A MOMENT OF HOPE

The Communist Party has welcomed the Labour Party’s election manifesto It’s Time for Real Change. It has left the Tories and their one-time stool pigeons, the Lib Dems, floundering in its wake as the abysmal performances by Johnson and Swinson on the BBC Leaders Interviews last night demonstrated.

The immediate banner headline in City AM following publication of the Labour manifesto reflects the ground on which the Tories will now have to fight this election: not Brexit, as they intended, but simply whether Labour’s Plans are “credible”. They thereby concede whether they are desirable; their line is confined to whether they are affordable. The ‘experts’ they will draw on to endorse this concern are, however, the same ones who failed to see the 2007-8 crash coming and who supported Austerity as the appropriate response thereafter. As Sun Tzu said of war, he who occupies the field of battle first and await his enemy is at ease; he who comes later and rushes into the fight is weary. Elections are not war, but the similarity is such that the words of this Chinese General from around 500 BC can give us some reassurance.

The Tories have, of course, a heap on money with which, if they are indeed forced to fight the election on the ground of Labour’s choosing, will enable them to scare many voters into not voting Labour. The Tories might also hope to benefit from interference with social media by the Russians. Perhaps the most significant threat to enacting the Labour manifesto will, however, arise only after Labour win the election. The Parliamentary Labour Party harbours many disgruntled Blairites and “liberal social democrats” who would rather see a Labour government led by Corbyn fall than have socialist policies enacted. Also, let’s not forget the option to which capital might resort if Labour were to form a progressive government: what one might call  the Pinochet Option. Surely such a strategy would only be attempted in South America? Are you so sure?

But back to the general election. Let’s enjoy our moment of hope, win the election for Labour and carry things forward from there.

General Election and the NHS

It’s early days in the general election, but there are signs that the Tories are rattled. Their intention was to fight it on the issue of Brexit, not their record of imposing austerity, de-regulating employment and creeping privatisation in the NHS. Yet it is these issues that keep dominating the headlines.

The hysterical editorial in City AM on Monday under the banner “Labour’s Shameful NHS Scaremongering” demonstrates their sensitivity to NHS privatisation. Anyone who thinks the Tories’ plans for the NHS are benign only has to read the article by John Furse in the current edition of The London Review of Books, link below. As Furse demonstrates, the Americanisation of the NHS is not something waiting for us in a post-Brexit future, it is already in full swing. Denials by City AM which rely on selective quotes from reports by the Kings Fund about there being “no evidence of widespread privatisation of NHS services” miss the point. The complexity and lack of transparency of Tory plans are intended to conceal what has been going on, and hard statistics have been deliberately suppressed or made impossible to collect; but campaigners such as those in Keep our St Helier Hospital (KOSHH) have not been fooled. KOSHH’s tenacity has won the admiration and support of both Croydon TUC and Croydon Communists. Their next public meeting in Epsom on 12 November, link below, will be well worth attending.

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n21/john-furse/the-nhs-dismantled

https://koshh.org/