Merger of Manchester care will only bring together cuts
Readers may have seen the latest plans in Manchester to add £6 billion of NHS services to social services.
This was cobbled together by Tory chancellor George Osborne and Labour council leaders.
It would transfer the spending of NHS cash to ten local councils from April 2016. This has been concocted as part of a plan to create a Greater Manchester Authority with a new mayor.
This is not democracy—in 2012 we voted against having a mayor in Manchester. No wonder so many people are cynical about voting.
More importantly, merging health and social care solves none of the major problems facing the NHS or social care services.
All the councils in Manchester have implemented 40 percent cuts over the last five years. The health service has suffered cuts of 20 percent.
And both services have seen increased privatisation. That is the opposite of cooperation.
Sharing commissioning for the services will solve nothing. Mental health has been shared between local government and health for many years.
Yet there are still many days when you can’t get a mental health bed anywhere in England. This is yet another untested reorganisation, written on the back of an envelope.
And it also accepts austerity, cuts and a role for the market in health and social care. Putting two leaking buckets together just creates a bigger leaking bucket.
That’s why, more than ever, we need to fight privatisation and cuts in our services.
We need to build fights that link the struggles of health workers, social service workers, users, carers and campaigners—like ours in Bolton which stopped privatisation.
That’s the sort of merger I’m interested in.
Karen Reissmann, Manchester
No illusions in SNP—but back it over Labour
Has Socialist Worker lost the plot in Scotland?
Ahead of an historic election that might see the Labour Party annihilated and the British state put at risk you launch the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) project in Glasgow, a Yes city.
You’ve decided the Glasgow working class can’t see the limits of the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) radicalism—get real.
Yes supporters want to end austerity, New Labour and the British state and they see the SNP as the vehicle.
Your intervention in the hotly contested Glasgow North seat puts these aims at risk, as a few hundred votes could win it.
If this happens you will be pariahs. A vote for TUSC is a vote for Labour.
I urge readers to vote SNP with no illusions.
John Brown, Glasgow
Build the alternative to Labour and SNP
trade unionists and anti-austerity activists joined a STUC and Unison-backed lobby of Labour’s conference in Scotland last week.
A tiny band of anti-Labour protesters held their own demo chanting “Red Tories Out”.
Instead we attempted to engage with those inside with arguments about defending the NHS and opposing racism and fascism on 21 March.
Regrettably, parts of the left were absent.
Labour is disintegrating in Scotland and people are open to new political formations. This is not the time to leave the field to the Scottish National Party and wait for the Scottish elections in 2016.
The ground is shifting fast. One Labour delegate commented, “I’m just hanging in there, I don’t know how long I’m going to stay,”.
The left needs to build an anti-austerity alternative now. That’s why it’s so important that the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is standing.
Jim Main, Glasgow
What’s real medicine?
It’s Not often that I defend a Tory. But attacking David Tredinnick MP (Troublemaker, 7 March) for his beliefs in astrology and homeopathy sides with “real medicine”.
Do you mean the corrupt drug companies who bribe for market share to exploit sickness for profit? Bear in mind Thalidomide, Prozac and other disasters of “real medicine”.
Believing in certain herbs and the gravitational effect of the moon can have a positive placebo effect—where the belief itself helps make you better.
This is not something to attack. If it works, it works.
Hugh Parsons, Swansea
Are Greens right for me?
I’m intrigued by the Green Party’s call to end austerity and to support other parties after the election without entering a coalition (Socialist Worker, 14 March).
I’ve looked at many alternatives to the Labour Party, such as TUSC and others, but the Greens remain the largest of them.
I support their calls for free education, and some other policies, but fear they could move to the right after the general election.
What I need from a political party is action. A cast iron guarantee that education and the NHS will be free, and children and vulnerable people will be protected and encouraged. Are the Greens right for me?
Graham Manley, Liverpool
The whinge of the bigots
the whinge of racists, homophobes and sexists worldwide is about “political correctness”.
This seems to mean them not being allowed to be as disgusting as they want—and finding out that they’re not as popular as they thought.
Spies and fake unions
I see recent articles talking about fake unions (Socialist Worker Miners’ Special, online). It put me in mind of other historical examples and police infiltration.
Perhaps Socialist Worker might perform a service in reciting a history of police and trade union spies?
D Shepherd, North London
Apprentices or sackings?
Are you aware a well known hardware retailer is laying people off and replacing them with
18-25 year olds to do the same work for £2.80 an hour under the guise of apprenticeships?
It claims £3,000 from the government for employing them. No other country in Europe would allow this.
David Penson, Bracknell
Make up your mind Miliband
Perhaps Ed Miliband’s Labour Party—which criticises Cameron for chickening out of a debate—could explain its own mixed messages.
Before the referendum Labour told Scots to vote No as the NHS wasn’t under threat of privatisation. Now it says the exact opposite—that the Tories will privatise it.
Mark Richards, Brighton
Oi Dave, no need to bribe
David Cameron has resorted to bribing students good at maths and science with £15,000 if they become teachers.
If there’s a shortage of such teachers, why doesn’t he just make teaching conditions for everyone better?
Karen McCarthy, Sheffield