Posts Tagged ‘Privatisation’

So Stephen Williams voted to privatise Britain’s forests.  No real surprise there it was clear that Williams would back the sell off after he told the Bristol Evening Post

“I can see that people are very concerned about this and I will make sure that ministers understand the strength of feeling.

“I grew up in Wales near woodland and know how important it is. I will do whatever I can to preserve access.”

He thought abolishing tuition fees was important too but failed to vote against tripling them. He told people in the election that he supported fair taxes then fronted the Lib Dems in parliament to increase the regressive VAT to 20%.   He is an advocate of Higher Education but voted through the budget which agreed to cut university teaching funding by 80%.  He has said he supports local Government and has voted for a 25% in council funding.  He went on TV promoting the Severn Barrage which his Government has ditched.

The forestry issue may come back to bite him though, not just because of the letters he claimed to have received on the subject (800 according to the Evening Post) but that a large number of Forestry Commission staff live in his constituency and are now facing redundancy.




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I have read a number of political blogs making their predictions for 2011.  I am surprised at the limit of their scope – addressing such issues as defections, byelections, the future of party leaders and and AV referendum result.

I guess I am feeling much more gloomy.  My predictions for 2011 are less specific.  I see a future where across Europe public services will be broken up and replaced by a US model of corporate capitalism. Increasingly we will see more and more of the services we rely on privatised, downsized and plundered.  At the forefront of this move in the UK will be the NHS as corporate vultures swoop in on GP commissioners offering unbelievable deals as they pick away at our health services.

Any wealth created will be increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small elite.  The recession created by the corporate sector will be used by them to expand their power over our lives.  We will see the gap between rich and poor, nationally and internationally, widen and an increasing number of people living at the edges of poverty.

The politics of climate change will shift from tax and regulation to seeking the magic technological bullet which in turn can be used to generate profits for the corporate sector.

I am increasingly concerned that the mainstream political parties are unable or unwilling to challenge neo-liberal corporatism, partly because it suits those on the right and that it is seen as too big to challenge at the national level.  The European Union, which had the potential, if not the structures or leadership, to challenge big business, is being brought down by money market speculators.

The trade union movement lacks the energy and strength to act as the resistance to the cuts but in many respects offers the hope of challenge. They need to rediscover their core purpose and act internationally as well as nationally to have any impact.

Crikey I am a miserable sod today.

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Medicine Man

Aneurin Bevan's creation is about to be broken up and sold off

The Government’s plans to reform the health service can be seen as logical. GPs are close to the patients, know what they want and are best placed to be the ‘purchaser’ of health care.

Many GPs are committed to the NHS and are keen to get the best for their patients, however some are not.  They are already running practices as private companies and are not really concerned about the NHS as a concept.

The purpose of these reforms is to shift the NHS to a federation of private providers. Some GPs will employ private companies to run their commissioning activities with the freedom to purchase services outside of the NHS maybe creating a market for new private sector providers to enter the British health market (I hate the idea of illness being a commodity).  Over time the NHS will become weaker and these reforms will help to pay to expand private provision and marginalise public sector.

The NHS can not be privatised wholesale, it is far too large and loved however the condem reforms start by breaking up the service into small units far easier to be swallowed by the private sector.

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cameronafrica The Conservative Party has published fairly detailed policies on how it will deal with international development. Strangled under Thatcher, Cameron has made international development a spending priority area. Their document “One world Conservatism: A Conservative Agenda for International Development” was the subject of a discussion last week at the Bristol West Labour Party International Development Group – not an unbiased forum.

What shines through the document once you strip away the warm words to keep compassionate conservatives and others on board is an interesting exposition of Tory policy.   Scattered throughout the document is the involvement of the private sector in meeting the developing worlds problems including health and education (as just about everything else). For example:

We will consider funding insurance schemes, bursaries, or targeted vouchers for the poorest children to attend a school of their choice”

“We stand ready to support private sector investment in the developing world through government led trade delegations to developing countries and exploring ways in which DFID could co-invest in developing countries alongside private sector companies.”

“We will also examine how DFID spending could better stimulate and support private sector growth in developing countries, for example through procurement policies which wherever possible stimulate local enterprise. Boosting enterprise in developing countries whilst also meeting other development goals such as improving public health or dealing effectively with emergencies”

This may seem bizarre given that many of the children needing help just want a school!

Given that the Tories keep telling us that they hate quangoes and will be closing them down.  In the field of International Development they plan to set up a new one “Independent Aid Watchdog” to duplicate work the DFID (Dept for International Dvt).

They also aim to reverse the Labour policy of linking aid to trade the conservative document positively promotes it.  This means that once again aid will become conditional rather than needs led.

To get more public buy in they want to put some of the aid budget up to a public vote, a bit like the people’s millions for the lottery.  This won’t be projects competing for cash but desperate people in the poorest parts of the world.  Personally I find turning international aid into a version of the X-factor sickening.

In conclusion we have the Conservative world view (my favourite quote from the document is the slightly mad “Capitalism and Development was Britain’s gift to the world” – so that is what the British Empire and African slavery was all about).

In this document I see a summary of what lies behind the Tory Party, privatisation of public services, voucher schemes, trickle down economics, increased health insurance and gimmicks to allocate public funds all overseen by quangoes.

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