Sunday, 27 October 2019

Brexit Jokers



The Tories in England had long imagined that they were enthusiastic about monarchy, the church, and the beauties of the old Englsh constitution, until the day of danger wrung from them the confession that they are enthusiastic only about ground rent.”Karl Marx

The Brexit ‘debate’ is supposedly about the UK taking back control of its ‘destiny’ from the European Union. Brexit bores its way on while its advocates get on with the business of making as much money as they can without having to take notice of nation-state or borders. And Brexit itself can be a cash-cow. 


Former Chancellor Philip Hammond has claimed that “Johnson is backed by speculators who have bet billions on a hard Brexit – and there is only one option that works for them: a crash-out no-deal that sends the currency tumbling and inflation soaring,”

 

Of course the EU can still have its uses. 

 

Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Enforcer”, Dominic Cummings, talks about getting rid of ‘absurd subsidies’ paid out by the EU. He is co-owner of a farm which has received £235,000 in EU farming subsides

 

Conservative MP Richard Drax, descendant of a 19th century slave-owner owns a farm that has received an EU grant of £411,000.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble, in charge of steering Brexit legislation through the House of Lords is a partner in a family farm, which in 2017 received £49,000 in EU agricultural subsidies.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach, Tory Chief Whip in the House of Lords has a shareholding in a farm which received an EU subsidy of £159,000 in 2017.

Mark Spencer, Conservative MP and government Whip is a partner in a Nottinghamshire farm which received an EU subsidy of £14,000 in 2017.

And what about the loyalties of leading Brexiteer, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who famously said that “We are removing an imperial yoke”. He is co-founder of Somerset Capital, a £6.5 billion company based in London and Singapore. He stepped-down from the company on his appointment as Leader of the House of Commons, but he was then compensated with £1million from the company’s 2018 profits. If you search the company’s website you will be no wiser as to how they bring in the moola. Their mission satement has the clarity of mud, “Assessing governance risk and interacting with management teams to protect the value of our investment has been a cornerstone of our investment process since the firm was founded.” Let us take a guess that little of that £6.5 billion came from investments or activities within the United Kingdom.

And others? Lord George Magan is a former Conservative party chairman who has donated around £1.5m to the Tories. He is connected to the offshore law firm, Appleby.

 

Philip May, husband of former PM Theresa May, is a banker and pension fund expert. He is a senior executive at Capital Group, a US investment company that controls $1.4 trillion in assets. Linked to the Paradise Papers scandal Private Eye claimed the company use Appleby, to arrange investments in tax havens.

It would seem that loyalty to country does not weigh heavily on the Brexiteer mind.


I am not concerned about the ‘nationality’ of the capitalists who control our economy. Indeed capital has one progressive virtue. It is internationalist, but since our politicians claim they are putting Britain first, let us take a closer look at how they do that.

Of our energy companies EDF, a subsidiary of the French Government-owned energy company Électricité de France owns what were once London Electricity, SWEB, Seeboard and British Energy. E.ON is a German-owned group which bought UK energy company Powergen. NPOWER is a subsidiary of German energy company RWE Group which took over National Power, Calortex, Independent Energy and Midlands. SCOTTISH POWER is a subsidiary of Spanish company Iberdrola, formerly the South of Scotland Electricity Board. It later bought Manweb, the energy company supplying Merseyside and North Wales.

With transport, of twenty eight private rail and bus companies, 70% of them, are now partially or wholly owned by foreign states or their railways. German state railways, Deutsche Bahn, own Chiltern, Cross Country, London Overground, Tyne & Wear Metro, Borders and Northern. Dutch state railway Abello own Greater Anglia and French state railways own Keolis, running Transport for Wales and South Eastern.


With the escalating privatisation of NHS services, the Deparment of Health and Social Care awarded contracts worth £9.2bn last year to private providers, many of them non-UK based. NHS digital GP service providers Livi, is Swedish-owned. HCA International, running six UK hospitals and bone and cancer treatment centres, is a US company. Babylon Health, set up by ex-Goldmann Sachs banker Ali Parsa and providing digital diagnosis and GP services, is registered in Jersey and since they pay no UK tax cannot be considered a UK-based company. AB Kinnervik is a Swedish/ Egyptian company. Virgin Care, registered in the British Virgin Isles, is in the same categoty as Babylon Health.

The solution? Certainly not Brexit, but neither would be a return to the consensus politics that have brought us to this situation. We have had years of austerity overseen by these ‘turn the telly off’ politicians. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimate that over 14 million people are living in households with an income below the poverty line, with those numbers increasing daily. The number of people using food banks since 2010 has gone from the tens of thousands to the millions. The Office for National Statistics show that people born in the most deprived areas of England can expect to have over 18 fewer years of life than those born in the least deprived areas.


But don’t despair. As of July 2019, the Labour Party had nearly half a million members, making it the largest membership party in Europe. Today their policies include a four-day week, (with no loss of pay), £10 an hour minimum wage, reversal of anti-union legislation, reversal of NHS privatisation, the renationalisation of transport and energy companies, the scrapping of tuition fees, worker ownership funds, the abolition of in-work poverty, a National Care Service, a Green New Deal (with a 2030 net-zero carbon target), the protection of free movement, the closure of all immigration detention centres and a Brexit referendum which will not disrespect how people vote or voted in the past.

Can any of you think of a reason not to vote for Jeremy Corbyn?




Who will fight for the NHS?

A few years ago I received by post a ‘poo kit’ as part of the NHS bowel cancer screening programme. The instructions asked me to take two samples on three separate occasions and send off in the enclosed sealed envelope. I noticed that the address of the test laboratory on the label was in Texas. My faeces was off to the USA!

Private companies have a growing presence in the NHS. This was initially through providing support services such as IT, catering, portering, laundry and cleaning. Today it has expanded to cover GP services, urgent care, diagnostic services and non-emergency surgery, maternity care, community nursing, physiotherapy, CT scanners, radiotherapy machines, and ambulance services. Private companies are now involved in running entire hospitals, including A&E departments, not to mention hospital construction under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 (HSCA) enshrined privatisation as official government policy, but it must not be forgotten that both Blair and Brown’s ‘New Labour’ governments encouraged private providers’ involvement in the health service.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) disclosed that its total spending on all non-NHS bodies has risen from £10.32 billion in 2014 - 15 to £13.75 billion last year, an increase of £3.43 billion or 33% over four years.

This means you may now find that your GP works for a company like Care UK. Tests your GP orders on your behalf like blood tests or scans may be carried out by companies such as In-health. If your GP refers you to hospital for surgery, this might be to a privately-run centre, or to an NHS hospital run by a company like Circle. On leaving hospital, after care may be provided by Virgin Care.

Privatisation is at its most extreme in the mental health and childcare provision sphere. Dr John Lister, secretary of Keep Our NHS Public has said, “Last year (2018), roughly 30% of all mental health spending was in the private sector and 44% of spending on child and adolescent mental health goes to private providers.”

Fifteen of these private companies have links to twenty-four Tory politicians. They include David Cameron, Andrew Landsley, Jo Johnson, William Hague, Nadhim Zahawi, Nick Herbert, Chris Skidmore, Mark Simmonds, Nicholas Soames, Kwasi Kwarteng and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Let us look at a couple of these MPs.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, Leader of the House of Commons, who famously said that the growth in food banks is “rather uplifting”, is the co-founder of Somerset Capital, a £6.5 billion company based in London, the Cayman Islands and Singapore. He stepped down from the company on his appointment as Leader of the House of Commons, but was then compensated with £1 million from the company’s 2018 profits. If you search the company’s website, you will be no wiser as to how they bring in the moola. Their mission statement has the clarity of mud: “Assessing governance risk and interacting with management teams to protect the value of our investment has been a cornerstone of our investment process since the firm was founded.”

But I have discovered that Somerset Capital has received at least £4 million from one of their clients, Redwood Emerging Markets, who are involved in health technologies and digital support projects. If you want to know how difficult a task it is to get hold on this information, check out this talk by Dominic Johnson of Somerset Capital about Redwood Emerging Markets. Just as with their mission statement above, what is he on about?

Never mind the obfuscations. Channel 4 Dispatches has assured their viewers that there is little obfuscation in Rees-Mogg’s personal finances. He has received over £7 million from Somerset Capital in the last five years.

Nadhim Zahawi, Tory MP and Construction Minister in the Johnson government, whose duties include “better regulation and regulatory reform” is non-executive director of Sthree which won a £2.6 million contract from the NHS. He is paid £2,917 a month by the company for seven hours work. He may have on his busy desk company reports on their work replacing NHS primary care trusts with the company’s clinical commissioning group.

As the second highest earning UK MP, Zahawi acts as Chief Strategy officer for Gulf Keystone Petroleum. With all this work, he still finds time to go riding, although he had to apologise to the Sunday Mirror after they they published a report that he had claimed £5,822 on his parliamentary costs for his stable’s electricity.

During debate on the 2012 HSCA bill, Zahawi called it a “brilliant piece of legislation”. Of course he did.

You might think, So what? So long as treatment remains free when I go to my GP or when I am admitted to hospital, I need not worry. But with growing waiting lists for consultations and surgeries, NHS inadequacies open the door to privatised solutions. And they are already in place or scratching at the door to get in. And not just UK companies.

USA Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) has a lobbying group that supports the role of private company participation in the NHS. The US hospital operator, Tenet Healthcare, acquired Aspen Healthcare in 2015, an operator of private hospitals and clinics in the UK. Tenet said that it hoped that owning Aspen would provide “increasing opportunities to work with and support the National Health Service”. They went on to note that “privatisation of UK marketplace, given market inefficiencies and pressures on the National Health Service, should create organic and de novo opportunities” for their company.

What to expect from all this? Just two examples of what awaits us. The cancer / HIV drug Daraprim presently costs £2.30 per pill in the UK. In the USA the price is £619 per pill. Cataract surgery costs £800 in this country. In the USA that price is £5,780.

And why are so many of the UK companies involved with the health service registered abroad? Surely not to evade the taxes which fund their profits

We have a struggle on our hands to save the NHS. With the Tories actively voting for more and more privatisation and with the Lib Dems abstaining, no prizes for who will do the fighting.

A personal note. As someone whose life has been saved three times by the NHS in the last four years, I will be campaigning for a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government.

 

 LEFT FIELD FREE ONLINE

 

 

 

Sunday, 20 October 2019

David Wilson articles, 2000 - 2019



Meeting Ken, David Wilson website, 9 November 2019
No More Tweedles, David Wilson website, 7 November 2019
Who Will Fight for the NHS, David Wilson website, 27 October 2019 
Brexit Jokers, David Wilson website, 27 October 2019
Winning the Election is Easy, The London Economic, 20 July 2019 
What Isn't Reported about Julian Assange, The London Economic, 16 April 2019
Corbyn must stand strong against attacks on Israel, The People's News, 28 August 2018
Palestinians have Right to Return and Live, The People's News, 20 May 2018
Israel's Act of Terror, The People's News, 14 May 2018
Giving the Finger to the DWP, The Canary, 11 May 2018  
Disabled Tribunal Victory, The London Economic, 10 May 2018
Disabled victory in courts: The People's News 9 May 2018  
Labour Party Remains on the Up, The People's News, 4 May 2018
Theresa May + husband + war = profit, The People's News, 26 April 2018
Criticising Israel is not anti-semitic, The People's News, 23 April 2018
The Pornography of War, The People's News, 12 April 2018
The Overton Window, The People's News, 6 April 2018
The Overton Window, The Internattional Times, 19 April 2018
Corbyn is no Anti-Semite, The People's News, 26 March 2018 
Corbyn Wise not to Spoil for Fight , The People's News, 15 March 2018
Disabled Man Taken off Disability Allowance, The People's News, 14 March 2018
The Calabash Tree, having a heart operation, 17 Feb 2018
NHS Privateers, The London Economic, 2 Feb 2018
Why Boris Johnson, a Face to be Punched, Public Reading Rooms review
My Disabled Son Stripped of Benefits, The London Economic, 24 Aug 2017
The Fool is for the Many, Jaroslav Hašek's novel The Good Soldier Schwejk, 14 July 2017
Music of the Spheres, Heathcote Williams play, 18 June 2017
Them or Us in the Election, The London Economic, 7 June 2017
Exposing Corruption in Charities, Guardian article about charity corruption, 16 April 2017,
Abandoning Refugee Children, The London Economic, 11 Feb 2017
In The Living Years, for Stand Alone under pseudonym, 16 Sep 2016
Who Speaks for the Refugee Children, Counterpunch after visit to Calais, 20 May 2016
Planet Zembar, Subdural Haematoma article in Huffington Post, 17 March 2015
Famous anti-Zionist Jews, Stop the War Coalition, 12 Aug 2014
What a Strange Way to Protect Civilians, article for US antiwar website about depleted uranium weapons, 16 April 2011
Bush in London, Counterpunch, 18 June 2008
The Collapse of Iraq's Health Services, Counterpunch article about collapse of Iraq's health services, 14 Oct 2006
Depleted Uranium Weapons, Future Trust, 2006
Gloucester Weapons Inspectors, Counterpunch, 30 Jan 2003
Music and War, as published by the European Journal of Intercultural Studies, Vol 10, issue 3, 1999 and in The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, University of Kansas, Fall 2000, Vol. XV, No. 8 & re-written for a chapter in Left Field



Books
Left Field, The memoir of a lifelong actvist

inteviews
BrianEno interview



david@davidwilson.org.uk
+44 (0)7951 579 064



Thursday, 17 October 2019

David Wilson at XR protests defying Goivernment ban

(LEFT FIELD: My published memoir and now FREE here)

Photos at 16 October 2019 XR protest in Trafalgar Square and Whitehall. As you can see the government / police attempt to ban all climate extinction orotests has persuaded us all to stay home! Some arrests in Whitehall though, including the Mayor of Caster .. sorry Woodbridge, the leader of the Green Party and journalist George Monbiot. What do they do with the dog belonging to an arrestee?