis, a crisis that has been deliberately exploited by the CBI, who, immediately after the event, in 2009 produced a Report: “The Shape of Business over the next 10 years” and devised the whole flexiforceconcept which has now become a reality, while British workers were caught napping. Most of the NHS  budget – our money – now goes to unaccountable consortiums, normally of GP’s. In practise run by private firms, who are obliged to buy health care from private companies. All NHS hospitals  are being forced to become  semi-private “trusts”  with the connivance of this terrible Government. It has to stop.
         We are marking the start of the Great War this year. A war to ‘end all wars’ and the soldiers were promised on return, ‘A land fit for heroes.
It certainly didn’t end  ‘All Wars’ and the second war had the slogan ‘We’re all in it together’ recently plagiarised by David Cameron. If this is to be a “Land  fit for Heroes” then I suggest this was the worst example of dishonesty and cynicism going. Cameron should be ashamed to be presiding over the destruction of our “Jewel in the British Crown”. However,  I’ll bet these private health care firms are backed by American money and American business, the same way the US drugs giant Pfizer is prowling UK rival Astra Zeneca in what would be the largest foreign takeover of a British company, ever. No to privatisation of Health and Education and NO to American take-overs of British firms
         We must fight the Corporation Giants, and the Victory of the Unions at George Elliot Hospital has shown that it can be done. Britons awake from your comatose state and start defending what is rightfully yours. We want and fought for Good Health not Private Wealth. Hands off the NHS. Nationalise the banks, the energy companies and the rail network. Give us, the British people, what you have stolen from us, including school milk, taken away by Thatcher.

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