"Did any of us ask for this? Are there crowds on the streets demanding the privatisation of the NHS? Even the Tories have come out against it: David Cameron's speech last week placed them to the left of Labour. Why, after the 60-odd quarters of consecutive growth that Gordon Brown keeps boasting about, can he not maintain a public service founded in the midst of poverty and rationing? What mysterious hold on policy do the corporations possess, that they can persuade this government to wreck Labour's finest achievement and damage its chances of re-election?"
writes George Monbiot in his excellent article in today’s Guardian on the government’s plans to replace local GP surgeries with giant privately-owned polyclinics.
The ‘mysterious hold on policy' that the corporations possess is of course, money power. Money power has corrupted our democracy in the same way it has corrupted democracy in the US. On issue after issue, the policies the government adopts are not those which the majority of people want: such as renationalisation of the railways and a fairer, more progressive taxation system, but the policies the banks and the big corporations want.
And make no mistake: ending this sorry state of affairs is the greatest democratic challenge of our times.