tolerate

Port Talbot is a town in the county borough of Neath Port Talbot, Wales.

Meanwhile, the Manic Street Preachers were a rock band formed in 1986 in Blackwood, Wales. I remember vividly the song “If you tolerate this, your children will be next.” I associate it with the Thatcher legacy, but this was some time before the even worse administration of David Cameron. The song’s theme is taken from the Spanish Civil War, and the idealism of Welsh volunteers who joined the left-wing International Brigades fighting for the Spanish Republic against Francisco Franco’s military rebels. The song apparently takes its name from a Republican poster of the time, displaying a photograph of a young child killed by the Nationalists from bombing, with a blunt warning “If you tolerate this, your children will be next”.

The current Conservative Party have made great play of how their calling was to salvage the UK economy, after the mess that Labour left. But the facts are the national debt is going through the roof. A Tory manifesto pledge is no further rises in income tax and VAT, while somehow producing a 24/7 NHS. And all to this the Osborne ultimatum that the economy will always have a surplus, strangulating at birth any notion of borrowing to invest. So the sums don’t add up. If you tolerate this, with trillions of pounds of national debt, and more debt from the recent Conservative years than 13 years under Blair and Brown, your children will be next.

If you think we had problems in the Health and Social Care Act (2012), it is worth looking at how the Republicans tried to kill off ObamaCare as “a State takeover of healthcare”. Ronald Reagan had warned about the ‘evils of socialism’ – “one lie leads to another”, “all of us can see what happens when the State… invades every area of freedom… until one day we wake to find we have socialism.”

But the Republicans have a drive to preserve the private insurance industry, and a big market for Big Pharma. English dementia policy, with its crippling cuts to social care, under the Conservatives too seeks the “magic bullet”. But the problems of private health insurance are well known to US citizens. Legally it is easy for a corporate to invalidate a medical insurance package through any misrepresentation or non-disclosure of relevant information.

Take for example this horrific example, which was the focus of much scrutiny as Obama tried to introduce the Affordable Care Act.

In a CNN news story entitled, “Cancer patient tells of rips in health insurance safety net”, the chilling tale of Robin Beaton is told.

“Robin Beaton found out last June she had an aggressive form of breast cancer and needed surgery — immediately. Her insurance carrier precertified her for a double mastectomy and hospital stay. But three days before the operation, the insurance company called and told her they had red-flagged her chart and she would not be able to have her surgery. The reason? In May 2008, Beaton had visited a dermatologist for acne. A word written on her chart was interpreted to mean precancerous, so the insurance company decided to launch an investigation into her medical history. Beaton’s dermatologist begged her insurance provider to go ahead with the surgery.

[…]

Still, the insurance carrier decided to rescind her coverage. The company said it had reviewed her medical records and found out that she had misinformed them about some of her medical history. Beaton had listed her weight incorrectly. She also didn’t disclose medication she had taken for a pre-existing heart condition — medicine she wasn’t taking when she originally applied for coverage.”

Jeremy Hunt is leaving a legacy of bankruptcy – deliberately starving off the NHS to make it ripe for invasion by the private sector body snatchers.

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“Sustainability” has been a word completely taken out of context. It has a precise meaning in management, which arises ultimate from The Brundtland Commission’s Report, Our Common Future, which described sustainable development as, “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Nowadays, it’s the lazy right-wing journalist’s shorthand for ‘we do not wish to afford the NHS through general taxation.”

But part of the reason we had been ‘all centrists now’ was the unwillingness of New Labour to put a bluer shade of red water between it and the Conservatives. Therefore, it preferred not to speak about state intervention. But now Corbyn has a petition signed by thousands asking for the State to ‘do something’, whilst Sajid Javid, back from a holiday nearly, says ‘nationalisation is not the answer’. Tata, which owns the remnants of the former British Steel, has got totally hammered by ‘market forces’  – and surprisingly blamed cheap Chinese imports, the strong pound and high electricity costs for its decision to stop production of steel plate. Tony Benn said famously once in parliament that when he is reminded of market forces he thinks of a homeless person sleeping under a bridge in the city – and of course the number of homeless in London has shot up under Boris Johnson, after Boris had pledged to do something about the problem.

About 900 jobs will be lost at Scunthorpe and 270 in Scotland with the rest going at other UK sites. Plate mills will be mothballed in Scunthorpe, Dalzell in Motherwell, and Clydebridge in Cambuslang, near Glasgow.  In the past 18 months, China has flooded the market with cheap, subsidised steel as its economic growth has slowed.

It has been remarked that Chinese steelmakers are fully subsidised by the Chinese government and their regions. So, our laissez faire ‘one nation compassionate’ Conservative government has no hesitation is seeing whole communities go to the wall, so long as they are out of London and are left wing, in steel as per the coal industry, while bailing out the City for a trillion. Of course, high quality steel is not a commodity which we actually need – nothing to see here, please move on

steel

The United States and China have one of the largest trading relationships in the world, at over $550 billion per year. However, one inconsistency in the libertarian ‘free market’ is Washington’s continued use of so-called “non-market economy methodology” when deciding whether Chinese goods are being “dumped” into the U.S. market at unfairly low prices. The practice is actually illegal under World Trade Organization rules. But when China joined the organization in 2001, the United States insisted that an exception be created, allowing it to continue discriminating against Chinese imports for 15 years. T

It is actually little wonder that Jeremy Hunt feels the NHS would be put under threat from ‘Brexit’. Hunt NEEDS the NHS to be part of the EU so that it can be swooped upon by multinationals under TTIP. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a planned trade pact currently being negotiated between the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA).  If concluded it will become the world’s largest free trade pact.  “ISDS clauses” create an additional threat to public services. Under CETA, for example, thousands of Canadian and US corporations (and EU-based transnationals with subsidiaries in Canada and the US) can sue the EU and its member states over changes to regulations that reduce corporate profits, possibly leading to $ billions in compensation payments.  It is argued that the latest text of the EU’s negotiating proposal to the US, made public on 31 July, contains strong safeguards which enable Member States to retain full control over how they provide health services, but certain members of parliament – such as Debbie Abrahams MP – are not letting up over the threat posed by TTIP.

TTIP would enable a multinational corporation takeover of the NHS, making the section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which gave outsourcing of the NHS to private companies rocket boosters, look like a ‘walk in the park’. It has long been argued that technology was the catalyst for managed healthcare in the US, upon which the Five Year Forward View is loosely modelled. Electronic patient records are fundamental to this, and do not understand the ability of some to look at private medical data, which in some cases might lead to increased profits for insurance companies. This is because the more you appear to be concentrating on ‘prevention’ and the more you invalidate insurance plans the more profit you make.

So is the State capable of snooping? It will not have escaped you that the FBI has recently agreed to help prosecutors gain access to an iPhone 6 and an iPod that might hold evidence in an Arkansas murder trial, just days after the agency managed to hack an iPhone linked to the San Bernardino terror attacks. Cody Hiland, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas’ 20th Judicial District, said that the FBI’s Little Rock field office had agreed to help his office gain access to a pair of locked devices owned by two of the suspects in the slayings of Robert and Patricia Cogdell.

It is easy to rebut the accusation that this argument is unduly alarmist, a typical ‘conspiracy theory’. Even now, Consumers are being advised to check their medical records before buying travel, life or health insurance to make sure they give correct answers to the complex questionnaires that they are increasingly required to complete.

The Financial Ombudsman Service had said the following:

“one in four of the complaints it receives about travel insurance related to claims that have been turned down because holidaymakers failed to disclose pre-existing conditions. In addition, two out of every 100 claims for life and critical illness cover are rejected because applicants did not disclose their full medical history. Insurers do not normally see your medical record when you apply for cover but rely on the information you give them to decide whether to offer protection and at what price. However, if you make a claim, companies frequently write to your doctor for a copy of your medical history.”

Junior doctors are right to rail against a contract imposed on them, in the same way that teachers are right to rail against their forced Academisation.

The aim of current NHS policy is to harmonise the NHS as rapidly with the US healthcare system, and the sooner the junior doctors and consultants give in the sooner it will happen.

If you tolerate this, literally your children will be next.

 

 

@dr_shibley

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2 Comments

  1. Mervyn Hyde says:

    What sane person would even dream of dismantling the NHS, The Tories are basically unfit to govern.

  2. jcashbyblog says:

    excellent article. However, you need to mention the role of Osborne who uses the Exchequer as his personal power base for imposing neo-liberal policies that are killing the state.

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