This article is reproduced from the Marx Engels Lenin Institute, with thanks.
If you are in the mood for a low farce, the endless repetition of 30-year-old cliches or perhaps just looking for a cure for insomnia then we recommend watching the proceedings of the recent Labour party conference.
If you hadn’t noticed that this was going on, you can hardly be blamed, since it has less relevance to the lives of 90 percent of the population than do the plotlines on daytime soaps. Keir Starmer, a man who manages to pull off the feat of being utterly repulsive and terminally boring at the same time, continued to assert in bland corporate speak that, if elected as prime minister, he will “give Britain its future back”.
This utterly nebulous garbage is what passes for policy from Mr Starmer, who has been very careful since his elevation to the leadership in 2020 to avoid any real or firm commitments and has instead stuck to making bland and generic assertions.
Behind these threadbare assertions stand Starmer’s real commitments: to continue the Blair legacy [ie, to be an unquestioningly loyal servant of British imperialism, no matter what]. This legacy needs to be understood properly in terms of the role that Tony Blair truly played in terms of pushing through privatisations of public assets with the active assistance of the trade union leadership.
The cannibalisation of the public sector is all part of the ongoing crisis of British capitalism, which has had to find new areas of profitability by buying up the public sector and then securing a permanent stream of funding from the government to run these services even as they cut staffing levels, workers’ pay and the levels of service provided to the public.
Buying up a chunk of the public sector is great for parasitic British capitalism, since it enables these businesses to claim huge revenues from state, run the service into the ground, then step back from the contract when things turn sour. This is the reality of the much vaunted Blair ‘legacy’ when it comes to the public sector.
Blair’s defenders will often try to redeem him, but the truth is that he left the public sector mired in debt and ultimately providing less of a service to working-class people. Starmer’s promises amount to a commitment to doing the same thing all over again.
His promises to “solve” the NHS waiting list crisis is nothing more than a promise to further privatisation of the health service.
Both Starmer and the repugnant homunculus Wesley Streeting (the shadow health secretary) have promised to “utilise” the private sector in getting waiting lists down. This is a commitment to divert funds to the private sector and away from the NHS. In short, the private health care sector will be subsidised at the expense of the public sector, Starmer will call this “saving the NHS” and the health service union leaders will applaud him for it.
The theatre of the absurd in Liverpool [where the conference took place] was totally divorced from the reality of what Starmer will do in office. He will pose as some kind of reformer but in actual fact he will pursue the same priorities as Rishi Sunak will do; the priorities of the British capitalist class.