24 April 2013
Right-wing think tank Policy Exchange accuses trade unions of propaganda in a report that can only be described as propaganda itself.
The document, titled Better Public Services: A Roadmap for Revolution, and authored by former special adviser to David Cameron Sean Worth, claims trade unions raising awareness of the problems caused by privatisation are an attempt to brainwash the population. However, it fails to analyse the difficulties caused to both workers and service users when public sector bodies are sold off and repeatedly cites the well-worn Tory meme ‘choice’ as the prime advantage of privatisation. This so-called choice would be provided by throwing public services to the free market.
Worth stated that “trade unions, civil servants and other bureaucrats who would deny reform to preserve the privileges they inherit from the status quo … must all be swept aside”.
Part of this ‘sweeping aside’ includes removing the right to strike for emergency service workers, despite Worth admitting that industrial action among this group of professionals is rare. He also accused trade union leaders and senior officials as having “powerful vested interests” that are negatively affecting “vulnerable members of society”.
His solution was to sell huge chunks of the public sector off and create comparison sites to pit the resulting services against each other. Although he argued this would provide ‘choice’ to service users, he did not analyse the well-known drawbacks to competitiveness such as less profitable services being left underfunded and falling in quality, while the most profitable services will see more innovation. This could disproportionately affect groups like the elderly, where shocking failures have already been seen in private sector care homes.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This report is no more than a call for the wholesale privatisation of all public services. But the British people do not want US-style profit-making introduced into services like the NHS”.
“The British public will see through this smear on public service workers from a right wing think tank that refuses to reveal who funds it,” she stated.