Yet again the unionist mainstream media have wheeled out Gordon Brown to try to drive another balsa wood stake into the heart of Scotland’s independence movement.We know it has been done before and now like the children’s fable of ‘the boy who cried wolf’ we are getting all too used to it. The only difference between the fable and the real Gordon Brown is that the wolf in question is an ally to Brown and his other Red Tory pals, the Conservative party in all its forms, Scottish Branch Office and the DUP bribers who are holding the government together with a dirty cash filled envelope and a few rubber bands.
The fear, and it is the same fear and scaremongering the typical default position of Labour, that he spins in the media is vastly outweighed by the current reality . The reality of the dirty dealing of the Tories to win a Brexit deal at any costs and the complicity of Labour at abstaining throughout both the legislation to impose austerity and more recently to bring about an EU Withdrawal Bill with all its power grabbing implications for the devolved administrations of Scotland and Wales.
In the Scotsman today we see a once grand but now failing news title spinning an ‘exclusive’ from Gordon Brown about how under the SNP the NHS in Scotland would be in ‘trauma’ after independence. He further argues that despite ‘vows’ from the Tories ( who he regularly gets into bed with) the NHS in Scotland would be understaffed, under equipped and under financed.
The fear tactic is the same one trotted out by Better Together Labour supporters in former solid Labour constituencies where they knocked on the doors of pensioners and lied about how their pensions would no longer be safe if Independence came to Scotland. Creating fear is the only option they have when they have no other arguments left, so get ready for more of their negative scaremongering.
Taking a different and more informed approach Dr Phillipa Whitford has a piece in the National about the difference between the NHS in Scotland and England.This really does get to the point about whose hands the NHS is safest in. Dr Phillipa Whitford is a breast surgeon and an MP for central Ayrshire and has years of NHS experience.
‘Over the last 20 years, Scotland has focused on the integration of hospital and community care, and is now tackling the integration of health and social care. Meanwhile a market approach has been foisted on the English NHS.
While it was Labour who introduced private healthcare companies to the NHS, and saddled all four health services with financially crippling Private Finance Initiatives (PFI), it was the Coalition Government’s Health and Social Care Act that forced healthcare contracts to be put out to tender between the NHS and private companies.’
She goes on to explain how the different tendering process in England has led to waste of between £5-£10 Billion each year and in just the last 3 years has led NHS England into debt of over £2.45 billion. Financial competition is the main philosophy of NHS England and with it comes a dangerous kind of fragmentation which breeds competition between branches of the service which in turn works against units providing essential health care by working together. By contrast in Scotland has been encouraging co-operation since the year 2000 and has developed a ‘whole systems’ approach to health.
With the NHS turning 70, NHS services all over are facing similar demands of ageing population and workforce shortages etc,. By taking a different approach, she argues that,
‘In Scotland we are lucky to still have a unified public NHS which remains close to the original principle of the founding generation 70 years ago.’
Going back to Gordon Brown’s fear mongering article, we can say with some confidence he does not know what he is talking about or he is simply doing what he does best which is to gesticulate at his audience and spout perpetual doom laden ‘guff’.
The boy who cried wolf indeed. He did it with the ‘Vow’ in 2014 and now the Daily Record editor who came up with the ‘Vow’ Murray Foote has come out in support of Independence. The wolves are beginning to be picked off one by one Gordon.
Shipbuilding is another case in point. If Scotland voted ‘Yes’ then shipbuilding will be finished they said. Contrast this with BAE systems recent announcement about a large contract to build ships for Australia.Only problem is the building will take place in Australia not the River Clyde.
The Australian government has announced that the company’s Type 26 Global Combat ship will be the design for the naval program. The nine new ships will be built in Adelaide and will be known as the Hunter class.
The likes of Gordon Brown has no expert knowledge to lecture anyone about the NHS and where its future safety lies. He presided over what he later called ‘a big mistake’ in the handling of the run up to the banking crisis of 2008. He failed to understand how ‘entangled’ international finances were, so a system based on monitoring individual institutions failed to pick up on global issues and just how that would impact. Finance was Gordon’s thing, but now on the 70th anniversary of the NHS he has the gall to lecture us on health economics!
No Gordon, the real wolves you should be crying about are your Tory pals in Westminster, the people you stood on many a stage with during 2014 when you collectively scared our older people and our shipbuilders and many others into voting ‘No’ to save your precious Union.
The real ‘wolves’ now are the ones dressed in sheep’s clothing sitting in the Tory Cabinet arguing about soft Brexit deal, hard Brexit deal or no Brexit deal at all.
In that scenario what would the impact be on the NHS? According to recent articles some 37 million consignments of medicines come from the EU to the UK every year.
Senior NHS officials spoke on the Andrew Marr show at the weekend to say how they were making urgent preparations to source and secure medical supplies in the event of a catastrophic ‘no deal’ Brexit outcome.
Sound like a ‘real wolf’? You bet it does.Imagine people trying to get much-needed medicines for a range of health issues that we cope with daily and come to take for granted.Insulin, asthma inhalers, and blood pressure treatments are only a few of the commonplace every day medicines we are used to picking up but if absent could cause our hospitals and out patients units to be even more crowded.
Lastly but not the final ‘wolf’ in the pack is the Tories Immigration control policy and how it is already impacting badly on the NHS. Staff shortages are mentioned a lot as if there were no solution to it.There is a solution, several in fact. The Brexiteers unlocked a creeping xenophobia in England towards people from the EU.The day after the Brexit vote east European workers were complaining of people abusing them on the street saying ‘Are not away back to Poland yet mate?’ Brexit was a malicious lie which drew upon the boiling negativity of largely the English public which burst the ‘pluke’ of cultural and racial intolerance at just the right moment to secure the right “Leave vote” in England . Helped of course by almost half a million pounds worth of ‘Dark money’ siphoned to the Leave campaign via the DUP party in Northern Ireland. We know what their reward was.A massive bribe to keep Theresa May clinging to power.
An independent Scotland would require to have control over immigration to not only protect the NHS in Scotland but to stimulate the entire Scottish economy to make it a country where equality could be achieved in the lifetimes of your children and grandchildren. Let’s do it this time by talking up the NHS in Scotland and consigning dinosaurs like Gordon Brown to the dustbin of history.
P.S. We noted also that the Scotsman tries to conflate negative statements about the Scottish Government alongside a picture of Andy Murray announcing he is taking the sensible approach to looking after his own health following an operation earlier this year. We wish Andy Murray every success at the other major tournaments later in the year. The NHS might be better in your hands Andy than Gordon’s.
(No actual wolves were harmed in the preparation of this article.)