The NHS is experiencing the most severe crisis in its history. Even now, over four weeks after the beginning of the third national lockdown, hospitals are still overwhelmed.
The number of COVID patients is over 50% above the peak of the first wave, with thousands more being admitted every day. Bed shortages continue across the country. Only the tireless efforts and heroic sacrifices of health workers – who face conditions akin to a warzone – have avoided a complete collapse.
Yesterday’s news of the death of Capt Sir Tom Moore, famed for raising almost £40 million in charity for the cash-starved NHS, is a potent reminder of – and a tragic metaphor for – the public health catastrophe that is now enveloping the UK’s public healthcare system.
According to the Tories, this crisis is entirely due to the pandemic; and, in particular, a more contagious variant of the virus that emerged last autumn.
In truth, however, the blame lies entirely with this government of crooks and charlatans. It is their conscious crimes that have allowed COVID to run rampant through communities. And it is their cuts and privatisations over the last decade that have left the NHS vulnerable and ill-equipped in the fight against the pandemic.
Only a bold socialist programme can address the coronavirus crisis, and restore the NHS to full health for the challenges ahead.
- Undertaking a mass programme of investment in new hospitals, medical facilities, and equipment.
- Ensuring decent pay and conditions for all NHS workers, with a union-led mass recruitment drive to overcome staff shortages.
- Bringing all services and contracts back in-house by fully reversing privatisation and outsourcing.
- Nationalising Big Pharma and private healthcare providers, without compensation.
- Booting out fat-cat consultants and bureaucrats, and instead putting those who know best in charge, by running the NHS under democratic workers’ control.
These are the clear socialist policies that the Labour Party should be fighting for. Only in this way can we save our NHS.
Recently, Momentum announced that the organisation’s members and other campaigning groups would have a chance to decide what policies the left pushes for this year’s Labour conference.
Local Momentum groups, along with affiliated organisations and other campaigns, have until 23 February to submit suggestions as part of a ‘policy primary’. After compositing and shortlisting, Momentum members will then have the opportunity to vote for eight motions that the organisation will endorse for Labour conference 2021.
Launching: our first ever Policy Primary 🚀— Momentum 🌹 (@PeoplesMomentum) January 19, 2021
Have your say, decide what policy Momentum campaigns for at Labour conference, and shape a socialist vision of the future. pic.twitter.com/QUgx8jHJRY
As part of these policy primaries, Socialist Appeal encourages our supporters and readers to propose the following motion via their local Momentum group or trade union.
Furthermore, we call on Labour members and trade union activists to push for this in CLPs and union conferences, in order that this vital question is debated at the Labour Party annual conference.
The labour movement must fight for a real socialist alternative to tackle the virus, protect the NHS and its workers, and overturn the damage done by years of Tory cuts. Help us to bring about this transformation. This is literally a matter of life of death.
This conference notes that:
- According to the Bank of England, Britain’s economy is facing its worst crisis for 300 years. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Britain more than any other advanced economy in terms of death rate and economic impact.
- This has meant millions losing their jobs and experiencing wage cuts, as well as endangering the health of workers and their families.
- The COVID crisis is not simply a public health crisis, but reveals the real class divide in Britain. Workers and the poor have been most affected, while the super-rich have enriched themselves further.
- The Tory government, as faithful servants of the capitalists, prioritise profit-making over the health of ordinary people.
- The pandemic has graphically revealed the rottenness of capitalism.
Conference applauds the heroic work done by our health workers. However, we believe our NHS is woefully underfunded, and lacks the capacity to face future challenges.
Conference pledges that the next Labour government must:
- Strengthen the NHS through a mass programme of investment – building new hospitals and training more health workers and staff.
- Nationalise the big pharmaceutical companies, without compensation.
- Bring about a free, universal, fully publicly-owned and integrated health service, by reversing privatisation and outsourcing. Nationalise all private healthcare provision.
- Nationalise the banks and finance houses, to allow money to be directed to where it is most needed.
- Fight for a socialist rationally-planned economy, under workers’ control and management, where society’s resources are used for the benefit of all, and not the benefit of the billionaires.
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