Give the public a say before selling off the NHS, demands Burnham


Scheming, lice-ridden vermin: All the airbrushing in the world could not erase the brutal, calculating dishonesty of the Conservative 2010 election poster.

This guy has been impressive from the get-go: Today (Tuesday) Andy Burnham will call on the Coalition to put its plans for further NHS privatisation on hold until there is clear evidence that the public wants the health service to be sold off.

The speech in Manchester is being timed to take place before the Conservative-led government signs a series of new NHS contracts that will – underhandedly – tie the hands of a future government.

Sly little devils, aren’t they?

The British public has never given its consent for far-reaching and forced privatisation of services – and that’s what Mr Burnham will be saying.

He will point out that the forced privatisation of the NHS is entering new territory and becoming harder to reverse: Contracts are being signed that will run throughout the next Parliament and beyond, tying the hands of the next government in a crucial area of public policy.

Not only is this unacceptable to Labour, but it has never been accepted by the public, and Mr Burnham will say that comedy Prime Minister David Cameron needs to be reminded that the NHS does not belong to him but to the British people – and he never received our permission to put it up for sale.

He will remind everybody that Cameron was dishonest about his privatisation plans before the last election. Cameron said there would be “no top-down reorganisation”.

If he wants to continue to force privatisation through, he should seek the consent of the public at the 2015 Election, Mr Burnham will say.

And he will contrast the increasingly fragmented and privatised travesty that Cameron wants to force on you – where service has become a postcode lottery dependent on the cost-effectiveness of providing certain forms of healthcare in your locality – with a public, integrated NHS as Labour intends to re-form it.

It was confirmed last week that NHS spending on private-sector and other providers has exceeded £10 billion for the first time.

“For all its faults, it is a service that is based on people not profits,” Mr Burnham will say. “That principle sets our health service apart and was famously celebrated two years ago at the Opening Ceremony of our Olympic Games.

“When his reorganisation hit trouble and was paused, David Cameron explicitly promised that it would not lead to more forced privatisation of services. But… on his watch, NHS privatisation is being forced through at pace and scale.

“Commissioners have been ordered to put all services out to the market.

“NHS spending on private and other providers has gone through the £10 billion barrier for the first time.

When did the British public ever give their consent for this?

“It is indefensible for the character of the country’s most valued institution to be changed in this way without the public being given a say.”

Among the long-lasting agreements due to be signed by the Coalition in a bid to tie the next government into its privatisation of services are two contracts for cancer care in Staffordshire lasting no less than 10 years and worth a massive £1.2 billion; a five-year contract worth £800 million for the care of older people in Cambridge; and a contract in Oxford and Milton Keynes set to begin a month before the General Election for medical staffing.

The last of these is using a ‘reverse auction’ process where the lowest bidder wins, confirming fears of a ‘race to the bottom’ culture and contradicting claims from the Government of no competition on price in the NHS.

Once again Labour shows us that there is no depth to which the Cameron administration will not stoop. This time they are using the summer Parliamentary recess to sign contracts intended to prevent any future government from restoring our health service and reversing the appalling damage they have done so that they and their friends can profit from the suffering and sickness of the poor.

They could not do more damage if they were a filthy, sickening, scheming plague of lice-ridden vermin; in fact, that is exactly what they resemble.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Buy Vox Political books!
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


Vox Political needs your help!
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

21 thoughts on “Give the public a say before selling off the NHS, demands Burnham

  1. Smiling Carcass

    Reblogged this on SMILING CARCASS'S TWO-PENNETH and commented:
    A contract is a two-way agreement and I don’t see why a future Labour government couldn’t say ‘we didn’t sign the contract’ and refuse to honour it.

    Maybe I am naïve and misunderstand the rules- but why should this unelected government tie the hands of a future majority government?

  2. Thomas M

    If I sold off somebody else’s things without their ok, I’d be jailed. Sadly if they do trash the NHS, Labour probably either can’t bring it back, won’t bring it back. or both. Not only are the Tories ruining the NHS but because of a law they made, very few private dentists now use sedation which I need when I have fillings. I really, really want this government gone as soon as possible.

  3. jeffrey davies

    is it to late how can it be if the general public sais it was done without our concent then it isnt realy true to say we want it back has our nhs not privitised how can they tie others into their schemes when its a criminal act they do for gain to themselves and mates who will take proffits offshore leaving us poor in health and wealth greed it seems is the tories way and changing it back has its chains attached

  4. Pingback: Give the public a say before selling off the NHS, demands Burnham | Warcraft, Books & Fibromyalgia

  5. lallygag26

    It’s difficult not to like Andy Burnham, but I have to take issue with you saying he’s been impressive ‘from the get go’. He was a right winger in Blair’s neoliberal gang and though it’s good to see he’s moving towards a more public sector focused perspective, I really wouldn’t over egg the pudding.
    He hedges all his commitments to the NHS by saying they are within Ed (arch conservative) Balls’ zero costed spending plans. He is in favour of the role of the private sector within the NHS. He believes in extending the contracts and strengthening the role of the third sector (and ‘social enterprise’ is often a thin disguise for privatisation – check out corporate watch for how it’s done). He supports TTIP as ‘good for the economy’. Work by the LSE, John Hilary of War on Want, KONP and others shows very clearly the flawed nature of the projections of this supposed economic ‘benefit’. TTIP is a nightmare in the making.
    Encourage his moves in the right direction by all means. But disproportionate praise for Labour for something they haven’t done yet, while they fail to acknowledge their own contribution to the destruction of the NHS, makes me uneasy. They may start thinking they’ve gone far enough to please the voters already, and they haven’t done that by half yet.

    1. Mike Sivier

      “From the get-go” in this case refers to the beginning of the current age of darkness under the Coalition government.
      What do you mean by “zero costed spending plans”? ALL Labour’s spending plans have been thoroughly checked for cost and if Burnham has said his NHS promises are within the limits of those plans, it means they can be done from the start of a Labour government and won’t have to wait a year until Labour is free of contractual obligations left by the Tories – which appears to be the reason for the promise not to increase spending.
      If Burnham is in favour of the private sector within the NHS, why has he promised to repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and kick out private operators?
      Regarding TTIP, he has said that the NHS must be exempted from any agreement if it is signed, which is Labour policy. I agree that the TTIP is a nightmare but on the NHS, Labour is doing the right thing.
      Finally, Labour HAS acknowledged that its own decisions helped create the situation that allowed the Coalition to do what it has done. That’s why Andy Burnham wants to turn the tide in the opposite direction.

      1. lallygag26

        Sadly the reason for no increase in spending is because Ed Balls’ economic policy group is firmly wedded to austerity and the aim of achieving a ‘surplus’. This is now considered to be a proper goal of government. Apparently both sides think this proves they are ‘responsible with the economy’. A surplus is not a piggy bank stuffed with cash. In Keynsian econonomics a surplus is a tool to shrink an overheating economy. In neoliberal economics a surplus is a tool to shrink the state.

        You can’t ‘do the right thing’ on TTIP by ‘excluding’ the NHS. It is difficult to see, with the onion skin layers of market-reinforcing legislation that lie in CETA, TPP, TTIP and TISA, not to mention existing rules in GATS and the WTO, how any such exclusion could be achieved anyway. There is nothing good in these Agreements. This is about the market writing our legislation for us – a real attack on democracy. Labour should be opposing TTIP and making the arguments to people so they understand why. But they won’t because, amongst other things, it makes them look anti Europe, which they aren’t.

        If Burnham is not in favour of the private sector why is his office writing to people to say that ‘there is always a role for the private sector in the NHS’? Why are they talking about strengthening and extending the role of the third sector – read Caroline Molloy’s article in openDemocracy for a thorough debunking of the idea that this is less dangerous to national planning and universal access than the private sector. And I’d like to know where you think Burnham says in any policy document that he’ll ‘kick out private operators’.

        Why did Ignacio Garcia Bercero write a letter to John Healey spelling out how the TTIP works in simple language? Bercero is chief negotiator on TTIP and Healey the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Committee, are they really communicating at this basic level so far into the negotiations? The letter is being used by Labour as a guarantee of exclusion for the NHS. It is no such thing. It is, therefore, worrying that Labour says it is.

        Do I think Labour are better than the Tories? Indisputably yes. Do I think that we should stop fighting to get Labour to change its approach to some fundamental questions of social solidarity before May 2015? Absolutely not.

  6. judithpgarbutt

    Thanks to Nick Clegg, and his need for to gain a little power, we were left with a government of thoughtless, heartless, greedy individuals who think they have the right to ride rough shod over the ordinary people. The health service was even sacred to Mrs Thatcher, but unfortunately not to this mob. Sooner they go the better….thanks Mr Clegg…you`ll get yours.

    1. Thomas M

      When the next election comes around the Lib Dems are going to be reduced to not much more then a husk of a party by the angry voters.

  7. Leoni Al-ajeel

    Im my opinion the Tories are selling off something which does not belong to them in the first place. The NHS belongs to the people not the Government, it is the people who have paid for the NHS and made it what it is today, how do they have the right to sell something that is not theirs, and without our say so. This is criminal and should not be allowed. Hands off our NHS it is needed for the poor and needy not to line pockets of the elite.

    1. lallygag26

      Hi Leoni, the NHS is not for the poor and needy – although that’s what we’ll end up with it being if we carry on in the current direction of travel.

      The NHS is designed for everyone who needs it. Clinical need, not the ability to pay, means that rich or poor will be treated as human beings, not as walking bank balances. If the NHS doesn’t refuse the poor it equally doesn’t exploit the rich.

  8. Pingback: Cameron’s crackdown on immigrant benefits is just another grubby con | Vox Political

  9. prinderella

    Screw up a system and then sit back and wait until the people who receive the service grumble about how impotent it is… and then turn around and casually suggest that they could give it to the private market where it will be “so much better.”

    The truly stupid thing about all this is the fact that most people in the UK have been so bleeding unobservant for so long (to say nothing about stinking forgetful) that they stand a good chance of getting away with it.

    1. judithpgarbutt

      that’s what they are up to, waiting to say, things will be better under privatisation….they are the ones whose deliberately starved NHS of cash, and changed the level playing field by their tinkerings…to make sure the people get ripped off by their rich cronies…but there will be some who believe them.

  10. Pingback: Give the public a say before selling off the NH...

  11. jaypot2012

    Well I am still praying for Independence in Scotland as our NHS is doing fine. If the Cons get back in with Ukip? then we are all in huge trouble and I’d say it would be best just to get to the red button and push it!

Comments are closed.