LABOUR Party shadow health secretary Wes Streeting doubled down on his attack on the NHS yesterday with a speech to a conference organised by the Institute for Government when he blamed ‘waste’ and not Tory underfunding for the crisis in the health service.
Streeting promoted his hatred of the NHS as a publicly funded free-at-the-point-of delivery service in an interview with the Murdoch-owned Sun newspaper the day before, where he parroted the Tories by insisting: ‘You can’t just keep pouring ever-increasing amounts of money into a leaky bucket. You’ve got to deal with the bucket itself.’
Exhibiting his complete contempt for the NHS and the fight by workers to achieve the greatest gain of a free health service, Streeting told the Sun: ‘I think there are times when the Labour Party is led too heavily into nostalgia’ about the NHS.
Streeting followed this up by saying: ‘It would be the easiest thing in the world to go into the next general election just saying “worst crisis in NHS history”, “you can’t trust the Tories on the NHS”, “you’ve got 24 hours to save the NHS” and, by the way, here’s a nice sepia film of Nye Bevan.’
Streeting intends that Labour goes into the next general election saying to the bosses and privateers that a Labour government would be a safe pair of hands for destroying the NHS and opening health up to exploitation by the private medicine and insurance companies.
Streeting has always been open about the Starmer-led Labour Party’s determination to win the approval of a capitalist class that hates the NHS, and is determined that the billions spent on providing a free healthcare service should be spent on propping up the 47,000 companies that are forecast to go bust this year!
Last month, Streeting won the approval of the Daily Telegraph for his insistence that Labour would not agree to the demands of junior doctors for a wage increase.
The Telegraph applauded Streeting for denouncing the health service as ‘complacent, wasteful, and even mendacious, using the so-called winter crisis as an excuse to demand more cash.’
There is no such thing as a winter-crisis for Streeting and the cosseted Labour leadership, who are happy to ignore the report by the End Fuel Poverty coalition this week that estimated cold and damp homes caused nearly 5,000 excess deaths last winter – a 53% increase on the year before and double the figure reported in 2019.
Instead, all this suffering with thousands dying through winter, while millions of families are forced to ration energy and heating as the cost-of-living continues to soar, is no concern to Streeting or the right-wing Labour Party.
They dismiss the ongoing crisis, caused by the deliberate cuts to NHS funding carried out by the Tories under their austerity programme to slash government spending on every social service, instead choosing to blame the NHS, treacherously accusing doctors and medics of using excuses to demand more cash.
The brutal truth is that British capitalism cannot afford a National Health Service paid for out of taxation, and is demanding a war to destroy the NHS to keep bankrupt capitalism from staggering on, while at the same time opening the service up to the privateers.
Streeting and Starmer are in complete agreement with the Tories that tax cuts for the rich are more important than the NHS.
With the Tory government too weak to wage this war to smash the NHS, the capitalist class are turning to the Labour Party to do the job, and Streeting makes it clear he is ready and willing to obey his masters.
The plan by the Tories – fully supported by Labour – to drive the UK back to private health care must be smashed.
The working class will never surrender the NHS to the Tories or any right-wing Labour government.
The only way to save the NHS is for the working class to force the TUC to act by calling a general strike to bring down the Tories, and bring in a workers’ government that will expropriate the bosses and bankers, replacing bankrupt capitalism with a socialist planned economy that will guarantee a fully-funded healthcare system for all.