Posts tagged ‘Scottish independence referendum’

September 19, 2014

So You Voted No

You didn't vote for him or for  The Spirit of Scotland

You didn’t vote for him or for
The Spirit of Scotland

You didn't vote for her and she'll never get another chance

You didn’t vote for her
and she’ll never get another chance

You didn't vote for her or her

You didn’t vote for her or her

Hamish Henderson

You didn’t vote for him and what he worked for. You probably don’t even know who he is.

You fell for Murdoch trash press

You did vote for him, his values and his trash press

You voted for  Neo-Nazi Unionists

You voted for
Neo-Nazi Unionists

You voted to retain the House of Lords

You voted to retain the House of Lords

You voted to retain the corrupt  British Establishment in the manner to which is expects

You voted to retain corrupt British Establishment in the manner it has grown to expect

You voted support for  the Stock Exchange when it threatened you with penury

You voted support for the Stock Exchange when it threatened you with penury

You voted for him and his Party's austerity measure

You voted for him and his Party’s austerity

You voted your approval of their threats and interference in the democratic process

You voted your approval of their threats and interference in the democratic process

You vote your approval of their threats and interference in the democratic process

You vote your approval of their threats and interference in the democratic process

You vote for them and their threats of job losses

You vote for them and their threats to take jobs out of Scotland

You voted your approval of their threats to increase prices in Scotland

You voted your approval of them and their threats to increase prices in Scotland

You voted to reinforce their view they are born with the right to govern you

You voted to reinforce their view they are born with the right to govern you

You voted your approval of  him interfering in the democratic process of a foreign nation

You voted for approval of him interfering in the democratic process in a foreign nation

And you voted no along with these fellow-travellers

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10202433758517846&set=vb.1610349991&type=2&theater

You voted for a Labour leader totally at sea when confronted by ordinary Scots

You voted for yourself and your personal self-interest

You voted for yourself and your personal self-interest

And it could all have been so different.

September 17, 2014

Thank you all fellow YESers it’s been great!

The Yes Scotland Campaign

We’ve taken on the Tories

We’ve taken on the BNP

We’ve taken on the Orange Order

We’ve taken on the Labour Party

We’ve taken on the Britannia Party

We’ve taken on the Liberal Democrats

We’ve taken on the National Front

We’ve taken on Ukip

We’ve taken on the BBC, determinedly propagandizing on behalf of the Union

We’ve taken on the luvvies with their enormous egos and holiday homes in Scotland

We’ve taken on the distortions of our views, our desires, our ambitions in the press

We’ve challenged and sang and laughed and chapped on doors in the sun in the rain in howling gales

We’ve spoken at meetings and shrugged off abuse and attack

We’ve turned ordinary Scots into activists

We’ve introduced young people to political participation

We’ve challenged lies and more lies and dirty tricks

We’ve shaken our heads at political posturing and stunts

We’ve shaken our heads at Labour politicians advocating people do not use their democratic vote

We’ve faced up to the whole panoply of aggressive misrepresentation thrown at us by a mischievous media

We’ve used social media to counter media distortions and lies and censorship of our opinions and ideals

We’ve taken on millionaires and billionaires and city folk who aim to buy support

We’ve taken on self-serving corrupt politicians motivated by self-interest who feather their own nests with inflated expense claims paid for by people who are reduced to feeding their families from food banks

We’ve taken on threats and personal attacks from No supporters

We’ve countered the hysterical rantings of fanatical rightwing commentators

We’ve countered the hysterical ranting of Kensington lefties

We’ve grown more confident

We’ve loved being part of a movement that is positive and ambitious to help the majority in our little country of Scotland

We’ve taken the flak and shrugged it off because we’ve been empowered to speak out

Thank you all fellow YESers

It’s been great

September 15, 2014

Not narrow nationalism but popular democracy

Aberdeen Yes

A great deal of nonsense has been said and written throughout the Scottish independence campaign by a mostly hostile media.

We were told at the outset it was too long. Well here we are about to vote and interest in it is greater than ever. It certainly has caught the attention of the world media and even, the UK media, and that takes some doing when it comes to Scotland-related matters.

The Guardian is an example of a newspaper purporting to represent the whole of the British Isles when, in fact, it represents possibly a small community around SE England. Pick up a copy any day of any week, outside of the referendum period, and you’ll struggle to see any mention of Scotland whether in the politics section or sport.

The Guardian, therefore, cannot be taken too seriously when it claims to understand the Scottish psyche through this campaign. Curiously it regards itself as sharing with the campaign ‘some of the things that matters most to this newspaper and its readers.’ An eyebrow or two will have been raised around Scotland at this conceit.

You, the Guardian, are part of the problem which has led to the groundswell of support for re-asserting our independence.

You are wrong when you say that national identity is high on anyone’s agenda, certainly not for those of the Yes side. The same may not apply to the No side for they’ve supported the cry of Scots across the UK and even abroad who maintain they should have been given a vote. The Yes side see this referendum as the business of those who live in Scotland, who make their livings here, who raise their families here, irrespective of where they come from originally. It is not a franchise based on national identity at all but of location. You can be from Pakistan, England, Poland, Estonia and you are deemed to be Scottish and so entitled to vote.

‘Ugly nationalism’ has no place in the Yes movement, except as an invention by mistaken or mischievous opponents of the independence movement.

No, the view that this is a campaign of national identity, narrow nationalism or Britishness of the type Gove tried to introduce into England with all the nastiness that involves, is far removed from the pro-independence movement. Only No campaigners have been desperately declaring themselves patriots and passionate about Scotland, not the yessers. It is so misleading to suggest independence here is about narrow nationalism. It is a movement which has emerged from us being overwhelmed by at times a bullying and often indifferent Union partner happy to exploit Scotland’s people (industrially and militarily) and our resources and condescend us by ‘giving us’ a few powers of government so that there is an allusion of semi-autonomy. We are a partner we shouldn’t be ‘given’ powers we should be able to take what we want out of the Union.

The Guardian holds up the views of Charles Kennedy to knock back independence. He has not featured in Scottish politics for long (while still an MP) his voice is now unfamiliar here and he speaks for a discredited party of LibDems whose integrity is in shreds and who will struggle for votes in the future so why the Guardian thought he was someone who could shed light on the movement for change here is risible and another example of how out of touch the Guardian is with Scotland and its Scottish readers.

The newspaper’s editorial is spiteful in its accusation against the millions who support a radical shakeup of life in Scotland and reveals an unhealthy level of intolerance of opinion despite its opening statement about sharing some of our concerns.

No-one I have heard has ever uttered the opinion that they think the Scots superior to anyone else; inclusiveness is the overwhelming view.

I suggest the Guardian ca’s canny when going down the line that the Union better serves oldies relying on a state pension for UK pensioners receive among the worst pensions in Europe and the pension age if being pushed back towards 70 the age it was when pensions were first introduced – when few lived long enough to benefit from them.

Likewise with the NHS there can be few in doubt that privatisation will erode all but a tiny element of the once-great NHS. Only by Scotland getting away from its status as a pocket-money dependency will we have a hope of retaining a well-funded free at the point of access health service; as campaigning medical and nursing staff have argued.

The wealth that is created in Scotland will be used to tackle the obscenity of poverty in the 21st century in an oil-rich state but it can only be done when we rid ourselves of the corrupt back-slapping nepotistic establishment that pulls all the strings in the UK around Westminster and Whitehall.

There is little Scotland, as part of the Union, can do to raise the living standards of people across the UK but there is much it can do to use the massive oil and gas reserves we have along with the rest of our economy to improve life here in Scotland with our small population. The argument that risk shared across populations is manifestly untrue given the evidence that small western nations have the highest standards of living and well-being.

Scots are looking for big constitutional change. Labour says vote for them next year and they’ll reform the House of Lords. We’ve heard that one so often and what do we get? Labour Party MPs queuing up to wrap themselves in ermine, eager to grasp the daily allowance of the totally undemocratic Lords. No Labour we don’t want reform of the Lords we want its eradication.

Until recently most issues of the Guardian along with all other mainstream UK newspapers and BBC largely ignored us or patronised or ridiculed us. Fair enough, carry on doing that but don’t expect us to give you respect or play your games anymore.

Whatever the outcome of the referendum vote Scotland’s people have been reinvigorated and we will not be docile any longer.

September 5, 2014

Revealed the shocking ineptitude of Johann Lamont

What – just what was it about this woman that brought her the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party?

Have you ever seen anyone so hapless and useless in such a position before?

Nothing to say – move on – pretend the question didn’t happen.

And people vote for the Party led by her?  Unbelievable.

August 29, 2014

Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive: BBC Scotland and the Labour Party

bbc scotland tangled web

Welcome to The Family; the BBC Scotland family aka the Labour Party.

The Family resides in Glasgow and is presided over by Ken McQuarrie. Ken MacQuarrie’s Head of News at BBC Scotland is John, John Boothman. John is married to Susan, Susan is Susan Deacon. Susan is a former Labour MSP and Health Minister at Holyrood.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/bbc-chief-too-close-to-labour-claims-ex-colleague.22317694

Ken’s Head of Online News is Tom, Tom Connor. Tom and John are said to have offered media training to Labour Party wannabe politicians. Tom’s department operates BBC Scotland blogs; infamous for their ban on public comments, unlike any other part of the UK.

Another Tom is Tom McCabe. Tom is a member of the Scottish Labour Party and used to be an MSP. Tom also used to be the partner of Lorraine, Lorraine Davidson. Lorraine’s career has swung between the Labour Party and the BBC. She used to be a spin-doctor – with the Labour Party or was it the BBC? Not too sure on that one. Lorraine became a weel-kent voice on BBC Scotland frequently ushered in to air her views on all the big issues of the day. Lorraine is now married to David.

David is David Martin and he’s a Labour Party MEP. David Martin is friends with Catriona, Catriona Renton. Catriona loves politics which is good because that’s what she covers as a BBC Scotland reporter. Catriona was a Labour councillor in Glasgow with ambitions to become an MSP but sadly didn’t get elected in 2003. Catriona is a friendly sort of lady with Facebook chums the likes of Jackie Baillie ( herself a very friendly lady who is also chums with Gary Robertson and Alan Clements hubby of Kirsty Wark ), Yousuf Hamid, Tom Harris, Mike Dailly, Frank McAveety, John Robertson, John Park, Steven Purcell, Dave Watson – is there Labour person Catriona isn’t chummy with?

https://www.facebook.com/www.bbcbias.co.uk/posts/10203997650641431

I don’t know if Catriona knows Raymond, Raymond Buchanan that is. Raymond used to work for BBC Scotland until the little matter of his mis-representing what was said by an Irish Minister, Lucinda Creighton, on EU membership of an independent Scotland along with another little matter of a so-called ‘leaked SNP document’ suggesting Scotland’s reliance on English consumers to cover the cost of Scottish energy  encouraged Raymond to make a strategic withdrawal. Whichever – Raymond has retreated to the Outer Hebrides from where he loves to tweet about politics and, well you can make up your own mind where Raymond’s heart lies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0JfJNK8k0I

Raymond’s brother-in-law is Brian, Brian Wilson (allegedly). Brian used to be a Labour MP, you know the one put in charge of Labour Vote No Campaign in 1979 in the devolution referendum campaign. Brian loves and promotes nuclear power, and why wouldn’t he for he was a non-executive director of Amec Nuclear Holdings.  Brian is no stranger to BBC Scotland which likes nothing better than to canvass his views on everything from tweed to nukes.

Then there’s Ken or rather was Ken. Ken Macintosh, like many before and since, has found his career slipped seamlessly between the Labour Party and the BBC. Currently Ken is a Labour MSP with an eye on leadership if only Ed Miliband could remember who he is. Ed Miliband lives in London where lots of Scots migrate to from wee Scotland to enhance their careers, and why not. You’ll be familiar with Andrew, Andrew Marr.

Andrew decided his future lay in London. And one day BBC London noticed North Britain was jumping up and down trying to draw attention to itself. Now BBC London was not in the habit of encouraging such self-promotion but decided some canny handling of independence matters was required. It looked around and spotted the lovely Andrew who despite all evidence to the contrary turned out to be Scottish! Andrew, they realised, was the perfect person to embody Scotland; to go out and explore this backwater in the north and enlighten the good people of Britain why it was the whingeing Scots were whingeing. And Andrew obliged because he’s that kinda guy. He’s also the kinda guy who discovered the Labour Party suited him nicely while a student. And Andrew is married to Jackie.

Jackie is a journalist, oh and broadcaster, which takes her into the BBC quite a lot. Jackie is the daughter of the late Jack Ashley. Jack was a Labour MP which might be why Jackie specialises in the Labour Party, according to Wikipedia, though I’m not sure what that means. And she supported Gordon Brown’s government, so it says. Think you might be on your own there Jackie.

boothman

Now for all I know Jackie and Andrew might be friends with James, James Naughtie. James or Jim as he’s sometimes known  also found himself taking the road south to find fame and fortune. And behold the BBC discovered that Jim is also a Scot and who better to add some gravitas to the wretched Good Morning Scotland and demonstrate how to tackle the issues making the natives restless.  And if you’re waiting for an argument from me on that one you will wait a while. I don’t know much about James except he hails from the very lovely Milltown of Rothiemay and my friend Graeme and one-time journalist says he used to think him one of the better reporters. So that’s Jim – cleancut and non-affiliated unless you think his comment of ‘if we win the election’ when interviewing Labour’s Ed Balls during the 2005 General Election suggests anything. But hey, it’s an easy slip to make as many at the BBC will tell you. Welcome back to Scotland Jim and a warm welcome too to Laura and Sarah. Don’t pay any attention to those harping on about what it’s costing – big bucks (the new Scottish currency I’m told) but just hold on, they’re worth it. Don’t you agree?

Laura is the lovely Laura Kuenssberg, daughter of Nicholas. You know – that Nicholas -one of the donors to Wendy Alexander’s campaign that went so badly wrong. You must remember all those donations of £995 that meant donors could remain anonymous. Got it now? Okay, so Nicholas, father of Laura was one of those people lending support to wee Wendy. Wendy, once even led Scottish Labour at Holyrood but perhaps her greatest claim to fame is being the sister of Douglas, Douglas Alexander.

Douglas is a Labour MP and often asked to appear on political shows, which is as it should be. Douglas is a canny politician knowing not to say too much and he has never been accused of dodgy practice over campaign funding and certainly hasn’t uttered Wendy’s catchphrase of ‘Bring it on’ which only brought on her own downfall which I’m sure Laura’s father Nicholas Kuenssberg would have been sorry to witness.

http://order-order.com/2008/02/07/

Wendy is married to Brian, Brian Ashcroft. Brian is Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute. The Fraser of Allander Institute is often cited on BBC Scotland as an independent think-tank which coincidentally issues lots of warnings about the weakness of the Scottish economy. Oh well everyone’s entitled to their opinion – although not all have access to them being aired by the BBC but life’s not fair is it Wendy?

A friend of Wendy’s is Sarah. That is the Honourable Sarah Smith, daughter of the late John, one-time leader of the Labour Party who also  found the invitation north impossible to refuse. Sarah had a lovely wedding not so long ago which she shared with her friends the Alexander twins and their father who married Sarah (as minister officiating not, well you know). Other guests included the great and the good (it’s a phrase okay) from the Labour Party. Sarah’s sister is the daughter-in-law of the Right Honourable the Lord George Robertson of Port Ellen, KT, GCMG, FRSA, FRSE, PC and of the Labour Party. Do you think he says that every time he answers the phone? Sarah’s political shows on BBC Scotland have not been well-received but that’s no reason for her not to keep trying. Go Sarah go!

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/sands-clans-and-illthought-plans-14217.html

Which all proves nothing very much at all other than  it’s not what you know that matters as much as who you know.

I was sorry to have missed the hour-long programme on Alba on Brian Wilson. Lucky man.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/summary-of-commission-interview-with-wendy-alexander-1.847788 http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/affairs-scotland/9619-the-dirty-dozen-the-case-against-bbc-scotland-part-2 http://gaiusmarcellus.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/unacceptable-links-between-labour-and.html
http://www.newsnetscotland.scot/index.php/scottish-news/5962-what-was-behind-bbc-scotlands-attack-on-the-scottish-nhs

Please take time to read the blog linked below – an extensive unpicking of the unhealthy relationship between Labour in Scotland and the BBC. There is a holy trinity at work encompassing BBC Scotland, the Labour Party in Scotland and Glasgow University that has become unpleasantly incestuous and hugely undemocratic.

http://caltonjock.com/2014/11/05/bbc-scotland-labour-party-mouthpiece-in-scotland-politically-corrupt-biased-public-inquiry-badly-needed/

August 27, 2014

Voting YES is a positive action

Voting YES is a positive action. It means you believe in yourself. This is about building up Scotland for the future. You can make it happen.

We can do it!

Join us. You’re welcome.

 

July 19, 2014

The Better Together #Vote No #No Thanks #Naw Movie

Just thought I’d provide a platform for Better Together so we can fully grasp what they stand for.

June 2, 2014

Aliens Act 1705 – yes that’s us Scots. The Union bludgeon.

sco
On 29 November 1704 the Lord High Treasurer of England was at the House of Lords explaining to a no doubt hostile audience why royal assent had been given to the Scottish Act of Security.

This Act was drawn up by the Scottish parliament in response to the terms of the English Act of Settlement of 1701 in which it was determined that the protestant House of Hanover would provide a successor to the British throne.

(In 1604 the crowns of Scotland and England were joined in a union under James VI. There was not at this time a union of parliaments and so were separate governments in both Scotland and England.)

The more quick-witted among you will have noticed therefore that an English parliament took a unilateral decision over the future of the monarchy not just for England but for Scotland as well thereby assuming its right to determine aspects of political control for both, presuming that Scotland, if indeed Scotland ever came into its consciousness at all, would fall into line.

It is not as though there were no Scots at Westminster then. In fact several were there representing (I use that term loosely) Scottish interests; men in key positions willing to go to any lengths to enhance their ambitions and augment their personal fortunes irrespective of the impact on home-based Scots.

The Scottish Act of Security was drawn up amidst a storm of protests within Scotland over how the liberties of the nation might be preserved. At stake the Scottish economy and wider Scottish liberties of religion and law which were seen as being under threat from an overpowering parliament in England that had taken no cognizance of its Scottish counterpart with its unilateral pronouncement over the crown successor.

While not in a union of parliaments, legislation from Edinburgh had to have approval of the monarch – in London. The monarch’s representatives, Lord High Commissioners, carried out this role until superfluous- following the Union in 1707 when the Scottish parliament was subsumed into England’s.

With publication of the Act of Settlement alarm bells were ringing across Scotland over what might be imposed here and led to the Scottish Act of Security which asserted Scotland’s right to determine its own monarch and not accept one imposed on it by England.

Reaction in Westminster was fast and furious. A further act was introduced by it to neutralise what it regarded as a threat from Scotland; possible withdrawal of Scottish troops (arguably England’s favourite and most sought after commodity from north Britain) and Scottish taxes which would weaken England’s involvement in the War of the Spanish Succession.

I’m not going there – sufficient to say think of that war as the 18th century equivalent of superpowers in the 20th and 21st centuries establishing power blocs across Europe and the world.

There were two ways the English politicians, Tory and Whigs (later materialised into Liberals) – little to choose between them then and now – could handle their tricky situation with Scotland- either as good cop or bad cop.

The good cop approach was to open negotiations with Scotland’s parliament and offer a free trade agreement.
The bad cop one was to label the Scots as aliens and bully them into submitting to a political union and Hanoverian succession on threat of a boycott of all Scottish goods throughout England and the English colonies along with the confiscation of property held by Scots in England.

For the point of clarity I should say there were plenty Scots included in England’s governing elite, content to wallow in the trappings of power while selling their own country short – the yoke of bondage as it was interpreted in Scottish circles. Any brave or stupid enough to show their faces back in Scotland were more than likely to have them pelted with stones. This happened quite a lot. Sounds barbaric doesn’t it? The other side had guns and swords – perhaps you find them more acceptable – some of a reactionary disposition do. Stones were the weapons of the poor – or the mob as history dubs them – used as a derogatory term for those not in power challenging those in power.

The mob disapproved of Scotland being bludgeoned and kicked into a political union. There is a trend among our current politicians to suggest the union was welcomed by Scotland’s people as the saviour of the country. This is not true. In fact it is a lie.

Anti-union feelings ran strong in Scotland. Protests over English high-handedness following the union of the crowns in 1604 were commonplace. By the start of the 18th century there was strong opposition to a political union. The Worcester incident is an unfortunate example of the degree of resistance to having Scotland absorbed into the English realm.

Recent transfer of 6 000 sq miles of Scottish water in the north sea to England by Blair’s government in Westminster was an audacious piece of Westminster imperialism. Back in 1705 emotions were high when an English vessel was captured off Burntisland. The captain and most of the crew of the English ship Worcester were hanged in front of 80 000 people for their incursion into Scottish water; a foreign vessel in a hostile act.

Amidst an atmosphere of such serenity and friendship, brimming over with trust, honesty, even-handedness and sacrifice the union was born. And from that point the term Scotland has become largely superfluous so much so that you’ll find in the majority of the histories of Great Britain dispensed with any mention of it whatsoever in favour of the term Britain or England.

It was surely the Alien Act 1705 that threatened to classify Scots as aliens (foreign nationals) – even while sharing a monarchy – whose property might be confiscated and whose trade would be embargoed which persuaded many of the Scottish nobility to agree to a union of parliaments. The lessons have surely not been lost on those who are happy to adopt threats, bullying and hostile posturing, with a not inconspicuous dose of outright lies, to ensure that very unequal union stays put.

March 25, 2014

Reasons to Vote Yes: Privatisation and the NHS

Private businesses operating within the National Health Service must be pretty pleased with how policies pushed by successive governments at Westminster have allowed their interests to flourish. Why would they not be? Opportunities in this area of social provision are staggering and perfect to boost company profits. Shareholders must be drooling at the prospect.

There was a time when those responsible for safeguarding and running the NHS – politicians – were proud to declare it the best health service in the world  and one of the greatest achievements in history – and some still do though what they mean by this now is less clear. The NHS became something of a sacred cow – a marker for how civilised the UK was compared with other countries with their piecemeal services based on health insurance and unequal access to care.  

You don’t hear so much of that now – now that the NHS is steadily heading towards the American health care model – the steady incursion of private providers such as Serco and Circle increasingly managing aspects of public health care.  Serco’s expertise takes in everything from nuclear weapons to health. Circle, established by former banker Ali Parsa,  is run along mutual lines with doctors holding a stake in the business.  I should point out in passing that just last week Serco’s finance director of outsourcing was on the point of resigning over a financial scandal involving the government.

National Health Service

In 1948 the NHS was started as a comprehensive health and rehabilitation service for the prevention and cure of diseases  in response to the miserable health provision available to the majority of people in the UK. The NHS was established as free at the point of delivery and available to all, paid for by the people through public taxation.

We all know how successful the NHS proved to be, and rather than fewer people accessing its services the healthier the population became, the scale and variety of specialist care led to increasing numbers turning to the NHS with issues never envisaged at its initiation e.g. IVF treatment for fertility problems and gastric bypasses.

When a national health service was proposed opposition from some quarters, notably well-off doctors who feared a loss of income through restrictions on private practice, were well aired. For most ordinary people, however, the NHS was welcomed and proved a revelation. Lives were saved and improved enormously. It is not possible for any of us in the UK today who didn’t live through the years before 1948 to fully comprehend the awful misery inflicted on the poor having to make choices between paying out paltry earnings on keeping a roof over their heads, putting something in their bellies or paying for essential medical treatment.

Over the last half century the lives of people in the UK have been transformed by the opportunities for decent care provided by the National Health Service and life expectancy as a result has risen by around 10 years.

The cost of upkeep of the NHS has also risen year on year which is why Westminster governments have looked to ways of offsetting some of that financial burden  onto the private sector – outsourcing to private companies to manage aspects of care. The private sector is regarded by some as more efficient than the public. That efficiency does come at a price – private is more ruthless in regards to its employees but it is not per se any better at the job it does although it does bring in alternative means of funding such as raising cash through shareholders.

So where is the NHS heading?

I fear that in England there is little chance of what today we would recognise as the NHS still being around in another 10 to 15 years time with increasing numbers of health trusts outsourcing multi-million pound contracts on the open market for everything from mental health provision to tests and diagnosis. In Scotland things are a little different. Here there has been strong resistance to interfering with what is regarded as a vital system of health care.

But in England there is a different perspective, from government at least. A choice between direct infusion of funds into the NHS or outsourcing to the private sector has come down firmly in favour of private. Austerity measures drive this to an extent, it is argued, but that doesn’t wash in a country that supports Trident. Funding for the NHS is ideologically driven and pretty well shared by Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats.

England’s move into privatisation will no doubt lead to patients becoming clients and will be accompanied by the well-rehearsed refrain of those clients being provided with greater choices over their care. That  great myth of choice and the right to choose – such choices are always conditional in such circumstances.  The concept of choice so loved by rightwing commentators from both Labour and Conservative sides is not absolute – in some areas there will never be real choices of provision and moreover choice is mainly exercised by the wealthy and the middle classes creating gulfs in what was once a fairly equitable health service.  

A health care system operated by the markets will have as its number one goal, irrespective of claims from business people and politicians (sometimes the same people), the company’s profits.  Why would they not? That after all is their raison d’être.

Why are privately operated companies more likely to employ temporary rather than permanent employees? How does having transitory staff in hospitals fit in with putting the patients’ interests first?

Any private health care business will think carefully about where it operates to try to ensure success. Their bottom line is never going to be the service to be provided irrespective of cost. So what happens to the universal provision of care – does it become ghettoised? Like schools? Replacing the notion of universal care for competition at the heart of health planning has meant private providers are able to get more snouts into more troughs of readily available public cash.

In these so-called times of austerity NHS budgets are squeezed. Deciding that aspects of NHS care should be opened up to private companies is a political decision. It is dressed up as opportunities to improve care through competition therefore enabling ‘best value’ for patients or taxpayers or whoever – ie us. The slick, market-oriented operators breathing down the necks of cash-strapped health trusts are having a field day.

A second rate service provided by the state as a kind of safety net for the socially excluded and those not willing or capable of exercising their choices  will probably jog along for a time but the best service, the one that will be held up at election times as epitomising the best of British, will be that which is used by the better-off and the determined or pushy.

Of the billions of pounds paid out by UK taxpayers to provide essential services much will be siphoned off to pay for outsourced services from enterprising agencies and this is a national disgrace.  

Such a trend has meant ‘putting multinational companies in the driving seat of the NHS,’ according to former health secretary Frank Dobson. He was talking about the Labour government’s push to contract out to private and third sector providers.

Health care in England is being transformed and unlike the public body that is the NHS private enterprise does not have a duty to provide a comprehensive range of services only ‘such services or facilities as it considers appropriate.’

 

Who then is making decisions about health priorities in the UK?

Circle’s profits have risen from £170.3million to £192.7million encouraging the company to build more private hospitals in England. It and Capita (the UK’s biggest outsourcing company which earns half its turnover from the public sector) expect to continue to pick up contracts from NHS trusts whose incomes are stretched to breaking point. Privatisation in England is there to stay – hospitals and clinics springing up in Cambridgeshire, Manchester, Birmingham, Bedfordshire, Nuneaton, Bath, Reading – anywhere and everywhere.

For those who judge the NHS by the state of its waiting rooms and chipped paint corridors such rampant privatisation will be just what the doctor ordered. For those who recognise that each time a contract is put out to tender and won by a company operating for profit another part of the NHS is being undermined. At some point the whole edifice will go in all but name with implications for staff as well as patients. Actually the terminology has already changed from National Health Service with all that suggests to healthcare market.

Health care is devolved thank goodness. In Scotland at present the SNP government is adamant that the structure of the NHS is safe and there are no moves into the kind of health privatisation happening in England.

I don’t think we should be complacent however. Scotland has seen examples of reckless behaviour from Holyrood. In 2005 when Scottish Labour was in coalition with the Scottish Liberal Democrats Andy Kerr then Minister for Health and Community Care announced a Scottish Regional Treatment Centre pilot at Stracathro funded under PPI which was duly opened in a blaze of publicity in 2007 by Jack McConnell then First Minister. The white elephant of the Golden Jubilee National hospital in Clydebank also established under New Labour had to be bought by the NHS.

While both the Scottish National Party and the Green Party in Holyrood have stated opposition to any privatisation of clinical services in Scotland’s NHS  there must be a question mark over what will happen in the future if Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats and Tories (those two in coalition presumably) get back into power.

 http://www.keepournhspublic.com/pdf/SRTCshort.pdf

Scottish Labour and the Scottish Liberal Democrats  have been criticised for their underhand methods when it comes to privatising health care – omitting mention of it in their election manifestos.  The Labour Party, very keen on Public Private Initiates, did include references to mixing private and public health care in its Westminster manifesto of 2005 – all in the guise of providing better, ‘more quality healthcare’ to ‘expand provision’ and ‘reduce waiting times’ but there was nothing in its Scottish manifesto before setting up the pilot at Stracathro and the National Waiting Times Centre later renamed Golden Jubilee National hospital –  all £180million of it built in 1994 and having consequently failed, bought by the public purse as an NHS hospital in 2002.

John Reid one-time Health Secretary at Westminster under Tony Blair tried to persuade Scots the ‘the medical market place’ was the way to go. Reid would no doubt welcome chief executive of LaingBusiness (a so-called healthcare intelligence company) William Laing’s observation that Circle’s success is ‘significant for all private sector providers to the NHS.

There doesn’t seem any way back for the NHS in England but here in Scotland we have a chance to hold onto what has proved an excellent provision for the past 60 plus years. Voting no in the referendum will put Scotland’s NHS at risk of going the way of England’s. It’s time for people to wake up to the real danger of losing this brilliant health service.

A positive vote for independence is the only chance we have to retain our universal health service, free at the point of use. Use your vote well.

March 6, 2014

Lady Alba – Bad Romance (Gaga for Indy) Turn up the volume and enjoy

The lassie’s voting yes, by the way. If this escapes you – you shouldn’t be allowed out on your own never mind given a vote in a referendum.