The NHS will be 75 this year. If it were a person, they’d have been deprived of oxygen and food for 10 years, had vital organs sold for 10 years previously with contractors finding out which body parts they could do without before that.
NHS dismantling, begun by Thatcher in the late Seventies, later progressed by Labour, with compulsory tendering and the betrayal of PFI in 2012 then saddling hospitals with debt, demonstrates the withering social collapse we have all experienced in the last 40 years. State controlled hardship and worsening health.
The British State is Capitalist, its primary concern is for Capital. It is deeply attached to the notion of ownership and the claimed efficiency of private markets. It accepts the unequal distribution of extreme wealth, privilege and power as a fair starting point and has little concern for anyone without it. It clearly has no idea how to treat people properly and is essentially anti-social.
The NHS, a socialist-inspired healthcare system, was intended to be by and for the people, not to be subsidised by the people for the benefit of private shareholders. Social programs are against the ethos of private management for profit. Indifference, neglect and under-funding have driven social problems towards emergency services. If you have money you can pay, if you pay you can have service. Payment for services eventually begins to dominate. Problem is, most of us rely on public services, and can’t pay.
We had ownership in shared collective assets with the NHS, British Gas, British Transport. These assets do not and never did belong to the government. They were the caretakers who sold the garage, the garden, the attic, rented out the kitchen then made us pay to come back in. With money as its’ metric, everything is asset stripped, turned into a privilege and then financialised. Once privatised, no-one is accountable. Britain is now largely owned by foreign investors. We’re being rinsed for profit.
Neoliberalism, which claims a wish to minimise the role of government, particularly State interference in the economy, is always interfering! Silencing claims on better living conditions, legislating itself out of issues, making anything that stands in the way of profit illegal. People’s real lives are continually repressed and controlled to protect the assets of the ownership class who calculate strategies which do not affect their own lives negatively in any real way. Economic oppression is a tool of control.
A two-tier tax system of criminal finance initiatives and “wealth management” enabled through the City of London, allows thieves to hoard assets offshore and beyond regulation. Finance is withheld from the public sector while investors, bankers and landlords fill their pockets. Multimillionaires motivated by personal ambition, insulated by wealth and privilege are not interested and do not know our needs. Money is practically meaningless to them. They live without the restrictions of financial demands.
In the same way, the first people colonised by the British imperial project were the domestic population. The British public now are subordinate to the agendas of neo-colonial finance capital. An international network of asset mergers, acquisitions and monopolies which dictates prices and strong-arms payment. Finance, the operating system which dominates our lives is enabled by the State as the accumulation of capital preserves their power and privilege.
Lockdowns gave us an idea of who was essential. People who do the actual work. Instead of reflecting their value, public sector workers and those in social care have been continually degraded, while asset owners are rewarded for gaming their wealth. The State directs subsidies, transfers of public wealth, to private companies and outsources responsibility at inflated cost. It’s next to useless at co-ordinating anything as it relies on money to do its work.
The result is trains we can’t afford to travel on, healthcare which is free at the point of service but unavailable, bills we can’t pay … filthy rivers and a dystopian housing sector with prices averaging three lifetimes of debt. People can’t come off benefits because if they take insecure work and lose their hours, they risk eviction as they can’t pay rent.
If the economy was intended to work for everyone, the rich would be taxed on passive income made through capital gains, there’d be wage share of excessive profits, redistribution of collective wealth into public spending and we’d have social ownership of utilities which benefit from economy of scale. If we lived in a well-functioning society, we’d be demanding minimum service levels from them and they’d be doing their best to provide them.
When they say the economy is doing well, they mean people in finance, when they say they want growth, they mean increased subordination to international finance. Luxury super-yachts, not small boats, are the problem. Bring back Robin Hood.
Image: Maura Framrose