Today Ealing’s Labour campaigners were bolstered by a group of young people who came out to talk about the NHS in Acton. They were taking part in a union funded campaign that essentially insists that the NHS must be run for the benefit of its staff and cannot change to meet the needs of the people who use it and pay for it.
The union paid for posters talk about “selling off our NHS, piece by piece”. First off you might ask where is it sensible to draw the line? Should we have NHS coal dug in NHS mines used to fire NHS steel furnaces to make steel to be rolled in NHS rolling mills and transported in NHS lorries to NHS scalpel factories? Most people don’t care how their health service is provided they just want to keep the cross-party post-war consensus that health services should be provided free at the point of use.
No doubt the unions would like to see the 35 year Private Finance Initiative (the clue is in the name) at nearby West Middlesex Hospital undone. The deal was done in January 2001. You can read all about it in a National Audit Office report. Of course it wasn’t done by David Cameron it was done by Labour’s own Alan Milburn when he was Secretary of State for Health when some of these young people were tiny children. The last Labour government went further than any other government, including the current one, in introducing privatisation into the NHS.
Did the Labour party explain to these fresh faced youngsters that the stringency that the NHS is operating under was already locked in in 2010 and written down on page 4:3 of Labour’s manifesto to give Labour cover to proceed? The so-called Nicholson Challenge was kicked off in 2009 by Andy Burnham when he was Health Secretary.
Labour think if they keep denying their own record on the NHS they can fool voters as well as these young people.