Blair is speeding up the privatisation drive

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ON all fronts the Blair government is speeding up its privatisation offensive, so that his governments can leave as their legacy for big business, the smashing of the Welfare State.

Under both Labour and Tory governments the NHS has seen, first of all, the rise of the private contractors, especially taking over the cleaning of hospitals.

The chief product of this drive has been dirty hospitals and the emergence of the MSRA killer bug, infecting thousands of patients on a scale seen nowhere else in Europe.

Nobody is keen to enter a British hospital, and incidentally, nobody abroad is keen to use British blood as a result of CJD contamination. This itself emerged out of the BSE crisis created by Thatcher’s deregulation campaign which allowed farmers to feed other animal parts to their cattle. Using blood from Britain in transfusions is banned in the US. In the Irish Republic, no citizen who has lived in Britain during the last 12 years is allowed to give blood.

Labour has built on Thatcher’s record of shame, as the development of MRSA proves.

Now it is set to proceed much further. NHS Secretary Hewitt has recently announced that the many NHS hospitals that are in deficit face closure.

At the same time, she is handing up to £7 billion to the private medical industry. She will follow this up by handing them the ‘failed hospitals’, and no doubt their budgets, to make additional profits.

Hewitt has also announced that up to one million people are visiting hospital A&E units without any real need to do so. In the future, these are to be kept away from casualty units by Medical Practitioners in cars and on bicycles or motor bikes visiting them at home. This will allow ambulances and A&E units to be mothballed or handed over to private medicine.

Private medicine is being consciously built up using the NHS budget, while the NHS is being shut down.

The same process is now being driven forward as far as state education is concerned.

First of all grants were abolished and replaced by loans and tuition fees, and then variable tuition fees, to turn higher education from a right into a commercial proposition.

Then there came the City Academies, sponsored by big business, with syllabuses designed specifically not to educate but to produce the kind of worker that every boss would like to hire. Now the Education Secretary, the reactionary Opus Dei member Ruth Kelly, has laid down another law to try to put a nail into the coffin of state education.

This is that failing schools, undergoing a regime of special measures, must be shut down if they are not functioning properly within a year. Once shut down they will either remain closed or be handed over to a City Academy to run, or a group of parents or to a private company.

NUT leader Sinnott warned yesterday: ‘Bringing down the guillotine after a year will drive committed staff from failing schools who otherwise would have stayed, thus making the problem worse.

‘If implemented, such an arbitrary policy will drive up the number of schools forced to close which otherwise could have improved. I hope this is not a back-door way of increasing the number of candidates for Academy status. . .

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, added: ‘The reality is that the vast majority of the small number of schools in special measures succeed in raising standards within the Government’s current two-year target.’

The reality is that the Blair government is hell-bent on privatising health and education.

Only a public sector general strike to bring down the Blair government and bring in a workers’ government to carry out socialist policies can stop it!