IN trying to understand just what was being proposed by Mr A Johnson (PM) in respect of NHS and Social Care, it is perhaps prudent, to first make allowance for his fundamental and passing acquaintance with the truth. In short, Johnson is fundamentally committed to himself, and those who assist himself, past present and future. Like the worst examples of the Brit Nat press, the headline is misleading, the truth may be found with enough effort, but massively drowned out by alternative facts.

So, in respect of the NHS England, it now requires massive support to clear the backlog of Covid-19 delayed operations, consultations, and general clinical intervention. It also has to deal with its failure to make multiple billions of pounds of efficiency savings over the last decade, to pay for its expensive market led management of too few staff.

Over the next three financial years, there will now be taxes available for assisting the private sector, to step up and assist the NHS with the clearance of the backlog. To sweeten the pot for this electoral cohort concerned at the delay in their health care, the greatest burden of the new taxes will be laid on the least wealthy.

Cover for this substantial privatisation of NHS England, is to be provided by an overt but disingenuous shift in the long overdue Social Care provision by the state, overtly for state provision but really to push for the general self-insurance of elderly social care.

It should be noted perhaps that the insurance industry of the UK, has, and will suffer further from Brexit, Covid-19 and associated knock-on effects, and this Johnson vaunted Social Care package, will financially assist them greatly, and for which they will be obligated to demonstrate their appreciation. So, to summarise, this Health and Social Care Tax assault which impinges upon the least wealthy most, is really a massive privatisation by stealth, clearly targeted to reduce the overall size of the state, and in traditional Tory style, profit their chums.

Scotland should benefit from Barnett consequentials from these three years of privatisation supported by a NI tax, but then as the citizens of England adapt to insure for their Social Care, and alternative NHS provision, the consequentials essentially go into reverse. So, the citizens of Scotland get UC cut, state pensions cut, extra NI applied, for a consequential which technically should go to relieve UC, and pension cuts, and reduce NI, but is ring fenced for the Scottish NHS and Social Care by the UK Government.

Clarity of where an independent Scotland (EU) sits in respect of social care reform probably needs to be substantially in place, now, given that the UK has now decided that the narrative of “sorting” health and social care in England, while taxing across the UK, is to be the UK antidote to indyref2, Brexit, and Covid-19. The big referendum issue therefore now appears to have been set, as it involves the size of the state, fair taxation, free movement (EU membership), public/private health and social care. As Covid-19 “eases” for COP26, indyref2 could be announced. In any case Scotland needs to have borrowing powers in place before the Barnett consequentials go into privatised reverse.

The UK Government has essentially thrown down the gauntlet, in that the longer the Scottish Government takes to prepare the case for indyref2, the longer the poorest will suffer. Postponement of indyref2 to autumn 2022, looks to require both a full commitment to LA procurement of Carehome places, improvements in infrastructure and staff conditions, with promised funding. Taking a look back at the process of independence from indyref to independent EU nation state, I had thought this should preferably take 10 years or so, but now the timeframe looks to be reduced so it must be substantially complete in some three years or so. Testing times indeed for SNP/Green governance.

Stephen Tingle
Greater Glasgow