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Second Anniversary of Brexit Referendum:
Workers' Weekly Internet Edition: Article Index : ShareThis
70th Anniversary of the NHS:
Preparing to Mark the 70th Anniversary of the National Health Service
Jaguar Land Rover to Move Discovery Production to Slovakia
For Your Information:
The EU Customs Union and Single Market
Britain and Palestine:
Yesterday in Gaza
Second Anniversary of Brexit Referendum:
June 23 marked the second anniversary of the referendum called by David Cameron on the issue of whether to Remain in or Leave the European Union. June 8 was also the first anniversary of the snap election called by Theresa May that was supposed to provide strong and stable government after Cameron resigned following the Leave result in the referendum.
The referendum was not designed to resolve the question of whether to remain in or leave the EU. Nor was this the issue facing the working people of Britain. The problems facing society were not to be laid solely at the feet of either leaving or remaining in the EU.
Neither are the problems facing society going to be resolved through a "no deal" Brexit, a "bad deal" Brexit, or a "soft Brexit". There is anarchy in the realms of production and in the global economy at large. A "sovereign economy" of Britain, which "takes back control" from the EU, is a phantasm. The global imperialists dominate the economy.
Many analysts have pointed out when asking such questions as "who owns Britain?" that, for example, it is estimated that no less than half of companies in Britain are part of international cartels, monopolies or conglomerates. This is the nature of global trade in today's world, which is not based on mutual benefit but on the unrelenting pursuit of private interests. The countries which make up the European Union are pursuing this path, since the decision-making is not in the hands of the people. The contradictions with Britain are of this character.
Theresa May has become completely bogged down in the issue of leaving the European Union. The hard fact is that despite Theresa May's protestations, talk of a "rules-based international order" is pie-in-the-sky. Not even within the Conservative Party can consensus be found through dialogue. There are competing private interests. For instance, one can name the financial oligarchy of the City of London, and also the armament manufacturers, which aim to make Britain the centre of a war-trade.
The transformation of society is required. Working people need to be empowered to control the direction of the economy and of society. The working class and people can harbour no illusions that their interests can be served without political empowerment. They must step up their resistance with this aim as the goal.
 See, for instance, the article "Who owns Britain?" in openDemocracy:
This week saw another chain of events that show how Theresa May's government cannot reconcile its anti-social and pro-war direction with the well-being and needs of the people. On June 17, Theresa May announced that the NHS in England is to get an extra £20bn a year by 2023 as a "70th birthday present". By Thursday, after criticism from her military chiefs, she was boasting to visiting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that "we are the biggest defence budget in Europe", and "we will continue to contribute in a whole variety of ways across conventional, cyber and nuclear capabilities".
This statement on Sunday by the Prime Minister on the NHS had no further detail and came at a time that the government said it would launch a Green Paper detailing future spending on health and social care. Of course, there was no mention of the further investment desperately needed in the NHS in Scotland, Wales and the north of Ireland for which the Westminster government has overall funding responsibility. Neither was there any recognition of the depth of the crisis in the NHS caused by the neo-liberal direction driven by the big health corporations and state institutions under their control, or the 3% "efficiency savings" - cuts that are imposed on all NHS Trusts every year. Commenting on the interview, the BBC report said that the £114bn NHS budget in England "will rise by an average of 3.4% annually - but that is still less than the 3.7% average rise the NHS has had since 1948. The prime minister said in the interview that this would be funded partly by a 'Brexit dividend', but also hinted at tax rises." This brought comments in Parliament on Wednesday, especially from Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn, who at PMQs questioned the "Brexit dividend" and asked, "Which taxes are going up and for whom?"
It also was reported in the Financial Timesand other papers that Theresa May had told "stunned military chiefs" and defence secretary Gavin Williamson that "the MoD would need to make cuts and end having a full spectrum of military capabilities". The reports said this sent "shockwaves through the Ministry of Defence" that the Treasury will not find any extra money for the armed forces when a review of British capabilities concludes in the autumn.
Then on Thursday, Jens Stoltenberg, who was visiting Britain ahead of next month's NATO summit in Brussels with government leaders, called on Britain to maintain its role as one of the world's biggest military spenders. He also met with Theresa May and held a joint press conference with her where May said that "the reports that you have read are not correct". She said that Britain will continue to be that leading contributor to the alliance but also a leading "defence nation" and will continue to spend 2% of GDP on the military.
The NHS is a vital part of the well-being to the people in a socialised economy. This fact has to be recognised and not diminished to one of being a "cost" to the economy to be played off against the ambitions of the ruling elite to interfere in other countries and go to war. Health workers create value in the socialised economy. The huge value they produce needs to be claimed by the government in large part from the monopolies and oligopolies that consume and profit from this value in having a healthy workforce. The crisis of NHS funding shows that the NHS cannot be reconciled with such an archaic tax system that does not claim this value. It also cannot be reconciled with the pro-war ambitions of the imperialist ruling elite, and their striving to retain British military interference and carry out wars of aggression with the empire-building aim of making Britain a "leading power" in the world to serve their interests and the interests of the imperialist system of states.
The National Health Service was founded on July 5, 1948. It is a vital public service, whose modern watchword must be that health care is a right. As such, marking the 70th anniversary of its founding must be in keeping with this direction. Looking back and comparing the NHS of today to that of 70 years ago misses the point, in that the people are invited to divide on the basis of whether to say that there should be a positive or negative spin in assessing the NHS today. The principle must be to defend the NHS, and to safeguard its future on the basis that the claims of the people on society for their health care and good health must be granted as of right.
Although the NHS was set up in 1948, the ground had been prepared during the years of World War II in the context of the impending defeat of Nazism and the aspirations of the people for a new society and the inspiration of the example of the Soviet Union.
When the Labour government came to power in 1945, the new Prime Minister, Clement Attlee announced the introduction of the social welfare state as outlined in 1942 by the Liberal Peer Lord Beveridge. This included the establishment of a National Health Service with free medical treatment for all.
In the Report Full Employment in a Free Society published in 1944, Beveridge had written in a section subtitled "National Health Service": "The development of the health services of the community is one of the most generally accepted of post-war aims. Maintenance of health does not depend solely or primarily on health services, and still less on medical treatment. It depends even more on good food; on sufficiency of the other necessaries of life; on healthy homes. ... But the organisation of adequate health services, both for prevention and for treatment, is in itself a major task with high priority. ... Whether the medical profession is organised in part or in whole as a public service, there is room and need for a great increase of hospitals and institutions of all kinds. There are special services, such as rehabilitation after injury, or dentistry, ripe for development."
Further on, Beveridge refers to the White Paper on the National Health Service, published in March 1944. He writes: "This White Paper, outlining for discussion with the medical profession, the hospitals and the local authorities concerned, a scheme for the organisation of a comprehensive health service free for all, opens the way to a revolution in the health of the people. Removal of any economic barrier between patient and treatment is an essential negative step for bringing avoidable disease to an end. But while essential, it is only a small part of all that is required. There is needed an immense positive extension both of preventive treatment and of curative treatment, through more and more hospitals, more and more doctors, dentists and other practitioners. There is needed, as an essential part of the attack on disease, a good policy of nutrition carried through by the wisdom of the State in using science. Here is a large field for communal outlay, using resources for purposes of high priority, in preserving the health and vigour of all."
Since then, the social welfare state as envisaged by Beveridge has come and gone, coming into crisis in the 1970s and being dismantled as such under Margaret Thatcher under the ideology of neo-liberalism, with the doctrines of privatisation and so-called "shrinking the state". So far has this come that the so-called "internal market" in the health service is premised on GPs, organised in Clinical Commissioning Groups, with the CCGs being run by a governing body, "purchasing" health care from the "providers" of health care. It is reported that Unite the union surveyed the 3,392 CCG board members in 2015 and reported that 513 were directors of private healthcare companies: 140 owned such businesses and 105 carried out external work for them. More than 400 CCG board members were shareholders in such companies
That the health service should provide to grant the claims of human beings on society for health care has been negated in this context. Budgets have been set that demand "efficiency savings" of the hospitals who are the "providers", in fact the sellers, of health care. It is only a small step in this argument to assert that private healthcare companies are more efficient, despite contrary evidence, and that "purchasers" should put their requirements out to competitive tender. It is in this context that Theresa May has made some proposal that an additional £20 billion in real terms will be made available for the NHS in England by 2023/24. Where will this money end up? There seems to be no clarity on this. Furthermore, it appears that far from taking responsibility for funding the claims for health care, the government is planning to "pay" for this £20 billion through taxation.
This is an archaic, backward-looking way of looking at NHS funding, amounting to a scam. It has all the makings of the government making further claims on the social wealth of the people in order to fund some further pay-the-rich scheme. Meanwhile, the wrecking of the NHS as a vital public service continues apace.
What is needed to move forward is the negation of this wrecking of the NHS and its funding of private interests which has been the negation of the conception of a health service as a public service in a civilised society. This requires everyone to take a stand, to speak out in defence of the right to health care, oppose the wrecking of the health service, and fight for public oversight and for the right of health workers and professionals, and the people as a whole, to set the agenda and be involved in decision-making.
 "Over a quarter of board members on new bodies commissioning NHS care have links to the private health sector". Independent. March 15, 2015.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is to end production of its prestigious Discovery off-roader at the Solihull plant and move the work to its giant new factory in Slovakia.
The move is likely to result in owners Tata, Britain's biggest car-maker, cutting non-contractual agency staff at the plant near Birmingham. It is due to take effect from early next year as the site at Nitra, western Slovakia, comes on line.
There is much speculation as to why the move is taking place. The decision to move rests solely with the owners of the company, despite the fact that for many years, the workers have built the company, many of whom have worked there for years, even before Rover passed from state-owned British Leyland and eventually amalgamated with Jaguar. There is no requirement for authorisation; the Tata monopoly is free to do as it wishes.
The Solihull plant also has production lines turning out the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Velar models, as well as the Jaguar F-Pace. What is there to prevent unpopular decisions about winding down or even wrecking production?
The redundancies are first to occur with agency workers, but experience shows that cutting permanent staff usually follows. The company said that at first it was axing 1,000 of the 1,800 agency staff In April, blaming Brexit and pollution taxes over diesel cars.
Other car manufacturers like Nissan and BMW have also made similar threats to move production in recent years, hoping to gain concessions and financial support from the government, effectively holding the economy to ransom.
The decision to relocate the Discovery casts doubt over remaining business contract roles at Solihull. The company has said that from 2020, all new cars in its range will come with an electric drive train option, raising the prospect of further investment in battery technology. Even so, JLR's only fully electric car, the Jaguar I-Pace, is currently built by contract manufacturer Magna Steyr in Austria.
Tata also confirmed that it will build the new version of the "baby" Range Rover, the Evoque, at the company's Halewood plant on Merseyside. The Evoque is also built at JLR's plants in Brazil, China and India. However, in January, Halewood already moved from three production shifts per day to two.
Totally marginalised from having any say are the actual producers, the working people, who are struggling to realise their pro-social aim which is able to provide the necessary coherence to the economy. Against the arbitrary decision-making of the monopolies such as Tata, there must be public authority consistent with the needs of the times that is able to prevent this wrecking activity.
The Customs Union and Single Market go back to the earliest days of the EU's history, when its forerunner, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), set up a committee (the Spaak Committee, named after Paul-Henri Spaak, the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs) in 1955 to draw up proposals for the creation of a common market and the establishment of an atomic energy community. This committee was made up of representatives of the ECSC member states along with Britain.
The ECSC consisted of West Germany, France and Italy plus the three Benelux countries. Together with Britain, they formed a bloc of the main powers of western Europe in the conditions of the Cold War, aligning themselves, but at the same time in competition, with the US camp. The attempt was to redefine a role in the world for these old European powers, in response to the emergence of the two superpowers. Britain also had its own separate interests as the centre of the its old fallen empire. The context was also that of the Post-War social democratic arrangements that prevailed across western Europe, in which a social contract still existed between people, civil society and the state, and a functioning public authority still operated. Supranational arrangements had not yet begun to supersede nation states, but development had reached a level in the advanced economies that demanded increased interdependence and the beginnings of modern globalisation. 
In that context, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) had been signed in 1947 in Geneva, which was an agreement between various states, the core being the Anglo-American countries, aimed at the "substantial reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers and the elimination of preferences, on a reciprocal and mutually advantageous basis." A number of further rounds of GATT talks were held so that, and by the fifth "Dillon" round in 1960-62, some 26 countries were involved.
The report of the Spaak committee formed the basis of the discussions of the subsequent Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom in 1956, the outcome of which was the establishment of a European Economic Community (EEC). The EEC was formally created by the Treaty of Rome, signed in 1957 by the ECSC countries. Britain was not a part of the EEC at that stage.
The Customs Union
The Treaty of Rome planned the creation of the Customs Union, which was eventually established on July 1, 1968, by the six member states of the EEC. This lifted all customs duties and restrictions between those states, and established a common tariff on imports from outside the bloc.
The European Commission explains that the EU Customs Union in its current form as defined by the Community Customs Code, adopted in 1992, means:
The common external tariff distinguishes the Customs Union from the lower level of integration known as a "free trade area". As a form of supranational trade policy, facing the outside world as a single entity in this respect, it is already a form of political as well as economic integration.
The present legal framework for the Customs Union is defined by the Union Customs Code, which came into force on May 1, 2016 with the stated objectives of modernising and simplifying the arrangement, including the transition to fully electronic customs.
Currently, membership of the EU Customs Union is virtually identical to membership of the EU itself, with the addition or exception of various territories of EU member states.
The EU also has bilateral customs unions in place with Turkey, San Marino and Andorra.
To be continued: the European Single Market.
 It is important to bear in mind when looking at these origins that a shift occurred in the late 1970s from social democracy, which had gone into crisis, to neoliberalism. The present neoliberal period is characterised by: the restructuring of the state under the anti-social offensive where all of the previous arrangements of civil and political society lie in tatters; the end of the bipolar division of the world; the crisis of the nation state and the rise of supranational organisations; the unrestricted imposition of monopoly right; and conditions of generalised disequilibrium. The institutions and agreements set up straddle these two periods.
Main sources: European Commission, ec.europa.eu; Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance de l'Europe (CVCE), http://www.cvce.eu.
On June 22, thousands participated in the Friday protest along the Gaza fence. The protest, marked as "Friday of the Wounded", was dedicated to the more than 14,600 protesters that have been wounded by Israeli forces since the beginning of the #GreatMarchofReturn.
Important Public Meeting - Working for Peace on the Korean Peninsula
Please attend and mobilise for this important public meeting being held in the context of the critical and momentous developments for peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula. Support the right of the Korean people to self-determination, independence and peace!
Marx Memorial Library
The meeting is being held with the participation of a representative of the Embassy of the DPR of Korea in London. Speakers will include representatives of the participating organisations of Friends of Korea, which is an organisation uniting organisations and individuals in Britain working for friendship and understanding with the Korean people. The meeting aims to provide information on the factors favouring reunification and peace on the Korean Peninsula and provide opportunity for questions and discussion.
Hosted by Friends of Korea (Britain)
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