Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Moral Panic & Folk Devils: Labour Party & NHS

The Labour Party have been gifted a great weapon by the Tory privatisation of the NHS. A demonising gun to make the Tories 'The NHS profiteers'. 
The Labour Party could end right here, right now, the Tory Party as a possible governing party by constructing them as a folk devil. A folk devil that could never be trusted with even a single finger of power over the fate of the NHS
A moral panic about NHS privatisation (rather than NHS institutions as is now the case) would stygmatise the Tories forever. 
It would be a simple task for the Labour Party to make a stand on the NHS & to promise an end to 'marketisation'. Especially as the end of neoliberalism in 2008 makes this kind of financialisation prohibitively expensive anyway. 
Such a strategy comes with a ready made thing to apologise for [which Labour often seem to believe is necessary]: i.e. continuing the 'marketisation' programme of Margret Thatcher. Which can now be presented as a terrible error that the Labour Party volubly own up to. Allowing, of course, all problems & scandals in the NHS of the period 97-2010 to be blamed on Thatcher & Blair's mistaken belief that Thatcher's 'marketisation' was both reasonable & kind [Blair just couldn't imagine that the Thatcher reforms were designed to be so harmful... is the line to take]. 
The Labour Party would need to commit to undoing all the ‘marketisation' efforts since Thatcher but that would not be a hardship given how much additional cost they have placed on the NHS (& with the Cameron-Clegg privatisation this increase in total cost will only be seriously exacerbated). It would have the additional benefit of marking a very clear division between the Labour Party and the Tories (whether in Blue or Yellow ties) which would help to overcome some of the ‘they're all the same’ discourse they electorate are trapped in.
The essential point for the Labour Party to convey is that no one could believe that the Tories, especially when in a minority government, would actually be so barbaric as to privatise the NHS & set the UK on course for the brutal horrors of the USA's medical capitalism. How could a typical person in the UK even begin to imagine that? The people responsible for such a barbarity would display such a monstrous inhumanity that they could hardly be considered people at all [which of course they are not they 'are lower than vermin']. Yet no human would want to think of others in this way & in this mis-recognition of Tories as people by us lies their terrible power to do harm. 
The NHS & the health of everyone in the UK, everyone, is imperilled by the anti-NHS Tories. This should be the clear & simple message of the Labour Party because not even Cameron could Flashman his way out off that.


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