Category Archives: Privatisation

Top TV writer makes ‘perfect’ dig at government’s privatisation plans

Cash cow: campaigning organisation We Own It created this banner, with a highly-relevant message. And why DO the Tories want to privatise Channel 4 so much? For their own profit?

Russell T Davies has scored another hit – this time with a single sentence rather than a TV series.

The It’s a Sin creator and returning Doctor Who showrunner was speaking on the red carpet at the BAFTA Awards ceremony.

Asked if he had expected It’s a Sin to have the impact it did – raising money for HIV and AIDS charities and being nominated for 11 BAFTAs – Mr Davies responded as follows:

Of course, it was made on a channel that the government’s going to sell off while they’re also planning to get rid of the BBC licence fee so if you like shows like this, go and vote differently, that’s what I say.

He’s absolutely right!

If This Writer had time right now, I’d be making infographics with that quote all over it, using an image from shows like It’s a Sin, Doctor Who… Peaky Blinders would be another good one… with a tagline saying something like “Conservatives want to kill the best of British TV”.

Because they do.

Source: Doctor Who’s Russell T Davies praised for ‘perfect’ dig at government at BAFTA Awards – Birmingham Live

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Donors who gave Tories £1m between them are handed public health jobs

Sajid Javid: smug Sajid has been challenged to explain what guarantees he has secured to ensure that the new appointees will not use their positions to put private profit over public health.

Look out – the Tories are handing public health jobs to cronies with links to private health investment in their latest lurch towards NHS privatisation.

In March, Oluwole Kolade, a managing partner of Livingbridge, a private equity firm with extensive investments in private healthcare, was made a non-executive director and deputy chair of NHS England for three years.

And Simon Blagden, a chairman of Fujitsu UK, which sued the NHS over a failed IT project, was made a member of the UK Health Security Agency advisory board in April.

How can these be appropriate appointments? They will not support public health because their financial interests lie in the exploitation of health care as a market for making a grubby profit.

Here are some more details:

In just over a decade, Kolade has donated £859,342 to Conservative party headquarters; the party’s London mayoral candidate in 2021, Shaun Bailey; and the party’s branch in Hitchin and Harpenden. About a third of the donations – £300,000 – have been made since Boris Johnson became prime minister.

Kolade is a managing partner of Livingbridge, a private equity firm with extensive investments in private healthcare. Livingbridge’s portfolio includes multiple NHS suppliers, and private dental companies, care providers and fertility firms.

Since 2005, Blagden and companies he is associated with have donated £376,000 to the Conservatives. These include Pietas Ltd, a firm he was director of from 2000 to 2020, and Avre Partnership Limited, which he has been director of since 2014.

He was also a chairman of Fujitsu UK, which sued the NHS over a failed IT project. A parliamentary committee’s inquiry into the debacle in 2013 cited reports that a sum of £700m was sought from the Department of Health.

The government says political activity is not a bar to holding a public appointment and any such activity, including donations, is declared when such an appointment is made.

That’s all very well, but it seems to This Writer that shareholding in private health companies – or in companies that have tried to get contracts in the public health system – indicate a conflict of interest that should indeed bar the candidate (or should I say condidate) from the role.

Source: Two donors who gave Tories £1m between them handed public health jobs

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Dorries defies public opinion to push ahead with Channel 4 privatisation

Cash cow: campaigning organisation We Own It created this banner, with a highly-relevant message. And why DO the Tories want to privatise Channel 4 so much? For their own profit?

What is the point of the government running a public consultation if it is only going to ignore the result because it disagrees with it?

That is the question we should ask after a public consultation on Nadine Dorries’s plan to privatise Channel 4 showed that a massive 24/25 of the public don’t want it to happen.

96% of responses to a Government consultation said they did not agree with the statement that there are “challenges in the current TV broadcasting market” that present barriers to “a sustainable Channel Four” staying in public hands.

Just 2% said they agreed.

A large number of responses to the consultation came through the social campaigning organisation 38 Degrees, which rephrased the Government’s statement as: “Do you think Channel Four should be privatised?”

But even with these stripped out of the figures, the vast majority of the other respondents – 89% – disagreed that Channel Four is facing challenges to a successful future in public ownership, while 5% agreed.

Dorries has unilaterally decided that the 55,737 UK citizens who responded to her consultation don’t matter.

In a response, she reiterated her claim that the broadcaster faces “serious challenges” and that anyone “choosing to dismiss them” is “burying their head in the sand”.

It seems to This Writer that it is the Culture Secretary who is burying her head in the sand!

Her counter-claim is that Channel 4’s current ownership model, as a publicly-owned, advertising-funded broadcaster, is too restrictive.

But it is a model dictated by the government. Dorries says after the channel is privatised it will be better-able to make its own programmes, because the government will then lift restrictions on borrowing money or raising private sector capital by issuing shares.

While remaining in public ownership would preclude the issuing of shares, it would be perfectly possible for the government to vary Channel 4’s current ownership model to provide it with other forms of revenue generation in order to make, and then sell, programmes.

There is absolutely no need at all – and no public desire – for Channel 4 to be privatised.

But Dorries is determined to do it anyway.

Governments don’t make any changes lightly. They always act (in the case of good governments) in the public interest or (in the case of bad governments like that of Boris Johnson) in their own members’ selfish self-interest.

Look at the increasing influence on the National Health Service of private health companies who count dozens (if not hundreds) of MPs as shareholders.

Dorries’s decision means it is appropriate for us to ask: what do the Tories hope to get out of this? And why should we tolerate the loss of another great public institution to their greed?

Source: Nine in 10 people disagree with Government plans to privatise Channel 4 – survey

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Free parking for hospital staff to end as Javid piles insult onto the injury of NHS pay

NHS staff, already insulted by derisory pay rises inflicted on them by the Tory government, are being told they’ll have to find the cash to pay for their parking places again from Friday.*

And the cost is likely to be anything up to three times what they were paying before, because of a Tory manifesto promise from 2019.

The government pledged in their December 2019 election manifesto to provide free parking for some patients and staff on their night shifts.

We know the move has prompted at least one privately run car parking company to pass on the cost to daytime NHS workers.

At the time, I questioned why hospital car parks are run for profit by private companies in the first place. Our health care is supposed to be free at the point of use so I asked, is our useless Tory government getting around that by charging us all to get there?

The question was rhetorical; the short answer is yes.

But neither Sajid Javid nor Boris Johnson, the apparent architect of the policy, appear to have thought it through.

With hospital car park firms passing their losses from free parking on to those who still have to pay, it will soon cost staff too much to work there. Or is that the plan?

*That’s if they work in England, of course. Those of us in Wales (for example) get free hospital parking because healthcare here is considered to be a service to the public, not an opportunity to fleece us.

Source: Free parking for hospital staff to end on Friday – Javid | Evening Standard

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Why are the #Tories handing £270 million pounds to #privatehealth if #Covid19 is declining?

Backhander: private health companies are being given a fortune in public money by the Tory government – and the cash will go to firms that are part-owned by Tories and Tory donors.

Can anybody make sense of this?

But all the indications are that the Omicron wave has peaked and Covid-19 is declining.

There is no reason at all to give any public money to private health companies for Covid-related services.

But the money has gone and is not coming back. It seems clear there is only one reason for it:

The only reason This Writer can find for such funding is the one that has been causing the Tories all their problems at the moment: deception.

Only recently, we were told NHS England did not have enough Covid-19 tests – LFT or PCR – to cover demand; indeed, it had to take four million kits from NHS Wales in an effort to cover the shortfall.

So when we see that the number of infections is down to around 70,000, can we really believe it? Or is the investment in private healthcare justified?

It doesn’t matter – because the Tory government is deceiving us in any event.

If the number of infections isn’t really down, then the government is lying about that; if it is, then the government is lying about the need to pay private health.

My personal opinion? The number of deaths appears to have reduced as well as infections (although we’ll have to see what Monday’s data brings), so I’m willing to hazard a guess that the Omicron wave has broken.

That means there’s absolutely no reason to give any money to the profit-grubbers and Sajid Javid is simply lining shareholders’ pockets for no reason other than squandering your cash.

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Outcry as #Labour says it will go #private to clear #NHS backlog

Wes Streeting: nice hair – shame about the policies.

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting has stabbed the NHS in the back by saying a future Labour government would pay private health companies to reduce the Tory-created health treatment backlog.

Organisations within the NHS responded instantly by calling for healthcare workers to join a union and get organised – on the reasonable ground that “saving the NHS isn’t coming out of Westminster.”

Others reacted with fury to Streeting himself:

And his claim that private sector involvement can cut waiting lists has been disproved:

But then, Streeting appears to have a reputation for backing duff causes:

His comment was a betrayal of a key leadership pledge by current Labour leader Keir Starmer. Funny, that – only last week, Starmer said he stood by those pledges, even though he has broken every single one of them since becoming party leader.

Even if they do join trade unions, those unions are being advised to disaffiliate from Starmer’s Tepid Tory Party, in favour of stronger activism in their own right – for a very pertinent and obvious reason:

Finally, the satirists have had a chance for some fun:

I’m not saying Alan B’Stard could have been a blueprint for Streeting. But the future the fictional character suggested makes more sense than the Shadow Health Secretary’s fantasy.

Besides, there’s an obvious answer to the provision of NHS healthcare by private firms which is that the UK government should simply take it.

The process is called expropriation. In times of national need (like now), the government may simplytake the required service from the appropriate source, which must provide it.

That would be simple and cost-effective. Ah, but it would upset Wes Streeting’s privatisation-based beliefs, wouldn’t it? Poor baby.

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Health service in England to be privatised as Tories pass misnamed ‘Health and Care’ Bill

Snout in the trough (all right – bucket): many Conservative MPs have shares in private health companies that will profit from this legislation.

So that’s that. The National Health Service in England is to be carved into 42 smaller organisations that will be passed into the hands of private, profit-making health companies:

The boards of the new Integrated Care Systems, that commission services, will be dominated by profit-grubbers, and they’re not going to give the non-profit organisation a chance to take money out of their shareholders’ pockets.

This means the duty to provide a comprehensive health service is being abolished. The quality of healthcare in all parts of England will plummet as a result.

The only hope now is for the Lords to bounce the Bill back with significant amendments. This is a possibility as the Tories are in a minority there. But the Commons will most likely just send it back with the amendments reversed because many Tory MPs have shares in profit-making health firms.

Let’s also spare a moment to remind ourselves that Jeremy Corbyn, as Labour leader, warned everybody in the United Kingdom that this was the Conservative plan, with more than 450 pages of evidence, in the run-up to the 2019 election.

His words were ridiculed and Boris Johnson’s Tories were elected with a landslide majority after around 13 million people voted for them.

By a curious coincidence, the NHS waiting list is expected to swell past 13 million over the next few months – due entirely to the same Tory government’s utter indifference to your health.

Many of those waiting more than a year, in pain and suffering, for routine procedures will be the very same Conservative voters who put Johnson and his raiders in power. Do they now have buyers’ remorse?

Not a bit of it!

Like petulant children, Tory voters hate being told they were wrong and will self-harm as a response to being told how to help themselves.

Trust me on that.

I’ve been pointing out Tory failures for years and that’s why This Site’s readership is so… er… exclusive.

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Johnson’s ‘Peppa Pig’ meltdown? Don’t be daft – he was just distracting us from his NHS carve-up

Boris Johnson and Peppa Pig: no, she’s not his new anti-corruption minister but if he’d thought of it, he would probably have announced it, to create a bigger distraction from his NHS privatisation Bill.

Everyone’s talking about it so it achieved exactly what Boris Johnson intended.

I refer, of course, to this:

Worse was to follow. He performed a “vroom vroom” impression of an accelerating car, and went onto a lengthy tangent about visiting Peppa Pig World: “I loved it, it’s very much my kind of place.

“It has very safe streets, discipline in schools, heavy emphasis on new mass transit systems I notice, even if they are a bit stereotypical about Daddy Pig.

“But the real lesson for me, going to Peppa Pig world, I’m surprised you haven’t been there, was about the power of UK creativity.”

As a result, instead of reporting on a lengthy debate in Parliament on the future of the National Health Service as provided in England, the UK’s news shows were doing… well, this:

And that was all Johnson wanted.

He knows the Health and Care Bill is an absolute stinker – for all the reasons This Site has mentioned before.

He also knows he’s unlikely to have much difficulty getting it approved in the House of Commons because Keir Starmer’s Labour “Opposition” is as keen on the privatisation it proposes as he is; all they’re planning are a few amendments – tinkering around the edges.

But he’s also aware that some of us know exactly what’s going on, and have been spreading the word for all we’re worth.

He didn’t want us to get our argument across on-air, so he scrabbled for a way to lock us out.

We see him.

Nobody should be surprised at this – for a very good reason:

No, they’re not ridiculing us now. They’re not reporting on NHS privatisation at all.

They’re reporting on Peppa Pig and “vroom vroom” noises.

And while his successor and his cronies talk ineffectively about proposed amendments to the Bill, the greatest prime minister we never had is still telling us what we need to know:

Sadly, when everybody else is screaming nonsense, the only reasonable voice in the room won’t be heard.

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As the misnamed Health and Care Bill goes before MPs, here’s what it will do

Not for sale: sadly, this is just an aspiration now – held by those of us who still think healthcare should be based on patient need and not on provider profit.

[Vox Political first published this article in July. As the Health and Care Bill goes before MPs tomorrow and Tuesday (November 22-23), this seems an appropriate time for a reminder of how they intend to butcher your health service.]

Services will be cut or rationed and the NHS will become an unregulated market for healthcare firms under Sajid Javid’s contradictorily-named Health and Care Bill which – if enacted – will support neither.

That’s the message from Keep Our NHS Public campaigners.

The Bill will break the NHS into 42 separate ‘Integrated Care Systems’ (ICS), each with its own – tight – budget that could lead to cuts in care.

These new organisations would be open to the private sector – and the removal of competitive tendering means contracts could be handed straight to asset-stripping profiteers.

Already, 200 firms are connected to the new ICS structure, including at least 30 US-based health insurance companies.

Companies could be given access to confidential patient information, more patient care will be given by less qualified staff who are cheaper, and non-urgent referrals to hospital delayed or refused because of pressure to make savings.

A drive towards cash-saving digital services means face-to-face GP appointments may end.

The long-awaited overhaul of the care system may end up being a demand on already-overworked family carers to take on more unpaid work as unprofitable community services are stripped away altogether.

National agreements on pay, terms and conditions for NHS staff may be swept away with employees ordered to work wherever private-sector employers find it easiest to make a profit – undermining team working, union organisation and continuity of care.

Oh, and you remember the much-anticipated return of responsibility to the Secretary of State? It means a politician will be able to make devastating decisions about the NHS without any democratic accountability.

The Health Secretary will be able to deregulate jobs – offering them to candidates who don’t have the right qualifications but are available for the right price, risking harm to patients and interfering with professional judgement and staff development.

The NHS will be exempt from the Public Contract Regulations 2015, meaning it will be impossible to reject bids for contracts on the grounds of non-compliance with environmental, social, or labour laws guaranteeing Freedom of Association and the Right to Strike, or on the basis of a bidder’s previous history.

The Health Secretary will also impose local service reconfigurations, weakening or abolishing the right and power local authorities currently have to scrutinise significant health changes.

According to Dr John Lister, Secretary of Keep Our NHS Public and health policy academic

This Bill will not treat even one extra patient, or recruit one extra nurse

He asked why the new law is being deemed so urgent and important – but isn’t it obvious?

Javid, Johnson and the other Tory parasites want to turn your health into a profit-making industry for their donors as soon as possible.

I’ve just picked out the headline issues. Read more details here: Health and Care Bill means lucrative NHS contracts will be dished out ‘without competition’ | Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate

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‘Private healthcare’ is an oxymoron. Its supporters are ordinary morons

If you’re British, and haven’t been living under a rock, you’ll know that the Tory Bill to accelerate privatisation in the National Health Service is to be debated by MPs again tomorrow (Monday, November 22).

It has come under sustained attack from health experts and campaigners who are committed to maintaining the high quality of care that we have come to expect from the NHS – quality that will be abandoned in favour of profit if the Tory Bill is passed into law.

And let’s make this clear: Profit Harms Patients.

Of course it does. If you’re running a health service to make money, then you don’t want people to get better.

You want them to stay sick so you can keep leeching money off of them.

And private health companies are likely to achieve that prolonged sickness in any event as many of their operations are botched so badly that the NHS needs to come in and clear up the mess in many cases. Or it did, the last time I heard anything about it.

That’s why people are saying things like

and

If you haven’t contacted your MP to demand they oppose the Bill, there’s an obvious question you need to ask yourself: Why not?

Don’t tell us, “Aw, well, s/he is a Tory so there’s no point.” There is always a point. If you show these people there’s enough opposition out here to mount a serious challenge to their career come election time, they’re going to start wondering whether it’s worth the risk.

If you’re outside England, don’t tell us, “Aw, well, it’s only in England so it won’t affect us.” It will affect you. I live in Wales and some procedures aren’t available here; if I need them, I’ll have to go across the border. The same applies in Scotland and I understand in Northern Ireland too.

And don’t tell us, “Aw, well, Labour’s going to try to amend it so it’s not quite as bad.” Labour cannot amend this Bill in any way that will help! And the simple fact is that Keir Starmer’s party doesn’t want to. It’s filled with Red Tory weasels who say they don’t like private health while actually supporting it (with a few honourable exceptions).

It’s past time ordinary people in the UK woke up and realised what they voted for.

My honest opinion is that it’s probably too late. I doubt many Vox Political readers were stupid enough to vote for the NHS Privatisation Party (Conservatives) in 2019 but your neighbours probably did, or you have family or friends who did, on the basis that the guy who opposed it once saw a mural (or for some other nonsense reason).

And we all politely let them vote to turn healthcare in the UK from a right into a privilege for the very wealthy.

Put it all together and calling on your MP to oppose the Bill is the least you can do.

You can write to them via They Work For You – it’s easy.

Will you?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

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:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook