Dead Cat Doesn’t Bounce With Hacks

What Corbyn Claims the Documents Say Versus What they Actually Say

Guido thought he’d factcheck Corbyn’s claims on what the unredacted documents say – and it turns out there was quite a lot of contortion on Corbyn’s part to interpret the documents as menacingly as he presented them. There’s already a lot of push back from the Department for Trade pointing out the documents were not from trade discussions where things were agreed, rather they were from the working groups in which both the UK and US set out their starting positions for any future trade talks.

Medicine Pricing:

Corbyn: “The US and the UK have already finished the discussion on lengthening patents for medicines, longer patents can mean only one thing: more expensive drugs

Document references to patent law:

Corbyn also specifically pointed to page 51 of the second document, claiming it says “patent issues… [around] NHS access to generic drugs will be a key consideration. Deliberately missing key words and changing the meaning of what was discussed. The paragraph says the UK is in difficult territory here because of disagreements over this area.

The NHS Being ‘On the Table’

Corbyn said:

Labour has been warning that NHS services will also be on the table in trade talks for a sellout deal with Trump… the documents show Trump was right.” “These documents make clear that for the US – to quote page 41 of the third meeting report – “everything is included unless something is specifically excluded”. They want “total market access as the baseline assumption of a trade negotiation”

“But surely you can’t believe that British officials would demand the NHS be excluded. Apparently not. In fact, on behalf of the Conservative Government officials reassured their counterparts that the US should expect the UK to be a liberalising influence, and that together they could fly the green flag for service liberalisation.”

Page 41 of the third meeting report – a 77 page report that mentions the NHS once – does include the phrase “everything is included unless something is specifically excluded”, in the context of the US explaining their approach to free trade

It certainly wasn’t a concession from the UK negotiating team. As the Department for Trade makes clear, no agreements could have been made as these meetings were working groups to set out each others’ stalls  – not negotiations.

For working groups discussing trade, the NHS is barely mentioned in these documents. Including all 451 pages, the NHS is mentioned 4 times, once regarding defending the NHS’s access to cheaper drugs for patients (to spell it out – that’s a good thing). One sentence even spells out the US were “Sensitive to the particular sensitivities with the health sector in the UK”:

Within an hour, the key facets of Corbyn’s big announcement have fallen flat…

UPDATE: The Conservatives have come out with a response that doesn’t mince its words:

“Jeremy Corbyn is getting desperate and is out-and-out lying to the public about what these documents contain. He has always believed in conspiracy theories – which is why he has failed to crack down on the scourge of antisemitism in his party. This is the man that has caused huge offence by blaming an imaginary ‘Zionist lobby’ for society’s ills and now he has decided to smear UK officials too.

“People should not believe a word that he says – this stunt is simply a smokescreen for the fact that he has no plan for Brexit and that he has been forced to admit that he wants to increase taxes for millions of families.

“As we have consistently made clear: the NHS will not be on the table in any future trade deal and the price that the NHS pays for drugs will not be on the table. This sort of conspiracy theory fuelled nonsense is not befitting of the leader of a major political party

Mirror’s NHS Story Created By Crank Conspiracy Group

The Mirror’s splash today is expected to be the basis for Corbyn’s NHS speech alleging that the UK somehow wants to raise drug prices as a result of a US trade deal. The opposite of what trade deals do… nobody does a trade deal to raise prices.

The FOI research for the Labour/Mirror story was carried out by the Global Justice campaign group. They’re run by Nick Dearden, who is a cranky anti-Israel obsessive with some pretty nutty views…

Dearden is an anti-Israel obsessive whose main objective to a trade deal with the US seems to be that the US would want us to discourage people from boycotting Israeli products – something that is already in the Tory manifesto.

His other views include having:

  • Claimed that former chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks accusing Corbyn of being an antisemite was ‘an attempt to silence those speaking up for Palestine’.
  • Said jihadist groups like ISIS shouldn’t be banned from the UK
  • Said antisemitism was used to ‘silence any MP who dares criticise Israel’
  • Singled out George Soros as an ‘extremist’ that caused the Greek financial crisis
  • Praised corrupt Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman, claiming that he ‘speaks for me’
  • Dismissed Hamas’ opposition to a Jewish state
  • Defended anti-semite Lib Dem peer Jenny Tonge, claiming she was ‘sacked for telling it like it is on Israel’
  • In 2016, Dearden wrote an article praising Venezuela’s ‘foundation for a truly democratic food system’, and that it has ‘lit a beacon of hope’. In the three years since Venezuela has seen widespread famine, starvation and malnutrition…

Dearden’s main objection to a trade deal with the US seems to be that it will make it harder to boycott Israel. He has also said that criticism of Corbyn over antisemitism by former chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks was ‘an attempt to silence those speaking up for Palestine’.

Other highlights include praise for Venezuela’s ‘democratic food system’, defending Hamas, calling George Soros an ‘extremist’ who caused the Greek financial crisis, and opposing banning ISIS from the UK. Dearden has said he is attending the Corbyn event…

Boris More Trusted on NHS than Corybn

A Survation poll for the Daily Mail shows Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is less trusted on the NHS than Boris. 35% think Boris would be ‘best’ on the issue of the NHS, compared to 34% for Corbyn. The same poll also shows Labour are starting on 26% compared to 34% for the Tories, with the LibDems and Brexit Party on 19% and 12% respectively. If Corbyn can’t beat Boris on the NHS his party might be the one facing a winter crisis… 

NHS Cash for New Labour SpAds

As Guido revealed yesterday, hard-left Tory-bashing think tank New Economics Foundation have curiously been the recipient of over £500,000 of funding from NHS England over the past three years. Now Guido can shed some more light how a load of funding ended up with a bunch of strident lefties rather than needful patients…

It turns out the New Economics Foundation were one of three organisations which awarded funding as part of the NHS England’s “Health as a Social Movement” programme which began in 2016, along with the RSA and Nesta. It just so happens that the CEOs of all three organisations at the time had something in common…

  • Matthew Taylor, CEO of the RSA. Head of No.10 Policy Unit under Tony Blair
  • Geoff Mulgan, CEO of Nesta. Director of Policy under Tony Blair
  • Marc Stears, CEO of the NEF until 2017. Former speechwriter (and university flatmate) of Ed Miliband

Small world!

NHS England say:

“Following an open competitive process five years ago, three organisations were commissioned to help the NHS and its partners find ways to bring communities together to improve the health of local people through projects which tackled loneliness, improved cancer care and the quality of life of dementia patients, amongst others.”

The NHS insist that they were not simply giving the money to the NEF, it was as part of work they outsourced following a competitive tendering process. Which sounds a lot like NHS privatisation, funny how the NEF don’t seem to have such a problem with it when they’re the beneficiaries…

The NHS didn’t respond to Guido’s question of whether they foresaw any potential issues with appointing a highly politicised and partisan think tank with economics views well outside the mainstream. No doubt they’ll be evening out the balance by picking the IEA or the TPA for their next ‘social health’ privatisation partnership programme…

NHS Gave Hard-Left Tory-Bashing Think Tank Over Half-a-Million Pounds

Hard-left think tank New Economics Foundation have advocated a number of novel proposals for the economy in recent years including a four-day or even 21-hour working week and a Green Party idea of replacing GDP with a ‘Free Time Index’. They’ve adopted a range of positions on growth from “growth isn’t working” to “growth isn’t possible”, although their own dislike of economic growth doesn’t stop them from periodically attacking the Tories for apparently reducing economic growth via austerity policies. No wonder John McDonnell is a big fan

They’ve certainly not had any trouble with their own economic growth, their annual income is sitting at a healthy £3,517,793. What’s less healthy is the fact that £529,554 of their income over the last three years has come from NHS England. NHS England gave £234,919 last year alone, they were the NEF’s second-biggest source of income for 2017-8. The NHS could have spent that money on training new nurses or covering the cost of over 60,000 prescriptions, instead they’ve decided to give it to a hard-left think tank to bash the Tories…

Labour Continue Decades of Lying About the NHS

The NHS has been under Tory management for most of its life. At almost every election Labour claim that the NHS is under threat from “Tory Cuts”, yet the budget increases as ever. The new twist in their latest campaign is that Trump will be buying the NHS.

Once it was explained to Trump what the NHS was he excluded it from a trade deal, saying “But I don’t see [the NHS] as being, that’s something that I would not consider part of trade. That’s not trade.” Not that the Labour Party will interrupt decades of lying slogans about the future of the NHS…

UPDATE: Here’s US Ambassador Woody Johnson rubbishing the claims that the US wants to privatise the NHS just last week at the CPS’ Thatcher Conference:

NHS Brexit Scare Report Written by Diehard Remain Campaigners and Former Eurocrats

Fresh from publishing their mad new diet calling for people to eat only one-tenth of a sausage and a quarter of an egg a day – which naturally turned out to be authored by people who didn’t follow the diet themselves and funded by a globe-trotting billionaire with a private jet – once-esteemed medical journal The Lancet has done it again with a new Brexit scare paper this week. It just so happens that almost every author is either a diehard Remain campaigner or has extensive professional links with the EU…

  • The lead author is Nick Fahy, now a researcher at Oxford but who previously worked for over a decade in the European Commission. Naturally…
  • Next is Tamara Hervey, an EU-funded Jean Monnet Professor of European Law who amusingly describes herself as living in “Sheffield, Europe” on Twitter. Don’t tell her Sheffield voted to Leave…
  • David Stuckler is a committed anti-Austerity campaigner who authored a book subtitled “Why Austerity Kills” and has even blamed the rise of the Nazis on austerity. Cuckoo…
  • Mike Galsworthy will be familiar to most people as one of the prolific and obnoxious Remainiacs on Twitter, he is effectively a full-time commentator and campaigner and has founded Scientists for EU, Healthier IN the EU, Scientists for Labour and NHS Against Brexit. Literally the last person you would go to if you wanted a balanced and impartial view on Brexit…
  • Martin McKee is another full-on Remainiac, his Twitter account is festooned with #FBPE and a giant low-res EU flag. McKee is also a member of the European Commission’s ‘Expert Panel on Investing in Health’ and until recently was President of the EU-funded European Public Health Association. He co-founded Healthier IN the EU with Galsworthy, and to top it off was also a co-author on Stuckler’s paper blaming the Nazis on austerity. Full house!

Naturally this hasn’t stopped the media and smug Remainers like Peston from seizing upon the report like it is gospel truth. It might as well have been a European Commission press release…

BBC Disproves its own Brexit Medicines Scare Story

The BBC have been pushing a story all morning about a “surge in shortage of common medicines”, reporting that 80 medicines were on the “shortage of supply” list in December which the NHS can pay a premium for, “up from 45 in October”. Naturally they are trying to link it to Brexit with the entirely nebulous line that “there are now concerns that uncertainty over Brexit will only make the situation worse”. What the BBC fail to mention until much further down the article is that this number is actually down on the figure for November 2017. They even have a graph showing it…

Scroll down yet further and the article explicitly states: “Generic shortages started peaking in 2017, so it is not possible to say that this issue has arisen because we are so close to Brexit” before quoting Sandra Gidley, chairwoman of the English Pharmacy Board who was also a Liberal Democrat MP from 2000 to 2010. Her words: “Brexit is not a factor… Shortages have been a problem for some years. It’s a fluctuating problem.”

A furious Whitehall source said: “This sort of scaremongering is completely outrageous – and to have it coming from a broadcaster that is meant to act in the public interest is unacceptable.” When even a Lib Dem is saying Brexit is not to blame you know you’re on shaky ground…

Sunday Mirror Calls for NHS to be Marketised

The Sunday Mirror’s leader column this week took aim at Theresa May’s 10-year NHS plan, however their prescription is probably not what you’d expect from the Labour Party’s required reading: marketisation of the NHS. The paper calls for an end to the NHS being free at the point of use with wealthier patients now being forced to pay for their healthcare. Despite the fact they’ve already paid higher income tax and national insurance towards it…

“Mrs May’s 10-year plan for the health service is another opportunity for fundamental reform. The NHS has only been truly free at the point of use for three of its 70 years. Consideration must be given to the well-off contributing.”

Despite Labour’s perennial claims that the Tories are plotting to privatise the NHS, it’s the leftie Mirror that’s calling for marketisation of the health service first. Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth even had an op-ed of his own in the paper. Surely Labour can’t be plotting to privatise the NHS too…

That’s not to say that it would necessarily end up being a bad thing for the NHS. Charging rich patients to pay for non-vital procedures on the NHS could trigger an explosion of market mechanisms in UK healthcare, forcing the NHS to undergo marked-based reforms to keep up, or even catalysing a wholesale shift towards a more efficient European style social insurance-based system with improved patient outcomes overall. However, this would require broader liberalisation of the healthcare market to ensure genuine competition instead of a rigged and overly-expensive market. Not a caveat likely to make its way into the Mirror any time soon…

NHS Boss: No Medicine Shortages in Event of No Deal

Head of NHS England Simon Stevens has told Today that the NHS is on course to be fully prepared for a no deal exit from the European Union, confirming that, despite the scare stories, there will be no medicine shortages in the event of no deal:

“If everyone does what they are being asked to do, particularly around the transport and logistics infrastructure, then yes that will be the case.”

This confirms Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s announcement over the weekend that he is “confident that we’ll have the unhindered supply of medicines so long as the plans that we have in place are properly enacted.” 

Stevens also took aim at some of the scare stories around post-Brexit staffing shortages, confirming that more non-EU migrants work in the NHS than EU migrants at the moment, and that after we have left the EU “there is no reason why we can’t get this right.” Maybe unrelenting Remainers should listen to the experts…

NHS Ranked 35th in the World for Health Care Efficiency

The NHS has plunged down the rankings in Bloomberg’s Health Care Efficiency Index this year, falling 14 positions from 21st to 35th. The UK now ranks below Algeria, Mexico, Costa Rica and China in the efficiency of its healthcare provision. The Top 10 is dominated by Asia-Pacific countries including Hong Kong, Korea and Australia. None of those countries have a single monolithic provider of socialised healthcare.

‘Healthcare reform’ does not mean adopting the US system wholesale as critics like to claim or pouring billions into an unreformed system – 16 other European countries manage to come in ahead of the UK, while the US languishes almost 20 places below. Politicians from all parties never tire of claiming that “Our NHS”TM is the envy of the world, this is simply not true…

Envy of the World Update

An independent panel has found:

  • At least 450 patients died after being given powerful painkillers inappropriately at Gosport Hospital
  • 200 more may have suffered a similar fate
  • there was a “disregard for human life” at the hospital
  • there was an “institutionalised regime” of prescribing and administering “dangerous” amounts of a medication
  • Dr Jane Barton, who oversaw the “practice of prescribing”, was found guilty of failings in her care of 12 patients but was not struck off

NHS staff closed ranks to cover this up. How many times?

Health Minister Admits NHS Spending Funded Entirely By Taxes For Years

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Onward to Higher Taxes

The government currently has no idea how it wants to raise taxes to pay for the £20 billion-a-year funding increase for the NHS. Step forward Tory MP Neil O’Brien, the former Osborne SpAd who recently co-founded the Onward think tank, with a proposal: freezing the personal allowance for two years.[…] Read the rest

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How Dominic Cummings Cost Taxpayers £20 Billion

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May: NHS Spending Will Be Paid For With Tax Rises

Theresa May and the Number 10 spin team have done an impressive job of getting ‘NHS spending funded by Brexit dividend’ as the top line on broadcast this morning.[…] Read the rest

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No.10 Sounding Out Tory MPs Over NHS Tax

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Strict Rules For NHS ‘Dress for Diversity Day’

Diversity managers across the NHS have been firing off emails telling staff that next Wednesday will be ‘Dress for Diversity Day’. “The idea is to encourage everyone to come to work in either their national dress (if they have one) or whatever they feel comfortable in,” wrote one diversity manager.[…] Read the rest

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Majority Say They Don’t Mind if Hospitals Are Run By Government or Privately

The majority of British voters don’t mind if hospitals are run by the government or privately and say the NHS needs to be reformed more than it needs extra cash, a landmark poll has found. The study, commissioned by the Reform think tank, revealed:

  • 58% of people somewhat agree or strongly agree with the statement that the NHS needs reform more than it needs extra money;
  • 64% of voters think it should not matter whether hospitals are run by the government, charities or the private sector, providing all have access to them;
  • 74% agree or strongly agree that the government could make services better and reduce tax if it cut waste and reformed public services.
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