Brown to give power over NHS away to independent committee


CHANCELLOR Brown yesterday, on the BBC Politics Show, sought to trump his rival, the outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair, in the competition between them as to who can put forward the most right-wing policies to gain the biggest support from big business.

Blair insists that the US and Britain have a ‘special relationship’. In fact, Blair’s toadying to the Bush administration, and the imperialist wars that this has resulted in, has angered millions of people in this country and throughout the world.

Brown yesterday outdid Blair, insisted that Britain had a ‘very special relationship’ with the US, spending about half of his interview toadying up to US capitalism.

Blair insists that his privatisation counter-revolution must continue.

Brown said yesterday that he would further develop the privatisation of the NHS by giving it independence from the government, like any private business.

His model for the operation is the way that he gave up parliament’s power to set the interest rate and gave it instead to the bankers, through establishing the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee.

The government is to supply the cash and the policy for the ‘independent committee’ that is to run the NHS, while the bankers’ and bosses’ representatives sitting on the committee will have the full freedom to carry out government policy, privatising and cutting the NHS to pieces.

They will maximise their profits at the expense of tax payers and patients, while government will say that it cannot interfere and must respect the independence of the NHS.

Brown had discussions while he was in the US with some of the biggest of the bourgeoisie. They will, no doubt, be grateful to him if he can deliver the British public sector to them, by independent committee, on a plate, so to speak.

In fact, Brown’s interview yesterday was his attempt to secure the support of the bourgeoisie and its press and TV assets for a Brown premiership, and a successful next general election campaign.

Brown tried to cover over what he is doing by speaking about the ‘real Gordon Brown’, and how he is allegedly breaking up central government and ‘giving away executive power’ to people who could do it better.

He said: ‘Well the real Chancellor is the person who, not only made the Bank of England independent, and gave Executive power away, made the Financial Services Authority independent of government, and gave that power away. Now, that is what government ought to be about, power being devolved. . . Centralised power being broken up and I believe that in the next few years, the next stage of that can be entered into.’

In fact, he gave the power over interest rates directly to the most powerful sections of the ruling class, who have the most to gain out of that power, the bankers and their representatives on the Monetary Policy Committee. In the days ahead as the financial crisis develops, they will use that power to rapidly increase interest rates to ruin millions of middle class and working class people, and to secure the bankers’ profits.

Brown continued further: ‘That, if you take the Bank of England, what we actually did when we made the Bank of England independent was two things. One is we gave Executive power away and I believe that in other areas, we can do that.’

Quite. Brown intends to ‘give away’ the NHS to a committee of bankers, private medical companies and a few medical supporters of privatisation, so that they can sell off the management of the NHS to private companies and begin to carve out potentially the most profitable sections of the NHS for outright privatisation.

Brown added: ‘I think you can see the way that I’m thinking: for the new politics of the next generation, for the challenges that we face in the future, the model of Bank of England independence offers us a way forward, because you give up power and you show that you are not anxious to hold on to powers that should be better administered or better dealt with by other people. . .’ It is to be handed over to big business.

Brown even expressed his regard for the US health system, in which there are as many as 40 million people without any health insurance at all and workers live in fear of falling ill. When trying desperately to show that there would be some limits to privatisation, he said: ‘I think most people would accept that, and I think in America of course, a very large part of the health care system is also either managed or financed publicly as well.’

So America is to be the model after all!

The trade union leaders cannot say that they have not been warned.

Far from giving support to any Brown government, the strength of the trade unions must be used to bring down the Blair-Brown government, to go forward to a workers’ government that will carry out socialist policies including driving the privateers out of the NHS.