Our NHS has nearly gone. The destruction, which started long ago now, is nearly complete. It’ll take a general election to save it but there’s something we have to do first, and we need to be doing it now…
There are still many, many people who don’t know why we have a housing crisis, or why our government is constantly persecuting the sick and the disabled. People know they can’t afford to live – or that their comfort-margin, should they still have one, is steadily shrinking but too many people still suspect the banking crisis was the start of it, and the problems we’ve had since are part of the government’s attempt to sort it out.
We need to sweep away the lies
In reality, the thing some people call ‘corporate capitalism’, and I call ‘the barefaced theft of public services and resources’ was set in place in the post-war global settlement that embedded global debt practice and ‘cultural adjustment’, dictated by international banks. Our problem is that that is incredibly hard to say convincingly on the doorstep, or at a Labour Party stall in town, so our number one enemy is not the government, but the invisibility, to many people, of the enemy.
But here’s help
Some were in a position to see the danger of the grand heist sooner than others. One of those people was Kerry-Anne Mendoza. A management consultant, holding senior positions in banking, local government and the NHS, she was in a position to see what was going on – and what was going to happen next. So she joined the Occupy movement. You may have come across her Scriptonite Daily blog a few years back, or know her because of her work with The Canary. She also wrote a book, published in 2015, about the nature of the enemy.
This book should be in every activist’s bag – better still, in their head.
Mendoza’s AUSTERITY: The DEMOLITION of the WELFARE STATE and the RISE of the ZOMBIE ECONOMY is an incredibly efficient, easy-to-read, easy-to-use guide. It opens with a clear setting out of the background – what happened after World War Two, how we all ended up in debt, how the dollar came to rule the world, and how the idea of business banks instructing ‘developing’ countries to gut their own resources became accepted, and how those disastrous instructions have now been turned on us in the UK.
Make it simple, make it say-able
Bretton Woods, 1944: The International Monetary and Financial Conference of the United and Associated Nations is not something you want to be saying in casual conversation, or on the doorstep but, once you have a clear grounding in the nature of the enemy, it’s much easier to talk confidently and convincingly about its works, that are all too visible here and now.
The following chapters of Mendoza’s book set out what the beast did to our NHS, our education and social security systems, how it broke down people’s employment conditions and their belief that they could change the world. Those chapters, as well as giving clear explanations of things like ‘where the money went’, give you memorable, quotable instances of ‘who, what, where, when’, which demonstrate corporate capitalism clearly for what it is – the theft of public resources by private companies. For example:
Destroying the NHS, hiding the evidence
The first incarnation of NHS-eating corporate capitalism that really caught our attention was in the public-private-finance deals New Labour and the Tories presented as answers to so many ills. Most people can remember they went badly wrong, most people remember the headlines, if not the details, of the mid-Staffordshire scandal and of Hinchingbrooke. No harm in flagging them up, to remind ourselves how very long ago it we learned that ‘sending in’ private money to ‘save’ public services wasn’t too clever – but we need our story to be relevant now.
A snippet from page 39
Useful during the Tory be-a-Prime-Minister competitions. The government of the day (this was 2013) having thrown so many hospitals into chaos and financial danger, set about making sure we wouldn’t find out, Mendoza tells us:
Previously in March 2013, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had been forced to ban the use of gagging orders in the NHS after it was revealed that more than £15 million had been spent silencing 600 NHS staff.
Mendoza goes on to explain how the limitations of the ban were used, and how gagging orders costing taxpayers up to £500 000 a time continued to be made. Yes, that was one of our current contenders for PM spending vast amounts of our money making sure we don’t find out what’s happening to our NHS.
How’s that for a useful fact in a campaign conversation? Get down to your local bookshop (if you still have one – the High Street is also being stolen) grab yourself a copy of Mendoza’s book, make some notes, learn some examples, and start work now.
How to save the NHS
(And our schools, libraries, welfare system, buses, trains and – well, everything) Once you’ve got some facts at the tip of your tongue, and the background in your head, go out and prepare the ground for the next General Election. Don’t waste time defending against media lies, get straight in and show how each pillar of Tory policy is, in truth, another example of the corporate theft of public resources, and tell everyone who the people were who did this horrendous damage to our country.
That’s how we shake off the smoke and mirrors of media and government propaganda, and shine a light on what we need to save the day – a socialist Labour government as committed to our NHS as Attlee was.