Friday 16 December 2022

Must Be A Priority, So Yes

Even Jake Berry, who chaired the Conservative Party under Liz Truss, is among four Conservative former Ministers, at the time of writing, to have called for a negotiated settlement with the nurses. Meanwhile, Wes Streeting has emailed all Labour MPs to call for the Army to be deployed to break the strike.

Unlike Berry, Streeting would send in the troops against the Royal College of Nursing, which in 1935 opposed a TUC Bill to secure a 48-hour working week for hospital employees, which in 1941 opposed the Churchill Government's proposal to pay student nurses a salary of £40, and which did not register as a trade union until 1977. To this day, it is not affiliated to the TUC. This is now the enemy within.

If you cannot imagine the nurses of old striking, then I have retired nurses on both sides of my family, and nor can I. But their real pay never fell so far in 12 years that only a 19 per cent increase would have restored its value. Nor did the Labour Party ever threaten to use military force against them.

Both sides of my family. Either the strikers prevail, or we all take a gigantic step back to the lines of Pictish, British, Gaelic, Saxon and Norse serfs into which my father was born in the Fife of 1922, and back to the waves of African slaves, Indian indentured labourers, Chinese coolies, and everyone else who had washed up on the shores of my mother's, and indeed my, native Saint Helena.

That is what Streeting wants. Dr Bob Gill should contest his seat at the next General Election. As it has been since 1997, Labour is the party of NHS privatisation in England. Labour is the party that would fill the nurses' bellies with lead. Labour is the party that has in recent hours expelled Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, the only Jew on its National Executive Committee, and one of hundreds of Jews to have been kicked out under Keir Starmer. There are not all that many Jews in Britain at all, so there were not huge numbers of them in the Labour Party to begin with. There must be very, very few now.

All for the sake of Benjamin Netanyahu, who at least pretends to think that Hitler had only ever planned to deport the Jews until the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem had persuaded him to gas them instead. Netanyahu will depend for his parliamentary majority on people who believed that there was a religious obligation to burn down churches everywhere, and who enthusiastically sought to do that duty in Israel and on the West Bank. This is the man whose approval is required if you wished to be a member of the Labour Party, even if you are already an elected member of its NEC.

But then, why would you wish that? Labour literally wants a war against the unions that were defending the NHS. Thankfully, we are heading for a hung Parliament. To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.