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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 June 2011

News in brief

PFI man

Predictably many Tory backbenchers regard the prime minister's cosmetic changes to the government's health and social care bill as a capitulation. Another politician critical of "David Cameron's retreat" is Labour's former health secretary, Alan Milburn.

Milburn, who is Cameron's social mobility adviser, went on to describe the token changes as the "biggest nationalisation since Nye Bevan created the NHS in 1948".

This bizarre comment has no basis. Privatisation through Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes is continuing, with Tory chancellor George Osborne approving another 61 schemes worth 7 billion. This, despite rubbishing PFI schemes when in opposition.

PFI schemes were introduced into the NHS by Alan Milburn during his tenure at the department of health. They involve private corporations building and refurbishing hospitals and then leasing them back to the NHS for a fat fee thereby draining the NHS of resources.

Last August the department of health said NHS organisations will, through PFI schemes, eventually pay over 50 billion for buildings worth 11 billion with maintenance charges adding a further 15 billion.


Withering comment

Another Labour politician talking out of his hat is Lord Beecham. The life peer wrote to the Guardian following the newspaper's recent light-hearted reference to Frederick Engels, the socialist revolutionary who collaborated with Karl Marx.

According to Baron Beecham, "it was Engels who advocated 'the withering away of the state' which the government is sedulously promoting." That phrase by Engels referred to the gradual dissolution of class society and the instruments of class oppression during the transition from socialism to communism - unfortunately not a description of the UK in 2011 and certainly not a future desired by the leaders of the Labour party!


Fat fee

Pity the Lib Dems whose fluffy, caring image has been brutally shattered by climbing into bed with the Tories.

However, as their electorally popularity slumps due to the coalition government's savage cuts, it's not all bad news. It seems that their image has soared in big business circles. So much so that they can now charge bosses 3,500 for a table of ten at their first gala dinner. And according to the FT the Lib Dems "are introducing new 'premier' tables, with opportunities for corporate branding, for a steeper fee of 5,000."

They will also be hosting a 'corporate day' this September for chief executives and directors, charging the fat cats 350 a head - the same price as Labour's business dinner.


It figures

Tory minister Francis Maude has attacked the 'low turnout' in the trade union ballots for strike action on the 30 June. Maude omitted that postal ballots were imposed on the trade unions by the Thatcher government deliberately to weaken democratic participation. He also failed to mention that the combined general election votes of the Tories and Lib Dems were only 38% of the electorate - not exactly a majority!

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In The Socialist 22 June 2011:


Socialist Party feature

As the cuts bite, millions ask: 'Does it have to be like this?'


Building for 30th June

Con-Dems' pension attack - brutal class warfare must be fought

POA to hold protest meetings

Busting the public sector pensions myths!

Staffordshire NSSN builds support for 30 June action

Hillingdon workers back the pensions strike


Socialist Party workplace news

Strike action to defend Royal Mail jobs

Leeds Unison urges members to reject council's final offer

Coleg Morgannwg: Victory over victimisation

Barnsley lecturers fight job cuts

Unison conferences discuss action on pensions

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party news and analysis

Housing crisis

Con-Dems still plan to destroy NHS - Save our health service!

News in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Greece's debt crisis threatens worldwide banking system


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Finsbury Park - No to A4e cheap labour schemes

Southern Cross bosses demand huge cuts in pay and conditions


Reviews and comments

Sri Lanka's killing fields

Readers' comment: apprentice sexists


Fighting the cuts

Southampton: strikes set to continue

200 workers challenge Labour council cuts

Labour MP fails to answer questions on cuts


Education

Comprehensive education under attack

Keep Tidemill in public hands

Spreading to primaries?


 

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