May's "Brexit dividend for the NHS" - yet another lie!

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
20 June 2018

By the end of the week, it will already be 2 years since Westminster politicians hailed the vote for Brexit - by just over one third of all registered voters - as the "will of the people".  At the time, no-one knew what Brexit really meant.  But 2 years on, there still isn’t anyone who can tell us for sure where the Brexit saga is taking the working-class!
    One thing is certain, though:  if ridicule could kill, the whole British political establishment and its parliamentary institutions would long have been wiped out by a tsunami of laughter!
    So now we have May's latest attempt to convince the warring factions of her party that "reclaiming Parliament's sovereignty from Brussels" - which is, after all, what Brexit is supposed to be about - requires that MPs should renounce having any real say on the final deal!  Just how far can the stupidity of their Brexit farce go?

Yet more demagogy on patients' backs

Much further in fact, as May herself has just shown with her "Brexit dividend for the NHS".
    The point of the exercise had little to do with the needs of the NHS, anyway.  May was just using the 70th anniversary of the NHS to out-Brexit her buffoon rival, Boris Johnson.  So she claimed that she would inject £600m/wk into the NHS - as opposed to the miserly £350m/wk that Johnson's Leave campaign said Brexit would bring!
    But then, faced with roars of laughter, May had to bite her tongue.  She couldn't ignore the reports of her own statisticians stating that Brexit will reduce government resources by an estimated £15bn/yr!  So, she finally admitted that taxes - not Brexit - would mostly pay for her "dividend".  And don't hold your breath - it will be the income taxes of the working class, of course, not those of the City!
    However, will this fake "dividend" be even nearly enough to "save the NHS" as May claims?  Will it reverse the 5-fold increase (over 8 years) in the number of patients waiting for 4 hours or more in A&E departments?  Or the 35% increase (over last year) in the number of patients waiting for more than 18 weeks before starting a treatment?  Or the increase in operations which are cancelled at the last minute?  Will it do anything to reverse the collapse of social care, which fills hospitals with ageing sick patients who have nowhere else to go?
    No, it won't and it can't.  The truth is that the annual increase in the NHS budget has been slashed by 2/3 in each one of the past 8 years, compared to its average increase over the previous six decades.  And just to make up for this shortfall, which is one of the causes of the collapse of health care, it would have to be increased immediately by 25% in cash terms - or £37 billion per year!
    Yes, immediately!  But that's not what May has in mind.  Her £20bn/yr "dividend" for the NHS will only happen by... 2023!  In the meantime, patients will just have to take care of themselves...  or die!

Fudging the real issues

The cash pledged by May's "dividend" is derisory.  But, more importantly, it is designed to conceal criminal policies.
    What is pushing the NHS over the cliff today?  Lack of funding, of course, because this and every past government have always chosen to splash public funds on companies and shareholders rather than meet the needs of public services.
    But it’s not just a lack of funds.  For decades, the NHS budget has been milked by private “health providers".  The fewer scanners and X-Ray machines in working order in NHS hospitals, the more profits these sharks can make out of its budget, by "offering" their own equipment.  The more surgical procedures that have to be cancelled by the NHS, the more private hospitals can "offer" their services - at huge cost to the NHS.  The sharks' parasitism feeds on the collapse of the NHS, while accelerating it!
    And then, there is the issue of medical staff.   There are 100,000 unfilled vacancies in the NHS, mainly for lack of local skills.  These skills have to come from abroad.  So, for the NHS to do its job, the proportion of foreign-born workers has to be high: 12.5% overall, 16% among nurses and 26% among doctors.  This could work, if it was not for the bloody-minded anti-migrant policy of the British state in general and May’s in particular.
    So, thousands of non-EU doctors coming to work for the NHS are refused a visa.  Others, who are already working here are threatened with deportation by Home Office officials driven by a mixture of racist prejudices and incentives to reach hidden quotas at all costs.  And Brexit promises to bring this witch-hunt against foreign workers to a new climax, this time against EU workers.
    The parasitism of obsolete national borders is crippling the NHS and, for that matter, threatening the whole of society - but so are May and her Brexit.  The working class has no interest in standing by and letting this happen!