Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/220/9169
TUC Must Put Words Into Action
Stop The Private Profiteers!
TONY BLAIR asks union leaders to help 'modernise' public services. But, even they know, like millions of others, that he means more privatisation of health and education.
Threatened with limited opposition from the union leaders, Blair has done his usual trick of pretending he means the opposite of what he says.
His verbal contortions are not fooling working-class people.
A MORI poll in the Times, published just before Labour recently outlined its education plans, showed that half of all people believe health and education should be provided entirely by the public sector and two-thirds believe that they should be provided completely or mostly by the state.
But Labour's idea of listening to this groundswell of opposition is to press ahead with plans to give Education Secretary Estelle Morris new powers to hand 'failing' schools over to profit-making companies.
Their argument is that they need the private sector to deliver a better public sector.
But all the experience so far of private-sector involvement in running public services has been an absolute disaster: look at Railtrack; the passport office; PFI hospitals and Housing Benefit to name a few.
Now the first private company to run a state education authority has been fined £300,000 for failing to meet its target and improve GCSE results.
Cambridge Education Associates took over the running of schools in Islington, north London and not only failed to improve standards but in some schools the pass rate actually declined.
Out of nine secondary schools in the borough, three slipped back.
Yet, Labour insist on pressing ahead with privatising education. It is an ideological commitment which benefits their big business friends.
Union leaders say they are going to oppose New Labour's privatisation plans. We'll put pressure on them to try and ensure they keep their word. But they've been seduced by Blair's weasel words before.
A real campaign of opposition to privatisation of public services must be built, uniting all local struggles against privatisation into an unstoppable mass movement, including strikes and protests, to force Blair and New Labour to retreat.
In The Socialist 7 September 2001: