Category Archives: Think tank

How the Institute of Economic Affairs wanted to abolish the NHS – and how is it going?

Left-wing commentator Grace Blakely has brought to light this gem that the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) think tank wrote in 2012, explaining how its members would tear down the National Health Service.

She writes: “Neoliberals literally told us a decade ago that their plan to destroy the NHS is to make the service so unusable that the wealthy are forced to opt for private care instead, making the institution easier to defund and privatize.”

That is what the article says…

An alternative strategy would seek to bypass the NHS by liberating the private healthcare sector such that the NHS became less and less relevant as more and more people opted out of state provision to avoid long waiting lists and substandard care.

… although how the IEA expected anybody working on 2023’s starvation wages to be able to afford private medical attention is anybody’s guess. They seem to be calling for anybody off the street to be allowed to set themselves up as doctors or nurses, no matter how unqualified for the job:

Anyone should be at liberty to practice as a doctor or nurse, with patients relying on brand names or competing voluntary associations to ensure quality. Ending current restrictive practices is essential to enable private firms to increase productivity in the sector.

Remember the “Free Schools” debacle, when anybody was allowed to set themselves up as a teacher and indoctrinate your children on any lunacy they liked? How well did that end?

With that policy transferred to health, you’ll be asked to rely for your cures on some quack dancing around you, waving his beads and rattles.

Restrictions on the types of treatment available ‘over the counter’ should be lifted to enable patients to obtain medication without recourse to registered doctors and regulated pharmacies.

This means anybody off the street could set themselves up as pharmacists and prescribe you whatever they liked (and probably charge you the Earth for it) instead of what you need, because they wouldn’t have the training to know what that was.

Burdensome drug licensing regulations should be rescinded. Instead, the testing of new drugs should be left to private firms and free markets. Reputable companies would have strong economic incentives to ensure the safety of their products, while there would also be far more freedom for experimentation and innovation by new market entrants.

In other words, you would be exposed to potentially harmful drugs. Couple this with the de-regulation of pharmacies and you have a drug industry that is incentivised to subject you to unproven and potentially harmful chemicals.

I like this one:

Private firms should be free to bring in low-cost medical professionals from abroad and at liberty to determine rates of pay and working conditions through private contract.

So they would bring in cheap foreign workers to stymie the government’s demand that immigration must fall. This would create a tricky conundrum for a government that wants to privatise the NHS!

Legal reforms could enable patients to waive their right to clinical negligence claims.

In other words, private firms would refuse to provide you with their expensive, unsafe treatments unless you signed a form to say you would not sue them if any harm came to you as a result of their lack of training or competence.

The article was written by a gentleman whose expertise lies in transport policy.

This Writer hopes he has found a more useful way to spend his time, considering the failures of the transport links serving the UK at the moment.

Source: How to abolish the NHS — Institute of Economic Affairs


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IEA think tank representative humiliated on live television

The far-right Institute of Economic Affairs think tank has been accused of influencing successive Conservative governments – most particularly the disastrous short-lived administration of Liz Truss.

It is therefore welcome that IEA representative Emily Carver was absolutely destroyed by Labour’s Angela Eagle on the BBC’s Politics Live on Wednesday, November 2.

I actually saw this when it was broadcast and made a mental note to write something about it – but Maximilien Robespierre has beaten me to it and said what I would have, if I’d had the chance.

Watch:

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Liz Truss’s reliance on the economy improving is ‘not adult thinking’

Interesting: the head of the Resolution Foundation has said that Liz Truss’s hope that the economy will improve is “not adult thinking” – she is simply “hoping that something will turn up”.

Maximilien Robespierre correctly points out that Truss is hoping the economy will bounce back due to her tax cuts. “If that doesn’t happen, then what?”

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Why is this think tank so influential on Tory policy – and who pays for it?

The puppet PM-to-be? Liz Truss appears to be nothing more than a figurehead for shadowy business concerns. Are her strings being pulled by think tanks like Policy Exchange?

Remember the report the Tories pushed into both Houses of Parliament three years ago, attempting to claim that Extinction Rebellion is a terrorist organisation and its protests should be stopped?

A few months later it was revealed that ER had been listed as an “extremist ideology”, to be referred to the Prevent programme – which aims to safeguard vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism.

There was a row, and then the reference was described as an error and removed.

But it is widely agreed that the report played a large role in the drafting of Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act which heavily restricts protest, criminalises many peaceful actions, disproportionately targets minority groups including  people of colour and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

The report had been published by Policy Exchange, a right-wing think tank that is part of the Tufton Street Brexit Nexus which

ties together fossil fuel interests, climate denial groups and a whole array of Brexit campaigns, pushing for a deregulated low-tax playing field pushing profit and growth over people and planet. As well as close ties to most of the current Conservative right politicians, they reach deep into the media, influencing the output of the Telegraph and Spectator, as well as the Times, Mail, Express and Sun.

We don’t know the names of everybody who funds this organisation, but information that is available shows that its work – and therefore Conservative Party policy – is being driven by private business interests:

As well as receiving around £3million per year from undisclosed donors, it has received ‘sponsorship’ money from many UK energy companies for arranging meetings with government ministers, and these included Drax, E.On, Centrica, and lobbyist Energy UK. It also receives money from ‘American Friends of Policy Exchange’, a US non-profit organisation supporting Policy Exchange UK and backed by mainly anonymous donors. They were listed in a 2017 ExxonMobil worldwide-giving report  as receiving a $30,000 donation from the giant fossil fuel corporation. ExxonMobil has spent vast sums over decades on promoting climate denial.

And think about this:

Policy Exchange also funds something called the Judicial Power Project which seeks to limit the rights of our justice system to rein in the power of government ministers or question unfair or draconian legislation. Under the guise of concern over “how and by whom public power is exercised”, it’s basically pushing for more power for heavily-lobbied ministers along with less accountability to a judicial system that may be more resistant to corporate influence.

Other changes suggested by Policy Exchange include calls for amendments to the Overseas Operations Bill, giving soldiers impunity for war crimes, and for government control over appointments of judges; and it has published a major study on “judicial interference” over the government’s Rwanda deal and other anti-asylum proposals. The project strongly influenced the tabling of the Judicial Review Act, which limits citizens’ ability to challenge government decisions in court.

And now, as RealMedia points out,

we are about to face a leader elected by a tiny unrepresentative club, advised by secretly-funded policy units, and cheered on by a media owned by its rich friends and donors.

This will get messy and you will probably be badly harmed by what these people will do. The big question is: how long are you going to let them do it?

Source: The hidden forces pushing change in our democracy and rights – Real Media – The View From Below

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King’s Fund gets a schooling on NHS privatisation | SKWAWKBOX

Not for sale – except under the Tories: It turns out that the money given to private health businesses within the NHS has more than doubled in the last 11 years or so.

This is fun – except if you’re from the King’s Fund, of course.

… and the Tory government…

Have a look:

An influential ‘independent’ think-tank that once recommended the cutting back of ‘acute’ health services has published a Twitter thread claiming that the Tories’ privatisation of the NHS is a ‘myth’, because – supposedly – the proportion of NHS spending on provision by private firms has stayed ‘broadly stable’ for the past ten years.

Pro-NHS campaigner ToryFibs demolished this nonsense with plain fact, in a response quoting the official figures from the House of Commons Library that show the proportion of NHS spending going to private – and usually Tory-donating – firms has almost doubled in that period.

Nip over to Skwawkbox for the details. You can find them here: King’s Fund gets a schooling on the facts after claiming NHS privatisation is a ‘myth’ – SKWAWKBOX

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Was Tory crackdown on protest really prompted by this oil-funded think tank?

Targeted: Extinction Rebellion members – here protesting at a Murdoch print works – were briefly defined as an extremist group. Although they have now been removed from the list, Home Secretary Priti Patel has continued to refer to climate protesters as “criminals”.

A Tory crackdown on legal political protest was devised by a right-wing think tank that is funded by the US fossil fuel corporation ExxonMobil, it has been alleged.

And it is easy to see the reason: it removes the right of ordinary citizens to protest against the climate-wrecking policies followed by the oil industry.

According to Open Democracy,

Policy Exchange explicitly said the government should pass legislation to target Extinction Rebellion (XR) in a 2019 report that got the attention of Tory MPs and peers.

The report called for protest laws to be “urgently reformed in order to strengthen the ability of police to place restrictions on planned protest and deal more effectively with mass law-breaking tactics”.

Sections of Priti Patel’s controversial policing bill, which became the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, appear directly inspired by the Policy Exchange report.

The Policy Exchange report that appears to have contained the seeds of the policing bill was later cited in the House of Commons by Tory MP Steve Baker, who urged ministers to read it, and in the Lords by Tory peer Matt Ridley. Baker is a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate sceptic group that has received money from groups with oil interests in the US. Ridley is a member of the group’s academic advisory council.

Patel said openly that the legislation was intended to stop tactics used by Extinction Rebellion. The home secretary first pledged to introduce the bill just over a year after the Policy Exchange report was published.

Policy Exchange does not disclose its donors, but openDemocracy has uncovered that ExxonMobil Corporation donated $30,000 to its American fundraising arm in 2017.

There is much more information on the Open Democracy site (link below).

Circumstantial evidence?

Maybe – but then it isn’t likely that the Conservative Party, Policy Exchange and ExxonMobil are ever going to admit conspiring to silence legitimate political protest.

Source: Policy Exchange: Was oil-funded think tank behind anti-XR policing bill? | openDemocracy

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Are Tory right-wingers proposing a ‘Northern Bang’ or just another clusterf***?

Money: Margaret Thatcher’s favourite thinktank, the Centre for Policy Studies, says England needs a “Northern Bang” – like the so-called “Big Bang” in the financial markets that ultimately led to the financial crisis of 2008-10. It’s begging for disaster, as Tax Research UK’s Richard Murphy explains.

Tories can’t help themselves, these days. Whatever they do turns into a “complete bureaucratic nightmare” and this plan is no different.

It’s certainly nothing new.

Let’s all be grateful to Richard Murphy for his analysis.

In his introduction, he states: “Margaret Thatcher’s favourite think tank, the Centre for Policy Studies, has published a new report suggesting what they call a Northern Bang – aimed at the Tory Red Wall seats.

“Let’s ignore the fact that they want to favour these seats over those in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Instead let’s note that this is all the usual right-wing nonsense, including relaxing planning rules, providing state subsidies to big, foreign-owned businesses whilst ignoring those already based here, and reformed tax reliefs, for which there is absolutely no evidence of success in encouraging new investment.

“This is a Northern Whimper delivered by a think tank right out of ideas, but which still knows that its real purpose is to shovel wealth upwards from taxpayers to those who own and run large companies.

“The CPS report is here https://www.cps.org.uk/research/a-nor… and my proposals on capital allowances are here https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/w….”

Here’s the video, and it’s worth seeing:

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People with disabilities: do YOU want IAIN DUNCAN SMITH influencing how government treats you?

Iain Duncan Smith: apparently he isn’t demonstrating what he’d like to do to the throats of disabled people, although that isn’t clear from his record.

Iain Duncan Smith – his very name still triggers hate and fear in people with long-term illnesses and disabilities, in roughly equal measure.

It is now nearly five years since This Writer demonstrated that his Department for Work and Pensions had been responsible for more than 100,000 excess deaths of people claiming sickness and disability benefits.

The deaths had happened after he became Secretary of State and changed the way benefit entitlements were assessed, making it much more difficult for people who deserved them to make a claim.

And he perverted the appeal system into a labyrinthine, Kafka-esque nightmare designed to drive people to despair or starvation before ever seeing a penny.

Now, the right-wing think tank that this vile creature founded – and still chairs – is trying to interfere in the lives of vulnerable people once again.

The shockingly-misnamed Centre for Social Justice has launched what it calls a “Disability Commission” which it hopes will influence the Johnson government’s strategy for dealing with disabled people.

According to Disability News Service:

The commission appears set to focus on the role of business, employment and the free market, with CSJ calling on the government to use the disability strategy to “prove that only a market economy delivers sustainable social justice in a way that enables everyone to realise their potential”.

So it seems the plan is to throw people with disabilities into a free-market nightmare in which any skills they have will be ruthlessly exploited to make cash for the already extremely wealthy, while paying them as little as possible.

(Remember when Lord Freud suggested paying them as little as £2 per hour because they were “not worth the minimum wage”? That is what Tories think of the talents of people with disabilities.)

There appear to be a few names on this “commission” who have spoken out against Tory “reforms” in the past, but these seem to be token placements, intended to lend credibility to the project.

This can only be bad news for people on Personal Independence Payment, Universal Credit and/or Employment and Support Allowance.

Source: Thinktank responsible for universal credit launches ‘Disability Commission’ – Disability News Service

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Child poverty could reach 60-year high if Tories win general election – say experts

Child poverty is skyrocketing under Conservative rule. It’s time for a change.

The number of children in poverty could reach a 60-year-high if the Conservatives win the general election, according to the Resolution Foundation.

The organisation predicts a rise in the number of children in relative poverty from 29.6 per cent in 2017-18 to 34.5 per cent in 2023-24.

This is largely because of the impact of the two-child limit on support for families, which is mostly still to take effect.

In comparison, Labour’s plan to spend £9 billion more on social security will lift 550,000 children out of poverty altogether, the think tank says.

Labour has also said it aims to tackle the root causes of poverty, free school meals for all primary school children, expansion of free childcare, guaranteeing a right to food, improving pay and workers’ rights and tackling the housing crisis.

The Tories are still claiming – it would be hilarious if the consequences weren’t so terrible – that they are reducing child poverty.

They’re also still claiming – again, almost hilariously – that work is a way out of poverty (it hasn’t been since they came into office in 2010).

So they reckon fewer children are in poverty because 730,000 fewer of them are in workless households.

Typical Tories – their numbers just don’t add up.

Source: Child poverty could reach 60-year high if Tories win general election, experts warn

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Anti-NHS think tank that funds the Tories – hugely – is itself funded by ‘Big Tobacco’

Kate Andrews: This woman – and the IEA think tank she represents – is bad for your health.

Think about the British Medical Journal‘s findings: Tobacco and food firms whose products are harmful to health have been secretly funding the Conservative Party, through the think tank known as the Institute for Economic Affairs.

So next time the odious Kate Andrews appears on Question Time, or Politics Live, or The Andrew Marr Show saying the NHS should be scrapped, bear in mind she’s speaking for British American Tobacco…

And she’s giving the Conservative government instructions.

A secretive think tank which called for the NHS to be scrapped while its heads pour millions into the Conservative Party – and its MPs’ – coffers is being funded by big tobacco, an investigation has found.

British American Tobacco is one of the groups funding the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a free market think tank which is notoriously close-lipped about its donors.

The IEA has been an outspoken critic of public health measures for tackling smoking, obesity and harmful drinking, and past funders include organisations affiliated with gambling, alcohol, sugar and soft drinks industries.

Health experts said the findings, in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), raise the prospect of a future Conservative leader aligning with big business at the expense of the public’s health.

Source: Big tobacco secretly bankrolling anti-NHS think tank whose bosses donate thousands to Tory leadership contenders, an investigation reveals | The Independent

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