Odder and odder
Please note – Trump has said since this blog was posted today that it’s ok – he was just kidding – so we can all relax
Aye … Right!
The last couple of days have seen a state visit from Donald Trump and a huge banquet hosted by the queen which included invitations for every senior cabinet minister except Sajid Javid – the Home Secretary. Even Jeremy Corbyn got an invite, although he didn’t go – but not the Home Secretary. The Independent suggested that he has an issue with “people who are related to bus drivers”. Both Sajid Javid and Sadiq Khan therefore fall foul of what the Independent calls “Routemasterphobia”
There were some truly odd carry ons yesterday and I don’t just mean the stabbing of the Baby Trump Blimp and subsequent arrest of the woman involved, nor the milkshaking and screams of Nazi at an elderly Trump Supporter – and the fact that “milkshaking” might even BE a word is odd enough.
It was odd to see Philip Hammond whomi consider one of the least odd Tories completely deny poverty exists in the UK. He completely refuted the UN report on poverty – I almost expected to hear “fake news” come out of his mouth. I have more to say about that but not just now.
The state visit was like a weird American made for TV movie version of a state visit in a post Brexit subservient Britain.
Odd handshakes, odd press conferences, odd responses from ministers all done in an odd environment where the Prime Minister is no longer a prime minister in anything but name only.
We heard from the Presidents own mouth that he expects the NHS to be “on the table” for a trade deal with the US. The man could not have been clearer. And this is a man that struggles sometimes to string a coherent sentence together so we should not underestimate the seriousness of that comment.
Let’s be clear. In a post Brexit world the NHS would be up for sale to US companies to run for profit.
Meanwhile in Scotland the Scottish Government reaffirmed their commitment to a Public NHS. The NHS is devolved, we have been able to resist the worst of the UK sell offs of parts of our NHS because it’s devolved. The First Minister said clearly yesterday that our NHS is not for sale. That we will make sure in Scotland that our NHS is safe.
The Scotsman however reports todaybthat all this is nonsense. That our NHS is of course safe. Eveb JK Rowling, (who is married to a GP so an expert on multi national trade deals which include the NHS) said so yesterday. She said it was Scaremongering to stand up for the NHS like the Scottish Government did yesterday. Nothing to see folks, the NHS isn’t a political or trade deal football – JK Rowling says it will all be fine.
And perhaps she might have a point if it hadn’t come from the mouth of the man himself, and she might have a point if the UK Government hadn’t given itself the right to grab back many devolved powers after Brexit. The power grab… remember that? I know you might all have nodded off by now but reach into your Brexit filing cabinet and dust off the power grab file.
Then turn to the page labelled “public procurement”. That’s right – one of the powers grabbed back from the EU is power over public procurement.
“Public procurement – The regime provided by the EU procurement Directives, covering public procurement contracts for supplies, services, works and concessions above certain financial thresholds awarded by the public sector and by utilities operating in the energy, water, transport and postal services sectors.” (BBC)
In addition it has already been clear that calls for Scotland to be at the trade deal negotiating table have fallen on deaf ears. That happened in March.
And that’s all before you take into account that the reductions on public spending on the English NHS. These would come about – are already coming about – as a result of privatised health care and DIRECTLY reduce the money available to Scotland’s NHS. This is due to the associated reductions to the Barnet Formula which calculates the money the UK pass back to Scotland.
So, I’m sorry but the evidence that this threat to the NHS is real and not scaremongering is stacking up. Not even The elder wand could make this look any better. The Scottish Government is committed to maintaining the NHS as a public service. Remaining part of a post Brexit UK makes that difficult – if not impossible – unless we are Independent.