This is how it used to be. As recently as 2007, in fact – at least according to the Guardian newspaper:
The post-war Labour government established the four pillars of our welfare state: the NHS, free education, social security and public housing. Sixty years on, these institutions are rightly cherished and any major attempt to reform them can expect to provoke much public and media controversy.
The same government established the legal aid scheme (sometimes described as the fifth pillar of the welfare state) having recognised that equality of access to justice and the right to representation before the law were as fundamental to the creation of a just society as free healthcare and education. The scheme ensured that everyone who needed a lawyer should have one, regardless of ability to pay.
Now the Tory-led Coalition is in the process of dismantling the Welfare State – and, whilst as with the lead-up to Iraq almost a decade ago, there have been many murmurings, puzzlements, ideological disagreements and political accusations, the real reason would appear to be becoming evermore clearer.
Iraq, in the end, wasn’t about weapons of mass destruction. It was, so clearly, a combination of assuring necessary supplies of oil to Western consumers whilst at the same time guaranteeing – in a wider sense – that mainly American economic interests could take financial advantage of the situation.
All that stuff about the end of history, the clash of civilisations and that neo-conservative century of newly politicised democratic endeavour was, in the end, I am sadly afraid, just a pile of incomprehensible burblings.
Remember this, at least for the rest of the post: it was all about – and nothing more than a question of – making pots of money.
And so we have, from the Telegraph as long ago as last year, an unhappy thesis in relation to the person now most responsible for engineering the dismantling of the first pillar of the Welfare State – that is to say, the NHS:
Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, is being bankrolled by the head of one of the biggest private health providers to the NHS, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
Meanwhile, yesterday I posted on a story which came yet again from the Guardian. In this case, the article seemed to indicate in a fairly convincing manner that the person most responsible for dismantling the fifth pillar of the Welfare State as mentioned above – the Legal Aid system – will be in a position to benefit personally from some of the changes he is looking to push through.
As I said at the top of today’s post: this is all you need to know about the dismantling of the Welfare State – in one easy lesson.
A transfer of masses and masses of pots of money.
To those who already have plenty …