NoelNatter

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Say No To The Far Centre!!

A quote which has stuck in my mind over the last year is from a review in the New Statesman (20th September 2004,pp.50-51)of Allyson Pollock's NHS Plc by Theodore Dalrymple. He gave it a glowing review (it is a good book), which is surprising to the extent that Pollock may be labelled as "Old Labour", while Dalrymple is "Tory Right". However, the phrase that sticks with me from the review is this:

"What we are experiencing is a creation of a truly corporate state, in which lucrative contracts are awarded to private companies and individuals on the basis of political criteria or contacts. If the government depends upon the support of private enterprise, private enterprise increasingly relies on the patronage of the state."

Fast forward a year and this appears on Kevin Carson's Mutualist blog http://mutualist.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Nulab's Economic Fascism


Via Dr. Chris Tame of the Libertarian Alliance yahoogroup. "Private firms to take over NHS staff"

Tony Blair was accused of planning the privatisation of the health service yesterday after it was revealed that some NHS buildings and staff will be transferred to the private sector.

Firms applying for contracts worth a total of £3 billion to run a new generation of treatment centres have been told that in some cases they may take over NHS facilities and employ NHS staff.

Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, said there was "no question" of the NHS being privatised and that it was "nonsense".

But union leaders and doctors claimed that private healthcare firms were gaining unprecedented control over the NHS.

Three years ago the Department for Health announced that it was expanding NHS capacity by paying for operations to be carried out in privately run treatment centres....

The Government is now inviting bids for a second wave of treatment centres and, according to details of the tender documents leaked to a newspaper, some contractors will be allowed to take over NHS facilities.

In Birmingham and the New Forest, private firms will be allowed to take over state-of-the-art operating theatres built for the NHS.

The Adam Smith Institute should be all over this, since it's just the kind of "privatization" they like. I've noted before (most of the links are here) that what passes for "privatization" is usually just crony capitalism: sharing taxpayer-funded loot with politically connected corporatists in the nominally "private sector." As Nigel Meek said in response to the National Health story:

"Privatising" only in the sense that directors and shareholders of certain companies may well benefit financially. The state will still ultimately direct the whole show. This is an example of the corporatism typical of New Labour. They've moved the not very great difference from socialism to that "socialism for grown-ups" otherwise known as fascism. The instincts and ultimate state direction remain the same but it incorporates sufficient elements of "business" - e.g. personal incentives and rewards - to make the whole thing work after a fashion.

Remember: "business" and a genuine "free market" as libertarians understand it - i.e. the "economic" element of a social system of reciprocal individual liberty - need have little connection. Auschwitz was a commercial enterprise involving the Nazi government, big business and the luckless slaves working (to death) in the complex. We need to keep repeating this and indeed opposing such "privatisation" and making clear the thoroughgoing libertarian alternatives.


To once again quote a phrase which is generally attributed to either Noam Chomsky or Gore Vidal, we appear to have another example of "state socialism for the rich, free market for the poor." I could go on at great length here, so I will just saw that it seems the thinking, democratic "left" and "right" (and "centre" ie the continuing Liberal Party) need to get their act together and unite against the Far Centre. Here endeth the lesson!

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