Taking back the NHS?

Today, at the TUC march in London, Ed Miliband said that, if elected in 2015 “on day one we end the privatisation experiment on the NHS”. Brave words? Or deeply cynical and a touch mendacious?

60 or 70 years ago, nationalisation without compensation was possible. The original owners would scream and shout, but eventually it would be a done deal. The world, however, has moved on considerably since then, and is now a far more complex, combative and above all litigious place.

We might deplore, even hate, and rightly so, what’s happening with the carpetbagging of the NHS, the corruption that rides on its coattails, and the government lies and manipulation by means of which it’s been allowed to happen, but the contracts which have been negotiated are lawful and binding, even if the acts that brought them into being were those of sharp-suited thieves.

And therein lies the problem. Assuming that Miliband can get the appropriate bill(s) through Parliament** – and let’s be realistic, nothing at all is going to happen on day one, it’s going to take months at least – then Labour can take back the NHS without compensation. These days, though, the ousted companies will do a lot more than kick and scream.

**By no means certain, as a lot of MPs and peers have a vested interest in many of the companies that have (legally), hijacked the NHS, doubtless some of them Labour MPs and peers.

They’ll sue for breach of contract, and anything else they can think of.

Labour will might try to claim that the contracts were not theirs, but the previous administration’s – which won’t wash. The contracts will be with the government – and if Labour takes over the reins of government, they take over the contracts too.

Labour – or any future government moved to take back the NHS en bloc – will find itself mired in breach of contract litigation, and doubtless litigation of other, quite possibly quite creative, varieties too, until hell freezes.

No government can afford that. Not only will it soak up a massive amount of time and energy, it will bankrupt them, and quite possibly the country too. And where would we be if we couldn’t afford a pointless war or two?

Miliband must know this, which would make today’s statement a flat-out lie. If he doesn’t know this, and didn’t seek advice on whether or not it was doable, before opening his mouth, then by god he’s in the wrong job now and, if he becomes prime minister, will be so far out of his depth the prospect is terrifying.

I really don’t think he’s thought this through, but well before 2015, he really must do so, and explain exactly what he plans to do, because if he opts for compulsory nationalisation without compensation, whatever’s left of the NHS by then is liable to collapse like a house of cards.

Why? Because by 2015, I suspect most of the NHS will be in private hands, and if compulsory privatisation happens, some or all of the incumbents might be moved to cut their losses walk away. True, whatever dedicated staff still remain could keep things running in the short term but, in the inevitable hiatus, who pays the bills? And the wages?

I really do not believe that what Miliband promised today is possible.** The best we can hope for, I believe, is years of haggling and negotiation, and before it’s over, the the public might tire of the chaos, and Tories might well be back.

**I have a feeling that what he meant by “end the privatisation experiment” is simply “no new contracts”. Which is not the same thing at all as taking back the NHS.

15 thoughts on “Taking back the NHS?

  1. no new contracts is at least a start. but unless the contracts already made are for ever then surely he could gradually regain some if not all of the pieces eventually. He has already said in the past that if labour gets in he cannot promise to undo ALL that this government has done but he will undo as much as he can. most of that will be the welfare reforms, (as that was the main thing on the agenda at that time), but as for NHS he said he could not promise to undo all that has been dome to the NHS.only some. we can only wait and see./ lets face it. anything is better than these rich toffs who dont know what hard graft is, dont know what its like to have an empty belly nor money to buy food to fill it. they live in cloud cuckoo cum lala land. Ed
    Milliband has known all those things, or his parents did and brought him and his brother up to know and understand about it. surely he will have more compassion than this lot of morons we have now. if not we might as well lay down and die now.

    • I reckon existing contracts will run for 10-20 years – they’d need to for stability. He knows how long they run for, he’ll have access to that information. And let’s not forget, most of what the Tories have done with regard to benefits was originally Labour policy, and still is. THAT is why Ed can’t – won’t – undo the damage.

      Like Cameron, Ed will make empty promises if it suits him. He has form. And he’s as detached from the real world as any Tory. Apart from one year as a researcher, he’s always been in politics. The major difference between him and Cameron is money.

      Under Ed Miliband Labour has become so close to the Tories you couldn’t get a fag paper between them.

      And even stopping any further contracts after 2015 would be an empty gesture – there won’t be much left by then anyway.

  2. well what else have we got then?cos up to press each lot thats got in in my lifetime has gone back on some if not all their pre election promises.sounds to me like we are doomed both as a country and individuals. nothing to look forward to but planet of the apes style living. us below them above lording it over us

    • The fact is all we can do is vote Labour and try to hold them to a higher standard. We – as in the electorate – have a lever with Labour we don’t have with Cameron and Co. – they need the job. Tories don’t – there’s hardly a member of the cabinet who isn’t independently wealthy, and about 20 of them are multi-millionaires – all that will happen if they lose the election is they’ll have lost a hobby.

      Labour – mostly – are career politicians. For the most part they care more than Tories and are more biddable. To a limited degree, admittedly, but that’s better than not at all. And, overall, more honest (given that it’s a rare politician who’s 100% trustworthy!).

      And a sure way of getting Cameron back in 2015 is for the Left to play silly buggers and split their vote among the minor parties. Voting for the Greens, no matter how desirable it might seem, in 2015 would be a vote in Cameron’s favour (or Boris, by then!).

      • have actually just taken to task one big mouth on one of the political forums who was going on about labour and we should vote for them then said in ( ) that he MIGHT vote elsewhere. with labour followers like him who cant decide where his loyalties lie yet tells others where theirs should lie, we dont stand a chance of labour getting in anyway

  3. How dare he say this, as if Labour weren’t already complicit and knee-deep in the entrails of the NHS before the current government. Whenever Labour are asked ‘why not just nationalise formerly nationalised service X’ (health, transport, whatever) note that they never ever give a straight answer. A choice between Poison A and Poison B is no choice: you’ll still be dead at the end. One will just take longer.

    • The fact is, Labour with never say, in answer to that question “Because we can’t.” No politician will admit that there is something they’d never get away with. As I said, they could nationalise without compensation if they can get the legislation through Parliament. And even if that happened, perfectly legally, the resultant litigation would be horrendous. Someone will always find a legal thread to pull in the hope that the whole thing comes unravelled, and everyone involved would jump on the bandwagon.

      • Your replies are very thoughtful & considered, Ron. I understand why many people will vote Labour & hope for the best. But just looking at Milliband at yesterday’s rally (union-organised rally, I add) and his speech & the response from the crowd…and the BBC referring to those boo-ing him (ie the public) as ‘the ultra-left’…it puts things into perspective. The ultra-left? Really? That’s a lot of ultra-left people who work normal jobs, live normal lives and probably wouldn’t know socialism if it spat in their eye. It just shows how far to the right the parties have actually drifted. Not intending to be argumentative, just giving my view on it.

        • Problem is, you can’t trust the BBC to be unbiased these days. For over 2 years they’ve been the official broadcaster for Cameron. Almost every demo and march last year was ignored, or reported in an obscenely biased manner. On Saturday, because there was no violence, the BBC inserted violence from previous events into their broadcast footage, so anyone just tuning in, or not really paying attention, could be forgiven for thinking it was going on at the time.

          The booing was blown up out of all proportion, too. According to those there at the time, it was mainly the group from the SWP.

          The BBC is about as trustworthy, when it comes to reporting political events, as a weasel in a henhouse.

          If you don’t have a Twitter account, I recommend getting one (it really is far more than people reporting what they had for lunch!) – yesterday it was pretty much the only way of getting honest reportage – from the people actually on the ground. It was the same last year, too – we got the news hours before the press got round to it, and the BBC often didn’t get round to it at all.

          The march got a video of support, yesterday morning, from the Police Federation. That was posted on Twitter – I bet you don’t see it on the BBC!

          If you want to give Twitter a try – assuming you’re not already there – you could do worse than start by following me – you can find me at @rantsfromron (@ronsrants was already taken).

          I’m not saying Twitter is completely unbiased, that would be unrealistic (whereas the BBC has a contractual obligation to be unbiased, and fails miserably), but you do get a very wide cross-section of all political shades, and it mostly evens out. Plus you soon get to know who you can trust. And if you get 10 different people reporting the same thing, it’s a safe bet that it’s actually happening as described.

          • i watched what i could find on the tv as it happened yesterday/. not as much as i had hoped if truth is known/ however, the first bit i saw was on the BBC news in the morning as the marchers started off. and then on the next BBC news report ….later on sky news i saw a small-ish part of Millibands speech (due to having visitors. one of whom had come to take my curtains down for me so they could be washed, then put back up again afterwards. she decided to vac for me (who am to refuse any help i can get?lol) . also her partner was gabbing and i missed a lot of what was said) however i did hear the part where he said about even they would probably have had to make some cuts and if they did get in,there would be hard choices to be made…..the boos started at that but were sporadic not continuous.and came from a small-ish group of people centre front of the stage as far as i could make out. later on i watched a video showing that episode. dont know where it had come from or if it had been tampered with(tho i suspect it had) but it was that same part of Millibands speech but the boos were continuous. surely if the BBC had done anything it would have been earlier not later but the boos certainly were not continuous when it was live from London
            i saw that clip of violence from the police. but couldnt believe it was happening yesterday as i knew the police had representatives on that march ,marching to stop cuts in the police services.and keep their jobs. the only thing i could believe was that the police inside the gates of downing street were armed. after all it was the perfect event for someone who was so pissed off they didn’t care for themselves anymore, to have a go at Cameron. and the police have to protect the man whether they want to or not.though all that really told anyone is that Cameron and or Osbourne were more than likely at home

            • Police on the political protection gig at Downing Street and the Palace of Westminster are always armed (ditto at mainline stations and Heathrow & Stansted). Have been since the IRA campaigns in the 70s.

              There was a Twitter attempt to to smear Miliband,on Saturday, by posting a photo and saying Look, bastard’s turned up at an anti-cuts demo in a Rolls Royce! Until someone else pointed out that it was an old photo, the venue was Leeds United’s ground, and the Roller belonged to Miliband’s host! (I think it was Leeds – some football club anyway), and I took great pleasure in retweeting the correction, to make sure it didn’t sink without trace.

              And on Saturday Morning, the Police Federation sent the TUC a video message of support – bet the BBC didn’t mention that. Even the Met behaved themselves for once. I think the police are finally realising that if they want public support, kicking the shit out of members of the public isn’t the way to get it. Taken way too long to sink in.

              There was one attempt at a kettle, but the people were promptly surrounded by hundreds of others from the main march, and the Met backed off – 150,000 people was more than enough to reduce the entire Met to a blue serge smear on the pavements of London – damn sure they figured that out pretty quickly too – they weren’t messing with a few skinny students.

        • Oh, and yesterday, the most popular abuse hurled at the marchers was, apparently “Get a job!”. Just whom do these morons think trades unions represent? And it was Saturday anyway.

          • I agree, BBC hilariously (& frighteningly) pro-government these days, which is what I meant about their stupid ‘ultra-left’ comments. Having attended the last big march & the Atos demo day, I couldn’t bear to watch BBC or other coverage. The last big march was not violent (there were plenty of ppl with kids, for goodness sake!) yet all the media showed were some smashed bank windows, as if there’d been a spree. People were chatting to the police there, all perfectly calmly (tho there was a police contingent behaving like thugs away from the Park). Am on twitter & it is great for news! Wonder how long until they clamp down on it? Do I sound overly cynical? 🙂

            • Dog bites man, no-one cares. Man bites dog is news. By the same principle, a peaceful demo isn’t newsworthy so, if you’re a cynical bastard like that BBC director, you insert violent footage and hope it fools enough people.

              And censorship is creeping into Twitter – it’s getting all too common for hashtags to be blocked.

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