Friday, 10 October 2014
PFI the latest from the People Before Profit NO 2 PFI campaigns and policy team
I reported at the last meeting that I was involved with a group working against PFI in the NHS. Let me tell you a bit of the history here. We got together after a national KONP meeting last October or November and agreed to set up a campaign on PFI as no-one (KONP included) seemed to be taking it on. When we wrote to Medact to seek their involvement, we found that they were already organising a group and had a lot of high profile contacts in research / health etc. So we got invited to the early meetings but we kept on with our own discussions.
Medact became the focus of this new group 'People vs PFI'. Medact is run by David McCoy who is in with the new Labour apologists in the health campaign, eg Louise Irvine, Jacky Davis and it did not take long for our smaller, more modest group to be seen as wrong-headed.
However, we persisted and one of our group continues to attend Medact organising meetings and we are down as supporters.
In the meantime, on a much smaller budget and very much part-time we have managed to set up a website, which is on a much smaller and very modest scale, but all the material is written by us for campaigners.
We provide quick and easy guides to PFI contracts, and very concrete help to campaigners seeking to dig up the 'dirt' on theior local PFIs.
In contrast so far the People vs PFI website is really bringing together a lot of other people's material, which is useful but doesn't give the quick and easy guides to the issue that campaigners need. In fact, I'm not convinced for all their talk of campaigning, that they have ever actually themselves been involved in any campaign, from what I saw round the table at the Medact meetings, with the possible exception of the Jubilee Debt campaign. And I think their website reflects that: loads of information but not digested into easy pointers for busy people.
Our DIY tool to help a campaign analyse their local PFI contract is geared to the NHS but the method is just as applicable to local government PFIs etc. Needless to say, this is being pointedly ignored by the Medact group, and we haven't been asked to present our findings at the November conference. So we have yet again encountered the sectarianism that seems to permeate health campaigns. It is a pity as we are all working towards the same end and we will go to the November 1st event.
However, we will carry on advertising ourselves and I hope that when news of this is sent out to anyone, you will also promote our little contribution!
Let me know what you think of the website and the guides.
All good wishes.