‘As we celebrate the NHS here, we must not underestimate its symbolism beyond our borders. As the People’s Health Movement, the global network of health activists, made clear in evidence to my recent consultation, the health service does not just impact on the lives of people in the UK. It is a beacon of hope to millions of people around the world who are fighting for their own access to healthcare. Its very existence demonstrates that universal, publicly funded healthcare is possible.
This was always its intention. As Nye Bevan said on the day the NHS was brought into existence: “The eyes of the world are turning to Great Britain. We now have the moral leadership of the world.” Continue reading
Category Archives: Attlee Nation
The largest transfer of wealth in living memory
Jeremy Corbyn’s Geneva speech in full
Speaking at the United Nation’s Geneva headquarters today, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said:
Thank you Paul for that introduction. And let me give a special thanks to the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. Your work gives an important platform to marginalised voices for social justice to challenge policy makers and campaign for change.
I welcome pressure both on my party the British Labour Party and on my leadership to put social justice front and centre stage in everything we do. So thank you for inviting me to speak here in this historic setting at the Palais des Nations in Geneva a city that has been a place of refuge and philosophy since the time of Rousseau. The headquarters before the Second World War of the ill-fated League of Nations, which now houses the United Nations.
It’s a particular privilege to be speaking here because the constitution of our party includes a commitment to support the United Nations. A promise “to secure peace, freedom, democracy, economic security and environmental protection for all”.
I’d also like to thank my fellow panellists, Arancha Gonzalez and Nikhil Seth, and Labour’s Shadow Attorney General, Shami Chakrabarti, who has accompanied me here. She has been a remarkable campaigner and a great asset to the international movement for human rights.
And lastly let me thank you all for being here today.
I would like to use this opportunity in the run- up to International Human Rights Day to focus on the greatest threats to our common humanity. And why states need to throw their weight behind genuine international co-operation and human rights both individual and collective, social and economic, as well as legal and constitutional at home and abroad if we are to meet and overcome those threats.
The Forbes 400 have more wealth than the GDP of the UK
In the United States, the 400 richest individuals now own more wealth than the bottom 64 percent of the population and the three richest own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent, while pervasive poverty means one in five households have zero or negative net worth.
Those are just several of the striking findings of Billionaire Bonanza 2017, a new report (pdf) published Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) that explores in detail the speed with which the U.S. is becoming “a hereditary aristocracy of wealth and power.” …
“The wealthiest 25 individuals in the United States today own $1 trillion in combined assets,” the report notes. “These 25, a group equivalent to the active roster of a major league baseball team, hold more wealth than the bottom 56 percent of the U.S. population combined, 178 million people.”
A Celebration of Our Greatest 20th Century Prime Minister
Attlee Remembered –the first event in our Attlee Nation project – was a wonderful weekend full of debate and knowledge sharing about the life of Clem Attlee and its resonance for today.
A huge thanks to all our brilliant contributors – especially Attlee biographer Francis Beckett; to our incredibly engaged audiences and our festival team; to our photographers and videographers. And finally, our wonderful partners at Sands Films – Olivier Stockman and Christine Edzard.
Our message for the weekend was simple: in 1945 Attlee had said Yes We Can and by 1951 was able to say said Yes We Did. Discussions about the challenges he faced in post-war Britain and the subsequent domestic achievements of his government were debated in light of today- social need, political urgency and the need for political courage. The nature of good Labour Party leadership from Keir Hardie through to Jeremy Corbyn; Labour Party manifestos 1945 and 2017 were compared as was the power of media barons then and now; and most interestingly, we explored the profound influence upon Attlee’s political development of his time as a social worker. We can truly say that Britain’s greatest 20th century Prime Minister was a social worker first. And finally, in our closing event ‘In Clem’s Own Words’, we all shared in a very moving evening as we were treated to selected readings of Attlee’s own writings – letters, speeches, poems – read by a wonderful line-up of performers. To have a number of Clem Attlee’s family join us for the night made the evening very special indeed.
Here you can enjoy our video playlist of all the live events
and here is our photo gallery .
Until our next Attlee event!
Oct 7&8 Attlee weekend mini-festival programme and speakers
Attlee Remembered October 7th & 8th at Sands Film Studios, Rotherhithe
Clement Attlee died 50 years ago on 8 October 1967. Attlee Remembered is a weekend of film, discussion and theatre that celebrates the man, his life and the domestic achievements of his 1945-51 Labour Government. Sands Films Studios is in historic Rotherhithe, close to the riverfront from where the Mayflower set sail. A beautiful Georgian building housing its cinema, theatre and extensive local archive, Sands Films is a three minute walk from Rotherhithe overground station, which itself is well served by both underground and overground lines. (More below).
WHY ATTLEE NOW?
Over the past few years we have seen more and more references to Clement Attlee in relation to Jeremy Corbyn and, prior to him, Ed Miliband. This is all to the good, as Attlee has always been eclipsed by Churchill and Attlee is far from being the household name he should be. The wider public (especially younger generations) – in as far as they have heard his name – will have no comprehension of the relevance and timeliness of his story: as a Mayor, as MP, as deputy wartime leader, as Prime Minister and the fact that he remains (despite many attempts to remove him) the longest serving Labour Party leader (1935-55).
Clement Attlee’s government shaped our society for seven decades to come. How do we want the next seven to seventy years shape up? How do we prize and protect the notion of ‘generosity towards the future’ so powerfully embodied in the Attlee administration?
ATTLEE REMEMBERED WEEKEND
Programme: We have a wonderful line-up of contributors for our films, discussions & performance programme. PDF version here.
Contributors biographies (with yet more names TBC).
Single sessions on Eventbrite.
Films are free (but must be booked), discussions £3, Theatre £5.
Weekend pass to all events £10 and only available by calling the Box Office on 020 7231 2209.
The misleading UK official unemployement numbers
This is almost unheard of. Unemployment was most recently this low in December 1973, when the UK set an unrepeated record of just 3.4%.
The problem with this record is that the statistical definition of “unemployment” relies on a fiction that economists tell themselves about the nature of work. As the rate gets lower and lower, it tests that lie. Because – as anyone who has studied basic economics knows – the official definition of unemployment disguises the true rate. In reality, about 21.5% of all working-age people (defined as ages 16 to 64) are without jobs, or 8.83 million people, according to the Office for National Statistics. Continue reading
Facts about the NHS
- The population of the UK is an estimated 65.1 million.
- 1 in 20 GP surgeries have closed or merged since 2013. 57 closing down in 2016 alone.
- The NHS England budget is £117 billion for 2016/7 and will rise after inflation to £120 billion by 2019/20.
- Every 36 hours the NHS will treat 1,000,000 patients.
- Accident and emergency departments recorded their worst ever waiting times in 2016/7.
- Hospitals recorded their worst ever waiting times for elective surgery in 2015.
- The NHS in England has 149,808 doctors, 314,966 nurses, and employs 1.3 million people.
- 19% of NHS staff and 29.5% of NHS doctors are non-British.
- The average age of recent migrants to the UK is 26.
- Healthcare costs change with age: a 20-year old costs an estimated £500 per year, a 65-year old £3750 per year and an 85-year old £7500 per year.
- The population of the UK over 65 in 1975 was 1 in 8. Today it is 1 in 6. By 2050 it will be 1 in 4. There are 1.5 million people over 85 in the U.K today.
- The NHS buys many drugs from Europe and the USA paying in Euros (€) and US dollars ($).
- Health tourism, foreign citizens using the NHS, costs the NHS an estimated £1-300 million per year. A new overseas surcharge recouped £289m in 2015. This is 0.3% of the total NHS budget.
- Stationery costs the NHS £146m/year.
- Compared internationally the NHS achieves above average outcomes, with average funding and below average staff numbers. OECD.
- Health costs rise each year in developed countries, above real world inflation. This is broken down into staff wage inflation, new technologies, population growth, new drugs and medical advances.
- The NHS was estimated to require £30 billion by 2020 to meet predicted demand. To date, it has received £4.5 billion.
- Social care is estimated to require £4 billion by 2020 to maintain current service.
- The ratio of people working to those retired is called the Old Age Dependency Ratio (OADR). This was steady at around 300 retirees for every 1000 people working from the 1980s to 2006, but has now since started to rise. With retirement age changes, it will still increase by 20% by 2037 to 365.
Globalisation, France, USA, Brexit and Trump
At the heart of Guilluy’s inquiry is globalization. Internationalizing the division of labor has brought significant economic efficiencies. But it has also brought inequalities unseen for a century, demographic upheaval, and cultural disruption. Now we face the question of what—if anything—we should do about it.
A process that Guilluy calls métropolisation has cut French society in two. In 16 dynamic urban areas (Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Toulouse, Lille, Bordeaux, Nice, Nantes, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Rennes, Rouen, Toulon, Douai-Lens, and Montpellier), the world’s resources have proved a profitable complement to those found in France. These urban areas are home to all the country’s educational and financial institutions, as well as almost all its corporations and the many well-paying jobs that go with them. Here, too, are the individuals—the entrepreneurs and engineers and CEOs, the fashion designers and models, the film directors and chefs and other “symbolic analysts,” as Robert Reich once called them—who shape the country’s tastes, form its opinions, and renew its prestige. Cheap labor, tariff-free consumer goods, and new markets of billions of people have made globalization a windfall for such prosperous places. But globalization has had no such galvanizing effect on the rest of France. Cities that were lively for hundreds of years—Tarbes, Agen, Albi, Béziers—are now, to use Guilluy’s word, “desertified,” haunted by the empty storefronts and blighted downtowns that Rust Belt Americans know well. Continue reading
Deficit hawks are destroying our children’s future
The combined impact of fewer workers and lower productivity is enormous. In 2008, before the true extent of the recession was known, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that by 2017 the economy’s potential would be 29 percent larger than it had been in 2007. In its most recent report, the CBO puts the economy’s potential for 2017 at just 16 percent more than its 2007 level. This difference of 13 percentage points translates into more than $2 trillion a year in today’s economy.
It’s also well worth noting that this lost output is income that disproportionately would have gone to those at the middle and bottom of the income ladder. The people who don’t get employed in a weak economy are overwhelmingly African Americans, Hispanics, and workers with less education. Furthermore, in a weak labor market, workers at the middle and bottom of the wage ladder aren’t well positioned to get wage increases. The weakness of the labor market in the Great Recession and the anemic recovery that followed were both associated with a large shift in national income from wages to profits. In short, this was a hard punch to the belly for large segments of the working population.
UBI for 1%
In 2015, according to PSZ, the richest 1% of people in America received 20.2% of all the income in the nation. Ten points of that 20.2% came from equity income, net interest, housing rents, and the capital component of mixed income. Which is to say, 10% of all national income is paid out to the 1% as capital income. Let me reiterate: 1 in 10 dollars of income produced in this country is paid out to the richest 1% without them having to work for it.
UK is the only developed country where workers are getting poorer while the country is getting richer
Meritocracy and the decline of the Democratic Party
Meritocracy, Franks argues, is the ideology that allowed Democrats to self-consciously claim the mantle of social justice and egalitarianism while subverting both. In this framework, one’s race, creed, color, gender, or sexual orientation shouldn’t matter when it comes to achieving success in America; what does matter is having the talent and ability to graduate from a place like Harvard Law. But at the same time, meritocracy demands inequality—not everyone, after all, can go to Harvard Law or become a doctor or a high-tech executive. In fetishizing meritocracy, therefore, the Democratic Party has embraced an ideology based on inequality.
Frank contrasts this ideology with the GOP’s more traditional plutocratic one. In the United States, as elsewhere, having a lot of money gives you power. But this “hierarchy of money,” as he puts it, is rivaled by another: a “hierarchy of merit, learning, and status.” The lawyers, doctors, and academics who compose “the liberal class” (to use the journalist Chris Hedges’s term) have erected their own edifice of power—one that has also come to ignore the interests of working-class people and reproduced structures of extreme racism, particularly in the prison system.
Ken Loach on Corbyn
The spate of calls for Jeremy Corbyn to quit since last week’s byelections in Stoke and Copeland has been as predictable as it was premeditated. It says everything about the political agenda of the media, and nothing about people’s real needs and experiences.
I went to Stoke and Whitehaven, in Cumbria, a few days before polling. Momentum arranged screenings of Daniel Blake. We went to Labour clubs in neglected areas, old estates away from the centre. At one club I was asked: “Why have you come here? No one comes here.”
Joe Bradley and Georgie Robertson, the organisers, were a model of how Labour activists should work: full of energy, hard-working and brilliantly efficient. They had a warm greeting for everyone, checked the screening facilities, made space for local contributors so people from that community felt it was their event and that they were being heard. This is how Labour can reconnect.
Both screenings were packed. The discussions were passionate, informed and invigorating, a world away from the tired cliches of the public discourse. This was not a marketing exercise but a real engagement with people and their concerns.
The failure of Labour governments – and, importantly, Labour councillors – was a common theme. It is not hard to see the neglect around Stoke. Solid Labour, for sure, but what good has it done them? A 2015 report into the area found 60,000 people in poverty, 3,000 households dependent on charity food, and £25m in council tax arrears. The presence of the BNP, now replaced by Ukip, shows how Labour’s failure left space for the far right.
It was a similar story in Copeland. Industries have been lost – steel, mines, a chemical factory – without any plan to replace them. Labour is seen to be as culpable as the Tories. Someone said that in Copeland it was an anti-establishment vote, and Labour is the local establishment. It was a vote against Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and previous MPs Jack Cunningham and Jamie Reed.
In both constituencies the Labour candidates, neither from the left of the party, were invited, but both candidates ignored the meetings. With coverage on television, radio and the press, this is bizarre. Could it be because Momentum were the organisers? We were there to support Labour. There was not even the courtesy of a reply.
Housing is a human right not a commodity
In Melbourne, Australia, one in five investor-owned units lie empty, the report says; in Kensington, London, a prime location for rich investors, numbers of vacant homes rose by 40% between 2013 and 2014 alone. “In such markets the value of housing is no longer based on its social use,” the report says. “The housing is as valuable whether it is vacant or occupied, lived in or devoid of life. Homes sit empty while homeless populations burgeon.” …
Farha, 48, by background a human rights lawyer and anti-poverty activist, calls for a “paradigm shift” whereby housing is “once again seen as a human right rather than a commodity”. It is clear, she suggests, that the UN’s sustainable development goal of ensuring adequate housing for all by 2030 is not only receding, but without regulatory intervention to re-establish the primacy of housing as a social good, laughably optimistic. Continue reading
Antitrust in the era of Amazon
This Note argues that the current framework in antitrust—specifically its pegging competition to “consumer welfare,” defined as short-term price effects—is unequipped to capture the architecture of market power in the modern economy. We cannot cognize the potential harms to competition posed by Amazon’s dominance if we measure competition primarily through price and output. Specifically, current doctrine underappreciates the risk of predatory pricing and how integration across distinct business lines may prove anticompetitive. These concerns are heightened in the context of online platforms for two reasons. First, the economics of platform markets create incentives for a company to pursue growth over profits, a strategy that investors have rewarded. Under these conditions, predatory pricing becomes highly rational—even as existing doctrine treats it as irrational and therefore implausible. Second, because online platforms serve as critical intermediaries, integrating across business lines positions these platforms to control the essential infrastructure on which their rivals depend. This dual role also enables a platform to exploit information collected on companies using its services to undermine them as competitors.
Regulations are Protections
Here is a typical example. Minority President Trump has said that he intends to get rid of 75% of government regulations. What is a “regulation”?
The term “regulation” is framed from the viewpoint of corporations and other businesses. From their viewpoint, “regulations” are limitations on their freedom to do whatever they want no matter who it harms. But from the public’s viewpoint, a regulation is a protection against harm done by unscrupulous corporations seeking to maximize profit at the cost of harm to the public. Continue reading
Investment in Health promotes while investment in Defense inhibits economic growth
Using cross-national fixed effects models covering 25 EU countries from 1995 to 2010, we quantified fiscal multipliers both before and during the recession that began in 2008.
We found that the multiplier for total government spending was 1.61 (95% CI: 1.37 to 1.86), but there was marked heterogeneity across types of spending. The fiscal multipliers ranged from −9.8 for defence (95% CI: -16.7 to −3.0) to 4.3 for health (95% CI: 2.5 to 6.1). These differences appear to be explained by varying degrees of absorption of government spending into the domestic economy. Defence was linked to significantly greater trade deficits (β = −7.58, p=0.017), whereas health and education had no effect on trade deficits (peducation=0.62; phealth= 0.33).
Liberalism and Trumpism
By “liberalism” I mean what is considered under this term in the US. By “to blame” I mean “for the rise of Trump and similar nationalist-populists”.
What are the arguments for seeing liberal triumphalism which began with the collapse of Communism in the 1990s as having produced the backlash we are witnessing today? I think they can be divided into three parts: economics, personal integrity, and ideology.
Biggest rise in inequality since Thatcher years
The Resolution Foundation’s study found that the current parliament would be the worst for living standards for the poorest half of households since comparable records began in the mid-1960s and the worst since the early years of Thatcher’s 1979-90 premiership for inequality.