The National Health Action Party must be strangled at birth

October 18, 2012 10:00 am

If you’re unlucky enough to have a serious accident in Kidderminster, there’s no point going to Kidderminster Hospital because the Accident & Emergency unit was closed over a decade ago. Instead, you’ll receive excellent NHS care at either Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester or the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.

Which is odd, because wasn’t there a big fuss about the A&E at Kidderminster Hospital a few years ago? Didn’t the local Labour MP lose his seat over the issue? Didn’t a local doctor gain a massive majority in the 2001 general election on the back of a ‘save the A&E’ campaign? So where’s the A&E at Kidderminster Hospital?

Dr Richard Taylor beat the sitting Labour MP David Lock in 2001 after a huge campaign against the closure of the A&E. The Wyre Forest seat had gone Labour in the landslide of 1997. The ‘Health Concern’ campaign was supported by the local Lib Dems, who stood their candidate down to help defeat the Labour MP. Taylor was elected with an 18,000 majority. It was a famous victory.

Then what happened? Dr Taylor came to Westminster, funded of course by the taxpayer. He sat as an independent, without a party group or a whip, and voted how and when he pleased on the issues that interested him. In 40% of the divisions, he didn’t vote at all. He supported rail renationalisation, legalisation of cannabis, and homeopathic medicine on the NHS. He opposed the Iraq War. According a BBC profile written on 15th October 2002, he ‘backs section 28 on preventing local councils promoting homosexuality’ but to be fair the situation seems more ambiguous than that.

Richard Taylor failed to do the one thing that 28,487 people in Wyre Forest constituency voted for him to do – to re-introduce the A&E at Kidderminster Hospital. But having failed, he carried on taking the salary and expenses, using the restaurants and bars and pottering about the Palace of Westminster like a tourist who had broken away from one of the tours. He won one more election, then lost to the Tories in 2010.

Now Taylor has launched a new political party to stand more independent candidates like him. It’s called the National Health Action Party, and aims to stand fifty candidates against sitting MPs who support reforms to the NHS. This will presumably include current and former health ministers, and high profile MPs such as the party leaders. For example, one of the party’s founders Dr Clive Peedell is rumoured to be taking on Lib Dem Ian Swales in Redcar.

The NHS is the closest we have to a national religion. People are passionate about their local NHS services, even when they aren’t very good, and better ones are available further away. If 50 National Health Action Party candidates stand across the UK, with ‘Dr’ ahead of the name on the ballot, and a party logo eerily reminiscent of the NHS logo, they will hoover up tens of thousands of votes in 2015. I doubt any will win seats. But they’ll win enough votes to keep the Tories in power. Why? Because they kinds of people likely to vote for an ‘NHS candidate’ are the kinds of people Labour needs to win to take seats from the Tories and Lib Dems.

Take health minister Anna Soubry. She was a vocal supporter of the Health Bill, even before she became a minister. Her majority in Broxtowe is 389, over Labour. Labour would regain the seat on current polling. Yet if a National Health Action Party candidate takes votes away from Labour’s Nick Palmer, and the Tory vote turns out, one of the Health & Social Care Act’s greatest supporters would be returned as an MP.

Who knows who else these campaigners will target? Sure, ministers such as Hunt, Lamb and Dan Poulter have rock-solid constituencies. But what about Redcar? Labour’s Anna Turley is working her socks off to beat the sitting Lib Dem, and turn Redcar red again. She needs to overturn a 5,214 majority. If Dr Clive Peedell, an oncologist at hospitals at Darlington and Bishop Auckland stands, surely the most likely impact is that Labour will fail to win the seat back.

This doesn’t just mean that local people will be deprived of decent, hard-working Labour MPs. The bigger picture is that it will help keep the Coalition, or even just the Tories, in power in 2015. The next election will be fought on a knife-edge; as in 1974 and 1964, a few thousand votes will decide who governs Britain.

The National Health Action Party must be strangled at birth. It can only prosper at the expense of the only truly NHS party – the Labour Party. The National Health Action Party’s only offer is independent MPs voting how they please on everything from abortion to trade union rights, with no accountability or even consistency. But their potential to prevent Labour winning seats, as Richard Taylor did in Wyre Forest, is huge.

Wyre Forest, by the way, now has a London-born former City of London fund manager as its MP. He went to school at Charterhouse in Surrey, which today charges a trifling £30,000 a year. On 20th March 2012, he voted in favour of the Health and Social Care Bill.

  • NT86

    Couldn’t agree more. Instread of forming the National Health Action Party, those behind it could have advised Labour to make the NHS an important part of their 2015 manifesto. I looked on their website and in the FAQ’s were critical of Labour as well as the coalition. OK Labour weren’t 100% perfect but they sure as hell would not have gone as far as the Health and Social Care Bill. Plus the NHA covers no other policy areas outside of the NHS. A bit like UKIP and the EU.

    I had quite a lot of regard for Clive Peedell earlier this year, but this is a very poor decision to field candidates in places which could hurt Labour’s chances. Especially easy gains like Redcar and Broxtowe. Their effect would be similar to the SDP in the 80s and it’s self-defeating to hand the Tories power again given their appalling handling of the NHS with the Lib Dems.

    The only thing which could rebalance Labour’s chances in those Tory/Labour marginals is if UKIP candidates mop up enough Tory votes.

    We don’t have a proportional voting system in this country, and ultimately I don’t want another Conservative government. The NHA are making a huge mistake because for all their concern, the NHS will effectively be broken up once and for all if the Tories get a majority in 2015.

    • http://twitter.com/Nico22a022 Nico

       ”OK Labour weren’t 100% perfect but they sure as hell would not have gone as far as the Health and Social Care Bill”

      Tony Blair has regretted not doing so. His adviser on NHS privatisation, Simon Stevens is now a head of United Health and actively lobbied against Obamacare in the US.

      This is the tip of the iceberg of private healthcare corruption Blair introduced into the NHS and which is now rife. Only today an NHS executive being reported as jumping ship to Lansley’s backer Care UK.

      Labour will need plenty of help and pressure from both inside and outside the party in order to begin to approach defending the NHS undictated-to by the likes of McKinsey and Co.

  • JohnLister

    What a disgusting piece of misrepresentation this article is.
    Who closed Kidderminster A&E? Labour.
    Who supported it? David Lock, then Labour MP — but almost none of his constituents.
    That’s why Richard Taylor was elected.
    Why could he not get the A&E reopened? Because New Labour had closed it as part of the plan for a new PFI hospital in Worcester almost 30 miles away.
    That PFI has been in crisis since the day the hospital opened, as have many other PFI hospitals. Who still supports PFI?
    Labour’s shadow chancellor Ed Balls, and other Labour MPs who have leaned and forgotten nothing of the policies that brought the party into disrepute in the 2000s and opened the door for the Tories to outpoll them on the NHS for the only time in history.
    It was New Labour’s marketising “reforms” and privatisation that also laid the foundations for Lansley’s wretched Bill, which Labour initially supported, before a belated and largely ineffectual opposition by Andy Burnham, dragging the rest of the leadership grudgingly behind him
    So don’t give us this crap about Labour being “the party of the NHS”.
    Whether or not the NHS Action Party is the right answer, New Labour gave us the wrong ones, and nothing but a major rethink can put the party back on track.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Graeme-Hancocks/1156294498 Graeme Hancocks

    I agree. I have contacted NHAP and Clive Peedel and others on twitter and Facebook and directly and pointed the above out. I would suggest that others do the same.

  • AlanGiles

    Two articles from the loquacious Mr Richards in two days – what a spoiling!.

    At least Dr. Taylor is consistent – somthing Labour in recent times cannot be accused of. But, ” He supported rail renationalisation, legalisation of cannabis, and homeopathic medicine on the NHS. He opposed the Iraq War”

    Against war and pro renationalisation of the railway system!?. A cardinal sin for the right-wing Labour headbangers who would like to be Tory but blue isn’t their colour.

    Even on the NHS we have Burnham both for and against privatisation in the NHS – he after all dreamt up NHS Global. Now he doesn’t agree with it?. Or does he?. No doubt we must wait for Crudass to tell him.

    It’s the same with welfare. Byrne agrees or agreed with “three quarters” of the Coalition reforms. Does he still do so? Again, we just don’t know, because either Cruddas hasn’t told him, or he has no real interest in his job.

    Twigg seems to agree with Gove? Or does he. Perhaps his shambolic BBC TV interview on June 10th was some sort of bizarre joke?

    Then coming right up to date, the ridiculous Mandy yesterday “couldn’t say” whether the thought the Coalitions NHS and education policies were right or not in his opinion.

    Judging by the low standard of so many party MPs (all parties) perhaps we need more independent minded and INDEPENDENT MPs, rather than lickspittles who will adjust their principles to suit the boss.

    • AlanGiles

      P.S. Regardless of whether you sympathize with the views of Richards or not, do we have to have fascistic titled articles like “The National Health Action Party must be strangled at birth”.

      I know the mainstream parties are getting ever more frantic and desperate now that people see there is so little difference between the main parties, and hung parliaments might will pertain for years as a consequence, but “strangling at birth” sounds too much like the jackboot stamping on opposition.

    • NT86

      Christ, do you ever have anything positive to say about Labour? There were of course times when they were frustrating while in government (things which I fundamentally disagreed with) but now’s not the time to turn on them. Let’s not pretend that Labour was as bad as this coalition. Opposing them now is essentially handing ammunition to the Tories. It is very unhelpful to slag off Labour at a time when the Conservatives are intent on ripping this country to shreds.

      • AlanGiles

        It’s Alan here, Not Christ, but just to answer you: until Jon Crudass comes down from the blue skies thinking and the party decides where it wants to go, we have to base our views on what we have seen in recent years, and the mixed messages that STILL come from the party. I refer you again to the contradictory stance we have seen from Byrne on welfare Twigg on education and Burnham who, even when he was decrying the Lansley proposals (quite rightly) on Any Questions he still couldn’t resist boasting how he had had instigated private enterprise within the NHS. They want to have their cake and eat it too.
         
        If Labour is so sorted out together and wonderful in 2015 it should’nt be so concerned about the one Green MP or the possibility one or two members of this new NHS party succeed.
         
        As for being “unhelpful” it was not me that fiddled my expenses, or suggested that “horny handed sons of toil are not neeeded by [New Labour] or was “supremely relaxed about the filthy rich”. It wasn’t me that complained about Gary McKinnon not being extradited  to the Americans this week (that was another Alan). Most of Labour’s problems were caused by the right wing of Labour itself.
         
        Mr Richards seems still to be smarting from the fact that he was turned down as Police Commissioner for Brighton and his articles have become more mendacious and  spiteful by the week. Is it SO terrible to be against the Iraq war as Dr Taylor was?. Yes or no.

        Frankly, for all the fine words, action speak louder than words and I am not at all convinced Ed Miliband’s Labour will end up being much different to the Labour of 94-2010 – the return of Mandleson and David Miliband does not bode well for a fresh start in a new direction.

        • NT86

          I already said that I fundamentally disagreed with quite a number of Labour policies and decisions – Iraq, civil liberties and lack of banking regulation being high on that list. The expenses row cut across the entire Parliament. The three main parties all had wrongdoers. For every Margaret Moran or David Chaytor, you had a Julie Kirbride or Lord Taylor.

          The Tories would have done exactly the same if not worse. Most of them voted for Iraq while in opposition and they were the ones calling for more banking deregulation.

          I’m no New Labour apologist but don’t tell me that their 13 years was anything like this wicked coalition. For example, Labour was dreadfully wrong when it came to ATOS and PFI but this government had every chance to reverse them. Instead they make matters worse. They’re called the Nasty Party for a reason and these last 2 years have reconfirmed that belief.

          • AlanGiles

            “Labour” MPs behaving like Tories, and a party which doesn’t seem to know what direction it is going in – which welcomes back examples of the bad old days (e.g. Mandy and D Miliband), and seems to contradict itself constantly, does not inspire confidence. Up until 20 years ago, I would have been the first to laugh at anybody who said all parties were the same – but now – I see their point.

            BTW just how will the over-worked David Miliband be of any practical help to the party, given his onerous, if lucrative, current committments:

            http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/david_miliband/south_shields#register

          • http://twitter.com/waterwards dave stone

            That link is absolutely shocking. £25,500 for just one day’s work, and that’s just one of many.

            We desperately need to get ordinary people into Parliament.

          • david.gillon

            You are aware of all the senior Labour figures who have said they still don’t want to get rid of ATOS? Who have still not stood up and said the demonisation of disabled people as benefit scroungers is wrong? Who have actually taken part in that demonisation? (We can start with Ed Miliband there).

            As a disabled person well into double figures with abuse on the street from complete strangers, this is far from being some esoteric nuance of policy, senior Labour figures have seriously damaged my safety in pursuit of the Daily Mail demographic. When the party shows signs of having a moral backbone, then I might consider voting for them, but until then I look forward to having a party to vote for that actually stands for something I believe in.

      • http://twitter.com/Nico22a022 Nico

         ”Opposing them now is essentially handing ammunition to the Tories” Nonsense. Opposition or agreement with Labour from the right hands ammunition to the Tories.

  • http://twitter.com/umengandwales Unite Movement

    Labour must fight  harder for the NHS!

  • http://twitter.com/Nico22a022 Nico

    Misinformed, to the point of malice. NHA is standing candidates where there are no pro-NHS Labour candidates likely to win.

  • http://nhsvault.blogspot.com Richard Blogger

    The reason why Richard Taylor won Wyre Forest is because the Lib Dems pulled out. That’s it. Yes, he had a strong personal vote, but what swung it was the fact that the Lib Dems didn’t stand. When the Lib Dems put up a candidate the seat went Tory.

    David Lock was a great loss to Parliament, he is a QC and one of the finest exponents of interpreting NHS law today in England. He has the respect of a lot of progressive people in the NHS and one of the things he is working on is http://nhsrationing.org This is an important site because NHS rationing will become very important in the next few years, and I hope it will be the defining issue at the next election. In politics you rarely get rid of the bad guys, politicians just exploit opportunity, and this is what happened in Wyre Forest: one of the good guys – David Lock – was the victim. If Richard Taylor had ousted Charles Clarke, or Alan Milburn, or Patricia Hewitt (people who have done terrible damage to our NHS, why were they ever allowed to stand as Labour candidates?) I would have cheered, but David Lock was a loss.

    I know and like Clive Peedel. I am also a Labour member fighting for a Labour government in 2015 (or sooner). I see the potential advantage of the NHA Party as getting the NHS on the agenda. Those of you who visited this site before the election would know that I was single minded in trying to get the NHS on the election agenda because I knew from the Tory policy documents that they were going to do terrible things to the NHS if they got into power (they did). But I found that people on this site were not interested in the NHS as an issue. (If Labour had campaigned against the Tory NHS policy, like they did against Letwin’s £20bn cuts in 2005, we could have had a different result in 2010.) The NHA Party has the potential of raising awareness of the NHS in local campaigns and that is something that Labour candidates can use. We know that when voters become aware of the Tory policies on the NHS they are against them, the problem is making people aware. Yes NHA Party are single issue (and for that reason, they should not be elected) but a relentless campaign of NHS, NHS, NHS at the next election will deliver large numbers of Labour votes.

    Lord Ashcroft does a lot of polling. The results are clear, the Tories (and by association, the Lib Dems) are most vulnerable over the NHS. Labour is seen as the party of the NHS. Andy Burnham has a framework that, once worked on and policies developed, could transform the NHS and social care: a reform that everyone will approve. 

    And there is the issue of what the NHA Party actually wants? It appears to be going back to the health policy of the 70s. The very language of the NHA Party policy “restoring the NHS” brings up the question of “to what? back to what time in its history?” Labour’s plan is to make the NHS better and repair the damage done by the Tories. Yes you are right that the NHA Party have the potential of splitting the vote that could deliver a government we do not want (*cough* Ralph Nader), and that is why Labour have to focus on campaigning on the NHS at the next election.

  • tomkeeley

    A somewhat bizarre article that completely misses the point that NHAP does not agree with any of the main political parties policies on the NHS.  This is akin to suggesting that because the Labour Party are better on Green issues than the Torys the Green party should not stand.  I say this as a Labour party organiser in a seat that we might struggle to retain if the NHAP stood a canidate, but this article shows a complete disregard for democracy and a strange affiliation for automated machine politics.  If those in the NHAP do not feel the NHS can be trusted to either of the major parties why shouldn’t they stand candidates.  Maybe it might be worth Labour politicians, writers and bloggers spending less time on Machiavellian attacks on those such as Clive Peedall (who has been a tireless campaigner for the NHS at a time when others didn’t want to get their hands dirty), and more time contributing to forming the “NHS package” that Labour are going to offer the electorate in 2015.  Just a thought. @TJHKeeley

    • AlanGiles

      Thanks Tom. How good to read a post which advocates democracy and is totlly honest.

    • http://twitter.com/renieanjeh Renie Anjeh

      The reason why they were founded was to stop the Act. If they stand then the Act stands a chance of survival, because a Coalition could be elected

  • http://twitter.com/waterwards dave stone

    New Labour’s irrational belief in the virtue of privatisation of the health service left a space that is bound to be occupied by others. An unambiguous statement of intent re the NHS could be useful if the lost ground is to be reclaimed, but only if there is no return to the pro-privatisation position expertly described in Prof. Allyson Pollock’s book ‘NHS PLC’.

    If Labour attempts to obfuscate on this matter and pull the wool over the public’s eyes with use of such terms as ‘reform’ when meaning ‘privatisation’ they will be found out. And they will reap the consequences at the ballot box.

  • Simon Drew

    This is a poor piece and demonstrates an unpleasant strand of Machiavellian thinking within Labour. If people vote for the NHA Party it will be because of dissatisfacion with the Tories AND LABOUR. If you want to get the vote of those people (I am one) you need to think about that.  It is especially naive to think that the people of Kidderminster ever believed Taylor would keep their A&E open.  They were sending a message. I love the way you personally attack Taylor. Why on earth do you think he was re-elected? He was (and was perceived to be) a very effective and hard working member of the Health Select Committee. You should keep the pathetic ad-hom attacks down if you want to be taken seriously on this. Also  for future reference..unpleasant title…

  • kb4355

    I have huge concern about this NHAP & the damage it can do to Labour in 2015.

    They claim they will only stand candidates in seats they think they can win – but those are seats Labour were more likely to win before NHAP came along. The people that would vote for NHAP are the same people so cheesed off with the tory govt. they would have voted Labour.

    Can NHAP be worked with as opposed to against ? Can they be encouraged to stand candidates in areas where Labour will not be fielding or are unlikely to win ?

    I’m not sure that ‘strangled at birth’ is the way to go – it gives the smell of fear.

  • NT86

    Not all Labour candidates have even been selected yet, so how do we know whether they’re pro-NHS?

  • NT86

    I already mentioned in reply to AlanGiles that there was much to criticise New Labour about, including their handling of the NHS (one just has to look back to Patricia Hewitt’s time as Health Secretary). Blair made no bones about his intentions. He stood down in 2007 so his plans never came to fruition anyway and I doubt Gordon Brown would have have taken a route so severe as this one had he won the last election.

    But that still doesn’t excuse the barefaced deception of Call Me Dave who pledged “no top down reorganisation” and his use of slogans like “I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS.”

    With certain Lib Dem lickspittles like David Laws (read his chapter in The Orange Book to see his contempt for our NHS), this reorganisation was a certainty.

  • NT86

    I already mentioned in reply to AlanGiles that there was much to criticise New Labour about, including their handling of the NHS (one just has to look back to Patricia Hewitt’s time as Health Secretary). Blair made no bones about his intentions. He stood down in 2007 so his plans never came to fruition anyway and I doubt Gordon Brown would have have taken a route so severe as this one had he won the last election.

    But that still doesn’t excuse the barefaced deception of Call Me Dave who pledged “no top down reorganisation” and his use of slogans like “I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS.”

    With certain Lib Dem lickspittles like David Laws (read his chapter in The Orange Book to see his contempt for our NHS), this reorganisation was a certainty.

  • NT86

    I already mentioned in reply to AlanGiles that there was much to criticise New Labour about, including their handling of the NHS (one just has to look back to Patricia Hewitt’s time as Health Secretary). Blair made no bones about his intentions. He stood down in 2007 so his plans never came to fruition anyway and I doubt Gordon Brown would have have taken a route so severe as this one had he won the last election.

    But that still doesn’t excuse the barefaced deception of Call Me Dave who pledged “no top down reorganisation” and his use of slogans like “I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS.”

    With certain Lib Dem lickspittles like David Laws (read his chapter in The Orange Book to see his contempt for our NHS), this reorganisation was a certainty.

  • NT86

    I already mentioned in reply to AlanGiles that there was much to criticise New Labour about, including their handling of the NHS (one just has to look back to Patricia Hewitt’s time as Health Secretary). Blair made no bones about his intentions. He stood down in 2007 so his plans never came to fruition anyway and I doubt Gordon Brown would have have taken a route so severe as this one had he won the last election.

    But that still doesn’t excuse the barefaced deception of Call Me Dave who pledged “no top down reorganisation” and his use of slogans like “I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS.”

    With certain Lib Dem lickspittles like David Laws (read his chapter in The Orange Book to see his contempt for our NHS), this reorganisation was a certainty.

  • NT86

    I already mentioned in reply to AlanGiles that there was much to criticise New Labour about, including their handling of the NHS (one just has to look back to Patricia Hewitt’s time as Health Secretary). Blair made no bones about his intentions. He stood down in 2007 so his plans never came to fruition anyway and I doubt Gordon Brown would have have taken a route so severe as this one had he won the last election.

    But that still doesn’t excuse the barefaced deception of Call Me Dave who pledged “no top down reorganisation” and his use of slogans like “I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS.”

    With certain Lib Dem lickspittles like David Laws (read his chapter in The Orange Book to see his contempt for our NHS), this reorganisation was a certainty.

  • NT86

    I already mentioned in reply to AlanGiles that there was much to criticise New Labour about, including their handling of the NHS (one just has to look back to Patricia Hewitt’s time as Health Secretary). Blair made no bones about his intentions. He stood down in 2007 so his plans never came to fruition anyway and I doubt Gordon Brown would have have taken a route so severe as this one had he won the last election.

    But that still doesn’t excuse the barefaced deception of Call Me Dave who pledged “no top down reorganisation” and his use of slogans like “I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS.”

    With certain Lib Dem lickspittles like David Laws (read his chapter in The Orange Book to see his contempt for our NHS), this reorganisation was a certainty.

  • NT86

    I already mentioned in reply to AlanGiles that there was much to criticise New Labour about, including their handling of the NHS (one just has to look back to Patricia Hewitt’s time as Health Secretary). Blair made no bones about his intentions. He stood down in 2007 so his plans never came to fruition anyway and I doubt Gordon Brown would have have taken a route so severe as this one had he won the last election.

    But that still doesn’t excuse the barefaced deception of Call Me Dave who pledged “no top down reorganisation” and his use of slogans like “I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS.”

    With certain Lib Dem lickspittles like David Laws (read his chapter in The Orange Book to see his contempt for our NHS), this reorganisation was a certainty.

  • NT86

    I already mentioned in reply to AlanGiles that there was much to criticise New Labour about, including their handling of the NHS (one just has to look back to Patricia Hewitt’s time as Health Secretary). Blair made no bones about his intentions. He stood down in 2007 so his plans never came to fruition anyway and I doubt Gordon Brown would have have taken a route so severe as this one had he won the last election.

    But that still doesn’t excuse the barefaced deception of Call Me Dave who pledged “no top down reorganisation” and his use of slogans like “I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS.”

    With certain Lib Dem lickspittles like David Laws (read his chapter in The Orange Book to see his contempt for our NHS), this reorganisation was a certainty.

  • NT86

    I already mentioned in reply to AlanGiles that there was much to criticise New Labour about, including their handling of the NHS (one just has to look back to Patricia Hewitt’s time as Health Secretary). Blair made no bones about his intentions. He stood down in 2007 so his plans never came to fruition anyway and I doubt Gordon Brown would have have taken a route so severe as this one had he won the last election.

    But that still doesn’t excuse the barefaced deception of Call Me Dave who pledged “no top down reorganisation” and his use of slogans like “I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS.”

    With certain Lib Dem lickspittles like David Laws (read his chapter in The Orange Book to see his contempt for our NHS), this reorganisation was a certainty.

    • AlanGiles

      As a person I quite like Andy Burnham – at least he has a pulse,  and seems to take his job seriously, which is more than you can say for many shadow ministers, BUT – and it is a big “but”- he subtly supports creeping privatisation in the NHS. He pioneered NHS Global and I rather suspect the attitude of the current Labour party to the NHS will be akin to their attitude towards renationalisation of the railways – all in favour until April 30th 1997 then – well it would be “too expensive” to correct the faults of the Tories. The same thing, I am sure will hold true with the NHS post 2015 if labour win a majority.

      I am afraid I long ago gave up any delusions that Labour, be it new, Blue, Purple or whatever the 2015 buzzword will be, will seriously have the principles we held in the days of Clement Atlee and Harold Wilson.

      • http://twitter.com/waterwards dave stone

        I don’t trust Burham following his initiation of NHS Global. The international elite who are able to pay top money to stay in boutique NHS Global hospitals will demand to be treated by renowned NHS physicians. Meaning that those physicians won’t be available to treat NHS patients in the UK.

        NHS Global define their objectives as:
        1. Identifying commercial opportunities in the NHS.
        2. Generating demand in international markets.
        3. Brokering partnerships between NHS organisations and overseas customers.
        4. Identifying potential legal issues and risks.
        5. Providing advice on Intellectual Property management and Marketing & communications.

        This seems to be a first step toward integration within an  international private health care market. The sort currently being developed by Tony Blair’s ex-health policy chief Simon Stevens, now President of Global Health, part of the UnitedHealth Group which has 75 million customers worldwide.

  • http://twitter.com/waterwards dave stone

    I’ve just been refreshing my knowledge with a dip into Prof. Allyson Pollock’s book ‘NHS plc’ (2004).

    She describes visiting Geoffrey Robinson at his Downing Street office. Prof. Pollock presented her analysis of PFI, based on detailed study of business cases. The result? Robinson praised the virtues of the private sector and then invited her for a drink on terrace of the House of Commons.

    At another meeting, this time with Gordon Brown, she requested an explanation of the rationale behind the use of private finance, given that it was more expensive and the risks were not transferred to the private sector. The result: Brown repeatedly declared that the public sector is no good at management and only the private sector is efficient and can manage services well.

    The market ideology had become firmly embedded.

  • Virginia.Moffatt

    This is Labour mealy mouthedness. The NHA Party was formed in response to the Health and Social Care Bill, which was ONLY possible because you, the Labour Party, have become corrupted by neoliberalism. You laid the foundations for what the Tories are doing, so don’t come and lecture to the electorate about who we should vote for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ric.euteneuer Ric Euteneuer

    Pathetic post closure justification and then an attempt to smear the candidate for, er, being independent; ANY Labour Party member should be ashamed to support ANY hospital closure and should hie themselves back to the Conservatives where they belong. If Labour want to catch the votes – they should commit to a free at point of use NHS in perpetuity and an end to health rationing and ‘hard choices’ (usually made by hypocritical front bench ministers with private health insurance)

  • Simon Elliott

    I’ve completely lost confidence in the will of the Labour party to support the NHS, for reasons I’m sure I don’t need to elaborate. 

    If NHA stand in my constituency they can count on my vote. Even if they don’t stand here, I’ll donate to them.

    I  hope that if they get a few MPs they are politically savvy enough to use every millimetre of leverage they can get. Only time will tell I suppose. 

  • AlanGiles

    True, and NT86 also conveniently forgets that two Labour Health Secretaries had strong links with the private sector – Patricia Hewitt with BUPA (and Boots as well) and Alan Milburn acted as a consultant for a private healthcare company – at the same time that they were holding the health brief at Westminster.

    It is worthwhile looking up the interests of Mps and ministers and ex ministers on the “they work for you” website. I’d recommend NT to do so before he chants the “Tory bad Labour good” mantra – when it comes down to it, where personal enrichment is concerned, you can’t get a sheet of Bronco between them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

    I got the impression that the NHAP were aiming to stand in reasonably comfortable Conservative seats where Labour are not likely to win but where the local MP supported the current reforms? Hence aiming to bring together voters concerned about the NHS in seats which rarely change hands.

    David Lock was unfortunate enough to be a payroll minister in a seat where there was a very strong local issue. The fact that Health Action couldn’t spread outside Wyre Forest says a lot

  • http://twitter.com/GreenLeftie Michael Bater

    I’m rather saddened that a member of the Labour Party could write such undemocratic drivel as this article.

    Paul would you have agreed with Liberal Party members saying that the Labour Party strangled at birth, when it was formed? 

  • bry1

    Sadly, although I welcome Labour’s guarded decision to repeal the H&SC act the fact is that 
    Blairite efforts to privatise large amounts of NHS activity and waste vast sums of money on disgraceful PFI schemes. these are crippling the NHS and firstly, I want Blair and Burnham to apologise and then I want them to do something about this. 

    Today, one of the best hospitals in the north of england, Royal Bolton Hospital Foundation Trust went cap in hand to Monitor because it is £38million ‘overspent’. the press say that 600 jobs are at risk. This sum probably represents 1 days worth of interest for all the PFI schemes labour signed up to.

    My own Trust, also in the North of England is also a  Foundation Trust. It is in ‘financial difficulty’ and  it is asking clinicians to come up with ideas to save money. The rumour is that  surprise, surprise  we may have to close 1 of our 2 remaining A&E departments to do this ( we used to have 3 and the effects of closing the 3rd have been significant ).

    Thankfully the inefficient ISTC in our area ( run by an Australian company) has just lost it’s contract but how inefficient was it ? Oh we can’t access that information because of commercial confidentiality.

    The fact is, for those of us that work in NHS Hospitals and believe in the founding principles of the NHS we would trust Dr Taylor  and Dr Peedel over any other political party

          

  • majentah

    Sorry, not good enough. If Labour is worried about losing votes to a party that was set up to save the nhs then bloody well step up and match the committment of that party. People are not bloody stupid, we don’t naively believe that one man elected on an nhs platform can reopen an A and E Department, they understand the implications of voting for independents, speaking of which, Dr Taylor’s voting record has much to recommend it.

    I’m afraid we need a bit more of the Andy Burnham work ethic and a bit less of this negative Machiavellian crap.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynne.roper Lynne Roper

    I used to be a Labour supporter, but no longer. Labour continued the rot with privatisation when in power, so what are they going to do now to help the NHS? I vote based on my principles, and labour has spent too long with a foot in both camps. Just look at the banking crisis.
    As for decent. hard-working MPs, most of them are now professional politicians and have absolutely no idea how the rest of us live. So why don’t you adopt MPs who have actually worked in the real world rather than been president of the NUS, then an agent, then an MP?
    I don’t trust Labour to reverse the marketisation of the NHS, and I don’t trust Labour to redistribute wealth more fairly, both of which are key issues in our society. Politicians continue to prop up the failed Free Market without any serious debate on alternatives. You’ve had your chance, and you blew it.
    I’m an NHS professional and I’m willing to give the NHSAP a proper chance, if only to foce a proper debate and to shake up our smug and well-paid political class, who, incidentally, don’t appear to be losing pay and allowances like the rest of us.

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