13 December 2007

Labour And Private Healthcare

Gordon Brown is having his twice-yearly grilling today by senior MPs on the Commons liaison committee. Some of the first few questions focused on "public sector reform" -- that's New Labour for selling off the public sector.

The BBC running commentary:

[Brown] said the role of the private sector was expanding, and would continue to expand, in areas such as health. Independent treatment centres will have diagnosed a million people by April of next year, Mr Brown added. A forum had been set up to encourage more private operators to come into the health sector.
This follows on from a Financial Times report yesterday:

Ministers have launched a charm offensive to persuade the private sector to bid to run over 250 new family doctor practices and health centres across England ... The move is part of the government’s drive to assure the private sector that there has been no change of policy over it having a bigger role in the provision of National Health Service care ... The government is investing £250m to help primary care trusts purchase the new practices and health centres, and ministers and officials have held a number of dinners with leading private providers arguing that, while the emphasis has shifted to primary care, big opportunities still remain.
It's amazing that people keep thinking that Labour is "socialist" or even "social democratic" when it keeps making decisions that Germans would call Christian Democrat. After 10 years of this kind of politics, we have a Britain where social mobility has remained static for 30 years, where "10 percent of people from the poorest fifth of households get a degree compared to 44 percent from the richest twenty percent of homes persists."

Red Pepper recently had a multi-article debate on the Left and Labour. As part of it, Mark Perryman said:

There must be some trade union leaders, Tony Woodley of Unite in particular, who have "Won't Get Fooled Again" playing on their ipods permanently, so convinced are they that Brown will be different from Blair. He treats them to Quentin Davies, Digby Jones, Margaret Thatcher on the steps of 10 Downing Street, an effective public sector wage freeze, a permanent revolution of privatisation and they still don't get it.

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