So Ed Milliband has set out his vision for One Nation Labour, which aims to create a fairer society, where "those with the broadest shoulders will always bear the greatest burden". One Nation labour has certainly created a lot of positive media attention, but when it comes to the NHS, recent Labour party health policy has been anything but One Nation Labour. In fact, whilst Labour lumbered England with a market driven NHS, Scotland and Wales abolished the purchaser-provider split. Hardly One Nation!
So what does One Nation mean for the NHS? Or to put it as BBC political correspondent Nick Robinson stated: "What does it mean in practice?"
In his speech, Mr Miliband made the following statement regarding the NHS:
"The NHS, it’s based on a whole different set of values, a whole different set of values that the people of Britain love. Not values of markets, money and exchange but values of compassion, care and co-operation. That is the magic of the NHS; that is why the British people love the NHS and I’m afraid the Tories have shown in government it’s something they just don’t understand."
Mr Miliband clearly criticises the role of the market in healthcare. So if Labour are serious about "rolling back the market"' they need some serious movement away from their New Labour days, which were dominated by the use of markets in public services. This was summarised very well by former Labour cabinet minister John Denham MP in an article in the Chartist, 2006:
The politics of Labour's transformation to New Labour and it’s obsession with markets is very interesting and I have written about it (in relation to NHS changes) in more detail here in a paper presented at the International Association of Health Policy in Europe conference in 2009. However, it was summed up brilliantly in one paragraph by 2 Labour MPs, Jon Cruddas and Jon Trickett in the New Statesman in 2007:
So what policies do the markets demand? In summary, they demand neoliberal policies and this means: