. Classy Questions | London Progressive Journal
A non-partisan journal of the left.

Classy Questions

Mon 21st May 2018

Are you fit enough to join the front-line in the UK's Class War? Perhaps you believe that's an out-moded concept and the battle was won long ago. Have you truly bought that aristo guff that "we're all working class"?

Well, think again. Exponents of the landed gentry licking the cream of inherited wealth can teach purveyors of Fake News a thing or two about deception.

Take a deep breath -- careful you don't choke on the particulates bunging up your air-ways. They're nearly as damaging as what's on the air-waves. The zeitgeist is as polluted as the planet. There's no escaping the sticky net of Class nor its effect on our national health.

The Springtime of Distraction

It wasn't obligatory, nor even necessary, to follow the mainstream media's springtime obsession with royal ado, but there was no escaping the news. QEII walked David Attenborough round the Palace grounds. Her most recent great-grandchild was born. Her hubby got a new hip. And, in case you missed it, her grandson married a mixed-race divorced American commoner.

Though I've lived in Britain for fifty years, having been raised in America, I recognise the difference between global monarch-maniacs obsessed with royalty without any direct connection to it, and the UK's media assumption that if there's one thing left to unite the nation, it must be The Royal Family. Just look how modern they've become! Surely we can all forgive Harry's Hitler costume of a decade ago, when he looks so spiffy in his more Allied military gear.

Just as Britain believes its alleged political sovereignty is defined by a representative democracy that's meant to codify the will of the people, those very people are expected to embrace the collective role of servants to and subjects of The Crown. Both these hierarchies continue to entrench us in a class system from which even the accumulation of wealth cannot provide too much mobility.

Notwithstanding the scores of mixed-race British families taking affirmation in the implications of such iconoclastic dynamics, the very persistence of an inherited line of a Head of State is still the seal of approval to the system itself.

I wonder how long it will be before all those wannabe aristos who measure their arrogant assumption of entitlement by how closely they ape the royals, begin producing statistics of mixed-race marriages for their posh darlings. If anything is guaranteed for the "upper class" to put "A Spaniard in the Works" [to quote John Lennon], surely it's the perceived threat to a centuries-old socio-economic pyramid of wealth and privilege.

The so-called "trickle down" theory is pretty universally debunked as spin from a social elite that justifies its position on the Class ladder. And yet it's still implied in the "jam tomorrow" media.

The government's own Social Mobility Commission’s ‘State of the nation’ report, published last November declares "A stark social mobility postcode lottery exists in Britain today where the chances of someone from a disadvantaged background succeeding in life is bound to where they live."

Those millions of wedding watchers underpinned the very lucrative commodity which the monarchy represents. The sales pitch for everything royal from transfer-print mugs to double-faced Union Jack/Stars and Stripes, to gold-dusted Harry and Meghan cocktails has just about squeezed out news of more direct significance. It also serves to perpetuate the class system itself. I'm not the only commentator comparing the price tag of that special Givenchy dress and the annual pay of hospital nurses and support staff.

I Have an NHS Dream
Recently I was challenged by a friend to set out elements of "a plan" for a re-think of the NHS that didn't involve the Tory determination to destroy it. I fully admit to the blue-sky thinking of most of these considerations, and make no apologies. To reform a most admirable institution that has been gnawed away by governments with all-too vested interests means travelling beyond the paths of analysis and into the unmapped territory of something better for everyone.

Just up front for clarity - I am NOT a Corbynista! I believe Caroline Lucas would make the best PM and the Greens would prioritise people over profit. Realistically, though, the proto-fascist Tory challenge will undoubtedly come from Labour. Despite nearly all the print and broadcast media, Labour actually represents a centre-left position. There's nothing radical about the real-politik of the UK.

The NHS, however, needs a radical new broom - and I don't mean one in the hands of privatised cleaners! I can only give my opinion, based on a fair amount of research. This new broom needs everyone to receive a personal message, repeated with frequency: a codified national declaration to mandate every aspect of the NHS to put people before profit. State it as a rule and not an aspiration. State it as part of a more general social mandate to immediately reverse private ownership of the necessities of life - water, sufficient nourishment for all ages, and adequate shelter. At the very least.

Backing this national message are three premises, which are also promises to improve the health of men, women, and children right now. They comprise General Matters, NHS Specifics, and Payment Questions. The first concerns rethinking policy, and making immediate changes.

IN GENERAL
* Immediately eliminate every single devolved private sector department including both management and staff, without compensation.
* Mandate every local/regional council to elect a qualified coordinator of health and social welfare policy with sufficient allocated funding to carry out inspections on a monthly basis at the very least
* Ban ALL commercial lobby groups
* No ad hoc social welfare policy changes without a 2/3 Commons majority
* Ban ALL plastic packaging immediately without compensation and provide federal funding for local and community groups to replace it with innovative solutions provided to the community for free
* Ban ALL zero-hours contracts and replace them with flexible work schedules on a case-by-case basis
* Ban ALL sources of particulate pollution which is one of the primary causes of cancer, including banning car journeys of less than a mile. * Stop wasting money on ever-lasting research projects which continue to ignore this seminal factor - and which accept funding from BigPharma.
* Ban ALL heavy duty transport at an agreed period of daylight hours, and lower height restrictions for lorries which are causing motorway traffic accidents and blocking vital road signs, as well as contributing to global warming.

NHS SPECIFIC
* BAN every single member of Parliament, the government, and every single minister and civil servant from owning shares in any private healthcare facility or provider
* Immediately terminate ALL private contracts for GP, hospital, hospice, and other social care facilities, and recruit the staff back into the NHS at proper salaries - all without compensation to the suppliers
* Coordinate qualified medical staff suppliers around the world for immediate gap-filling of depleted NHS practitioners - without depriving countries of their own medical needs. And increase training facilities immediately, paying trainees a living wage.
* Ban all PFI contracts, including sub-contracted manual labour suppliers
* Ensure that all healthcare workers are housed and fed adequately and immediately prosecute all those responsible for conditions tantamount to slavery
* Reinstate generic medication production and terminate all private development and supply procurement contracts especially those from abroad.
* Create jobs and trainees with expertise in the assessment of all the above
* Fund a regular ongoing national campaign in the press, in cinemas, and on billboards to the effect that the NHS is paid for in advance by everyone so it can be free at the point of need. This will stop the lies and deceits by those who want to profit from the public health of the nation.

*Mandate all relevant unions to get on board and assure that all NHS staff have meaningful representation at every level and with a balance of gender and ethnic diversity.

PAYMENT
* Everyone with an income of over £200,000 [or similar agreed amount] to contribute at least 1% of their annual income [not assets] ring-fenced to a health and social welfare fund to be administered by the elected council member as per above
* Provide the heretofore hidden proof [by some of the world's most influential geo-political analysts] to the public that the UK is NOT under threat, in order to falsely justify the insane spending on the arms trade. These funds can then be diverted to the health and social welfare of the people
* The UK's richest can easily afford to provide EVERY SINGLE PERSON with at least £1 million - if all the above were implemented, no one would have to moan about funding the NHS and allied services.
* Continue to feed the NHS with revenue from a melded tax and national insurance fund, locally distributed by the elected coordinator as above.

What's Your Plan
It would hardly be fair to ask me, or any single person, to provide all the answers. For the NHS to re-claim its mandate to benefit the entire population, we all need to moot ideas. If I weren't housebound I'd try to co-organise a small local group to address the brief of a new NHS plan for everyone, without exception.

Will you try to do that?

This is too important to leave to someone else. Let's move on from a shoulder-shrugging despair at what our wonderfully conceived NHS has become from the scourge of deliberate under-funding. Let's put us, the people, at the Top of the Class!!

You must be logged in to post comments on the site or you can use Facebook above.