Letters to the Canary: our coverage, the NHS, Rachel Reeves’ ‘Securo-what’, and trans rights

Letters to the Canary
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The Canary is excited to share the latest edition of our letters page. This is where we publish people’s responses to the news, politics, or anything else they want to get off their chest. We’ve now opened the letters page up so anyone can submit a contribution. As always, if you’d like to subscribe to the Canary – starting from just £1 a month – to support truly radical and independent media, then you can do that here:

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This week’s letters

This week we have people’s thoughts on the Canary‘s recent direction of travel, Labour’s ‘Securonomics’, the NHS, and trans rights. 

Recent Canary direction of travel

First of all I, as others, have noticed a slight change in the writing of articles over the past few months. Individual writers will have different styles, but emphasis has changed. But I won’t be cancelling my subscription. I read other ‘alternative’ news, and they have differing perspectives: Jewish Voice for Labour of course, but they do not limit themselves to a particular focus – and Skwawkbox.

The main point here is that there should be a ‘camaraderie’ or celebration of shared values, even though sometimes a different viewpoint might be evident. Which brings me to Corbyn.

I don’t think his contribution should be ignored, or minimised. Regardless of what he does, ‘will he stand or won’t he?’, there is still a battle to be fought. We all saw how ruthless the opposition was, even inside his own party. In the words of Tony Benn ‘it has never been a socialist party, but it has always had socialists in it’.

Arguing about ‘your’ socialism, its type, is it right, or am I really an anarchist or democratic socialist etc is maybe ‘fighting among ourselves’. Not helpful. Especially when the ‘opposition’ is effectively not an opposition. I understand ‘the party we should not mention’ is to be renamed the Abstain Party.

Read on...

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It seems evident, to me anyway, that many miss the points being made, such as the article on the Titan. Subtle sometimes, sledgehammer the next. But always an important point that not all (including myself) might see. That’s good journalism.

On Kate Andrews and BBCQT, it is also evident that this is the ‘system’, or the ‘Establishment’. Unfortunately, no journalist seems to ask the questions I think they should. But if they do ‘ask the questions’, then they are censured. As in the case of Gary Lineker (wealthy ex-footballer) or Anjana Gadgil, news presenter.

So I glanced back through a few Canary articles, and found a wide variety of issues over a wide expanse of the globe, all relevant to many of us. And I thought, no, my contribution to the Canary is well placed, and enables some real journalism. And here I was going to do a comparison against the Guardian. You may be able to guess what I would say. No need then.

Pete, via email

New New Labour’s ‘Securonomics’

I am praying the people of the UK will not fall for this bullshit from an alleged Labour shadow minister, who screamed her slogan of hatred at poor, elderly, and disabled people: ‘I will be tougher than the TORIES on the benefit scroungers’. Just what the plebiscite class want to hear from a woman elected to protect and serve all of the people, not just the royals, barons, lords, ladies, baronesses, knights, dames, and the filthy rich.

Why in the hell are we, the working class, allowing this from a corrupt, lying, thieving gang of Westminster gangsters posing as a PM, LOTO, and MPs. It’s embarrassing watching as a 71-year-old trade unionist from a proper union, with proper leaders – the now-defunct Transport and General Workers’ Union. The only union worth its salt now in these times is another great union, which has kept the Red Flag flying: the RMT, its members, and Mick Lynch. God bless them.

Unite is a fucking disgrace. Sharon Graham, her husband, and the rest of her cronies should be facing a full-force ballot of the membership and emptied onto a stinking landfill where they belong. Unite needs to appoint a proper union leader who is not in the employ and pay of the bosses.

Patrick Mcqueenie, via email

NHS: priority over corrupt business interests

The government – and indeed most if not all recent governments – have not really been interested in really making the NHS the best in the world. They have underfunded it by a considerable amount and it has been a ‘frail patient’ for a very long time. Part of the problem is that it has taken on too many cosmetic problems which are not really necessary.

The neoliberal capitalist so-called free market system, which has taken over from classic capitalism and which was much more fair and just, has been usurped by privatisation for their primacy of markets, investors and maximum possible profit. Much of the Big Pharma corporations’ research and development breakthrough innovation, is actually funded initially by the taxpayer and the public purse, through various educational facilities and such like.

Without this there would be much less product innovation. But then the corporations, make out by misinformation that it was their billions that funded the project and consequently they must add on hundreds of percent for their profiteering activities, which are then sold on to the NHS for exorbitant sums to satisfy the greed of the directors, the upper echelons of management, and the investors – who often are one and the same.

All the primary financial resources from the state go into paying vast revenue to these sectors, which severely prevent the NHS economic structure for the good of the patients and the workforce from the highly experienced specialist consultants down through Junior Doctors to the cleaners and porters who are also valuable, but paid a derisory remuneration as this has already been unjustly allocated to the private sector.

The Conservatives intend to turn the entire NHS into one vast private enterprise owned principally by US Insurance companies. To a considerable degree this is already underway. But it is the usual methodology by stealth political procedure and egregious non transparency, so much so, that when completed it is too late for the public to do anything about it.

The reason why the nurses, junior doctors, and consultants are unhappy is through the way over past years the entire NHS is being deliberately run-down to give the public the impression that it is failing through its own incompetence.

But it is only failing by the intentional acts of greedy, incompetent politicians who are being lobbied by vastly wealthy corporations intent on seizing the NHS as we now know it and there for the greater good of all its citizens. But instead, turning it into a humongous property-and money-tree empire of opulence for themselves and their obnoxious greed-obsessed financial investors minority sector, who seriously want to destroy this country and any remaining equality it has, by decimating even the idea of a free health service for all and in so doing making a financial killing,

There won’t be any waiting lists if we are not careful and instead stand up and DEMAND OUR NHS BE GIVEN PRIORITY OVER CORRUPT BUSINESS INTERESTS. For instead, the majority of people will be forced to suffer in silence and too often die in agony, because of their inability to pay for what we now take for granted through having the NHS as a vehicle for all.

This is deliberately being made impotent through intentioned neoliberal political policies, and serious if not egregiously unjust underfunding of its workforce. Leading to this amazing health and welfare entity now barely on its feet, once so globally admired and envied, but now perniciously undermined for profit leading to its finale.

Bri, via email

NHS: what solution for it?

Thank you for highlighting Kate Andrews appearance on BBCQT to mark the NHS’s 75 anniversary.

I don’t mind right wingers getting a platform. What I mind is that the response from the rest of the panel is so feeble.

Kate Andrews is right. The NHS is not the envy of the Western world. It looks pretty good from other, so-called ‘developing’ countries, but other OECD nations of similar status do better, albeit at a higher price.

Neither does it perform well, either in the outputs it achieves or the inputs it has at its disposal. See the recent Kings Fund report “How does the NHS compare to the health care systems of other countries?

But she was disingenuous on the absolute levels of resources at the NHS’s disposal (she was using the latest figures including £70bn of wasted money on Covid – PPE corruptly procured and Test and Trace which didn’t). The NHS continues to have insufficient funds. Nonetheless the accusation that even with the funds its got the NHS should be doing better is a charge for which there should be a better answer than BBCQT panelists could muster.

Here is my answer:

Healthcare in the UK is not aligned to deliver healthcare. Its consultants have a financial incentive to live with low productivity and output from the NHS, as it creates demand for their services privately. Its not directly their fault but its what happens.

The Treasury accord higher priority to controlling public expenditure than delivering healthcare. The net result is that since the late seventies cash-limited budgets have been put in place and capital budgets cut back to put a lid on spending. This is hugely damaging, as it creates incentives to not supply healthcare (the so-called perverse incentives identified by Enthoven) and thus incentives to delay, dilute, defer, and deny healthcare. Cutting capital expenditure cuts the source of productivity growth, and demoralises the workforce.

Politicians are all to eager to hear the message that you can have your cake and eat it; that is, European healthcare at US levels of direct taxation. Thus they are suckers for management consultants selling new ways of doing the impossible: accountable care, sub-contracting to the private sector, prevention, digitisation etc. None of these work but the point is to justify not doing something else more effectively.

People who are serious about these things (see www.biggergovernment.com) readily identify that spending more money on health and social care is inevitable (given the ageing population, rising inequality, unhealthy diets, and living and working conditions), desirable (it’s good for people, carers, employers, and the economy (health spending has a high multiplier effect)) and affordable (in comparison with other countries and the wealth of the nation).

It would be good if others could say so more clearly and do something about it.

Roger, via email

Attacks on trans rights

It’s never ending isn’t it?  And getting worse because it suits some vile sorts.

I tend to think (based on experience) that it’s got worse since the WHO decided not to continue classifying being transgender as a mental health problem.

Being Transgender Is No Longer Considered A Mental Disorder By World Health Organization | HuffPost Voices

There’s a comparison to be made right there in that article.

An interesting ‘point’ re the Guardian (apart from the fact that it’s not what you can really call leftwing and hasn’t been for a good while now) is that the US (& Australia) Guardian have actually criticised the UK Guardian for their transphobic output (2018).

I have a suggestion which the Canary might want to consider which is, aside from reporting on the current issues, publish an article simply noting the recent history of hostile media coverage in the UK?

I remember the Morning Star attacks well. Which should prove beyond all reasonable doubt that this goes way beyond being just a ‘left vs right’ issue.

The author of the article below is still on Twitter & as you’ll see if you check their timeline – very staunch. Might be worth contacting them to ask if you can reproduce it on the Canary?

Transphobia: How the trans-hostile media coverage began in the UK | by Mimmymum | Medium

There’s also an interesting Lancet article (PDF here from ResearchGate) on the ‘science stuff’ and there are other articles around which debunk the transphobe/GC [Gender Critical] claims that ‘science’ is somehow on their side

(PDF) The Misuses of “Biological Sex” (researchgate.net)

Not sure whether this’ll be of any help but I hope it might. GCs that I’ve come across just seem to enjoy being nasty, upsetting people & getting a reaction.  Try not to let them get to you.  But also do remember that many people are genuinely ignorant on the subject and so just swallow whatever gubbins ‘reliable’ sources tell them to.

Take care – and thank you!

Alison, via email

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