Monday, 13 October 2014
NHS: Tory Reasons For Not Striking.
NHS staff went on strike today for all of four hours - as much as their conscience and sense of duty would allow - and faced the usual hostile interrogation from the BBC. Echoing the Tory party they trotted out the usual litany of threadbare reasons why NHS should never, never strike. These include the "massive disruption" to services, the need for the NHS to pay back the national debt (doubled over the last four years as the Tories plundered the economy for their own benefit)
seemingly single-handidly and the "unfairness" of increments. So let us look at these elements in the Tory arguments against any strike in NHS. The "massive disruption" is, of course, nothing of the kind. The strike today lasted for only four hours while full emergency cover was maintained at all times. There was no danger that the blue-rinse set or "angry from Guildford's" existence was put at risk while no MP was harmed during the course of the strike. There was no mass demonstration on the picket lines, no Molotov cocktail was thrown and no policeman was injured. The cost of a 1% pay rise, recommended by the government's own review board, pales into insignificance when compared to the huge costs involved in the Tory "reform" of the NHS and their amateurish bungling. Increments are not pay increases as the Tories would have the rest of us believe. They are a slow progression over the course of five years for new staff which recognises that a new starter will not be as skilled as someone who has been in the job for several years and brings them up to the same level of pay as their more experienced colleagues as their usefulness to the NHS increases over time. Increments are not the same as bankers bonuses and certainly nothing like the unlimited expense accounts enjoyed by MP's and those who doze all day in the House of Lords. Yesterday, in a display of breathtaking Tory complacency, Boris Johnson told the BBC that Ebola would inevitably reach Britain and that, in order not to upset rich businessmen and disrupt trade, no restrictions were to be placed on flights from West Africa. Britain is not like Africa, the tousled-headed Tory comedian told us with smug satisfaction, because our health care is so much more sophisticated and professional. What he was saying is that the NHS stands between us and catastrophe. An NHS, he might have added, that is not worth a 1% pay rise, whose sophistication and professionalism is so much in doubt that it urgently needs to be privatised, an NHS that must be made to pay the price for the criminal activities of the banking sector and the greed and avarice of a Tory party bent on asset-stripping the entire country to reward the tiny elite who bankroll them. All of this Tory cant and propaganda, it might be added, comes on a day when senior Tories have admitted that their "reform" of the NHS was a grave mistake that has cost the country an estimated £3 billion and has caused "profound and intense" damage to the NHS while Andrew Lansley's original reform plans were described as “unintelligible gobbledygook”.