Thursday, October 09, 2008

Witch Hunts Are Bad For Our Health

The battle between the Comunidad de Madrid and those who oppose their ever more rapid progress on privatising health care in the region took a new turn this week. The Comunidad has been getting increasingly shrill in its campaign against the demonstrations that almost always accompany visits to health facilities by senior politicians from the regional government. This has been the case more or less since Esperanza Aguirre arrogantly swaggered her way through a hospital visit a few months ago; the video capturing her confrontation with opponents of her policies has since been seen by almost the entire universe; with the exception of Telemadrid viewers.

These days the visits are mostly done by the man in charge of health provision for Madrid, Juan José Güemes. You know your health care is in safe hands when it’s being run by someone who is the son-in-law of Carlos “I’m just very lucky with the lottery” Fabra. After the latest demonstrations the Comunidad was trying hard to get the police to crack down on the protests. As that strategy failed to take off they have fallen back on an old claim that their opponents are just full time trade union delegates, suggesting that no ordinary health worker would have any problem with their policies. They topped this off a couple of days ago by releasing a special video of a protest with some of the trade unionists involved being publicly identified. Shocking isn’t it, when people whose job it is to represent the interests of health service workers take part in protests about policies that affect their members. Shouldn’t be allowed. The way things are going in Madrid it may not be for much longer.


Troy said...

This is another reason why Izquierda Unida is a very important party to have around. The PSOE seem to be happy that Aguirre and the PP are prying open Pandora's privatization box (that it must be remembered Felipe opened in the first place), as they can blame it on her and them continue the project. After Madrid, Andalucia is the community with the most privatized health service.

At least IU will make a big enough stink about it so that people might actually take a passing interest as their wonderful public health care system melts before their eyes.

Graeme said...

You would hope so, but first IU have to sort out whether they are just going to be an extension of the PCE or whether they are going to offer a more broad based alternative to the PSOE. It's not clear which way things are going to go on that one.

Troy said...

An alternative to the PSOE...sounds lovely doesn't it? Llamazares did his best, but the coalition seems too unwieldy with too many died in the wool communists, heavy with stuffy ideology and light on practical ideas.

We'll know how they land soon, but until then...Cheers to them for being the only ones to at least try and take Espe to task!

Graeme said...

The irony is that Llamazares came from the PCE himself, and they led the opposition to him. If the PCE decided to dissolve itself and simply let its members affiliate to IU as individuals there would be much more basis for the claim of it being a coalition. The PSOE leadership in Madrid is taking a depressing direction, conceding the argument of privatisation without even asking for any benefits of it to be demonstrated.