The NHS Reinstatement Bill is back. And it’s here for the long run up to the next General Election. That’s the message from the NHS Reinstatement Bill Group. Spurred by Corbyn’s leadership victory its architects Professor Allyson Pollock and barrister Peter Roderick have re-entered the fray after the last Election setback.
The Bill is part of Groundswell‘s story. Corbyn appears briefly in the film as one of only 7 Labour MP’s, including right-hand man John McDonnell, who backed the Bill when Green MP Caroline Lucas presented it in Parliament in March (see Green Green Grass Of Home). Re-tabled by her in July, with the support of all the SNP Commons newbies, it’s due for its 2nd Reading in March.
The Corbyn leadership is hemmed in by a baying media and a bruised New Labour’s Shadow Health Minister Heidi Alexander already mouthing their old pre-Election line that “We can’t afford another top-down (NHS) re-structuring”. But it’s now in such disarray, thanks to all the dismantling involved in its ‘free’ marketisation, that re-structuring is exactly what the NHS needs, says Pollock.
So why are New Labourites still pursuing policies that leave the NHS open to continuing marketisation under international trade and competition law? What’s preventing those who ostensibly want to save the NHS from privatisation from backing a Bill that could actually effect this?
It seems that the New Labour loonies who fulsomely participated in the fuelling of the 2008 Debt Crash are still holding sway in the asylum. ‘Idiots-savants’ might be a better description.
They appear ‘idiots’ because they remain oblivious to the fact that the free-market ideology’s debt-propelled credibility has long had the rug pulled from under it by the 2008 Crash, the implosion of the global banking system and their huge costs being imposed on the majority whilst the few reap humungous rewards.
And they are ‘savants’ because their obliviousness seems all of a piece with their knowing and continuing collaboration with the Masters Of The Universe’s free market prescriptions and their Punch-and-Judy casting of Labour as tax’n’spend, deficits-addicted economic incompetents.
But having deluded the public with over 30 years of magical thinking – that an ocean of debt is a painless route to keeping the developed world’s sagging capitalist economies afloat in the face of the rising stars of the East – the Masters are now seeing signs of popular revolt. Corbyn, the SNP, UKIP et al are manifestations of public disillusionment with the tinsel-bearing conjurors whose tricks have been revealed.
The New Labourites’ failure to address the redundancy of the City-sugared Mandelblairson Project in two successive General Elections since the Crash is what makes them responsible for allowing the Tory Party to continue carrying through the pillaging of the NHS and other State-owned services and assets, and the domination of our democracy by the free-marketeers and their mindset.
After a preview of the film, now almost ready for public consumption, (Lord) David Owen, a co-founder of the NHS Reinstatement Bill, said that it could provide a valuable wake-up call to New Labour MP’s dazed-and-confused by the leadership ballot as it “goes a long way to explain the Corbyn phenomenon”.
For him it was Joanna Adams and her fellow 999 Call For The NHS campaigners’ “journey from hope to disillusionment” with New Labour that brings this home. But in the film the anger and loss they express isn’t just at a party that has lost its values. It’s at an entire political and civil power structure that has been poisoned by the free-marketeers’ ideology.
Groundswell deals with those feelings which the political class, the spads (special advisers), the commentariat, the pollsters and the soothsayers of the political apparatus failed to deal with before the Election. They asked the wrong questions and so they got the wrong answers.
And they continue to do so, judging by hand-wringers at the Corbynistas like the Guardian’s Polly Toynbee and ex-New Labour strategist Peter Hyman. They should read the illuminating blog One Nation Corbyn by John Miller, once-upon-a-time Tory Boy turned Corbynista (http://www.sochealth.co.uk/2015/10/11/one-nation-corbyn/).
That there’s a UKIPper amongst the film’s protagonists points to the range of the NHS’ cross-party appeal; and to why the NHS is pivotal to any effective opposition to the privateers’ continuing corruption and annexation of our society.
Owen himself, Blair’s precursor with his espousal of the ‘social market’ and of the Labour movement’s alliance with the free market, is another crossover. An increasingly radicalised NHS defender Owen says that it’s now essential that the Corbyn leadership puts its own in charge of the Shadow Ministry Of Health.
Whatever its faults the Bill’s comprehensive attack provokes the key questions surrounding the restoration of a publicly-funded and publicly-run NHS. It’s a breathalyser test for all Labour MP’s professing their commitment to the NHS but still drinking from the free-marketeers’ poisoned glass.
In Groundswell 999 Call For The NHS founder Joanna (Adams) extols how “The NHS represents humanity and cooperation. It’s the symbol of all that civilization has achieved.” Here’s a grandchild of the Wartime generation espousing and fighting for the same values for which they fought and died.
John Miller puts it another way in One Nation Corbyn “The three civilised traditions of British politics are One Nation, libertarian democratic socialism, and dissenting liberalism. Today all three cower in a corner whilst the twin impostors of Thatcherism and Blairism dominate the stage. I want us to take our country back from the ideology that has stolen it from us”.
My recent bet with a worldly Chelsea Arts Club journo – that Corbyn will still be in place in 18 months time – still looks a pretty bankable call. The winnings are to be alcoholic so no worries as to where might be a safe place to keep them.
Watch this space for the launch of Groundswell in the New Year.
Written by John Furse