Perhaps it was the thought that a respite from Jeremy Corbyn’s remorseless attack on Tory treatment of the NHS that lulled Theresa May into a false sense of security at PMQs yesterday as Lib Dem leader Vince Cable rose from his seat beyond the gangway to pitch his allotted question. She soon discovered that the respite would not be coming any time soon. This is what Cable put to the Prime Minister.
“The Prime Minister knows that one of the key objectives of American trade negotiators in any future deal after Brexit is to secure access for American companies to Business in the NHS. Can she give an absolute guarantee that in those negotiations the NHS will be excluded from their scope, and can she confirm that in her conversations with President Trump, she’s made it absolutely clear to him that the NHS is not for sale?”
So what did she have to say in response? “We will go into those negotiations to get the best possible deal for the United Kingdom”. Yes, well. Cable was not convinced. “Asked if PM would give an assurance that she’s told President Trump #NHS business not for sale in any trade deal with the US. All she has to say is that @GOVUK wants to increase trade with US. Can only infer that NHS is indeed for sale under @Conservatives. #PMQs”.
That media which is willing to report such events - so not the Sun, Express and Telegraph, although the Mail did try spinning it - was as unconvinced as the Lib Dem leader. The Guardian noted “Afterwards May’s press secretary repeatedly refused to comment further. He stressed that as part of TTIP, the US-EU trade deal that has never been finalised, the UK had secured exemptions to ensure the NHS could not be targeted. However, he would not rule out, in principle, US private sector involvement in the NHS in future”.
The Independent added “Her answer failed to mention the NHS at all, instead saying negotiations were already ‘starting’ to try to boost trans-Atlantic trade, even before Britain leaves the EU … The comments were seized on by Peter Kyle, a Labour MP and supporter of the pro-EU Open Britain campaign, who said: ‘Theresa May just gave Donald Trump the green light to get his hands on our National Health Service’”.
Adam Bienkov at Business Insider reported “Asked by Business Insider to clarify the prime minister's comments, a spokesperson for May said that discussions about the detail of any trade deal had not yet begun … ‘We are at the outset of those discussions and her comments reflect that fact,’ the spokesperson said, adding that ‘the point is we are not into the detail of those discussions. We are very much at the outset of them’”.
He also noted the Labour response, from a Corbyn spokesperson: “Any attempt to push Britain into a race to the bottom in standards and regulation is completely unacceptable and obviously a faction in the conservative party leadership wants that … It is a matter of great concern. The British people do not want the cherry-picking or privatisation of the NHS”. Theresa May just let another cat out of the bag - and gifted Labour an attack line.
So now we know how great the dedication to the NHS is in Tory land. As in, it’s not great at all, and Jeremy Hunt’s assertions to the contrary are worthless. But you knew that already.
So May and the tory gang are lying hypocritical spivs on the NHS. Just as all their "Safe in our hands" predecessors. No surprise there, then. They did, after all, vote against introduction of the NHS at its founding.
We know where Corbyn and his supporters stand: They are totally opposed to any privatisation-profiteering of the NHS. What matters now is how they organise resistance. There should be no half measures. If Yank oligarchs and thieving goons are to be kept out it will require a long term programme of direct action and civil disobedience. No civilised society is obliged to obey unfair laws designed to benefit a few people.
But keep your eye on the New Labour mob. Quislings like Bomber Benn, Mad Mann, Useless Ummuna and Windbag Kinnock will squirm in their red tory seats and do next to nothing to defend the situation. My bet is they will be all noise and no action, political cowards to a man and woman, as compliant now as they were during the corrupt Blair/Brown years.
If the people of this country hand over the NHS to gangster capitalist Yanks they cannot complain when the inevitable happens and ambulances turn up with credit card machines, and families are bankrupted to keep Yanks and their British and European Vichy allies in profits.
Theresa May is going to sell our NHS to unscrupulous American corporates who will stop at nothing to charge us oxorbitant amounts for the things we need for healthcare.
They already allow people to die if they don't have enough money to pay in America- Theresa May will allow this to happen here too.
We must RESIST this. We must march, write letters, emails, protest and more. Never let them grind you down, never let the right wing media and the Tory Party defame and silence your protest and your actions to stop this awful attack on our bastion of British culture, the NHS.
We cannot let Theresa May and the Brexiteer politicians sell our healthcare to evil people who will ruin our NHS.
The Maybot's "answer" to every question about Brexit is that “We will go into those negotiations to get the best possible deal for the United Kingdom”. Like everything else she spouts, it's just another meaningless phrase and answers nothing.
And this is the "leader" who has just urged her cabinet to be bold and original in their approach to the EU.
Just some more empty words from someone who doesn't have a clue to others equally blessed.
Waste of space!
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