The Tories have a secret agenda to “break up, denationalise and privatise the NHS”.
So says Owen Smith, the hitherto unknown MP who wants to fill Jeremy Corbyn’s sandals as Labour leader.
That’s exactly what the Yes campaign said two years ago in the independence referendum.
Consultant breast surgeon Philippa Whitford, now an SNP MP, warned the restructuring of the English NHS would makeprivatisation and break-up easier.
She explained that while the NHS in Scotland was protected, reductions in funding in England would have a knock-on effect here.
But Labour would have none of it. Campaigning side-by-side with the Tories, they said there was no threat to the NHS. They even published leaflets urging a No vote to protect the NHS.
These are the very same Scottish Labour politicians who back Smith today, without any sense of irony.
Smith is a tangle of contradictions. He presents himself as aleft-of-centre candidate to woo Corbyn supporters. But nothing in his past supports that image. Rather, he seems more akin to Tony Blair, the disgraced former PM.
Smith rails against NHS privatisation yet he worked for several years as a lobbyist for major drug companies. When he was elected to parliament, he called on ministers to “improve incentives”for pharmaceutical firms.
Smith also worked as an advisor to Blair’s government. New Labour’s lover of Private Finance Initiative,he did more than even the Tories to damage the NHS.
Read the rest of my column here.