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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Politics is Broken

 ‘Cash for Cameron’, ‘Cash for Questions’ and ‘Cash for Honours’ are just the tip of the iceberg. Social investigations have uncovered links between 141 peers and private healthcare companies who stand to make vast sums of money from the effective privatisation of the NHS. Public sector workers are seeing pay freezes and pension reductions while their private sector counter parts are losing company pensions altogether, so can someone please explain to me then how it is that cabinet ministers are entitled to have their pension deals improved? Unfortunately this is not the first time MPs have been implicated in financial scandals, in 2009 389 were identified by the Daily Mail for abuse of expenses. To put that figure into perspective, there were 650 MP’s elected in the 2010 general election, that means 60% of our country’s leaders have been abusing the system. Only 3 went to jail for their offences, incongruous? Additionally, since their election victory in 2010 the Tories have had a number of members implicated in individual scandals including the Prime Minister, Defence Secretary, Party Co-Treasurer and at least two press secretaries amongst others. Indeed the party faithful have even rebelled about the situation with two MEP’s resigning and 80,000 people leaving the party since Cameron took over as leader. This is politics ladies and gentlemen, the people and the institutions that govern your life!

According to the NHS risk register which the government refused to publish despite being ordered to, the reforms contained within the Health & Social Care Bill are likely to be expensive, inefficient and unlikely to work. Needless to say they then are not in the best interests of the general public, so why was it passed? who stands to gain? Answer: The companies that now have carte blanch to move into the sector and begin their profiteering (I have discussed on an earlier post the empirical evidence that clearly illustrates the failures of privatisation should you have any lingering doubts ). A disturbing amount of examples can be found of the lack of moral fortitude of the companies moving into the sector, provided by companies such as Serco who have been using Prison Labour for Health work in Australia and a Norwegian company that has been placed on the Norwegian healthcare banned list such are their operating practices. So it isn't a social conscience that has drawn them in. Meanwhile, our state education system is in the midst of being privatised and plans have been mooted for the privatisation of everything from the Post Office to the Police Force. I ask you this, if we have a private Police force, who really thinks the standard of policing across rich and poor areas will be equal? Again, who stands to gain?

The UK is a democracy, in fact the oldest institutionalised democracy in the world and thus we have organisations designed to protect us from all this amoral profiteering and abuse of power, right? A Free press? The Police? Erm, Wrong. When Tony Blair was implicated in the Cash for honours scandal the police tried their very best not to investigate. When they were finally forced to do so they brought the grand total of zero charges. Perhaps they were too busy investigating claims of police brutality and racism? Ahh, well actually… How about our free press then? No again. If you can find any detailed and balanced reporting from the BBC on NHS reform then you are a far more successful researcher than me, when I complained about this fact even their response failed to outline any reasonable examples (see previous post). Once again, we cannot rely on the private press since they are all busily wrapped up in the Leveson enquiry which aims to find out why they violated privacy laws and bribed public officials including police officers. To be fair though, we won’t have to worry about this for much longer since the government plan to do their own snooping on all of our e-mails and internet searches, perhaps they will cut out the middle man and just give editors the password to their data base.

Yes OK, that last one was a sardonic comment, but if a government can privatise the very roads we walk along do you really think they are beyond such measures? The hard reality of the matter is this, corporations call the shots. As I outlined in an earlier post, political parties have to listen to them and act in their best interests, and time only inflates the effect that this has. It is not very surprising when government or police officials decide they want to jump on the gravy train too. The result is loss of essential services to the profit making private sector, forced (cheap) labour provided to large organisations through ‘workfare’, tax increases for the many and tax cuts for the few with enough political power to demand them (and enough money not to need them). Fundamentally we now live in a high tax low service economy, a state which has not existed in the UK for at least a century, and you only have the right of reply if you can afford £250,000 for a dinner with Dave.

Has democracy been privatised, I’ll let you decide. However we have created a political system where it benefits MP’s financially and professionally to advance the interests of big business even if it is at the expense of individual needs. We have created a financial and political system where corruption and wrong-doing are rife and often go unpunished. We are creating a state where the traditional barriers to exploitation are being eroded. What would you call a third world country that snoops on its own citizens? With corrupt politicians and public officials? With no free press? With repeated allegations of bribery at the highest level? With a police force with no will to investiate? What would we call a country that lacks a choice in governing policy? A country where the rich profit from the poverty and the misery of poorer citizens? At best we would call it a dictatorship, at worst and depending upon the effects: A fascist state.

Politics is broken, it no longer serves the needs or interests of the vast majority of the UK populace. Even more worrying though, I can’t see any political party that’s offering to do an awful lot about it.

2 comments:

  1. As I have been saying for way too long now, welcome to the post democratic [sic] corporate state.

    Great piece.

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  2. Good Blog entry Mr FarmDonkey, has democracy been privatised? I am absolutely sure that it has.

    I am coming to the conclusion that what Parliament needs is a large rump of MP's who are independent, not standing for any party. This would ensure that the larger parties had to debate in parliament properly, convince others of their arguments rather than ram things through on party lines, and then the voice of the people would get more change of being heard above the din of the party whips office.

    keep up the good work

    ReplyDelete