The NHS is not being privatised… according to MPs


A letter a day to number 10. No 947

Tuesday 16 December 2014.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I gather that you and your government are a little tired of us saying that you are privatising our NHS. As Stourbridge MP Margot James put it, “I believe strongly in a taxpayer funded National Health Service. The implication that I would support anything else is totally erroneous”. Of course she does and quite so.

Private companies, as we all know, are self contained businesses that sell their products and services on the open market and sink or swim according to customer whim and fancy. Is it that simple these days? Not really.

Awarding a company a tax payer funded contract to provide goods and services to the NHS isn’t the same as actually privatising it, is it? The public still own and pay for the NHS, it’s just that what we actually own becomes less and less as the NHS becomes a mere shell body bloated out by publicly funded private provision. I say bloated because what was once an entirely publicly owned service filled with public employees becomes a ‘publicly funded service’ with extra private interests thrown in, like CEO’s, managers and stock holders who pare off public money to pay private salaries, bonuses and dividends.

It’s privatisation by slight of hand. Our entire taxation system is being privatised by this same slight of hand. So what you Tories do is cut state provision in order siphon our money into private hands.

Of course Osborne would have it that the cuts are necessary to pay off the national debt, but cuts for who? The poor, of course. Businesses are not only protected from any cuts, thanks to Kevin Farnsworth, a senior lecturer in social policy at the University of York, it now emerges that direct corporate benefits cost British taxpayers just shy of £85bn a year.

So let’s get it clear, you can afford to privatise our publicly funded taxes and pay off the deficit by cutting the benefits that the public reasonably expect to get from taxation, but it isn’t about privatisation. Well if it isn’t, then maybe it’s just plain robbery. Margot James told the unvarnished truth, strongly believing, as she does, in a taxpayer funded National Health Service, but that is not the same as saying she believes in OUR NHS, because that’s no longer what it is. It may not be privatised so maybe we need a new name, what would you call a body infested with parasites?

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