Public Services. The Future

I got to the tail end of a conference and workshops debating where public services are going, or where they should be directed. Speakers included John McDonnell MP, Hillary Bills, past President of the National Union of Teachers and Rick Hatcher, leading a campaign against academies.
The main thrust of all speakers was that the privatisation of public services was not only a very bad idea, it was extremely harmful to service users and threatened jobs of dedicated and experienced service providers. Example after example was given of the serious consequences of privatising services with large sums of money going into company profits with service users losing out.
Hillary Bills pointed out that children were being treated as “commodities” and that their education has suffered as a result. She said that the NUT along with the other teachers’ associations were united against academies referring to the way that the sponsors were able to dictate the way schools were run and the content of their curriculum. Creationism in the science lessons in schools in north east England was an extreme example. When she was President of the NUT she had visited many countries where she had witnessed first hand the effects of “globalisation” arising from what she termed a “neo-liberal agenda” (John McDonnell preferred “neocon”). Rick Hatcher pointed out that the new governing bodies of academies were appointees of the sponsors so parents would have no say. There would be no role for local authorities, and therefore local democracy as the new systems were introduced.
John McDonnell pointed out that he was “Labour”, not “New Labour” which led to a question what he was doing in the party as it was now impossible to operate from within. (No, I wasn’t the questioner in this instance!)

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