Education

Error message

Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in _menu_load_objects() (line 579 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/menu.inc).

Awakening and Sacrifice: A Conversation with Pete Nicks

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 14/08/2020 - 1:42am in

In January 2018, I spoke with the Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Nicks about The Force, his feature documentary about Oakland’s deeply troubled police department and its history of violence. This is a new interview with Pete, discussing those issues in the post-George Floyd world. Continue reading

The post Awakening and Sacrifice: A Conversation with Pete Nicks appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

The Monkees Play ‘Randy Scouse Git’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/08/2020 - 3:30am in

Here’s something to cheer you all a bit after the news that Boris Johnson and his cronies have created Britain’s biggest recession ever, that they still don’t have any proper advice for parents on whether it’s safe to send their children back to school – but want them there anyway, so they can get their parents back to work no matter that there’s a second wave of Coronavirus coming. And that they’re trying to whip up hatred against a handful of desperate asylum seekers to distract us all from the real poverty, starvation and despair they’ve created.

This is a bit of fun I found on YouTube. It’s of the Monkees, the manufactured American rivals to the Beatles, playing a song I’ve only heard about in rumours: ‘Randy Scouse Git’. Going from the comments to the video, it’s actually about meeting his wife, Samantha, during a visit to the UK in the 1970s. He gave the song its title because he didn’t know it was an insult. Hence, apparently, it also has an inoffensive alternative name. It’s from Nickstranger999’s channel on YouTube.

In his piece about the song, Nickstranger writes

My next favorite Monkees song. The only other copy of this I could find here was sped up, so probably from a UK print. Excellent, and brilliantly written song written by Micky Dolenz. Some additional info cobbled together from various sources: In his book Micky explains the lyrics as a kind of free-association song about his experience of visiting England for the first time. The Beatles are “The Four Kings of E.M.I.” who threw a welcoming party for The Monkees. “Wonderful lady” is his first wife, Samantha Juste. The “girl in yellow dress” is a reference to ‘Mama’ Cass Elliot who was also there. After that heavy night of fun Mickey woke the next day to someone shouting “Randy, Scouse, Git” on the television and thought it would be a cool name. Randy Scouse Git was the term used by Alf Garnet about his Liverpudlian son-in-law in the sitcom “To Death Do Us Part”. Prior to it’s U.K. release the record company informed Mickey of the meaning behind the title and suggested he give them an ‘alternate title’ – hence the U.K. release name of the title.

I’d only heard about this in rumour, where I was told that it the title little Donny Osmond wanted to give one of his songs after hearing the phrase used by Alf Garnet. After he was told that it was an insult, the song instead became ‘Long-Haired Love from Liverpool’. Or perhaps it’s also true of him as well. Who knows?

Anyway, enjoy the song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

School’s Off-Campus, But It Shouldn’t Be Out Completely

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/08/2020 - 3:00am in

Tags 

Education

The announcement that Victoria would enter stage 4 of its coronavirus restrictions did not go down well with my 10-year-old son. He had been checking off the days of the initial five-week stage 3 period, looking forward to returning to school to enjoy the camaraderie of the classroom and, especially, the playground.

Now he has to start the countdown all over again.

Like so much to do with COVID-19, the shift to schooling at home has underscored and intensified inequities of every type. Some kids, and some households, are under terrible strain. Other kids have acute cabin fever and miss their friends but are otherwise basically OK. Knowing that we’ll never come up with a perfect solution, what should school look like at the moment?

I saw a friend (masked, at a safe distance, walking) over the weekend. Two of her kids are on the autism spectrum, one in grade one and one in year 7. Her daughter in year 7 has managed really well with the transition to home-based learning, but her daughter in grade one has struggled. In grade one, most kids are still learning to read—which is to say, learning to read to themselves with enough fluency to make the experience smooth and enjoyable. When my son got to that point it was unmistakable: squirming resentment turned into rapt absorption literally within a few days. (It was so startling a change that I thought at first he was performing the part of an entranced reader.) Supporting a child who’s learning to read is a sleeves-rolled-up, labour-intensive task. My heart goes out to my friend that she’s got that on her plate as well as work to do and two other kids to think of.

My friend and I bumped into a friend of hers, whose grandchildren go to the same primary school as her daughter and my son. This intelligent woman was incredulous that there were so many tasks were still being set by their teachers, and she was scathing that the kids were being pulled up on their work when it hadn’t quite made the grade. Why were we expecting so much of them?, she said. Why couldn’t we just let them be—let them have this strange year as a time apart from the usual run of tests and requirements? Her granddaughter, in grade six, suffers from anxiety, and it would lacerate her to do some work in the morning and then, in the afternoon, see a comment from her teacher: you forgot to do steps 2, 3 and 4 of the task.

Amid the first hard lockdown in Victoria, I was relieved when school resumed in April, even in its at-home form, because it provided a structure to the day, even if it meant I had to help generate my son’s motivation to stick to that structure. He isn’t particularly keen on art, and he wailed when he saw that for an art project he had to research the origin of the sewing needle: How old is the oldest one? What was used to make it, and what was used for thread? But we hunkered down over Britannica online for a few minutes and learned that needles have been used for 20,000 years, maybe longer (debate rages), and the oldest needle so far unearthed was made by hominids that were not Homo sapiens. He found that quite interesting, after all, and was enjoyably disgusted by the discovery that animal sinew was used for thread. Today he had to make a booklet to showcase all he has learned about bees in the last couple of weeks (there have been many bee-related reading and writing tasks), and to hold it together he decided to use needle and thread and his newly acquired stitching skills—also part of his art project. No learning is wasted, it would seem.

As some schools strive to avoid overburdening students, and their families, with learning tasks, we risk forgetting what school—what education—is for. Extending your knowledge enlarges your world. Spending some time getting to grips with maths, or reading about bees (or animal-sinew-as-sewing-thread), nourishes you in ways that are hard to measure but nonetheless palpable. I’m not advocating a relentless run of box-checking tasks (and I think it’s most certainly a time for teachers to give feedback as gently as possible). I understand that formal education doesn’t float everyone’s boat, and I know that some households are really doing it tough. Not everyone has the time, or mental or physical energy, to sit next to their children and help them through a task step by step, for hours every day. But whatever time can be spared for it, even if it’s only a few minutes, is well worth it. I’ve been amazed over and over again to see how my son lights up with interest when we talk about what he’s doing for school, even if we only talk briefly before I turn back to my own work.

Other countries are finding different ways through. After months of agonised debate in Kenya, for instance, the government has pulled the pin on this year’s schooling altogether. All students will start their current year level over again next January. This decision has been made in light of inequality of access to computers and in recognition of the fact that some parts of the country don’t have a regular electricity supply or a reliable internet connection. Under those circumstances, you can readily see the concern for equity and the logic behind such a decision.  Although for kids expecting to finish school this year, and go on to university or begin a career, this has been a terrible knock. Some say that friends of theirs now can’t understand why they want to keep studying—keep their hand in—if there aren’t any end-of-year tests to prepare for.

I don’t know which is the right course to steer. We’re all navigating off the edge of the map at the moment. What might be right for a few weeks would not necessarily work over months and months. But of course so much is dictated by circumstances of the pandemic that are beyond anyone’s control. It’s not fair that some kids will lose ground—so much ground—this year. Making your way through a day’s curriculum or insisting that your child do so isn’t worth it if the price is your mental health. Maybe what we have to hold onto is the idea of education as a good in its own right, not a dreary task to be got out of the way before we start the fun stuff, or a series of obstacles to be navigated en route to job-readiness. If kids, with the support of their teachers—and, within the limits of what circumstances make possible, their parents—can generally resolve to stick with it, it is worth it. Not so that you can pass a test or prepare for NAPLAN, but because this is your life.

Starmer Returning Labour to Blairite Corporatism, Cronyism and Corruption

On Monday Mike put up a piece commenting on a report in the Groan that after corporate donations to the Labour party had almost dried up under Corbyn’s leadership, the fat cat rich were once again giving their cash to the party. This was welcomed by former Blairite fundraiser, Lord Michael Levy, who declared that it was important that the party should be funded by people, who believe in the cause.

As Mike and the various peeps he cites from Twitter, like Jackie Walker, Tory Fibs, Ian Byrne MP, Kam Sandhu and James Foster point out, Corbyn’s leadership proved that big money donations weren’t needed. The party was funded by its members’ subscriptions and it became the biggest socialist party in Europe. And it was in the black. This is an achievement to be proud of. Now all this is imperilled, as Mike points out. The party is haemorrhaging members at the rate of 2,000 a day. Corbyn’s party was about the people, but the influx of the corporate donors threatens this. Mike asks the obvious question of whether they’re doing this because they ‘believe in the cause’ or whether they’re seeking to influence party policy.

He concludes:

It also indicates that “big money” wants to support Starmer’s appeasement of those staffers who are accused of sabotaging the Corbyn project, of racism, misogyny and in some cases anti-Semitism. Because it makes Corbyn look bad without actually proving anything either way?
This is a very bad look for Starmer’s new New Labour.
We already have evidence that indicates around 2,000 people are leaving the party every week.
This may multiply that outward flood into a deluge.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/08/09/is-keir-starmer-re-installing-corruption-into-the-labour-party-with-the-wealth-of-private-donors/

There’s no question about any of this, and the return of Michael Levy as fundraiser says much, all of it negative. Blair met Levy at a meeting at the Israeli embassy, and Levy was instrumental in getting Blair’s office funding from pro-Zionist Jewish businessmen. This allowed Blair to be independent of union funding, and so pursue his modernisation agenda of turning Labour into the Tory party mark 2. It was also a major factor in the creation of viciously persecutory pro-Israeli establishment within the Labour party that has seen critics of Israel’s barbarous maltreatment and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians smeared and purged as anti-Semites simply for reasoned criticism of a racist, colonialist state.

As for these donors wanting to influence party policy, of course they do. New Labour was corporatist through and through. In return for donations from big business, the corporations were allowed to influence government decisions at every level, with senior management advising and serving in government boards and departments. This is extensively described by George Monbiot in his book, Captive State, and by the satirists and impressionists Rory Bremner, John Bird and John Fortune in their book, You Are Here. These were the same corporations that donated to the Tories, and Blair’s Labour was also sponsored and hosted the same think tanks that advised them.

As the peeps from Twitter have pointed out, it was government for the few, not the many.

As a result, Blair’s Labour party became a byword for sleaze and corruption, far in excess of John Major’s government, which had also been notorious for this. And it is utterly disgraceful, but deeply symptomatic, of the Guardian to try to present the return of private corporations in such a positive light. As for Lord Levy’s words, the corporate donors don’t believe in the cause. Or if they do, it’s simply the Blair project of giving them more power. The Labour party was not founded for them. It was founded as a coalition of trade unions and socialist groups and societies to represent ordinary people – the labouring poor. And their interests were not being served by the other parties. The Tories represented the interest of the Anglican aristocracy, while the Liberals were definitely middle class. More democratic, certainly, than the Tories  – the first working class members of parliament were the ‘Lib-Labs’, trade unionists who entered parliament as members of the Liberals, but ultimately committed to free trade and business at the expense of working class interests.

And corporativism is actively harming democracy, both here and in America. A report by Harvard University a few years ago concluded that the USA was no longer a functioning democracy but a corporate plutocracy because of the corporate funding of parties and political candidates. And even some Republicans are fed up with it. One Republican businessman in California wanted to have a law passed that would force politicos to wear the names of the corporations that had sponsored them on their jackets, like sportsmen. The left-wing surge in the Democrat party was also at the beginning very much a revolt against the corporate corruption represented and led by the Clintons.

But Trump is now in the White House, representing the cesspool of corporate politics over the other side of the Pond. And the Blairites have had their way, toppled Corbyn, sabotaged Labour’s elections and are back to reinstalling the corporations they admire at the centre of government.

Which means more privatisation, including that of the NHS, frozen wages, attacks on the welfare state and the privatisation of the NHS. It means mass starvation and more grinding poverty. 

But never mind: the corporations will be in power, exploiting welfare to work schemes, and Israel won’t have to worry about any more pesky criticism about its crimes against the Palestinians.

 

It’s the Tories, Not Channel Migrants, Who Are Killing People

Hey-ho, the Torie are back to their old tricks again, drumming up hatred against immigrants and asylum-seekers. This time its the various illegal immigrants trying to make their way across thee Channel in whatever flimsy boats will take them. Mike and Zelo Street have both published excellent pieces demolishing this faux outrage. The Street reported the figures for the number of people immigrating to the UK last year and the number of asylum claims according to the Beeb. These were 677,000 and 49,000 respectively. Compared to this number, the 4,000 or so illegals who have arrived here is a vanishingly trivial number. Nevertheless, this is being described in terms of an invasion. Hatey Katie Hopkins wants gunboats to intercept them. However, the Lords of the Admiralty can’t send the navy against children and pregnant women. The odious, smirking Priti Patel has therefore chosen instead to appoint Dan O’Mahoney of the National Crime Agency to the position of chief in charge of intercepting these boats. The Royal Navy said that there wasn’t much more they could do, and Colin Yeo, a barrister specialising in immigration, stated that the navy couldn’t enter French waters to return migrants either. Furthermore, the hard Brexit sought by the government has meant that the current returns agreement with the EU ends on 31st December 2021, and so far there’s no replacement agreement for it. Which means that the government has actually made it harder to return such migrants than it was under the EU.

See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/08/migrants-brexit-and-taking-back-control.html

Mike has also pointed out that way back in 2014, Theresa May, then home secretary, cut the Border Force, which is why the Tories have had to appeal to the navy. Mike also guesses that many of the immigrants coming here are fleeing the wars in their homelands, we have helped to start. He also says that ‘The issue is why these people want to come to the UK at all. If we really wanted to stop them, we need to help end their reasons for leaving their own homelands.’ It’s a good point, but I think some of their reasons for leaving are beyond our control. The impoverishment of the Developing World is a major cause, and some of this is due neoliberalism and the various tariff restrictions on manufactured goods which prevent developing nations in Africa, for example, from diversifying their economies and developing manufacturing industries. But there are also major problems with corruption, ethnic and religious conflict, political oppression and maladministration, for which the various governments of the developing world are responsible and which, I believe, would be extremely difficult for western governments to do anything about. But this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try.

But Mike has also argued very strongly that the Tories are also whipping up this hatred as a cynical distraction from their own failings.  He cites this tweet from James O’Brien:

The calculation is that, with the support of most of the media, the British public can be made angrier about innocent foreigners than guilty politicians responsible for thousands of British deaths.
And all while claiming to care about ‘Christian’ values.
It will work too.

And this from Nick Abbott

God we’re easily distracted. They don’t even have to really try any more. The excess deaths, the hundreds of millions for kit that doesn’t work, ripping up regulations to suit donors, the kleptocracy and nepotism. But look…a dinghy!

The Tories crippled their own border controls. Don’t let them use their own stupidity to boost racism

He’s right. It isn’t migrants from across the Channel, who have squandered taxpayers’ money giving contracts to firms owned by their donors for PPE that doesn’t work. It isn’t poor souls in leaky dinghies that are pushing for schools to reopen, so that parents will be forced to return to work to make money for the Tories despite the real, present danger of Covid-19.

Illegal immigrants aren’t responsible for the massive poverty caused by decades of stagnant wages and pay cuts. They aren’t responsible for real starvation and malnutrition returning to Britain because the welfare state doesn’t work thanks to benefit sanctions and the fitness for work tests, both of which are based on fraudulent research and an inbuilt presumption against the claimant in order to stop people from claiming. Illegal immigrants never made the decision to make the whole process of signing on as degrading and humiliating as possible in order to deter people from doing so – that was Maggie Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair and so on. And it very definitely isn’t Black and Brown people coming off the beach from Dover, who have been selling off the NHS for the past forty years.

It hasn’t been powerless migrants, who have sacked thousands of low-paid workers during the lockdown while claiming the government bailout money to boost their chief executives’ pay and share dividends. And if there is competition between migrants and native Brits – by which I also mean Black and Asian Brits, who’ve been here for generations as well as Whites – for housing, jobs and other opportunities, it’s because the Tories have deliberately cut all those to make it difficult to get them.

There have been over a hundred thousands deaths due to austerity and cuts to benefits. Millions of people now have a choice between paying their rent and heating bills or feeding themselves or their children. Who are themselves going hungry to school. The number of people below the poverty line is now in millions.

And this is  very definitely the fault of the Tories, and Blair’s and Browns New Labour. It ain’t the fault of a vanishingly tiny number of illegals risking life and limb to get here.

Don’t be distracted. Don’t let them lie to you. Ignore the calls to hate them from the Tory press, Katie Hopkins and Nigel Farage. The people, who really are killing us and driving us into poverty are the Tories.

Cartoon: Covid-mart's back to school supplies

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 08/08/2020 - 7:50am in

The school year’s already begun for some unfortunate kids, and college students are returning from their various hometown COVID hotspots back to campus. It’s a disaster in the making, and watching it unfold is one lesson none of us should have to experience.

How can the Covid-policies be countered with the help of Big Money?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/08/2020 - 10:21pm in

Suppose you agree with me that containment and elimination strategies pursued regarding Covid-19 do far more harm than good. Suppose you also believe that having an open economy and a vibrant close-contact social life is vital for the long-run health of the country. You want to know how to convince the general public who currently support extended lock downs and social distancing measures. And you have quite a bit of money to spend on the issue.

Where you can help is to put the hurt of the victims of the repression strategies on the table. The population needs to be shown the human costs of the policies so as to get them emotionally involved with the victims they have made. It is easy to ignore the pain one causes if one doesnt see it. It is harder to pretend one is nobly saving lives if confronted with the emotions of the victims made along the way.

I think a professional campaign costing tens of millions of dollars and lasting for months is the way to go. That requires big money to get involved and professionally organise the campaign, primarily via television ads. Obvious sources of that big money are the industries decimated by the lock down policies, such as the tourism and hospitality industries.

There are several victim groups that one would think make strongly emotive cases against the lock downs and social distancing measures.

I imagine a woman who missed her last chance at starting a family because of the cancellation of IVF treatments due to corona being able to make a powerful example of the human costs of the “safety” mantra.

I imagine some institutionalised locked-away elderly demented woman continuously asking when she is going to see her family again making a powerful case against lock downs and social distancing.

I imagine a few children from disadvantaged backgrounds rioting in a home whilst the mother cant cope with them, as compared to children going to school, making a powerful visual image of the costs of school closures.

I imagine tearful Australians abroad or in other states prevented from seeing each other being good ammunition against quarantines.

I imagine small businesses whose livelihoods has been destroyed making a strong case against the notion the economy is not about lives.

I imagine family members whose elderly relatives passed away from cancer or some other non-corona disease, but whom they were not allowed to see in their dying days because of the fear, making a strong visual against the inhumanity of the apartheid system that has now emerged.

Etc.

 

A professional effort is needed to track down the right examples, make high-quality videos, get a good narrator or quick sound-bites, place the ads in front of the right audience, have a clear message throughout the campaign, etc. A bombardment of emotive examples of the human cost of lock downs and the collapsing economy seem a good way to me to try and wean the population off the idea that they are protecting lives via support for lock downs and social distancing.

The ads should not be judgmental or use difficult terms, indulging in statistics or ideologies, because those would allow the audience to dismiss them. All they should do is show the emotions of the victims in the context of how their hurt relates to the policies pursued. Whilst facts and arguments can always be challenged and ignored, hurt is much harder to dismiss.

The hurt of the victims of the policies has to be put on the table.

A True New Deal: Building an Inclusive Economy in the COVID-19 Era

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/08/2020 - 9:30pm in

Tags 

Education

A True New Deal for the COVID-19 Era outlines nine essential policy proposals that would  address our current crisis, rebalance power in our economy, and build the institutions necessary to seed lasting, equitable  change:

  • canceling student, housing, and medical debts—and implementing structural change to address the accumulation of debt;
  • creating a federal jobs guarantee;
  • federalizing and expanding unemployment insurance;
  • building a modern Reconstruction Finance Corporation;
  • guaranteeing universal childcare;
  • mandating sectoral bargaining;
  • ensuring corporate accountability through federal chartering;
  • reinvigorating antitrust law for real trust-busting; and
  • rebalancing political power through institutional reform.

America is in crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has sickened nearly 4 million people and killed more than 155,000, with no end in sight. The economy is collapsing—driven by COVID-19, to be sure, but also by much deeper underlying vulnerabilities that dictate the depth, breadth, and distribution of suffering. The sheer magnitude of this crisis can seem overwhelming, especially as it continues to expose and exacerbate the fragility of a US economy marked by profound racial and economic inequality.

These challenges call to mind those that President Franklin D. Roosevelt faced in 1932 as he prepared to take office. Similar to today, FDR’s America needed bold, inventive government action to protect families, stabilize the economy, and build a more stable future. FDR’s success in reshaping the American economy and society can and should serve as inspiration for responses to our country’s present challenges, but as we draw inspiration from the New Deal’s history, we must be careful to heed all of its lessons.

Throughout US history, moments of transformative public change—including the New Deal—have often compromised and sacrificed the economic interest and overall well-being of Black people and other groups. Today’s New Deal must be different, dismantling policy choices that reward and replicate white supremacy and patriarchy, reclaiming public power from private hands, and building institutions that ensure broadly shared prosperity.

A True New Deal: Building an Inclusive Economy in the COVID-19 Era makes the compelling case for an actualized New Deal—a structural policy agenda that, by leading with inclusion, will not only tide us through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis but build a more resilient, equitable, and moral 21st century economy. One that creates a foundation for everyone—of all races—to thrive. As this report shows, achieving fully realized economic justice is within reach, and this could be the moment for such change. A true, inclusive New Deal for the 21st century can help us reclaim power for the people today, tomorrow, and for generations to come. 

The post A True New Deal: Building an Inclusive Economy in the COVID-19 Era appeared first on Roosevelt Institute.

Mealy-mouthed universities: academic freedom and the Pavlou problem down under

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/08/2020 - 7:37am in

Tags 

Education

Overt political opinions, notably when expressed in a manner that might threaten brands and compromise lines of funding, are being hunted down by cadres of paranoid officials.

Private Eye’s Demolition of Fraudulent New Labour Pro-NHS Privatisation Paper

This is another piece I found in an old issue of Private Eye, for 15th-28th October 2004. New Labour was as keen as the Tories to privatise the NHS, all in the name of introducing into it the supposedly greater efficiency and management skills of private enterprise. They were heavily influenced by the American private healthcare company, Kaiser Permanente, which was used as a model for their NHS reforms. But the report comparing the supposedly greater performance of Kaiser Permanente to the NHS was biased and fraudulent, as Private Eye’s article ‘NHS Privatisation – Kaiser bill’ revealed in that issue’s ‘In the Back’ section. The article runs

LAST WEEK’s NHS modernisation Agency conference on the much-hyped treatment centre programme – the mix of private and NHS one-stop units springing up around the country to offer quick and relatively easy diagnosis and surgery – struck a self-congratulatory note.

But a study published this summer suggests there is no evidence that bringing private companies into the NHS is increasing efficiency or reducing costs. Quite the opposite in fact.

This news will not please the government, which has always promoted health secretary John Reid’s favourite private US healthcare providers, Kaiser Permanente, citing a seven-page research paper in the British Medical Journal in 2002 which purported to show that Kaiser offered “better performance at roughly the same costs as the NHS”.

This conclusion, extolling the benefits of competition, was manna from heaven for health minister who had been criticised for closing 10,000 NHS beds since Labour came to power. But it seems it was all nonsense.

For a start, two of the report’s three authors,used to work for Kaiser; and their paper triggered a storm of protest in the US and from the medical and scientific community here, highlighting its flawed analysis and conclusions. It emerged that Kaiser’s costs were deflated while NHS costs were inflated; Kaiser patients were the “working well” but NHS patients included the poor, elderly and chronically ill; and individual Kaiser charges for visits and treatment were ignored.

Nevertheless, the protests were ignored and the paper – described by one leading academic as “not worthy of a first year student” – went on to form British government policy, featuring in the 2002 review of NHS funding by Derek Wanless and the subsequent white paper on how to deliver the NHS plan. The department of health even joined forces with Kaiser in “learning from Kaiser Permanente” projects managing chronic conditions and care.

In the summer, however, the scientific record was finally put straight with a paper in the British Journal of General Practice which comprehensively exposed that the Kaiser paper was propaganda masked as science. It detailed the way in which authors used counting tricks including a curious foreign exchange currency conversion which had the effect of almost doubling NHS costs. Despite this evidence the Kaiser paper has still not been officially withdrawn. Instead it is still promoted on health department websites.

Allyson Pollock, professor of health policy at University College London and one of the authors of the critical BJGP paper, said: “There is no evidence that introducing private companies increases efficiency or quality or reduces costs. Indeed all the evidence goes the other way. Markets – even those underwritten by the state – do not deliver comprehensive universal healthcare. Research in the US has shown how private health providers select the profitable patients, treatments and conditions and at a greater cost than public providers.”

Professor Pollock is a very long-time opponent of NHS privatisation. I think I put up another article from Private Eye from nearly 20 years or so ago, in which she led a campaign against the New Labour closure of a hospital in Wyre Forest. She’s also one of the contributors to Jacky Davis’ and Raymond Tallis’ book attacking the privatisation of the NHS, NHS – SOS.

But New Labour continued in their piecemeal privatisation of the NHS, and this has been followed by the Tories. Boris Johnson wants to include it in a trade deal with the US, but has kept it and the rest of the deal secret. Jeremy Corbyn revealed what the Tories were doing, and our mendacious, scumbag media howled that he was lying. But it’s the Tories who were.

Corbyn promised to renationalise and revitalise the NHS. That was one of the reasons the right-wing political and media establishment hated and reviled him and his supporters: he threatened to return the Labour party to its working class, socialist roots, empowering ordinary people and restoring the welfare state. And dismantling the zombie economics of Thatcherism. And that really couldn’t be tolerated. Hence the smears of him as a Communist, Trotskyite and anti-Semite.

Now we have Keir Starmer instead, another Blairite, who seems determined to restore the power of the Thatcherites in the Labour party. And carry on with their failed, destructive policy of NHS privatisation.

Pages