The Privatised NHS 140


The independence campaign in Scotland has re-established the reality of public debate and a genuine political community.  Through old fashioned meetings and face to face conversation, combined with social media, people are hearing a narrative which is blocked by the gatekeepers of the mainstream media.  Philipa Whitford, a surgeon, here talks about Labour Tories, Tory Tories and Liberal Tories combining to destroy the very principles of the NHS. You don’t get to hear this on the BBC.

You can skip the first minute, but after that I suggest you listen to every word, very carefully.

Hat tip to Munguin’s Republic

I might have worked out how to post my recent podcast interview by Michael Greenwell


140 thoughts on “The Privatised NHS

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  • Margaret

    Why doesn’t the SNP address the currency question in the way that a proper independence movement would?

    If they did that, they’d promise to introduce a Scottish currency. They might also say that they would then endeavour to enter a monetary union, either with rUK or the eurozone.

    Anybody in an ‘independent’ country, and any diplomat anywhere, could tell you that negotiations would be needed and the target might not be achieved. OK, fine – so Scotland would be left with its own currency. That would be no problem for an ‘independent’ country, right?

    Wrong. The reason the SNP doesn’t say any of that is they known damn well that nobody would want to buy the Scottish currency and it would fall through the floor. That’s why a ‘poond’ is out of the question.

    (But every cloud has a silver lining. In saying they don’t want a ‘poond’, they can engage in their favourite xenophobic activity of blaming the English for not letting them have some seats on the board of the Bank of England, which is what a monetary union between an independent rUK and an independent Scotland would mean. The gall of these guys!)

    SNP types always say things like “let’s be like Denmark and Norway”.

    Notice that those two countries are conveniently in NATO, unlike Sweden, Switzerland, or the obvious choice, Ireland, which countries they never cite as comparisons. I wonder how many SNP voters or members or activists are even aware that Denmark and Norway both have their own currencies? (As do Sweden and Switzerland.)

    Most of the punters in Scotland probably think Scotland already has its own currency, because they see “Scotland” written on the banknotes.

    Quite a few people buy the line that “it’s Scotland’s pound too” and that therefore an independent Scotland would have a “right” to demand a monetary union with rUK, just as it would supposedly have a “right” to belong to the EU.

    How about actually seeking to address these matters independently?

    I.e. not like a jumped-up local council?

    Here’s what addressing them independently would look like:

    1) “if we’re not accepted into the EU, we’ll thrive outside of it, thanks”

    2) “if no other country wishes to enter into a currency union with us, we’ll thrive using our own currency, thanks”

    What’s the problem?

  • Margaret

    Come on, has a single leading figure in the SNP got the guts to say

    “if we’re not accepted into the EU, we’ll thrive outside of it, thanks”

    and

    “if no other country wishes to enter into a currency union with us, we’ll thrive using our own currency, thanks”

    ?

  • Mary

    13,600 viewings of Miss Whitford’s video so far.

    ~~~

    I wish Suhayl was still around to comment on the NHS in Scotland as he works within it. I know he got fed up with the multiple pages of bickering here some time back but be assured Suhayl if you are seeing this, that new moderators have improved things greatly.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Margaret

    Thank you for those three posts; you have hit a couple of nails well on the head.

  • Rob Royston

    Brian Fujisan and Myself on 10th May,

    Re JR’s yacht we are wrong about her AIS being switched off. Although she does not appear on marinetraffic.com she shows a trail on shipais.com from Greenock to Oban where she is anchored and from where she did a run up to Fort William and back yesterday. His other yacht is also on the West Coast and moved up from Oban to Skye/Wester Ross a few days ago, where she looks like she’s anchored.

    If you search for Hampshire 2 on marinetraffic.com they say they have later satellite positions, which probably means signing in or even paying a fee.

  • nevermind

    yes I would like to see Suhayl posting again, he must have lost to say about this. Today some 100 GP practises have come together in Norfolk and Suffolk, as a counterbalance to private companies bidding for contracts that can be done inhouse.
    http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/health/more_than_100_gps_across_norfolk_and_waveney_join_forces_to_create_new_federation_1_3594676

    A friend was on holiday in Salford and talked to a chap at the Laury museum, a fairly well off Scotsman by the looks of it. He was adament that should Independence ensue, that he would move back to Scotland lock stock and barrel. he also mentioned a lesser know connection opf the Independence movement with Canadian financial backers….

    anybody heard of this or know what this is all about?

  • Rob Royston

    Margaret, the SNP exists to deliver Independence via a referendum. People will vote Yes who have never voted for the SNP in their lives. After a Yes vote all these questions that you have can be debated in Scotland by parties who will seek the mandate of similar minded people to enter parliament and steer the country where the people desire.
    Have the courage to grasp the freedom to enable us to make these decisions for ourselves.

  • nevermind

    Scotland is an essential part of the EU, it is trading with the EU in a reciprocal manner. That its people speak out for Independence, such as the Catalonians and Basque’s, an internal change of self determination which is not agaionst EU rules, should not make any difference, whatever the biased civil service in Westminster comes up with.

    Scotland will have to pay its fair due and sit at the table, participate and I feel that it would not be worse off within the Eurocurrency. The only stoics in this saga are raised by those establishment figures who will have to make changes to work within or who’s vested interest lie a little too close to the City of London.

    I don’t think that Scotland would be allowed to change the EU Commissioner, selected previously whilst within the UK alliance, until that position is due to be renewed. Its an unelected person anyway and such is the disgust with an unaccountable EU that this manko will hopefully rectified in future.

    The EU is imperfect and needs Europeans to set it on to a sustainable and accountable path. An EU without Scotland would be like cone without the silver sprinkles.

  • Margaret

    These are supposed to be arguments for independence?

    After a Yes vote all these questions that you have can be debated in Scotland by parties who will seek the mandate of similar minded people to enter parliament and steer the country where the people desire.

    Why don’t you want to debate now what the ‘independence’ proposed by the SNP actually consists of?

    Why should we vote “Yes” and then wait and see?

    The SNP currently forms the Scottish Government. It is supposed to lead the country on many issues. If the vote goes “yes”, we can expect them to lead us towards independence day, right? Especially since ‘independence day’ will be before the next Scottish general election.

    Let me spell this out: if you vote “Yes”, you are voting for the SNP government to lead Scotland towards the implementation of full independence in 2016 and for at least a short time afterwards.

    Don’t you realise that in the event of a “Yes” vote, some very important decisions will be taken during that time, decisions which won’t be put to a popular vote?

    Why should we buy a pig in a poke?

    They are treating us all as if we are idiots.

    For example, they haven’t even said there’ll be a constitutional convention after a “Yes” result. Why not?

    Do their supporters even know what a constitutional convention is? Or do they just think in terms of national pride?

    You are intelligent enough to post to this blog. Surely you are intelligent enough to address the very serious point that an independent country should, if it’s not allowed to join a union of states, and if it can’t find any partners with which to form a currency union, be able to print its own currency and thrive, er, independently?

    Because ‘independence’ ain’t worth zilch if that’s not the case.

    That’s what ‘independence’ means.

    Don’t you want your leaders to be able to lead even if they don’t get what they want in the international arena?

    Or do you want to go on blaming the English forever?

    Blaming the English forever isn’t very ‘independent’, is it?

    These issues can’t sensibly be addressed in terms of blaming “Westminster” or chanting that Scotland’s already in the EU – or all that other specious rubbish.

    Take it down to basics and ‘Scottish independence’ as proposed by the SNP crumbles into dust.

    Have the courage to grasp the freedom to enable us to make these decisions for ourselves.

    You what? Far more people in Scotland vote in UK general elections than in Scottish ones. Those who vote in the former but not the latter are cowards in your book? You think it’s brave to put an ‘X’ on a bit of paper?

    Tell the SNP leadership to have the “courage”, not me. Tell them to say very clearly that if Scotland is not accepted as an EU member or a member of a currency union, then the country will thrive with its own currency.

    Those are circumstances which a government of an independent Scotland may very well have to face.

    Will they be up to it?

    Or will they be saying they don’t want to be ‘independent’ any more if they can’t get what they want when they actually are ‘independent’?

    The problem with that is that rUK probably wouldn’t have them back. Oh dear!

    Do you really think the SNP are being unselfish on these issues, because they want to leave them up to the people to decide?

    Then it’s bloody funny that they do manage to say that an independent Scotland will be in NATO and have a monarchy then, isn’t it?

    Have the courage not to believe in the Camelot you’re being sold by self-serving creeps.

    Scotland is an essential part of the EU, it is trading with the EU in a reciprocal manner. That its people speak out for Independence, such as the Catalonians and Basque’s, an internal change of self determination which is not agaionst EU rules, should not make any difference, whatever the biased civil service in Westminster comes up with.

    Just look at your premise: “Scotland is an essential part of the EU“. No it’s not, any more than Perth is. The EU is a union of member states, and Scotland isn’t one of those member states. (Those are facts, not opinions). And most people in Scotland say they’re not going to vote for independence. I have no idea what an “internal change of self-determination” means, unless you’re saying that a single member state can split into two and both then have the right to be EU members, or that the government of a territory that secedes from the territory of a member state has the right to be a member. (Contrary to myth, Britain is not actually a union in the technical sense, but I digress.) There’s no EU rule that says anything like that. You’re kidding yourself.

    Do you think there’s a court that an independent Scotland could go to, arguing that Scotland has an automatic right to EU membership, without any negotiations as to conditions? If so, what court would that be?

    Opposition by one EU member-state would be sufficient to stop Scottish EU membership. I can’t see Berlin (or should I say “Mitte“? 🙂 agreeing to membership, can you? Whether or not to accept Scotland will be a political decision taken by the other member states, and if there is no unanimity then the status quo will prevail.

    If you want independence, start seeing rUK as one foreign country among many.

    And anyway, if you want independence, then surely you think Scotland can thrive outside the EU anyway? Otherwise, logically speaking you should resolve the issue with the EU first. Then, if it goes against you (which it would), stop saying you want independence.

    I’d have much more respect for the SNP if it took that approach. I’d also have more respect for it if it said Scotland will thrive whether or not it’s accepted as a member of the EU and whether or not it successfully negotiates a currency union with rUK.

    To take either of those routes would be to give leadership.

    As for the “biased civil service in Westminster”, that’s such typical Scotnat verbiage. All it means is “We blame the English”. Please try to grow up if you want to be ‘independent’. I suppose Whitehall is located in “Westminster”, but for everyone except Scottish nationalists trying their best to pronounce ‘Fucking English Bastards’ in a superficially palatable way (I’m thinking of Dr Strangelove for some reason!) that political metonym usually denotes the British legislature (and maybe sometimes the Abbey across the road), not the administration.

  • Margaret

    “Whether or not to accept Scotland will be a political decision taken by the other member states”

    Oops! I meant to type:

    “Whether or not to accept Scotland will be a political decision taken by all the member states”

  • N_

    @Nevermind – “he also mentioned a lesser know connection opf the Independence movement with Canadian financial backers….anybody heard of this or know what this is all about?

    No, but I’d be very interested to know more.

    Can we draw up a list of billionaires who are on record as backing Scottish independence?

    The only ones I know of so far are

    Jim McColl
    Jim Ratcliffe
    Willie Walsh
    Mohamed al-Fayed

    Does anyone know of any more?

    I’m not sure that any of them have significant Canadian connections.

    See also Malcolm’s point (7:03) about the possibility that markets may build the chances of an independent Scotland up and then go hell for leather to short it. At the moment that doesn’t seem to be happening (George Soros isn’t positioning himself that way at all), but things could change.

  • Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    Sounds familiar…(Anyone noted attempts at voter intimidation for Scots/Ref? How about the Ukraine?)

    http://historyatstate.tumblr.com/post/66776985822/germanelections

    ” The victory marked the bitter end of the Weimar Republic and the beginning of Adolf Hitler’s uncontested reign over Germany. The absolute triumph of the Nazi Party resulted from the simple fact that all other parties were outlawed, and voter intimidation was widespread. The U.S. Ambassador to Germany, William Edward Dodd (1933–37), reported that even “in the concentration camp at Dachau 2,231 inmates voted for the Government (Hitler), while only 9 cast invalid ballots and 3 voted against the Government.” (November 15, 1933; Berlin 263) Regardless of the election’s inevitable outcome, the Enabling Act, passed earlier that year, granted Chancellor Hitler the power to enact laws without submission to or ratification by the Reichstag.”

  • nevermind

    Sorry Margaret and N_ but your No position sounds scared of change, you don’t seem to grasp that leaving a diminishing unsustainable past means an opportune future. Scotland has more than one option to choose as an Independent state and the scaremongering from Westminster is coming through loud and clear.

    Scotland, if it scrutinises its political eminences closely, has a future in Europe and the world.

  • Mary

    N. As Ratcliffe has Ineos registered in Switzerland for tax purposes, I shouldn’t think his view on Scottish independence has any relevance or validity.

  • N_

    Sorry Margaret and N_ but your No position sounds scared of change,

    That’s about the only ‘argument’ the YeSNP has got. And it’s no argument. All elections and referenda are about Better-the-Devil-You-Know versus Time-For-A-Change. Ask anybody who’s involved in political PR.

    you don’t seem to grasp that leaving a diminishing unsustainable past means an opportune future.

    That’s verbiage.

    Here are two extremely concrete things.

    1) The Scottish Government has NOT promised to retain the protection of bank accounts which is currently provided in the UK by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

    Under the terms of that scheme, the UK government promises to protect the first £85000 in each of your bank accounts in the event that a bank collapses or otherwise can’t pay you your money back.

    (If you look in the Scottish government’s white paper, you will just find circumlocution and misdirection on the issue. The point here is that they do not promise, regardless of what anyone else does, e.g. rUK or EU, that the protection will continue. The UK government does.)

    I would really like to hear you respond to that point in a non-starry-eyed way. If you still support independence, perhaps you could say that yes, that does represent one of the very real risks of independence, but it’s overweighed by other concrete considerations.

    But no…I suspect you will say I’m just scared of stuff because I’ve been misled by “Westminster”.

    2) One of the Big Three ratings agencies, Standard and Poor’s (in fact it’s one of the Big Two, although people usually don’t look at the Bank of International Settlements, which also does ratings) has warned that the economy of an independent Scotland would be very similar to that of Iceland before the Icelandic financial system collapsed.

    So do you really think there is good reason for the Pollyanna-like attitude which says oh no, that won’t happen in an independent Scotland because Scotland is so great (and ‘sustainable’) and if Scotland can’t do something then the only reason is that England (sorry, ‘Westminster’) is holding it back?

    Would you go so far as to suggest that ‘Westminster’ (often a very ill-chosen term) has put Standard and Poor’s up to it?

    I think that would be a very silly suggestion, because you must realise that credit ratings agencies, makers and breakers of reputations, live by the value that people put on their own reputations.

    Scotland, if it scrutinises its political eminences closely, has a future in Europe and the world.

    Abstract and largely meaningless.

    Is there some reason you object to discussing concrete matters and the issue of whether they substantiate certain specific fears?

  • Ba'al Zevul (The Sun Has Got His Hat On)

    What? Camelot? In present economic conditions? Are you joking? Here’s the truth: things are going to be shit whatever the referendum result is. That’s S-H-I-T. Just, if you want national bankruptcy sooner rather than later, vote YES.

    I refer the pottymouthed gentleman to the case of a small country which admitted it was bankrupt (effectively) WHEN it went bankrupt:

    Whereas billions of public money was pumped into the banking system in Ireland so that financial institutions could pay back their creditors, Icelanders voted against this route in two separate referenda. They couldn’t see why they should pay for the greed of foreign investors who followed the Siren song of high interest rates to the island nation.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/financial-recovery-of-iceland-a-case-worth-studying-a-942387.html

    Much is made of the currency issue, notably by Margaret. Worth noting in this context that the currency – the sole currency – of the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos is….the US dollar. Now that would really piss Westminster off, wouldn’t it?

  • N_

    Ratcliffe’s ‘view’ has relevance insofar as there is money behind it. The story of Ineos, formerly part of BP, is one of many where huge assets in Britain ended up in the hands of foreign-registered companies with the involvement of mysterious private equity firms or cocky billionaires or both.

    Some examples:

    Heathrow Airport (Spain)…

    Felixstowe port facilities (Hong Kong)…

    Clydesdale Bank (Australia)…

    Scottish Power (Spain) (even if the company name might make ‘Nevermind’ proud)…

    Santander (Spain)…

    (I can’t resist riffing on Santander. How long is that company going to last? For a few years after Lehmans, the chattering classes talked very ‘expertly’ about ‘subprime’, meaning the ‘proles’, whereas in the US, they often meant the ‘poor blacks’. Nowadays, because their superiors in the opinion chain haven’t given them the OK, they don’t notice that subprime lending by banks such as Santander has gone through the roof. They think its passé to talk about ‘subprime’ now. They’re too busy raising their glasses to high house prices.

    But for anyone who can notice stuff and think about it for themselves, the continuing explosion in subprime lending is a fact that screams out at you as you walk down any British high street.

    It’s obvious that the next crash will dwarf Lehmans.)

    With regard to Ineos, I’m not sure how many assets of any value it still retains in Scotland, now that it’s written down the value of Grangemouth to zero (from £400 million, wasn’t it?), but I assume Ratcliffe didn’t get where he was by helping political campaigns for free.

  • N_

    @Ba’al – If you want an example of a bigger country that uses the US dollars as its sole currency, rather than tiny places with populations of less than 50,000, try Ecuador, population 15 million.

    Oh, wait a minute, SNP types won’t want to compare that country to Scotland because it isn’t in NATO.

  • N_

    @Ba’al – Did you read to the end of that Der Spiegel article? 🙂 The shtick from the Icelandic comedian?

    The line that Iceland has recovered is puff.

    Some pieces putting the opposite view: here and here.

    Financial interests did it once…they’re going to do it again…and I don’t mean just in Iceland.

  • Ba'al Zevul (The Sun Has Got His Hat On)

    Oh, wait a minute, SNP types won’t want to compare that country to Scotland because it isn’t in NATO.

    There are all sorts of reasons no-one in their right mind would compare Venezuela to Scotland, IMO. But the BVA and Turks and Caicos are (occasionally) self-governing British possessions and are comparable in that respect.

    It’s not the quantity. It’s the quality. And the hedge funds, naturally.

  • Ba'al Zevul (The Sun Has Got His Hat On)

    The line that Iceland has recovered is puff.

    I’m aware that there are two views on this. Nevertheless, the Icelandic government’s position is that it accepts no responsibility for the losses of corporate speculators, and this is one with which I would hope you would agree. Time will tell. Meanwhile, the prospects of our own equity and hedge-fund swine are rosy, as long as the bubble can be pumped up –

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27062239

    Best way of disguising structural inflation so far invented…

  • N_

    @Ba’al – Yep, I do agree, and was a strong supporter of letting Lloyds TSB and RBS go bust in the UK.

    I got the point about the Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands being in the British sphere, but they aren’t independent and they have populations of less than 50,000. Only two countries with populations in the millions use the US dollar as their only currency: Ecuador and Panama.

  • Ba'al Zevul (The Sun Has Got His Hat On)

    Meanwhile, chilling out before his (rumoured – http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/08/hugh-muir-diary-strongman-of-kazakhstan-tony-blair ) next diplomatic triumph in Kazakhstan –

    http://www.newsdeskmedia.com/publications/categories/international-relations/2014/astana-economic-forum-2014

    Tony’s putting on his jammies and slipping into bed with some distinctly rich people –

    http://gulfnews.com/business/markets/hedge-fund-faithful-and-tony-blair-head-to-vegas-1.1331146

    Makes a change from Wendi Deng, I suppose.

  • Ba'al Zevul (The Sun Has Got His Hat On)

    (Actually, he’s probably already there. G-CEYL departed Farnborough on the 8th.)

  • potato

    Someone mentioned conditions for EU membership. Here’s one: all EU member states are obliged to guarantee the first £85,000 (€100,000) in each personal bank account.

    The government of an independent Scotland would have to sort this out (to the satisfaction of the ratings agencies), otherwise they wouldn’t be allowed in to the EU. And you can’t leave it until after you join: the protection must be there from the moment you join.

    Which sounds like a tall order, given that nobody seriously thinks the Scottish economy would be strong enough to support its own currency. So no-one’s talking about converting €100K into poonds here.

    It’s all right to say the stay-at-home Scottish politicians who haven’t made it to London (in the case of most SNP MSPs, the statistics show they wouldn’t get elected to Westminster if they stood – talk about sour grapes!), and that the Scottish people are competent and proud and capable of chucking telegraph poles long distances, and a Scot’s as good as a Sassenach or a Dane any day of the week (yes, the SNP have the mentality of middle-class football hooligans), but international finance says the Scottish financial books would be a crock.

    And, guess what, it’s international finance that decides. You don’t go places on the basis of your view of yourself.

    The newly tall-walking Scottish ministers in the run-up to Independence Day would basically have to go round with a begging bowl.

    First they’d go to the British government. After getting told “no” (what bargaining counters have they got?), they’d start whinging about their “rights”. Then they’d snivel to the Saudis or Goldman Sachs or some other possible creditor. Does anyone really fancy their chances? How many mountains can you mortgage before the price collapses?

    I hope for the sake of everyone in Scotland that the result is “no”.

    But if it is “no”, I wouldn’t like to be an English person in Scotland. What do you do? Go on holiday and come back to a burnt-down house? Or stay in town and get your car keyed the day the result comes in? Most of the “some of my best friends are English” thing is as disingenuous as it sounds.

  • potato

    From the mouth of Standard and Poor’s:

    (T)hese arrangements would likely be unfunded, leaving the comparatively very sizeable deposit bases of the largest Scottish banks backed with an implicit guarantee by the Scottish government. We note a possible parallel here with Iceland, where in 2008 the national deposit insurance scheme could not honour claims when the country’s outsized banking system failed.

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