How independence over healthcare policy will soon be a mirage - Brian Monteith

It is natural to see political debate through the prism of competing parties retailing their different offers to the public – but all this approach has done is unleash a centrifugal force where our mainstream politicians are all very similar, but for differences in the detail.
'All parties are scared to tackle reform of the NHS''All parties are scared to tackle reform of the NHS'
'All parties are scared to tackle reform of the NHS'

The result is that on matters of substance – such as the National Health Service – all political parties are absolutely in favour of it, but not one will come forward with solutions to its self-evident problems of the rationing of procedures, low productivity, waste – and, by international comparisons, sub-optimal outcomes in many critical areas, such as cancer treatments.

All parties are scared to tackle reform of the NHS, be it at the UK level or the devolved level – where many of the key decisions are made. Instead the game is played whereby parties accuse each other of seeking to privatise it (ironically both the SNP and Labour can lay claim to having privatised it more than the Tories).

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Far more worrying is that healthcare decisions are being contracted out – not to the private sector (which is only an arguably more efficient delivery system, but nothing to do with policy) – but to supranational bodies, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), which are wholly unaccountable.

Worse still, the removal of any democratic accountability for what is, after all, a public service, is delivered through international treaty. Repudiating such treaties is difficult (and in practise impossible) so when a country such as the UK (or, say, an “independent” Scotland or Wales) does agree to a treaty, it does so knowing it is never likely to go back on that agreement.

This is the process by which world government is being established, not by democratic adoption in response to a popular desire or clamour, but by national politicians and their parliaments establishing technocratic authorities which are beyond democratic reach.

WHO is the epitome of this model and it is the vehicle driving us towards the wholesale loss of democratic choices and the imposition of policies that our own politicians cannot reverse even if they wish to do so.

It is of course the antithesis of “take back control” for it matters not if you believe in the UK or an independent Scotland, be it inside or outside the EU. If any national government enters into a WHO treaty that passes to the Geneva-based technocrats the authority to decide what to do in the event of what it – and only it – decides is a world pandemic, then you can expect lockdowns or vaccine passports or digital IDs (using health as a pretext) to be decided without your directly elected politicians being able to do anything about it.

There is a tendency for some cynics to portray anything written about healthcare at an international level, or that involves vaccines or the murky world of politicians, lobbyists and big Pharma as delusional conspiracy theories, and I understand that. Personally, I believe that such is the inability of most people to hold their water, or for governments to act in a competent manner, that cock-up theories are far more likely to be closer to explanations of how and why things happen than creating fictional notions of people conspiring together – especially when involving large numbers of people.

The simple fact is that the transfer of healthcare policy to WHO is not some convoluted conspiracy theory but is happening in plain sight. Right now WHO is in the process of negotiating a “Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Treaty” with its members – and, as it stands, our UK Parliament is poorly equipped to undertake the task of overseeing its ratification next year.

Not only is WHO seeking to take upon itself powers over our freedoms to go about our daily business, meet socially or travel without a vaccine – it is also seeking to take for itself powers in sectors outside of healthcare – such as censorship of scientific debate and ultimately freedom of speech. WHO is intending to suppress views countering those of its own ‘experts’, deciding what may and may not be published globally and what can or cannot be taken into consideration when proposing government policy and practice.

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Already WHO policy is seeking to direct our governments on policies such preventing the use of e-cigarettes to reduce tobacco consumption or the banning of advertising of alcohol products I wrote about last week.

What sets out politicians as different is when they forego the safe centrism of immediate answers to reported but often self-engineered catastrophes (such as inflation) on our 24-hour media cycle and instead seek to find solutions by looking at our problems differently.

The real democratic deficit we suffer from is not whether the UK political establishment is right to see itself as a unitary British State – or a voluntary union of different nations (the latter position which I happen to think is arrant nonsense). No, the deficit is in regard to where sovereignty actually lies, does it reside with the people – as represented by their parliament – or can it be offshored to other supranational bodies, never to be recovered?

We desperately need to find politicians who choose to be held accountable to their voters rather than discretely and unashamedly spouting cliches and soundbites when they are all the while passing on their authority to unelected and unaccountable officials who are as open to corruption and zealotry but cannot be held responsible for their actions. That is how democracy dies and how the people of any and every nation risk being disenfranchised.

Brian Monteith is a former member of the Scottish and European Parliaments and director of Global Britain



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