The Canary has the story on its web site – see link above
If you, like me, despair at the march of privatisation though our public services (and lets face it all 3 main parties have have had a hand in it) then this report makes sobering if somewhat unsurprising reading.
With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting
The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above.
Here we go again with parts of the NHS being privatised this time unsurprisingly under a Tory Government. This process started in earnest under the last Labour Government and if memory serves Andy Burnham had a hand in it back then did he not?
Do politicians not understand that we don’t want our NHS in private hands for private profit!
Yes, it was probably a significant contributory factor. You see at the heart of the Labour Party is that ‘our way or no way’ instinct but in 2015 it probably led to tribalism topping common sense.
Take a look at the seats where Labour tried to do some damage to the Lib Dem vote because of their hatred of Nick Clegg. In quite a few cases it will show that their actions either led to a Tory MP being elected or in Southport’s case it very nearly did.
This is Cllr. Iain Brodie Browne’s take on it:-
We do not have multi party politics. Britain does not have a culture of coalition. Tribalism is alive and well in politics. Unless and until we have major constitutional reform, including electoral form for Westminister, any strategy which is based upon coalitions will fail.
Just look at how the Labour Party behaved on [election] Thursday. Ed Balls lost his seat whilst Labour activists , motivated by loathing of Clegg spent time failing to unseat him rather than defend Balls. The same happened on a smaller scale in Southport. Labour activists were receiving emails beseeching them to go and help in the marginal seat of South Ribble (which Labour failed to take) but choose instead to work their socks off in Southport where the only outcome which they could hope to achieve would be to reduce the Lib Dem vote and let the Tory in. Fortunately our ground war was just strong enough to repel them. Lab/Con do not have pluralist bone in their body.
But let’s look at another way; what on earth did Labour have to gain by trying to stop John Pugh being returned to Parliament. John is clearly of the left indeed he will hold far more radical views than many Labour MP’s! It was of course naked tribalism that was motivating Labour in Southport and other seats where Labour was clearly always going to finish 3 or 4th – our way or no way, but it led to Tory MP’s being helped to be elected under our warped electoral system!
I have seen the tribalism at first hand in the trade union movement which I worked within for many years. Yes, now a days there are few union activists openly supporting Labour in trade unions because of the Party’s stance for example on starting privatisation within the NHS. And of course this is where Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham has problems because of his involvement in NHS privatisation when Labour were last in Government.
But tribalism can also help forget the past. It’s as though Labour had nothing to do with NHS privatisation if you listen to them these days; it has been expunged from the memory. So you end up with the Labour Party and those trade union leaders who still support Labour openly arguing for someone who helped bring in NHS privatisation to be the next Labour Leader! It did not happen because we say it did not happen.
Not all Labour party members are tribalist of course, indeed I know some who were quite happy to vote tactically this year for Lib Dem candidates to ensure that Tories did not win. Trouble was there were not enough of them this time around and that’s why Labour’s tribalists helped win the election for the Tories!
I have often pondered on the dilemma that faces socialists in UK politics because they seem to find themselves in a cycle of hope and despair in equal measure.
At each general election they try to convince themselves that voting Labour and trying to get others to vote Labour will lead to socialism in government. Of course it never does as there are few if any real socialists in the Labour leadership these days. Indeed, to hear recent appalling statements from some leading Labour figures about those who are unfortunate to need to live on benefits makes you wince.
What I think that real socialists actually end up doing is voting negatively i.e. they vote Labour because they hope that in government Labour will be not as Tory or as bad as the Tories. A kinder form of capitalism is all they can hope for but with people like Rachel Reeves and Harriet Harman leading the Labour Party kinder capitalism, especially for those on benefits, hardly seems to be on Labour’s agenda in 2015.
And don’t get me wrong here I do respect genuine socialists even though I don’t agree with them. I suppose you can say that we see many of the same problems but have radically differing solutions to them. I say that after working for 25+ years in the trade union movement and seeing at first hand the agonies of socialists at the actions of Labour in Government pursuing such things as NHS privatisation, the war in Iraq and ID cards. Like me, socialists abhorred these Labour policies and they campaigned against them but when a general election comes along some of them then campaign for the very Labour Party they have been fighting against.
Some will say that they are not supporting the Labour Party but they do have a great respect for their local Labour MP who in their view is a true socialist. A worthy aim but it still potentially puts into government a Labour Party they will have to campaign against.
Others hope that one day true socialists will take over the Labour Party and it will once again become what it was when first formed out of the trade union movement all those years ago. They will of course be sadly disappointed.
I have noticed that some socialists are gravitating towards the Greens and you can see socialist authoritarianism creeping into the Greens as a consequence.
But what surprises me most is how some socialists can turn a blind eye and or a deaf ear when the Labour Party is promoting things like NHS privatisation, the Iraq war or these days more greater and deeper austerity cuts in public expenditure. If you genuinely oppose such things how can you campaign against them but then vote for the Party promoting them?
As I say a real dilemma for socialists who privately must be thinking about such matters regularly, especially near a general election.
I was stopped yesterday my a resident who showed me a Molyneux Ward (Aintree Village, Melling and South Maghull) Labour Party election leaflet and who asked me to read a particular part of it and tell them what I thought it said.
An odd request in some ways but have a look yourself. The convoluted English does not help but the message folks are in danger of picking up is that Labour is in favour of this list of things! And yes, I did the same double take as the resident who had stopped me had done because I also thought it was confession time for Labour!
What the eye actually picks up is:-
And then when you think about it
* Tuition fees were Labour’s idea
* Labour Councils have been closing Children’s Centres
* Privatisation of some NHS services was very much a Labour policy when in Government.
I could go on but you get my drift. But watch how you word political leaflets is the important message here!