AFTER years of promising that the NHS is ‘safe in our hands’ accompanied by pledges that budgets would be protected with a ring fence from austerity cuts, a very senior Tory cabinet minister has finally let the cat out of the bag.
A future Tory government will privatise every hospital, every fire station and every public service in the land in order to implement their plan to ‘fundamentally re-imagine’ the state by destroying the welfare state and every single public service and flogging them off to the vulture privateers.
Francis Maude, cabinet minister responsible for public service efficiency, told the Telegraph newspaper on Monday that hospitals and fire services will have to be run ‘outside the public sector’ in order to fulfil Osborne’s pledge in his recent Autumn budget statement that the state would have to shrink back to a size last seen in the 1930s.
According to Maude, who is currently engaged in planning £20 billion cuts in government spending in his own civil service department, driving down public spending to 1930s level inevitably means a return to the conditions of that era.
It means, Maude insists, handing over every function of the state to the privateers – health, education, fire and ambulance services, all local council services. In short, everything is to be sold off in an orgy of privatisation.
He said that he did not ‘see a line’ that would limit the services that could be ‘transferred’ out of the public sector, including acute services like hospital A&E departments and fire services.
The only exceptions would be the police and army.
Maude, who likes to pretend that he stands on the liberal ‘caring’ wing of the Tory party, insisted that he wasn’t for the ‘red-blooded commercial for-profit outsourcing’ to big companies but for the transfer of services to ‘mutual, joint venture or hybrid’ companies run by the staff.
What Maude hopes for or not is irrelevant – the big sharks of the giant US health companies have already been let lose in the NHS and they will not rest until they have grabbed every part of the service that they can screw a profit out of – by driving down standards, cutting staff and pay rates.
As for anyone still left working in the public sector after this fire-sale, all they can expect is massive job losses and wage cuts.
Maude candidly admitted: ‘We won’t make the savings that have been set out without further reductions in headcount and pay bill.’
While Maude was outlining Tory plans to return the working class to conditions of the ‘hungry thirties’, another senior minister, Iain Duncan Smith, was busy pushing for financial penalties for any family with more than two children as a means to pay off the bank debt.
Smith wants to stop child benefit as a means of stopping the poor and millions of low paid working class families from having more than two children, claiming this would ‘save significant money’ before adding the chilling observation that it would also ‘help behavioural change’.
What will be the next stage in this attempt to effect ‘behavioural change’ in the working class – compulsory sterilisation for anyone on benefits or on zero-hour contracts?
What is clear, is that the capitalist class and their political representatives are determined to do whatever is necessary, no matter how extreme, in order to impose the full burden of the capitalist crisis on the backs of the working class.
If that means condemning children to a life of poverty and disease, where medicine and all the other vital services are denied to workers and their families unless they can afford to pay – then so be it.
This is not just another attack on the rights of workers it is the declaration of all-out class war.
The only possible response is for the working class to demand that its leadership in the TUC get off their knees and call an immediate general strike to kick out this Tory-led government and go forward to a workers government that will end this bankrupt capitalist system, and advance to a socialist society.