(The Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848, identified the unvanquished coalition that today seeks to trade people as cattle: ‘The Conservative Party exists to wage a political struggle on behalf of the ruling class; it is comprised of a coalition between a ruling financial and business bloc, and a subordinate petty bourgeois layer. They are, in the Duke of Wellington’s words, a party of “the great Aristocracy, the landed Interest, the Magistracy of the Country, the great Merchants and Bankers, in short the parti conservateur of the Country”.
The same manifesto also identified an ever-present principle of exploitation: ‘The average price of wage-labour is the minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the means of subsistence which is absolutely requisite to keep the labourer in bare existence as a labourer’.
Zero-hour contracts are not a new phenomena, they are an economic form of malaria – a vehicle of ruling class parasites).
Like the Sun, the NHS will set, but unlike the Sun it will not return. It will be overun by corporate landlords (the ‘ruling financial and business bloc’), which, as owners of hospitals as real estate, will extract enough to pay their investors (‘the great Merchants and Bankers’, and modern-day pension funds), a 10-12% fixed rate of return per anum.
The corporate landlords will not be directly involved in management of hospitals. That will be undertaken by management companies (as leesees), who will be paid 20% per anum out of a hospital’s take of the NHS budget, although they will be expected to generate income, from high charges for staff and visitor car parking, leasing canteen facilities to McDonalds, treating hospital accomodation as hotels, with service charges, etc., with the government receiving a rebate from profits made.
Complaints will be problematic. After all internal avenues (RCN sanctioned dead-ends), have been exhausted, the management company will advise complainants to contact the owner of the hospital by post, and will be given such addresses as Kaminomizoshiru Corporation, Tokyo; Guð Bara Veit Group, Reykjavik; Sadece Tanri Bilir Partnership, Istanbul. They may be given several of these addresses, as more than one management company may be involved, and the most adept complainers will quickly realise that these companies are merely fronts for hidden ones – their addresses all meaning ‘God only knows’.
This vision of the eclipse of the NHS is not fanciful, as a template for it has been established in America, the spiritual home of the UK’s workfare ideology, from whence it was copied, in principle, line by line.
The model on which the invading corporate army is based are Real estate investment trusts (REIT’s), which are companies that own a portfolio of real estate holdings, whether NHS hospitals, aged care facilities, speciality care facilities, or dog kennels. One such American REIT had investments in 320 care facilities, spread over 33 states, which were managed by 47 different management companies. The majority of these holdings were in the ‘assisted living’ sector, equivalent of UK residential care.
REIT’s may either own the care facility property outright, or be its mortgage holder. Pension funds are attracted to them as bees to honey, as they are seen to offer a secure return. Pension funds such as the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CALPS), the New York State Common Retirement Fund, and the Ohio School Employees’ Retirement System, are typical investors.
These particular funds are investors in Care UK, a ‘winner’ of NHS contracts. Thus, an absurd paradox is encountered – the pensions of American public sector workers are protected by returns gained from the ‘pivatisation’ of NHS jobs; a euphemism for less staff at lower wages. Care UK’s accounts (2013) show that nearly 90% of their revenue accrues from public funds.
The paradox of one public sector ‘dog’ becoming fatter on anothers’ bone is not lost on UK unions, as, regarding some public care services in Doncaster being sold to Care UK, with resulting job losses and reduced pay, Colin Meech, Unison national officer, said: “Members of public-sector pension funds do not gain any benefit from destroying public-sector jobs and cutting the living standards of other public-sector workers by investing in privatisation”.
Unison attempted to encourage CALPS to pressure Care UK to offer a ‘living wage’ was rejected, a spokesman saying; “Your claim for an increase to £7.65, an increase of nearly 10 per cent, would not be affordable given the rates we are paid by Doncaster Council”.
It could be cruelly asked if UK union pension funds receive dividends from private energy companies (the recipients of former public assets), resulting in union pensioners freezing under the impost of skyrocketing energy bills, a case of cutting the living standards of other public-sector workers?
It may also be added that Doncaster is not exactly a hotbed of anti-austerity socialism. (Where is?). On January 21, 2015, its councillors decided to privatise seven council run care homes that they had threatened with closure if a suitable operator could not be found, i.e. one that could operate “given the rates … paid by Doncaster Council”.
Subsequently, the council announced that it had identified Runwood Homes as the ‘preferred bidder’ (notice the ‘market-speak’), and would begin an “implementation plan”, which would include arrangements for the transfer of staff and residents – as cattle, from common land to a prvate field, as in the Care UK scenario. Yet, care workers in Doncaster were told that this was a wonderful outcome, for the Mayor of Doncaster opined, “this is good news and a real positive step forward”, i.e., “dear workers, we have worked hard to secure a reduction in your living standards”.
The Doncaster Council ‘cabinet’ (oh yes, it pompously calls itself that!), obviously consulted an online review site, and decided that this review (April 24, 2014), was thoroughly atypical of the general experience of staff and patients at Runwood homes: ‘Unfortunately I have nothing good to say at all. I learned that a typical day consisted of … letting the clients down on a regular basis … I have never been made to feel as undervalued as I have here’. Another malcontented care assistant wrote of short-staffing, high work loads, and a lack of residents choice. Doncaster Council obviously chose to focus on the good reviews, one former care assistant writing that her job entailed ensuring residents were clean and tidy. A comforting thought.
Yet, what about local government and public sector unions protecting their workers?. Little changes. A ‘Normanstrike’ blog entry, concerning Doncaster on September 8, 1984, tells of the writer spotting ‘the Scottish NUM leaders, Mick McGahey and Eric Clarke coming through police lines. They joined the ‘official’ six man picket. I asked them if it was possible to co-ordinate the pickets more effectively so we could concentrate our forces at the best points. McGahey’s reply is classic, “Picketing has nothing to do with me son”. I should have known better than to ask such a question of such a leading figure in the class war!’.
Ed Miliband, leader of ‘New Labour’, and who also favours Doncaster by serving as one of its M.P’s, is obviously an adherent of the McGahey dictum of picketing. Three representatives of the sold-to-Care-UK strikers handed Mr. Miliband a letter, which read: ‘Mr Miliband, it’s not easy to sit here and say this: we have had private, but no public support from you or any of the local Labour MPs. The local Labour party and councillors have been worse. We have not had one word of support or visit to our picket line from any of the local Labour party. We cannot tell you how disappointing this has been for us. Most of us have been Labour voters all our lives, a good proportion of us are your constituents … It’s time to get off the fence. We want you to publicly state your support for our action’.
Does not-at-all-red Ed share any other of Mick McGahey’s views? His father did: “The conflict essentially stems from the determination of the dominant classes to extract as much work as possible from the subject classes … and from the attempts of these classes to change the terms and conditions of their subjection”. Here, Ralph Miliband condensed a central theme of the Communist Manifesto of 1848, his ‘dominant class’ being the ‘ruling financial and business bloc’ identified by Marx, who ally themselves to ‘the great Aristocracy, the landed Interest’, who own 90% of UK land, and by doing so keep its value artificially high, as UK house prices as a result, to the mutual interest of their coalition partners, the ‘ruling financial and business bloc’.
These ruling class elements of British society remain its exploitative force, and continue to manipulate its electoral process.
What of working class voters? Although it is understandable that traditional Labour Party voters might expect public support from them, it is certain they will not be given it, for they are no longer the group focused on. That distinction goes to focus groups in key southern marginals, the Essex boys and girls who were perceived as vital to the election prospects of ‘New Labour’. The architects of this enterprise guessed correctly about the incoming tide of Labour as a Conservative immitator, but their successors have failed to predict its retreat, and are now busily (pre-election), attempting to appear both more leftwing, and as supporters of the small business owner – the ‘subordinate petty bourgeois layer’ of Marxist analysis.
The petty bourgeoisie are being fed stories about ‘red Ed’ by the corporate news media, akin to a threat from an anaemic, pale pink sheep, in reality, but one portrayed as equivalent to an invasion by ‘Putin’, to repeat their derogatory term for the elected President of Russia. (Headlines! – ‘Russian jets invade (i.e. fly near)UK air space’. No Headlines! – ‘Nato jets regularly fly near Russian air space’. You live under the beam of a gigantic propaganda projector.
What of exploited workers? Is it not better to have a job on hard-tack than be unemployed?, ask retired Admirals of Hove They should rejoice that their job is secure; “Gloria, Hosanna in Excelsis” is their cry!
The ‘business bloc use ‘tax-efficient financial structures’, didn’t you know? Indeed, when all expenses, including director’s salaries and returns to investors, have been deducted, companies such as Care UK do not make any profit, so there is no corporation tax to pay! Clever, or what? What is your view of this, Mr. Balls? Would you advocate replacing corporation tax with a fixed, non-deductable, license-to-operate-in-the-UK fee? Mustn’t upset ‘the market’, hey? Wouldn’t want the dummy being thrown out of the corporate pram. Wouldn’t want to be called ‘Lefty’ Balls, no doubt, or, like your leader?, ‘Ed the Red’.
Both NHS hospitals and private care facilities are coveted by foreign real estate investors. The entire healthcare sector was described as a ‘gradually emerging mainstream asset class’ in property consultant Knight Frank’s 2013 Healthcare Investment research.
Foreign real estate investors will ensure the spread of ‘luxury’ care homes for those of the ‘director class’, who are not State funded, bringing about a sharp demarcation in the standards of care. Assisted living homes with 9 holes of golf for some, sink holes for others.
There are no (immediate) plans to implement American-style insurance schemes into the UK healthcare market, we are reassured. These schemes have resulted in millions of Americans being hounded for debt accrued as part of their contribution to their care costs – only extremely expensive policies offer full-cover – and many go without unaffordable drugs and treatments. Insurers dictate what doctors can and can not provide.
These plans will be introduced into the UK within 15 years, for there are juicy commissions to be made, and, we will be told, it is unfair that the older generation’s needs suck the life-blood out of young tax payers. Divide so as to rule, the magic mantra of the ruling class. There is a shortage of money, it will also be said repeatedly, ad nauseam, although no one seems to ever ask what money is – numbers that the international ruling classes agree exist within computers!
It has all happened in America, and, just as their sitcoms, insurance scams will be exported to the UK, which is nothing more than an undeclared American State.
Foreign investors, mostly American, will become NHS hospital landlords, and extract high percentage returns. Their horde of management companies will also suckle on the tax payer’s teets.
When it is said that only 6% of NHS services have been ‘privatised’, the point is sorely missed – the Trojan Horse was an even smaller component of Troy. It is wholly sensible to be alarmed by this gift from the ruling class.
Your jobs are safe, though, for a Roman galley only moved by indespensible slaves pulling on oars to the beat of their master’s drum. “What a healthy life”, the Admirals will bellow, “better a galley slave than an obese benefit scrounger”.
The real point has always been how the subject class can alter the terms and conditions of their subjection, which is especially difficult, as some of the subjected, the cabin boys who are brainwashed to think they can all be Admirals, the petty bourgeoise layer, think that their interests and those of their masters are as one.
The subject class, and any mutiny against the dominant class, will not be led by such as the ‘cabinet’ of Doncaster Council, or by the New Labour Party, or by the heirs of dear Mick McGahey.
The workers in care, and those being cared for in ‘gradually emerging asset class’ facilities, are being cast off.
The Sun sets on both the NHS and other forms of care facility, yet so gradually that most can not see the true darkness spreading.
Changes in healthcare systems are being viewed as if they are events unique to our times, when, in fact, they are merely the latest round in the battle between the ‘ruling financial and business bloc’, and their various confederates (which include the ‘Magistracy of the Country’, i.e. the police and security services), and those that receive a ‘quantum of the means of subsistence which is absolutely requisite to keep the labourer in bare existence as a labourer’.
It is an old boxing match, in which the working class have in their corner those with a foot in the other camp.
Everything is an ongoing class struggle, even though the ruling class perpetuate the myth that ‘classes’ do not exist, and that society is composed of nothing more than individuals who are consumers in ‘the market’ (owned by the ruling class).
You must see through the myths perpetuated, and combine to survive, or be sold as cattle, which no passing bells will mourn, nor would you deserve them to.
lenin nightingale 2015.