Tag Archives: ukip

United We Stand

Alex Ashman ponders the need for a united left movement.

There are too few houses, because the government don’t build them any more. There are too few jobs, because government austerity is preventing economic growth. The NHS is suffering, because the government refuse to fund it properly.

But with the current system, it is hard to fight back against the government. The 51% win for Brexit looks slim when you consider the 63% who voted against the Tories last year. There was a huge protest vote, with a swing towards the Greens, SNP and UKIP, and yet the Tories remained.

And then people were given another outlet for their discontent. Some of those voting Leave will have done so in protest of the lack of housing, jobs and healthcare, thinking the EU was to blame for their woes. But once more, the government remains the same, and so nothing will change. Who will people blame next, once they realise that the problems are still there? Nationalism is on the rise, and populist right-wingers will continue to blame migrant workers and benefit frauds for all our woes. Just because Farage has won his precious Brexit doesn’t mean he’ll retire and go home. Quite the opposite, in fact.

If ever there were a pressing need for a united left movement, now is the time. Voters protesting against the government need to be offered an alternative narrative. A narrative that recognises that the real villain lies in Westminster, not Calais. A narrative in which austerity is rejected and public services are properly supported. A narrative in which Britain is great because we support each another, instead of blaming one another. Until the left unites, though, the Tories will continue unchecked. Action is needed, and soon.

5 NHS Strategies That Make UKIP Unelectable

1 – Constantly Threaten NHS Privatisation

Having already covered UKIP’s love affair with privatisation, NHSpace promises not to go over old ground. There’s no need to, as we have brand new evidence!

UKIP are just waiting for public opinion to change so they can safely reveal their privatising agenda. But if that’s the plan, why has the UKIP general secretary just gone on record saying that the NHS is the “Reichstag bunker of socialism” and needs privatising? Maybe he just couldn’t wait.

2 – Promote Politicians Who Know Nothing About Health

The UKIP spokesperson for health is an MEP who knows absolutely nothing about healthcare. Nothing. This is the person that UKIP would make Health Secretary.

3 – Play The Immigration Card

Despite the fact that the UK has a net gain of £2bn per year from migrants, and despite that fact that migrant health professionals make up 35% of NHS staff, UKIP still think that their NHS policies should involve bashing migrants as much as possible.

Whether it’s the spread of infectious disease or just traffic on the M4, you can be sure that Farage will find some way of blaming immigration. But hey, who needs real policies when you can blame ethic minorities?

4 –  Go On A Crusade Against Breastfeeding

As if anyone could ever forget, the UKIP leader is anti-breastfeeding and would prefer breastfeeding mothers to cover up and hide in a corner.

5 – Don’t Bother Having Any Real Policies

With weeks left to go, UKIP actually don’t know what their election policies on the NHS will be. Apparently it’s down to their “National Executive Committee”, although NHSpace suspects they’re just waiting for Farage so smoke a few more packets so that they’ve got somewhere to scribble down their latest ‘policies’.

No one puts booby in a corner, Nigel.

Maternity campaigner Jessica Ormerod responds to the UKIP leader’s statement that breastfeeding mothers ought to ‘sit in a corner’.

(Pictured above is Nigel Farage attempting to eat a bacon sandwich – a sight that is infinitely more troublesome than any mother breastfeeding their child.)

When did breastfeeding become such a sensitive issue? It’s not just Nigel Farage who gets a bit hot under the collar at the thought of a bare bosom let alone the thought of a naked nipple. I’m actually quite surprised by the UKIP leader’s prudism when he said that ‘mothers should sit in the corner when they breastfeed’ except that it fits in with a general societal assumption that breastfeeding is only acceptable if it’s not seen and definitely not heard.

And yet, around the globe, breastfeeding is the most common and the most healthy way for mothers to feed their offspring. It’s free at the point of delivery, clean at source and accessible any time, any where, any how. So what on earth is the problem?

Women are instructed by midwives, nurses, doctors, the NCT, that breast is best. FULL STOP. Failure to breastfeed your baby will result in your little bundle not achieving maximum intelligence, reduced emotional development, impaired language skills and, mummy, should you fiddle with the formula or bop with the bottle your place at your local playgroup will be as a social pariah. Get used to the disapproving glare of the motherhood masses.

Breastfeeding is no mean feat. No matter what they say, it is an art that doesn’t always come naturally and experienced support is thin on the ground. Women are given such incredibly differing and conflicting advice that many women cannot help but reach for the bottle as the cry of their baby is much louder than the tutting of the health profession.

So for the 26% of women who are still breastfeeding their young at six weeks you’d think society would give a hearty cheer of congratulations and welcome them to eat, drink and be merry. However, as it turns out, a hearty cheer is the last thing a woman can expect when nursing her new born in public. Despite the fact that most of the time even the most piercing glare won’t notice a baby suckling at the breast while mum chomps on a little dim sum, women are told that if they’re not discreet they will be sent to the loo to feed their baby or asked to don a napkin for fear that a little flesh might be glimpsed. What are people doing in restaurants? Why aren’t they concentrating on their expensive meals or engaged in frightfully absorbing conversation? Why are they looking at random women’s chests in the first place?

It’s very strange that in a country that still prints Page Three and abounds with nearly naked women from lads’ mags such as GQ to family shows like Strictly Come Dancing that we can’t cope with a mum, totally clothed with a baby lying prone across her body, with said baby’s head covering her breast. Even Facebook has got over its coy boycot of breastfeeding mothers. When are the rest of us going to manage it?

Farage: Immigrants Made Me Late For A Meeting

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has gone as far as to blame immigration for his missing a meeting in Wales after heavy traffic on the M4. UKIP’s desperation to blame immigrants for everything gives away their only real election tactic – to create a climate of fear and capitalise on this by promising an authoritarian clamp-down on immigration and civil liberties. One can only wonder how much of UKIP’s transport policy depends solely upon reducing the migrant population.

UKIP are also doing this with the NHS:

Losses due to so-called health tourism are a fraction of one per cent of the NHS budget – a drop in the ocean of underfunding. But it’s a useful lie for UKIP – who want your vote but not to tell you about its own plans to privatise the NHS – and for the government as a smokescreen for its own failings.

The actual cost of people coming to Britain specifically for free healthcare (as opposed to falling ill or having an accident while here on holiday) is estimated to be around £70 million – which is a lot of money, but just 0.06% of the total NHS budget. So even if it the practice was wiped out completely, the NHS underfunding problems would remain. That is the truth.

If you’re waiting for your GP and a person of a different colour goes in before you its easy to think “If they weren’t here, I’d be seen sooner.” If you go to A&E and the people sitting next to you are conversing in a language you don’t understand, it’s easy to feel they must be interlopers. You’re sick, you’re stressed, you’re not thinking straight. But the politicians are thinking straight. They have the facts, they have the figures, but they’d rather play on your fears and anxieties to gain political advantage than own up to where the blame really lies.

So now the government is planning to spend more money checking up on foreign patients than it can ever hope to recover in savings. It costs the NHS, it put more pressure on practitioners, but it’s useful PR in their desperate electoral fight against UKIP. Meanwhile UKIP are rubbing their hands that focusing on immigrants stops voters noticing their preference for privatising the NHS.

UKIP’s NHS Privatisation Agenda

You may recently have watched the footage of UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall calling for “more free market” in the NHS. Hardcore UKIP supporters have responded to the video with claims that UKIP have changed their policy on NHS privatisation since 2011. Let us set aside the obvious argument that UKIP are merely hiding their true colours in order to appear acceptable to the public. Instead, let us look at the much more recent evidence that UKIP want to privatise the NHS.

(If you’re not sure what constitutes privatisation of a public health service, see Clive Peedell’s article on Open Democracy. In this article we’ll consider privatisation as the increasing provision of a public health service by private companies via a free market process.)

Update: Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more ‘acceptable to the electorate’

Update: Ukip general secretary calls for NHS to be privatised and compares it to Nazi Germany

1. Nigel Farage

The UKIP leader Nigel Farage called for private involvement in the NHS in an interview with The Telegraph as recently as October 2014: “I genuinely do think, when you hear of a big businessman that says he’d like to run the National Health Service and streamline it, and get better value for money, I think that’s the approach we’ve got to take.

Farage previously told the Telegraph in January 2014 that it would be “ridiculous to protect the NHS from spending cuts“.

Going back further, Farage was caught on camera in September 2012 telling UKIP supporters that the NHS should move towards an insurance-based system run by private companies.

2. Paul Nuttall 

An open letter on Nuttall’s own website opened with “I would like to congratulate the coalition government for bringing a whiff of privatisation into the beleaguered National Health Service“. The letter remained on Nuttall’s site until May 2014.

3. Samuel Fletcher 

In May 2014 Vox Political’s Mike Sivier managed to catch a tweet from UKIP candidate Samuel Fletcher – it read “Personally I would completely scrap the NHS and require everyone to take out private health insurance.

4. Bradley Monk

In May 2013 the Southern Daily Echo had reported on a very similar tweet from UKIP candidate Bradley Monk – it read “The welfare state is massively bloated. I’d scrap the NHS personally, but that is political suicide.

5. Douglas Carswell

In February 2012 Tory defector and UKIP by-election winner Douglas Carswell wrote an article on his website stating his full support for Andrew Lansley’s privatising Health & Social Care Act.

6. TTIP

Regarding TTIP (the privatising EU-US Trade Deal) – UKIP initially came out in favour of TTIP in October 2014 but then quickly back-pedalled. What’s clear is that they would be fully in favour but for their issues with Europe: “Ukip is in favour of free trade but we are opposed to the undemocratic Commission negotiating on our behalf. Of course we look at each trade deal on case by case basis…” So clear as mud, then. At least RT’s Max Keiser seems to know the score.

7. The UKIP 2014 manifesto

UKIP spokesman Keith Rowe’s website summarised UKIP’s NHS policy in May 2014, stating: “UKIP will abolish the complex competitive tendering rules which currently make it very difficult for smaller companies to bid […] the UKIP will require the NHS to use people with commercial experience to negotiate with the private sector.” In other words, they wanted to make it easier for small private companies to take over NHS services, and they want to put privateers in control of the process.

8. The UKIP 2015 manifesto

The current UKIP manifesto claims “UKIP will ensure the NHS is free at the point of delivery and time of need for all UK residents“. UKIP have said nothing about stopping NHS privatisation – they have not claimed that they will ensure a publicly-funded, publicly-run NHS. So, if you’re trying to claim that UKIP aren’t going to privatise the NHS, copying and pasting the UKIP manifesto proves nothing.