Tuesday, 7 February 2023

From The Liberty Wall – National Liberal Trade Unionists – How Do You Go From Hero To Zero?

NHS workers have gone from Hero to Zero for simply asking for a pay rise. National Liberal Trade Unionists - NLTU – believe that the NHS is our ‘National Pride’. As such, it needs massive & sustained government investment. This needs to target both infrastructure, recruitment & pay and working conditions for existing staff. This could be achieved by introducing a system of Sovereign Money as opposed to borrowing from private banks. Under the current financial system we’d be drowning in debtbased interest payments forever and a day. Here the only winners will be the banksters. Sovereign Money is where the money supply is controlled by the nation & is issued free of charge.

HOW DO YOU go from hero to zero in a single step? That’s easy – just ask for a pay rise! For that’s the extraordinary position thousands of NHS workers find themselves in after they held a massive demonstration in London on Saturday to protest against their exclusion from a recent public sector pay rise announcement.

The big London demonstration – as well as smaller ones held throughout the rest of England, Scotland, Ulster & Wales – were organised by Nurses United (1).

Nurses United describes itself as a ‘grassroots network of Frontline Nurses for Frontline Nurses.’ And like ourselves, Nurses United regard the NHS as our ‘National Pride.’ Indeed, it has pledged to ‘protect it and fight for a national service that is publicly owned, provided and that prioritises the care and safety of us all.’

In London, the ‘flagship march’ began at St. James’s Park, passing along Whithall before ending up at Parliament Square. It was the second demonstration in support of NHS workers to be held within the last few days in the capital. Over 1,5000 marched on Downing Street from St Thomas’ Hospital last Wednesday.

The union Unite – which has around 100.000 members in the health service – said that NHS staff were angry, discontent and frustrated at being overlooked for a pay rise.

The union noted that NHS staff have ‘seen their pay cut by 20 per cent in real terms – and no amount of Thursday evening clapping and warm ministerial words can compensate for this dramatic loss in income.

Poor rates of pay have contributed to the estimated 100,000 vacancies in the NHS and ensuing ‘recruitment and retention’ crisis.

We remain in the middle of a gruelling battle against Covid-19, and are facing a second wave, yet still we have to struggle to afford the basics.’

The reference to ‘Thursday evening clapping’ is a nod to the UK-wide Clap for Our Carers (2) campaign, which took place every Thursday at 8pm between March 26th and May 28th this year. Although it was a well-meaning campaign, it was – sadly – ultimately meaningless. Indeed, many ‘NHS Heroes’ claimed that it was an empty gesture, especially as the NHS faced budget cuts & severe shortages of equipment (3 & 4). This was particulary so as all manner of politicians – desperate for a photo opportunity – clapped their hearts out.

So what happens next? We National Liberal Trade Unionists – NLTU – believe that Boris Johnson & Co. will continue to praise the NHS to the heavens, especially in respect of Covid-19. In the meantime, NHS workers will have to content themselves by whistling Dixie when it comes to anything like a worthwhile pay rise.

Constantly praising the NHS will not change anything. Nor will another outbreak of Thusday evening clapping. And referring to NHS workers as ‘Heroes’ does not pay the bills.

So how do we turn the situation around?

First of all, we need to recognise that things are not going to change overnight. Years of underfunding have left the NHS in a terrible state. However, we National Liberal Trade Unionists – NLTU – believe that there needs to be massive & sustained government investment in the NHS. It needs to target both infrastucture as well as staff pay & working conditions.

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (5) may well go on some form of spending spree – for a Tory he’s opened the purse strings more often than many would would have expected. But under the current financial system we’d be drowning in debt-based interest payments forever and a day. Here the only winners will be the banksters.

The solution, however, is very simple – and that’s to introduce a system of Sovereign Money (6-7) as opposed to borrowing from private banks. Unfortunately, this is something that none of the establishment pro-capitalist parties would ever contemplate.

Despite this, the NLTU proposes that nation should control its own money supply which should be issued free of charge. Thus Sovereign Money should be issued as and when needed to help with NHS recruitment, pay & the upgrading/expanding of NHS infrastructure.

The NHS has recruited and trained people for years. They can be retained if they’re paid good wages. We know how to build hospitals, health centres and other infrstucture needed by the NHS. Money is man-made. As such, it’s impossible to ‘run out’ of money. Money isn’t some form of natural resource that we could run out of at any time. Therefore it should be used to benefit our nation and our people – such as a properly funded and resourced health care system.

(1) https://www.nursesunited.org.uk/

(2) https://clapforourcarers.co.uk/

(3) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/19/nhs-workers-dont-want-applause-they-want-ppe

(4) https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/23/uk-key-workers-ppe-ministers-clapping-protect-nhs

(5) http://nationalliberal.org/britain%e2%80%99s-reactionary-racists-react

(6) https://sovereignmoney.site/what-is-sovereign-money

(7) https://positivemoney.org/our-proposals/sovereign-money-introduction/

• THE NATIONAL LIBERAL TRADE UNIONISTS – NLTU – would like to hear from any NHS workers who could provide us with up-to-date information concerning pay & working conditions in their local area. Contact us at natliberal@aol.com or via Facebook/National Liberal Trade Unionists

We’re passionate supporters of the National Health Service and believe that a huge debt is owed to Ernest Brown (1881-1962). Devon-born Brown was the Liberal National/National Liberal Minister for Health from 1941-1943 in the National Government of Ramsay McDonald. (Brown was also leader of the Liberal National Party from 1940 to 1945.) As Health Minister he commissioned the Beveridge Report which ultimately led to the foundation of the welfare state in the UK, with the NHS being one of its most important elements.

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