Let's get a few things straight right from the start. I am not against the idea of a National Health Service and I do believe that its foundation in 1948 was the greatest achievement of any Labour government before or since. Indeed, soldiers returning home from the second world war (and their families) deserved to be provided with a health service fit for those that would never come back, as their fathers had been denied in 1918. However, the NHS of 1948, as compared with the NHS of today, is not recognisable as the same animal for many reasons; the original NHS was founded as part of a walfare state in order to provide health care for the masses, not as a means of employment for the masses. It is this distinction which Labour deliberately blurred during their tenure in government, and that the other parties did not pick up on, until now.
I believe that this article is the first document of any kind to make the seminal distinction between the NHS's role in the state as a health provider and not as an employer; the two had become deliberately and indelibly interconnected under the last Labour administration in order to buy votes as well as claiming 'investment' in the health service. This is an important moment because, if it allows even one other person to recognise the simple truth, then we have taken one step closer towards the last days of the Labour party as we know it. Moreover, this is further evidence, if any were needed, that we have been deliberately brought to the brink of bankruptcy by Blair, Brown and Balls et al.
In 13 years of Labour government, their trump card at PMQs or moments of electoral accountability was always the 'I' word - 'Investment'. Indeed, Labour's own website declares: 'Since being elected in 1997, the Labour Government has changed Britain ... through investment in schools, hospitals and other public services'.
It is this kind of 'investment' which saw an increase of 304,000 NHS personnel (28.5%) in the decade 2000 - 2010. Proponents of this policy would argue that this level of 'investment' is a good thing, that patient outcomes have improved and that the Labour government had our best interests at heart. However these people are probably not aware that of those 304,000 only 55% had any clinical qualifications. In short, the rest were not doctors or nurses, or indeed any kind of medically trained front-line staff qualified to look after you or I. When Keynes talked of investment, he meant building things - a short term injection of government capital to build a road or school - not a long-term overhead like a public sector employee and pension and thus new employees of the state should never be called an 'investment', more a 'semi-permanent overhead'.
If the same colossal rate of growth had been allowed to persist for the ten decades following 2010 (i.e. 28.5% per decade), then the NHS would have employed over 50% of the working population of GB inside the century. Clearly then, the expansion of the NHS by the last government was for socialist political reasons, and not necessarily for reasons of health or the public interest. Further, the expansion was entirely unsustainable and would have eventually become all consuming had it not been arrested by the coalition. In fact, between 1997 and 2010, a shameless and deliberate abuse of the NHS's payroll as a party political tool was conducted and paid for with our economy; a system engineered in order to buy the votes of the liberal middle class managers (Mondeo man) by employing them directly, rather than imploring them indirectly, to vote Labour.
Further, in areas of generally low employment, unnaturally high NHS recruitment provided an opportunity to reduce the jobless total and thus engender an illusion of economic progress, thereby ensuring the Labour vote in these areas also. This planning pattern was not limited to the NHS, rather it was widespread all across the Public Sector.
The Brown/Blair years presided over a mass expansion of the Public Sector which meant that by 2010, it employed well over 6,000,000 persons (25% of all Britons with a job - yep, only 24million of us do; not kidding). The map below shows the expansion of the private sector (left) versus the expansion of the public sector (right) during just 8 of the 13 years of Labour rule between 1998 and 2006.
The left will argue that there is nothing wrong with government creating jobs, after all, the wages of such jobs help fund the private sector; they spend money in the shops which keeps the high street alive and have mortgages which keep the financial services sector ticking over. In short, these people are becoming the back-bone of Britain, no longer Mondeo Man, but Public Sector Pete. Still with a company car and one holiday a year, but now paid for entirely by the public purse. Well, there are, in fact many problems with the economics of this which I may go into in greater depth in future blogs, but primarily it is that the private sector should fund the public sector, it is economic madness to suggest that it should be the other way around. Moreover, it is the political ramifications of spending public money (public debt actually) on votes, which simply must be acknowledged and investigated by the highest courts in the land.
Finally, if a job has to be 'created' by government, then it isn't a real job. You can not 'create' a job; the need for an employee either arises organically or it simply does not exist.
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