It was presumably concern about whether party political events were allowed on NHS property that led Labour’s media team to tell BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that the “Hospital site where Lab manifesto is being launched is still owned by the firm that built it so the party is not breaking any rules.”

But of course that explanation from Labour HQ was superfluous – of course it is owned the company that built it. It will continue to be even after it opens, thanks to the mortgaging of the NHS that is the Private Finance Initiative.

Specifically, the hospital is the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston, Birmingham, which is being built by Balfour Beatty and will be owned and run by a consortium that includes Balfour as well as HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland – except by the happy accident that we are currently RBS’ bail bondsmen, the public will not own any part of this public service.

Instead, we will be in debt to the companies that have done us the favour of profiting from our need for healthcare.

How appropriate, then, that the film unveiled at the Queen Elizabeth by the Labour campaign should be one so indebted to BUPA:

Separated at birth – Labour and Bupa

And how appropriate that the content of this manifesto should also be a grateful tribute to the work of the healthcare profiteers in shaping New Labour:

  • Every hospital in the UK to be a Foundation Trust, undermining strategic planning but encouraging competition for most profitable patients.
  • NHS services that fail to meet standards will be ditched in favour of private alternatives.
  • NHS services required to battle private competitors for patients.
  • More money for hospitals with better outcomes – encouraging cherry-picking of patients


For all the criticisms of US healthcare reform, President Obama fought the healthcare profiteers. Gordon Brown might as well wear their logos on his suit like a racing driver (p42).