Prentis appeals to Brown in vain


‘OUR time and patience is running out. The country is in a mess and we look to the Government to come up with serious solutions, not to waste time in childish venom.’ 

This is the plea that Unison leader Dave Prentis made to PM Brown at the UNISON Health Conference this morning.

He concluded: ‘The Government has a last chance in Wednesday’s budget to show it understands why it was elected. 

‘It must use the power it has left to deliver a package that genuinely shifts the scales away from the rich, away from the tax evaders, away from the market moguls who it has worshipped for so long. . . That means help for the jobless, supporting the economy and strengthening public services that people rely on.’

However, Prentis does not account for the fact that ‘his’ union has supported this government over the last 12 years. Year 12 of the government is a little late in the day for calling to it to remember who elected it!

Under Prentis, Unison has stood by and watched Blair’s invasion of Iraq, and the privatisation of NHS Logistics, when his leadership refused to organise the fight to stop it. This was despite the fact that the Labour Party conference opposed the privatisation and called for it to be stopped.

In fact, Blair and Brown never tried to disguise what they were doing. They were completely brazen, and provocative. As soon as they took office they gave the Bank of England control over interest rates, and Brown embraced the PFI like a long lost banker. UNISON under the Prentis leadership did not call a single strike action to oppose the PFI, despite the enormous damage it caused.

The Blair-Brown government openly embarked on a massive drive to privatise the public sector, including the NHS.

UNISON under the Prentis leadership formed the NHS Together organisation of all NHS trade unions.

Under his leadership, it did not organised a single serious action to halt NHS privatisation.

Labour under Brown also made no secret that it was in favour of a massive expansion of credit, to hide the fact that the UK had lost its industrial base. As well, it was a fanatical introducer of the ‘lightest touch regulation’ of the banks and big business, under which the banks ran amok.

UNISON under Prentis never questioned these policies, no mind opposed them. They were just as confident as Brown that the banks would not collapse under the strain of the accumulated debt.

When the banks collapsed, Brown decided that the working class must shoulder the debt, and handed tens of billions to the bankers! As well, his party announced the part privatisation of the Royal Mail and a speed-up of the privatisation of the NHS.

Under Prentis, the UNISON leadership has stood by and watched this happen, and even adapted to it, allowing the privatisation of NHS Logistics and dropping its demand that privatised cleaning of the NHS should be stopped and all services brought back in-house.

Now, after 12 years of acting for the banks and the bosses, the Labour government is collapsing, and getting ready to hand over office to the Tories who are already pledging draconian cuts in the public sector and major rises in taxation.

It is at this point that Prentis chooses to speak up urging the Labour Party bankers’ party to change course.

Nothing of the sort is going to happen.

Brown will continue to govern for the bosses and will start wage cutting in the public sector as well as driving forward the privatising of the NHS and Royal Mail to claw back from the working class what he gave to the bankers.

Prentis must resign along with the other misleaders of the trade unions. The only way to stop the return of the Tories is for the working class to bring down the Brown government and bring in a workers’ government that will carry out socialist policies. This is what must be done.