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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 July 2004

Health and education under the cosh

Choose To Fight Back

London Unison members on strike in 2002IN THE battle over the future of public services, both Labour and the Tories announced they were the parties of 'choice'. Their debate would have sat comfortably in the pages of George Orwell's 1984 for its subversion of language.

Rob MacDonald, Lambeth Socialist Party

What is this new 'choice' we could have? Parents in South London know what 'parental choice' means in education. It means a chronic shortage of places and two-tier services.

Take the case of two cousins who live in the same street. They went to the same primary school and both live five minutes walk from the state funded school.

This school is a foundation school, the flagship of the borough, a school that has long had the parental choice methods Labour and Tories want to continue. Partial selection, under-funding and so-called parental choice led to the shutting down of other needed schools in the area.

These were then sold to property developers who made millions. This has created a two-tier education in South London.

What was the choice in the end for these cousins? They couldn't get into the school round the corner. They have to go to different secondary schools seven miles apart. The choice for other students is no school at all.

If these choices of Blair and Howard are developed further in schools, hospitals and other public services the reality will be catastrophic. These two-tier services are becoming the norm in some areas with some getting the best and others getting nothing.

The scrabble for services will only benefit those trying to make profit out of providing public services. This continued privatisation of public services dressed in lies is creating bigger divides in society, hitting hardest at those who have least. It is heaping massive pressure on our children in education; it will cost lives in the NHS.

There is a choice we do have and that's to fight back and start defending our communities from these linguistic liars.

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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.

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In The Socialist 3 July 2004:

Choose To Fight Back

New Labour Privatising By Choice

Schools Campaign Challenges Labour

Socialism 2004: "A Really Brilliant Weekend"


International socialist news and analysis

Iraq: The Sovereignty Of Puppets

Ireland Greets Bush - But With Protests

Exclusive interview with Brazilian trade unionist


Workplace news and events

Encouraging Result for Martin Powell-Davies

Boss Livingstone's Scab Call

Tube Workers Fight To Defend Jobs And Conditions

Civil Service Jobs Massacre

Support The Dessian Strikers

Unison conference: Wrong Answers To Wrong Questions!


 

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