Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/354/5845
Health and education under the cosh
Choose To Fight Back
IN 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.
For Lambeth parents this continues on 12 July at 6.30pm outside Lambeth council in Acre Lane, SW2 campaigning for new schools.
In The Socialist 3 July 2004:
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