IT has emerged that it is a question of principle for the Labour government that elderly people who are now living in nursing and other homes, and have spent a lifetime paying taxes of one kind or another, must pay for their personal care.
This was the message from Health Secretary Johnson to the House of Commons Health Committee yesterday. This positions the Labour government well to the right of the Scottish National Party government in Scotland.
Johnson argued that the policy differences on health between the Labour and Scottish governments were not due to financial pressures, but was ideological. He explained that the Labour government disagreed with the approach of the Nationalists, who have established that the elderly must have free personal care, and that the government had much more important things to spend the taxpayers’ money on.
Johnson rubbished the statement by Labour MP Charlotte Atkins who said that patients in England felt they were getting ‘a raw deal’ compared to those in Scotland.
Johnson responded: ‘I think there are better things you can do with your money to target the people who need it most.’
He argued that by 2025 the number of over 85s will have risen by two thirds, and that therefore it was vital that funding was prioritised, and for Labour free personal care for the elderly including the over 85s was not a priority.
Johnson then enlarged on his subject adding: ‘I wouldn’t go down the free prescriptions route, as I wouldn’t in a previous life go down the free higher education route.’ Once again he stated that there were much better things to spend the taxpayers’ money on.
Johnson boasts of his role in demolishing a large chunk of the Welfare State. Once again the Scottish nationalists are well to the left of the British Labour party.
However as is usual with this type of bourgeois politician – who, by the way, has a huge salary, a massive expense account and a fabulous pension pot building up for his retirement – while he is roughing up the working class and the middle class he has a soft spot for the rich and powerful.
Johnson gave his enthusiastic support to Brown and Darling when they forked out £25 billion to prop up the bankers of the Northern Rock bank, and applauded when the government made clear that the same facility would be advanced to other bankers in distress, who were down to their last couple of billion.
£25 billion advanced to the bankers in one go, is a third of the health budget and two thirds of the entire defence budget.
Neither did Johnson protest as Brown poured billions of pounds into an illegal war and occupation of Iraq.
Now that the general staff are demanding a £12 billion rise in the defence budget, Johnson will no doubt speed up the privatisation of the NHS, and be considering what further attacks can be made on the elderly, including the over 85s. Perhaps he will discover the ethical virtues of euthanasia to spare the elderly from dying painfully in government induced poverty.
In fact, Johnson and the Brown cabinet are like turkeys rejoicing at the approach of Christmas. They are hacking away at their working class base at exactly the same time as the bosses, the militarists and the Tories are beginning to move against them, to bring them down.
However, the working class must make sure that the Brown government is brought down from the left, not from the right. There must be a general strike to bring down the Brown government and replace it with a workers government that expropriates the bosses and bankers, abolishes the officer corps and restores free medical care for all, and free state education.