Dear Orkney News,
Whilst the country and media were thrown into mock outrage over the Russia Report was usual, people should have been looking a little bit harder at why this was being used as a distraction.
The Tory Government had weighed up the two options, and obviously decided that being seen as completely inept and incompetent was preferable to detract from any publicity around what had gone almost unreported the previous evening.
A vote was being held on a Labour amendment to the Trade Bill, which aimed to help with the process of “transitioning” the EU’s trade agreements to UK agreements ahead of the UK’s exit from the EU at the end of 2020.
The clause was voted down by 340 to 251, with the opposition almost entirely made up of Conservative MPs, with one Independent also voting the amendment down.
For those vaguely interested, New Clause 17 was intended to “protect the NHS and publicly funded health and care services in other parts of the UK from any form of control from outside the UK.”, and included other noteworthy items such as:
• Ensuring that the ability to provide a “comprehensive and publicly funded health service free at the point of delivery” was not jeopardised by any trade deal
• Protecting the quality and safety of health and care services
• Regulating pricing and control of medicines
• Protecting NHS staff from having their employment terms changed, including their rights at work or pay
• Protecting patients from having their data sold off
• Protecting the NHS from investor-state dispute settlements (ISDS) clauses which would allow foreign investors to sue governments for any measures that harm their profits.
One would have perhaps assumed that these people- who had stood in front of the media at every photo-op clapping like trained seals for the NHS, who had gushed about the heroes of COVID-19 and who had made profuse brags about non-existent tests- might actually try to protect the organisation which had run itself into the ground trying to deal with and support the tens of thousands of dead resulting from Tory dogma.
Instead, they collectively voted against every measure to protect both the NHS and its staff, enabling it to be dismantled and left open for their entrepreneurial friends, both domestic and foreign, to rip out whatever they fancied making a profit from.
The profits will come from patients, their families and loved ones, and given half an opportunity the next major COVID-19 type outbreak may come with an extortionate bill to boot, for tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds, for each ‘customer’ of the disease.
No champagne or chocolates from Boris Johnson for those who gave their everything for others, a concept completely alien to the present U.K Government.
Think about that when you are next voting, either for this government or those who give them tacit support by supporting a corrupt, almost-bankrupt United Kingdom.
We in Scotland can do so much better, and we showed it in the last months.
Yours , Helen Wilkie, Orkney