Friday, March 21, 2008

New Labour's Corporate State

Many thanks to Charlie Marks for finding this truly shocking story from The Independent.

Shake-up of hospitals will open door to McDonald’s sponsorship
by Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor

Firms such as McDonald’s and Virgin could be allowed to sponsor NHS hospital wards under radical plans announced by the Government to allow sponsorship of health services and create a new era of open competition between hospitals.
Private companies will be allowed to create some “brand awareness” such as a logo on hospital property but they would not be allowed to gain a “commercial advantage”, meaning a firm such as Durex would not be allowed to sponsor a sexual health unit, but it could sponsor another type of clinic or a hospital department.
The plans announced by Ben Bradshaw, the Health minister, came as part of a drive to give NHS patients more choice over the private or NHS hospitals in which they are treated.

Patients are to be allowed a choice of hospitals across England from 1 April, including private hospitals that are NHS approved. At the moment, the choice is limited to local providers but the NHS will be able to “shop” for health care across the country.

As Charlie points out- this nonsense won't be happening in Scotland or Wales, but it can happen here, in England, because we don't have a Parliament (I'll be posting on the issue shortly).

One further point. The Minister responsible for this appalling scheme, the shamelessly hypocritical New Labour cipher Ben Bradshaw, was one of the most obsessive critics of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Bradshaw repeatedly- and ludicrously- referred to the democratically-elected Socialist government of Slobodan Milosevic as 'fascist'. Yet, the main feature of fascism is the very close association between corporations and the state. Another is the pursual of an aggressive foreign policy. And a third feature is the belief in the right of a self-constituted elite to rule. By that measure, it's the New Labour government in Britain which better deserves the 'f' word, than Milosevic's unequivocally left-wing and anti-big business administration in Belgrade.


Anonymous said...

One quality of fascism is to set people against each other. In the case of Milosevic, Serbs against Bosnians and Serbs against Kosovar Albanians, for instance.

Oh yes, and Slobo employed Douglas Hurd and Pauline Neville-Jones, then both of Nat West Bank, to privatise post and telecommunications in your beloverd Serbian 'socialist' paradise. Hurd and Neville-Jones ofcause accept the Tory whip in the House of Lords.

Sorry, I forgot, perhaps all this is a shining example of the 'left-right' co-operation which you advocate.

Anonymous said...

Dublin's Crumlin Children's Hospital has already been besmirched with Ronald MacDonald House, a temporary place of residence for the parents of sick children. Trans-nationals have seemlessly filled the vacuum left by the Catholic Church, and are demanding a lot more in return than an hour of our time on Sunday morning. Sadly this has happened without debate, as it's seen as some form of 'progress'. Defend what remains of your welfare state at all costs. Keep up the good work, Neil.

Neil Clark said...

first anonymous: can you provide some evidence for your claim that Milosevic set Serbs against Bosnians and Serbs against Kosovar Albanians? Throughout the whole period in power his message was a pro-Yugoslav one. It was the likes of the KLA and other anti-Yugoslav separatist groups, backed by the West, that set the peoples of Yugoslavia against each other.

re: Serb Telecom, it was the sell-off of 49% in the company, necessitated by economic necessity due to the impact of western sanctions. It hardly amounts to the the large-scale privatisation programme that
other countries in the region were pursuing.
Hurd himself hoped that the deal would be the start of a major programme of economic 'liberalisation' in FR Yugoslavia, but it wasn't. Which is why the propaganda against Belgrade and Milosevic intensified.

second anonymous: sad to hear about Crumlin Children's Hospital. Thanks for your kind words.

Charlie Marks said...

anonymous: if you think that there's anything fascistic about wanting England to have what has been won by the peoples of Scotland and Wales, you are sadly mistaken. It is not envy, but admiration that most people in England feel towards Wales and Scotland.

I'm really looking forward to that post Neil. Please reconsider joining the Witanagemot Club - if nothing else, think of the increase in posts and the boost to your profile (not that I'm saying you need it!).

Forgot to mention that Cornwall - one of the six celtic nations - is also without any form of devolution.

Anonymous said...

For more on this theme Monbiot's 'Captive State' is essential reading.
Oh and they have McDonalds family rooms at the Hammersmith Hospital too.