Sunday, July 25, 2021

Why is Laura Kuessnberg ignoring the Privatisation of the NHS?


The likes of Laura Kuessnberg and Robert Peston love scandals, it's all they report on. But they barely say a word about maybe the biggest scandal of all, the privatisation of the NHS, which is doing serious damage to the health service as £Billions that should be going to fund nurses salaries, to pay for hospital beds and to run clinics - instead is going to private companies.

When I went to A&E recently after an infection got out of control I saw the incredible pressure that the hospital reception staff are under and how that affected me and the other patients in need of care. Frankly, it was horrific and I felt like I was in a poor 3rd world country but I was not, I was in Britain, a rich country but one which that has suffered from years of brutal Neo-Liberal policies.

As a result of the poverty pay and over exhausting working conditions many nurses have left the profession and now there is a shortage of 10,000s of nurses across the country.

Furthermore, due to the cut in the nurses' bursary under Jeremy Hunt, many who'd like to train to be a nurse simply cannot afford it as they'd need to take out loans while a student nurse meaning they'd end up in debt which is a debt that due to the poverty pay they'd struggle to be free from.

Yet while this is happening private companies are sucking out £Billions from the NHS.

A lot of the propaganda back in the day was that allowing the private sector to run services would make those services more efficiently especially as privatisation would cut all that bureaucratic waste that Big Government tends to have.

However, with NHS privatisation the opposite is the case. Frank Dobson who was briefly the Health Secretary from 1997 to 1999 said that the NHS used to spend 4% of its budget on bureaucracy but now due to extra privatisation the health service spends something like 12% to 15% on bureaucracy.

With a Neo-Liberal Government in charge and an opposition not interested in opposing that percentage spent on bureaucracy could go a lot higher than 15% as more and more privatisation comes into the health service.

The annual budget for the NHS is over £100bn so those extra percentage points wasted by the private sector could be funding so many NHS services we all need as well as to give NHS staff a fair salary.

One of the reasons for the private sector being inefficient is its corporate style of management. Private Companies run services with executives, directors and consultants who of course require a large salary.

David Graeber in his book "Bullshit Jobs" talks about this in detail and how the Private Sector has layers of bureaucrats doing jobs that provide nothing in terms of actual service but require large amounts of money to fund.

Private companies of course want to make a profit and when NHS services are privatised there are often not just one company involved but many. Each cut that each company takes adds up to massive sums of money wasted.

Tory MPs like James Cleverly and Sajid Javid say we cannot afford the rise in nurses' salaries that the RCN (Royal College of nursing) ask for but these very same MPs are happy for the money to be wasted on the private sector.

This really is a scandal that the general public need to know about yet if you look at Laura Kuessenberg's Twitter feed there is nothing about this and when she is on the TV she ignores it all. It confirms what Noam Chomsky says that the media are not interested in informing the public rather only interested in Manufacturing Consent.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Amazon: "Working in an Amazon warehouse feels like working in North Korea."

Amazon workers talked about the fear they have of the company & getting in serious trouble if they publicly talk about the working conditions that they endure with some comparing the company to North Korea due to how they are tracked, watched and monitored

I started to research the working conditions a few weeks ago at the Amazon fulfillment centres. These so-called fulfillment centres are the warehouses where the Amazon packages we receive are sorted.

The workers with whom I spoke to were insistent not to mention their names in any article. Very insistent due to a fear that they'll simply get sacked if they call out the working conditions at Amazon.

Why do they feel this way? Are Amazon monitoring what their workers say on social media? Certainly workers suspect that is the case.

They told me about the CCTV systems at the warehouses and how they believe - while at work - they are monitored all the time with everything they do tracked. It's not unusual for a workplace to have CCTV however the workers said at Amazon it was different - the way they were being monitored is on a whole new level.

Apparently there are a series of really draconian rules at the warehouses that the workers must obey. One includes banning languages other than English from being spoken.

An Italian speaker mentioned how he was not allowed to speak his language with a colleague. He said he reckons this is the case as managers want to know what workers are saying. 

Are Amazon managers listening to workers' conversations? This is certainly I question I'd like to have with Amazon bosses. 


Being Tracked Non-Stop

Workers are expected to work like robots to the point of exhaustion and if they don't, well they won't be working there much longer. 

Amazon maintain this system by tracking and monitoring workers to a real Orwellian level way with pressure put on workers if they don't make these super-hard targets. 

Breaks are monitored too. A worker mentioned how she would get two 30 min breaks a day (one is unpaid) and she'd get in trouble if she took even an extra minute of break. 

But what I was told that really hit me was the fear workers have to speak out. When they spoke to me, they really were asking me (even begging) not to mention their names or even the specific warehouse where they work due to a fear of getting in trouble.

Whether or not Amazon spy on what workers say about the company - this really deserves a deep investigation - but even if they don't, the culture at Amazon is so hostile that workers feel what they say about the company is being read. 

I spoke with a Trade Union official at the GMB who deals with Amazon. He told me that Amazon do act like a Dictatorship in how they want to give the public appearance that the working conditions are all fine at the warehouses. 

He told me about how Amazon do tours around their warehouses that resemble the tours the North Korean Government give to tourists coming to Pyongyang. 

When he was on a tour he was not allowed to see parts of the warehouse they did not want him to see, they made sure he did not go anywhere alone and all while having a subtle hostility to him as he is a trade unionist concerned with the conditions.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Why are the Right-Wing tabloids targeting RLB?

From all the Labour leadership candidates, RLB is the one who the Daily Mail & the Sun are most keen to attack. Why is that?

Since she declared that she was standing to be Labour leader, Rebecca Long-Bailey has faced from most outrageous attacks from Right-Wing newspapers and Right-Wing blogs. Attacks on her physical appearance, attacks on her Catholic faith & even attacks on her husband. 

Why? Why are the Right-Wing so keen to go after her?

The Tory blog Guido Fawkes did a story claiming her husband (Steve Bailey) is a Multi-Millionaire Director. Turns out this was a different Steve Bailey. The Daily Telegraph had an article insulting the shape of her face.

The Daily Mail ran a story attacking her for living in a nice house which of course was followed by comments by their readers calling her hypocrite for this because how dare a socialist live in a nice house!!! The Sun did a number of attacks including one where they reported that Labour-Right MPs will quit the Party if she becomes leader.

And all this does not include the attacks on her Catholic faith which took the smears to a whole new level. Despite being as progressive as anyone, due to her faith, based on an article from the very dodgy blog - Red Roar - people started claiming she opposes the right for women to choose. It was total nonsense but in today's world, its now the norm for untrue news to be believed.

In many ways these attacks are even worse than the Right-Wing's attacks on Jeremy Corbyn. Yes, of course he faced awful attacks but the attacks on her seem even more personal.

The question of course is why? Why are the Right-Wing focusing on RLB? We are told she is unelectable and no threat to the Tory Party, so if that is the case, why are the right focusing on her? Surely if she was no threat then they'd just ignore her.

The reason is that she is a threat to the Tories. People forget that while the 2019 election was a disaster for Labour, the 2017 election went quite well for them. The Party went from 30% (under Ed Miliband) to 40% (with Corbyn) and this frightened the hell out of not just the Tory Party but the entire establishment.

The fear hence is that RLB can do the same and better especially due to her focus on the Green New Deal. Climate Change has often been treated as a non-issue in UK politics, but it is becoming the number one issue for the young as fires & floods rage across the world. 

Labour already did very well with Corbyn among those born after 1990s and with RLB set to fight on a manifesto with the Green New Deal as her top policy, they could get that extra 2% to 3% more than they did in 2017 and come to power.

One of the reasons Labour just fell short of a victory in 2017 was that the youth turnout was quite a lot lower than the turnout of people aged 65+. In order to correct that, Labour need a policy to get the youth registered before the 2024 election and out voting Labour.

The Green New Deal with RLB leading the party is that policy, the Right-Wing know this and this why they are now so desperate to see her lose.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Labour Won't Win a General Election With Starmer

Sadly he just doesn't appeal to the voters Labour must win back. 

Like Tony Blair, Starmer appeals to the comfortably Middle-Class. But due to decades of Neo-Liberalism, there are less and less of those people and hence fewer voters who would be attracted to Starmer's politics. He would have been great in 1997, but I believe he'll really struggle in 2024 and with him in charge Labour could get an even worse result than they did in 2019.

Almost instantly after the December election result many felt extremely sad & that Labour needs to return to a more Centrist leadership to gain power. And I felt the same for a bit. I felt a more Centrist leader like Starmer would see Labour appealing to more people and getting more votes. But then when I started to think about it & realized this was not the case. 

A major reason why Labour lost the 1992 election was that a section of the Middle-Class, still with fresh Cold War memories, feared a scary socialist Government. Tony Blair's Centrism in 1997 & his success, was based on the fact that many in the Middle-Class now felt comfortable to vote Labour.

But Britain in the 2020s is very different to the 1990s. The middle-class is vanishing and fears of socialism too are vanishing. 

Labour's problem in 2019 was not from Middle-Class people with a fear of Socialism but from working-class people switching to the Tories partly due to Brexit. Seats that had been Labour for decades flipped to the Tories as voters felt that Labour was just a London Remain Party. 

Hence Starmer, a huge Remainer from London, would be the exact opposite of what Labour needs now. The Right-Wing press and the Tories would portray him as an out-of-touch Londoner and frankly there is a lot of truth in that. 

Furthermore what does he offer to those working-class people in terms of policy? Corbyn for all his flaws managed to get a lot of young people especially out voting Labour due his Left-Wing politics.

But Starmer does not even have that. I have asked a number of Starmer supporters the question of how he will win back seats in Northern England and they never give me an answer. And sadly I don't think there is an answer.

I know people are hurting due to the election defeat but while turning back to Centrism got Labour a victory in 1997, the signs appears to be that this will not be the case in 2024. 

My prediction with a Starmer leadership is that Labour will get a similar result to what Miliband got in 2015 (around 30%): I think he would get some votes from Middle-Class LibDemers and maybe make gains in the South-East, but not win back seats in the North and maybe lose a few more in the Midlands. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

What is the Pileus (About us)

ThePileus was formed in late 2016 after a group of activists noticed that in the Labour-leadership elections in 2015 & 2016 that the monopoly of information the mainstream media had was broken via home-made political material which was released on social media.

It was quite amazing, people with no money and power were able to make material that was being shared 1,000s of times and seen by 10,000s of other people. The idea of thePileus was to continue to make political material but doing it from a new platform and in a more professional manner.

All the material is made from our own homes, whether articles, memes or videos and its all done by volunteers. The people involved have changed since the start but roughly the format is the same which is a Left-Wing plaftorm that focuses mostly on economic issues such as the NHS and the effects of Universal Credit.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Humiliation for the SPD, who after refusing a Corbyn-style left-wing shift, crash to 9.5% in Bavarian elections

Labour's sister party in Germany (the SPD) have suffered an incredible humiliation after their vote crashed in the federal elections in the state of Bavaria. (EXIT POLL)

The SPD received only 9.5% of the vote and came in 4th place behind the Conservative (CSU), the Greens who got an excellent result (19%) and the AfD (11%).

In Bavaria, the Conservatives have historically dominated so its no shock the SPD came behind the CSU, however losing so badly to the Greens is not only a shock a humiliation.

Furthermore its a clear sign that if Socialist Parties take a "Blairite" path and resist a return to Left-Wing politics (like with Corbyn in the UK) then they face humiliation in elections.

In the previous elections in Bavaria (2013), the SPD got 20% of the vote. Back in 1998, they obtained 29%. During this time, the SPD has roughly taken what we call in the UK, a Blairite path.

Currently the national government of Germany is a coalition of Conservatives and the SPD with SPD having senior cabinet positions such as the Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister.

The decision to continue to be pat of the Government was heavily resisted by Left-factions within the SPD however as those factions are relatively weak (in comparison to e.g Momentum's influence in Labour), the SPD joined the Government.

SPD-Right have been critical of Jeremy Corbyn's and the Labour Party's shift since 2015 and always held the theory that European Socialist Parties can only do well in elections if they "take the centre ground."

Well this result and a number of other results across Germany show that their theory is wrong. For example in two weeks there are state elections in the German state of Hessen and the polls are predicting the SPD to obtain 8% less of the vote than they obtained in the previous election.

The SPD are losing support mostly to the Greens and to the AfD and while from a left-wing point of view, its wonderful to see the Greens doing so well, it is of course worrying to see the rise in the AfD.

The rise of the AfD is certainly causing worry in Germany however the positive is that this worry is being met with political action. Yesterday a huge demonstration in Berlin of over 100,000 took place and with the German youth in particular, the AfD will struggle to enter any coalition in a German state as it will be met with overwhelming resistance from the street.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The curious tale of Nadhim Zahawi and NHS Privatisation

Nadhim's connection with a company called Sthree tells a lot about why Privatisation is taking place.
Why is it that Tory MPs are so enthusiastic about NHS Privatisation? Considering that most experts on the NHS think privatisation is a total disaster, why would Conservative politicians have such a different view?

Well the curious tale of Nadhim Zahawi and his connections to NHS privatisation are a clue that helps to answer this question.

In 2011 there was a debate in the House of Commons about a piece of legislation called the "Health and Social care act." It was controversial as the bill included reforms that would mean private companies coming into health care and being able to make profit out of the NHS.

Many MPs had doubts but during the debate, Nadhim Zahawi made a passionate speech in support of the bill and even described it as a "brilliant piece of legislation."

After the passing of the bill a number of companies started to get contracts for various services within the NHS. One of these was a recruitment company by the name of "Sthree."

The Mirror reported in April 2014 that over a 10 month period, Sthree received contracts worth £2.6million. .

So to some up the process of privatisation here the following occured;
(a) Tory MPs suppored a bill which would bring in private companies into the NHS.
(b) The bill passed
(c) Companies, such as Sthree started to make profit from the NHS.

But what is so curious about Zahawi's connection to all of this.
Well Nadhim Zahawi just happens to be a director at Sthree and according to the Daily Mirror, he earns £2,917 a month for that job.

So in other words, his job as a politician lead to the company that he also works for making profit. Certainly if the BBC were to report on such a scandal in an African or Asian country, they would refer to this as corruption however as far as i am aware, the BBC have not used that term regarding this case.

Although it is not just Zahawi who works for or has connections with firms profiting out of NHS privatisation. A blog called "social investigations" found out that 63 Tory MPs and a few Labour and LibDems MPs also have such connections.

Judging intentions is always super hard and i am not saying that MPs support NHS privatisation purely because of their business interests. However i think we can all assume that those interests do have an influence and the only debate is how powerful is that influence.