Councils must say 'Enough, and no further'

From: Stephen Jackson, Albert Road, Bexhill

An interesting letter from P. Stanbridge who reprises some, but not all, of a previous outing (Letters, May 18 and July 13).

So, why was the NHS founded? To provide healthcare for the millions of people who had none. This was no ideological vanity but a practical necessity. Many countries look with envy on what we have today.

The end of the war also heralded a programme of nationalisation which saw the longest period of economic stability and rising living standards the country had ever known.

It prevented the return of an unregulated private sector whose recklessness and greed in pursuit of profit had shattered the country for 20 years – the Great Depression.

Far from being dinosaurs (see letter May 18), these events ousted those lumbering beasts from the political, social and economic mix. To put it another way, real democracy had finally arrived.

But now we are coming full circle. This so-called liberalisation of the Thatcher and Major governments saw the return of boom and bust – more bust than boom – and the gradual and then accelerated roller-coaster which smashed itself to pieces in the Crash of 2007-8.

And the icing on the cake was how this catastrophic free-for-all was presented as a crisis of the public sector and the excuse to impose ‘austerity’ as the only solution.

Which brings us to local government. This is not a question of councils being an “easy target”. The fact is many of them are in the unique position of being able to put a stop to this hollowing out of communities, this destruction of the very cohesion which is essential to P. Stanbridge’s rethink. All they have to do is say: “Enough, and no further”.

A little nugget for those who think there is a shortage of cash: 25 per cent of world GDP is squirrelled away in tax havens