SHA elections now underway: who to vote for and why it matters


Voting in the Labour-affiliated Socialist Health Association (SHA) national elections opened this week.

Red Labour has backed a list of candidates that it considers to be genuine socialist health activists campaigning for NHS re-nationalisation: twenty candidates to the SHA’s Central Council decision-making body, plus the current treasurer Tom Fitzgerald.

As with many of the so-called ‘socialist societies’, the SHA was for many years a ‘centrist’ stronghold. It has been accused of failing to hold the Labour Party to account on NHS privatisation and of putting out often ambiguous public views on the subject. SHA members dramatically changed this by electing socialist, pro-Corbyn national officers last year.

As a result, the SHA’s 2017 Labour conference motion – put forth by 25 constituency parties (CLPs) – challenged Labour’s shadow health team to commit the party instead to:

  • properly restore the NHS on its founding principles “as per the NHS [Reinstatement] Bill”
  • to oppose Tory healthcare policy, which has been quietly channelled outside parliament by NHS England (when it’s not being taken to court by Stephen Hawking).

But claims have been made that the ‘old guard’ is now standing for the Central Council with a new Corbyn-esque rhetoric, claiming anger at privatisation after years of dismissing opposition to it as ‘misguided’, or claiming credit for the health sections of Labour’s 2017 General Election manifesto, even though Labour conference was in fact highly critical of health commitments in an otherwise excellent manifesto:

A number of former SHA Chairs are standing as candidates for the SHA Central Council. Also standing is Dame Jane Roberts, who resigned from her SHA role in 2017 and is, according to her Cambridge University profile, a trustee of the IPPR think-tank, which is run by a recent employee of a major health privatiser.

These candidates are not in the slate endorsed by Red Labour. The organisation is asking SHA members to vote for:

Treasurer: Tom Fitzgerald

Central Council:

-Dr David Wrigley
-Judith Varley
-Dr Andy Thompson
-Dr Kathrin Thomas
-Dr Brian Gibbons
-Mike Roberts
-Jessica Ormerod
-Corrie Lowry
-David Llewellyn Davies
-John Lipetz
-Mark Ladbrooke
-Dr Guy Baily
-Dr Coral Jones
-Dr Tony Jewell
-Vivien Giladi
-Dr Tom Fitzgerald
-Dr Jacky Davis
-Nicolas Csergo
-Ruth Appleton
-Carol Ackroyd

SHA members who want to make sure Labour takes the firmest possible stance against corporate interests and adopts healthcare policies that benefit patients should ensure that their votes go to the candidates listed above.

For detailed information on the NHS-related issues of Labour’s 2017 manifesto, see health campaigner Professor Allyson Pollock’s analysis here.

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  1. ‘These candidates are not in the slate endorsed by Red Labour, which is asking SHA members to vote for:’

    Perhaps, this should be rewitten as two separate sentences. At first glance, it seems as if members are being asked to not vote for the Red Labour list.

    1. Yes, I was a bit confused by that initially, but then it does say – just after the list of names – that:

      SHA members who want to make sure Labour takes the firmest possible stance against corporate interests and adopts healthcare policies that benefit patients should ensure that their votes go to the candidates listed above.

  2. Some on the right do seem suddenly to want to cuddle up to the rest of us.

    Soon they’ll be whining that hanging on to power like grim death was for our own good – to protect us – keep us from the harm we’re too childish to see, much as an older brother looks after the inexperienced younger.
    We may fight but family’s family, right?

    In other words, “Pleeeese, please don’t take our cushy sinecures away, we’re all on the same side – we’re real socialists too, honest.”

    Took them long enough to figure out that we’ve got more mates than they do, didn’t it?

  3. The following is an extract from the Allyson Pollock analysis:

    The next Labour manifesto must now remedy the catastrophe that is unravelling and commit to the NHS Reinstatement Bill. Unless this happens, there will be no NHS.

    The Bill proposes to fully restore the NHS as an accountable public service by reversing 25 years of marketisation in the NHS, abolishing the purchaser-provider split, ending contracting and re-establishing public bodies and public services accountable to local communities. This is necessary to stop the dismantling of the NHS under the HSC Act 2012. It is driven by the needs of local communities. Scotland and Wales have already reversed marketisation and restored their NHS without massive upheaval. England can too.

    The question is: Why weren’t they ALREADY committed to it?

    1. Jeremy, John and a number are/were but not Jon Ashworth or before him, Heidi Alexander. Margaret Greenwood has several times tried to introduce the Reinstatement Bill in opposition debates but the ‘centrists’ have never supported it wholesale.

      1. Yes, I understand that, but why wasn’t it in the last Labour manifesto.

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