Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/919/23700

From The Socialist newspaper, 5 October 2016

Non-fiction: Health Divides

Review: where you live can kill you

NHS workers marching in Manchester, 4.10.15, photo Sarah Wrack

NHS workers marching in Manchester, 4.10.15, photo Sarah Wrack   (Click to enlarge)

ZoŽ Brunswick

Clare Bambra provides a good, easy-to-understand introduction to the major causes of health inequality in rich countries.

The opening chapters introduce the concept of 'health divides' - not only across regions, but often within neighbourhoods. One shocking example is Stockton-on-Tees, where life expectancy varies by 17 years between rich and poor parts of the town.

Bambra goes on to explain the multifaceted causes of health inequalities. Denouncing the claim that poor health is due to poor personal choice, she suggests instead it is a mixture of lifestyle and area that contributes to health inequalities.

Poverty is identified as one of the most pertinent determinants of health. It is strongly linked to unemployment, poor education, poor diet and lack of good housing. Bambra also explores how the rapid deindustrialisation of the north of England and parts of Scotland has led to a certain north-south divide in health.

Political choice

Using the metaphor of a river, Bambra explains that ultimately it is political choices that are the "upstream" cause of health inequality. Political choices to spend less money in working class areas have led to poor education, poor housing, unemployment and the misery and despair those things cause. All this has contributed to health-damaging behaviours such as smoking and excessive drinking.

The book concludes by discussing recommendations from past reports on health inequality, including the Black report and the Marmot report. These identified many of the health issues stemming from unemployment, poor housing and poverty - but governments ignored their recommendations.

Bambra suggests this is due to the neoliberal idea that health is an individual issue. Wider determinants of health are therefore ignored.

While the book explores in-depth the causes behind health inequalities, correctly identifying politics as the root cause, it does relatively little to explain what is needed to resolve it. For example, while commending recommendations such as "building more high quality social housing", the book does not explore in much depth why it is that these policies were not put into practice, and why such large health divides still exist today.

The recommendations in the concluding chapter could also go much further. Bambra suggests we must lobby MPs, and vote in a government that will put through better health policy.

Of course, pressuring political representatives, and campaigning for a pro-working class health policy on the electoral plane, are important parts of any health strategy. But on their own they are not enough to tackle the shocking health inequalities highlighted in the book.

To really overcome health divides, it is necessary to build a mass movement to fight against austerity and for sweeping improvements to reduce inequality. A £10 an hour minimum wage without exemptions, and living benefits for those out of work. A mass programme of public works to create jobs and services. Free education. A fully funded, publicly owned NHS. And high-quality, genuinely affordable housing for all.

Essential reforms like this will not willingly be granted by the capitalist establishment, but need to be fought for and won by the organised working class. Only then will we see a true reduction in health inequalities.

And ultimately, the only way to make such reforms permanent is to transform society. That means fighting for a publicly owned, democratically controlled economy, with a socialist plan of production to meet the needs of all, rather than enriching a tiny minority.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 5 October 2016:


What we think

Combative, vibrant unions should be central to the Corbyn movement


Socialist Party news and analysis

Tories out!

Come to Socialism 2016!

Sam Allardyce corruption shame: reclaim the game!

Asos workers fear taking toilet breaks, sacked for panic attacks

UK workers born in early 1980s half as wealthy as those born in 1970s

Millions have less than £100 savings

Them & Us

What we saw


Black History Month

Fighting racism today


Workplace news and analysis

RMT president Sean Hoyle speaks to the Socialist

Durham teaching assistants ballot for strike

Napo conference 2016: new mood of determination

London Met strike against job cuts and victimisation

Workplace news in brief


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Corbyn's praise for Cardiff Labour is mistaken

Review: where you live can kill you

Review: international jazz protest storytelling

The Socialist inbox


Socialist Students

Socialist ideas - winning a new generation of students


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Thousands march against Tory conference

Protests against children's centre closures in Bolton

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Fighting fund record smashed again!

Leeds: Solidarity demo with Irish abortion fight

London: Socialism Today milestone celebration

Worcester: Public meeting discusses Corbyn


International socialist news and analysis

Poland: Fighting back against anti-abortion law

Ireland: repeal the 8th Amendment!

Joint declaration by Izquierda Revolucionaria and the CWI


 

Home   |   The Socialist 5 October 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Inequality:

triangleBrilliant Korean film exposes class inequality

triangle6.5 million working poor: Fight to end low pay

triangleEnd climate change, end inequality, end capitalism!

triangleBuild a working-class movement to force an election

triangleCancer stats reveal deep inequality

Review:

triangleTV review: The Trial of Christine Keeler

triangleHS2 debacle: nationalise rail and construction!

triangleTV Review: Apocalypse Cow

triangleFilm review: Joker - Sympathising with a monster created by today's incendiary conditions

Health:

triangleGoing viral

triangleEE puts workers' health and safety at risk

triangleTory lies cost lives

Housing:

triangle'Worst crisis in housing since World War Two' - Barking Riverside inquiry into fire

triangleSelf-isolation class divide: decent homes for all!

Working class:

triangleLabour must resist 'Covid coalition'

Education:

triangleSchools: union oversight needed to end chaos in provision under coronavirus

Unemployment:

triangleCapitalism and human progress

Poverty:

triangleAusterity kills

NHS:

triangleDispatches from the front: shortages of NHS staff, equipment - and union leadership

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

8/4/20

Socialist Party

Labour leadership election: Starmer wins but the fight for socialism goes on

7/4/20

Coronavirus

Going viral

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Going viral - Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

25/3/20

Letters

Going viral: Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

18/3/20

TV

TV: Noughts and Crosses

18/3/20

Coronavirus

Going viral: socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

11/3/20

Women

Women's rights, trans rights and the labour movement

11/3/20

Film

Film: Greed directed by Michael Winterbottom

11/3/20

Len McCluskey

Book: Why you should be a trade unionist by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

11/3/20

The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

11/3/20

Childcare

Childcare - costly, inadequate and hard work

4/3/20

The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

4/3/20

Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party: I resent the 1% and the system that allows them to exist

26/2/20

The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

19/2/20

Film

Brilliant Korean film exposes class inequality

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999