Has Wes Streeting libelled Jeremy Corbyn?

Labour is the new THREAT to the NHS

Can anyone now doubt that throwing the Tories out of power only to let Keir Starmer’s bastardised Labour in is merely exchanging one set of Tories for another?

Starmer’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting has penned a screed in arch-Tory newsrag The Sun, stating how he intends to inject even more privatisation into the National Health Service – which is already suffering mightily at the hands of the cash-guzzling amateurs.

The article was discussed on ITV’s Good Morning Britain – and take close note of the response by right-wing (pro-Tory) commentator Andrew Pierce:

Here’s a politician writing in a Tory rag, being compared with the Tories in his thinking. If he looks like a Tory and acts like a Tory, then what is he?

Here’s a link to the article, if you can really bear to read it. Diane Abbott is right about the falsehood of claiming the private sector has “spare capacity”; it would create the ability to fulfil contracts by luring NHS-trained doctors and nurses away from the public service, making it even less able to cope than it is now:

The article has attracted widespread outrage from more or less everyone with any knowledge of the subject. Here’s economist Richard Murphy:

His article states:

We have a Labour shadow minister actively seeking office, declaring war on his own party’s natural supporters and the NHS unions. And people wonder why I can see nothing of merit left in Labour.

This labour leadership is a total disgrace, having sold out on any remaining principles the right of the Party ever had.

“Sold out” is absolutely correct. According to the following figures, Streeting has taken nearly £200,000 in donations from private health companies. Businesses do not hand out cash without expecting something in return and, looking at the Sun article, Streeting’s offer to them seems clear.

Remember: according to Diane Abbott (and This Writer’s understanding is she’s right), there is no “spare capacity” in the private sector to do the extra work Streeting intends to offer.

Left-wing political magazine Tribune, that counts NHS founder Aneurin Bevan among its former editors, has attacked Streeting’s plans, saying he is now the greatest threat to the NHS:

The article states:

There was a major controversy when Starmer’s Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting first stated last year that a future Labour government would tap spare capacity in the private health sector to reduce NHS waiting times. There he was—not for the first time, it must be said—in full concord with the government, which is already doing the same. Last year, Keir Starmer also reneged on his earlier pledge to end NHS outsourcing.

This is a strong indication that the fragmentation and encroaching privatisation of the NHS—which, after all, accelerated greatly under New Labour with its enthusiasm for outsourcing and Private Finance Initiative (PFI)—will continue with Starmer as prime minister.

Since becoming shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting has made a point of picking fights both with his own party’s base and with the health unions. In an interview with The Telegraph last October—gleefully headlined ‘Labour Vows War on Hostile” Health Unions’—Streeting rejected nurses’ pay demands and opposed the strike by the Royal College of Nursing. 

In full Tony Blair cosplay mode, Streeting lectured hard-pressed frontline staff about the supposed something for nothing culture’ in the NHS—which relies on staff routinely going above and beyond the call of duty—and said the health service must ‘reform or die’.

The Labour Party’s recent health policy document, ‘Build an NHS Fit for the Future’, continues in much the same vein. Some on the Left too often believe that problems within the NHS can be solved with more spending alone,’ the document states. And some are afraid to confront the failings in the current system for fear people might mistake reform for efforts to undermine the founding principle of the NHS.’ 

It complains that the the NHS is still designed for the world of 1948’. If only it were. After decades of privatisation, outsourcing, low wages, and funding cuts, the health service is barely comparable to the world-leading service enjoyed by past generations.

We may wonder why Streeting has chosen to set his face against health unions, whose calls for fair pay and a properly-funded NHS are in the interests of patients as well as staff. Partly, this is what passes for iconoclasm among Blairites—defining themselves against the Left, and against public ownership in particular—and partly a reflection of the Labour Party’s growing reliance on corporate vested interests.

In January 2022 and April 2023, Streeting accepted donations of £15,000 from hedge fund boss John Armitage for ‘staffing costs’ in his office. Armitage’s interests include a stake, reportedly worth in excess of $500 million, in US private health insurance giant UnitedHealth, America’s largest health insurer. 

But this is far from Streeting’s only link to private healthcare interests. Campaign group EveryDoctor also raised questions over donations from Peter Hearn, a majority shareholder in a recruitment agency which works with private healthcare companies, and his affiliated company MPM Connect Ltd. One of these donations topped £80,000, the group said, while another ran close to £50,000.

Streeting likes to present his planned reform’ as an example of pragmatism over dogma. But, as the Socialist Health Association has pointed out, private hospitals contribute little towards clearing the NHS backlog—because the doctors and nurses who work in them are themselves largely drawn from the NHS, which also bears the cost of training them. This amounts to a government subsidy of about £8 billion for private hospitals each year.

Moreover, there are concerns about patient safety in private hospitals, which are often poorly regulated. In 2018, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found that two-fifths of private hospitals in England were failing to meet the expected standards. The CQC reported that 41 percent of private hospitals required improvement with regard to patient safety, with 1 percent rated as outright inadequate. Whenever something does go wrong in private hospitals, it all too often falls on the NHS to pick up the pieces.

Private health firms and their mouthpieces continue to circle like vultures around the NHS. Former health secretary and Ayn Rand devotee Sajid Javid has complained of the religious fervour’ that supposedly surrounds the NHS, claiming that it has become a ‘barrier to reform’. But if the public at large opposes this reform’, it is because people know the track record: whatever the ‘reformers’ propose has, almost without fail, been worse for public healthcare and better for profiteers.

Under Keir Starmer, Labour is increasingly reliant on wealthy private donors. This is, of course, how the current Labour leadership likes it; as far as they are concerned, this is far better than being accountable to a base of rank-and-file activists demanding a fully public NHS. But these donors didn’t acquire their fortunes by giving something away for nothing. They will expect a return—and there are few parts of the public sector that capital eyes up more greedily than the NHS.

So there you have it.

Streeting is wrong – and in many cases, lying.

And he thinks you’re stupid enough not to notice.

Meanwhile, people who actually work in the NHS are campaigning for you to vote against the politicians who want to tear the NHS into small pieces and sell them off to businesses whose only concern is profiting from your illness:

This Site supports votes for left-wing Independent candidates, the Green Party and the Workers’ Party – where the policies of those candidates match the needs of the individual voter.

No voter should allow concerns about which political organisation will win the most seats to influence their decision at the ballot box; your only concern is to support someone whose policies match your needs.

And it is clear that the policies of Keir Starmer’s Labour will never match the needs of people who need high-quality healthcare. That party now supports profit over performance.

One Comment

  1. Tony April 9, 2024 at 11:03 am - Reply

    I cannot find it now but there was recently an article on Labour list website which conceded that Streeting could be defeated by independent challenger Leanne Mohamad.

    Please donate to her campaign so that Streeting can be sent packing:


Leave A Comment