Cat Hobbs is the Founder and Director of WeOwnIt, who are running a petition to protect the NHS from trade deals.
Gone is the clapping for our carers. Gone are the platitudes about not wanting to sell off the NHS.
In place of this, the Tories lined up one by one to vote against amendments to the Trade Bill which would have stopped our NHS from being carved up and sold off to Donald Trump and his mates in the private healthcare industry.
This is the true face of the Conservative Party. Privatisation is hard wired into their system. It’s in their DNA.
They’ve been slowly privatising our NHS bit by bit for decades, and now they’re opening up Pandora’s box.
Higher drug prices? Check. Private companies being able to sue the government if it tries to limit their ability to profit from our healthcare? Check. Privatisation of the NHS being ramped up and locked in to international trade treaties that will be increasingly difficult for future governments to unravel? Check.
The 2012 Health and Social Care act was bad enough. Now we’re facing rampant access for the private healthcare industry all across the globe.
And despite the public knowing full well that trade deals pose a real and pressing threat to our health service, the Tories will continue to repeat the mantra that the NHS is ‘not on the table’. They’ll point to their manifesto promises that said just that. But just like when they claimed the Health and Social Care Act wasn’t a privatisation scheme, this is nothing short of a bare-faced lie.
Without concrete protections for the NHS - real, clear red lines in the Trade Bill - our health service is automatically on the table.
On top of all of this - the government even went so far as to vote against provisions that would have allowed parliament to have a say in future trade deals. Without them, trade deals can be negotiated, agreed and signed off behind closed doors without your MP or anyone else seeing what parts of the NHS are up for grabs. It’s an undemocratic, grotesque power grab. It’s an absolute disgrace.
With the Tories having betrayed the public - 75% of whom want to see protections for the health service - it’s now up to the House of Lords to take action. The Tories sit comfortably on an eighty seat majority in the Commons. But they have no such majority in the upper chamber. The Lords must protect our NHS, and they must give parliament a say in trade deals.
And the public must remember all of this too. We must remember who sat on their hands when they could have stopped our NHS being privatised even further. We must remember who betrayed our doctors, and our nurses at a time when we’re more reliant on them than ever before. We must never forgive, and we must never forget.