Monday, 25 April 2016

Now Will You Believe Me, Andrew?

I wrote to Andrew Smith, my Labour MP, several years ago warning him about the prospect of the NHS being privatised under EU competition laws. He dismissed what I said. I told him EU policy was to insist on a so-called free market (which usually means purchase by massive powerful multi-national corporations) and they intended to enforce this for the provision of all goods and services, which included health services.
He didn't believe me.
I told him there had been a legal case relating to this, and he still didn't believe me.  I think I have still got the letter somewhere where he denied it.
Now Lord Owen, formerly Dr David Owen of the Labour and SDP parties. has spoken out of the same subject. Perhaps Andrew Smith will finally believe it when he hears it from a former member of his own party, who is now a member of the fanatically pro-EU LibDem party, and who is also a medical doctor and a former UK Minister for Health. And guess what, it is even published in the rich lefties' garbage rag The Guardian

It would be too much to hope for an apology from Andrew Smith.

David Owen

 Lord Owen: ‘The legal opinion is very clear that there are a myriad of dangers if health comes under the current TTIP system.’ Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Brexit is necessary to protect NHS from TTIP, says David Owen

Former health secretary claims proposed trade deal between the US and the European Union could make any privatisation irreversible

The NHS will be at risk of further privatisation if Britain stays in the EU because of the major trade deal being negotiated with the US, David Owen will say on Wednesday.
Lord Owen, who was health secretary for Labour in the mid-1970s before co-founding the SDP, said it would be impossible to take the NHS back to its original purpose unless the UK votes to leave in the June referendum.
Speaking to the Guardian, Owen said the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US could put the NHS in “serious danger” unless there are more special protections to exclude the health service from the terms of the deal.
Under the clause of TTIP that most worries campaigners, US companies will be able to sue governments for pursuing policies that harm their business. A legal opinion commissioned by Unite argues the deal would mean privatisation of elements of the NHS could become irreversible for future governments that want to restore services to public ownership.
“The legal opinion is very clear that there are a myriad of dangers if health comes under the current TTIP system,” Owen said.
“The government could apply for an exclusion but even if we do that we are still left with the problem that the EU has gone more and more into the health service, because as more marketisation comes in there it becomes a greater justification for not treating it as an exception ... such as the insistence on putting more and more out to contract.”
His alarm at the idea of privatisation in the NHS is unlikely to be shared by some of his Vote Leave colleagues on the right. The remain campaign has claimed many leading Brexiteers “spent their political lives championing policies which would destroy the NHS as we know it”.
But in his speech, Owen is due to say: “We are agreed in Vote Leave that, whatever our political views on the present marketisation of the NHS, decisions on the NHS should for the future be for the UK parliament and devolved administrations to take. It should not be for the European commission nor the European parliament.”
He said leaving the EU was the only way to regain control over the NHS and the referendum was now wide open.
“We went through a market, insurance-based health system in the 1920s and 30s. I spent my childhood being told by my father what that was like and why he voted for the NHS in 1948,” Owen said. “All I am saying is I want to be able to vote for the essence of the NHS to come back if we have a government that is not a Conservative one and I would say even that could possibly happen in 2020 although it is obviously more likely to be a longer period.
“We have got no chance whatever of going back unless we get out. Barbara Castle and I disagreed in 1975. I thought the common market would leave the NHS alone but she turned out to be more perceptive than me.”
The Remain campaign replied that "independent experts" had shown Lord Owen to be wrong, but they did not name these "independent experts" or provide any links to their evidence.

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