To defend the NHS we need a Norway Plus Brexit deal for the UK

The main argument against my Norway Plus proposal is that such an agreement would jeopardise the capacity of the UK government to strike out into the world to bring home a variety of tailor-made trade deals with the US, China etc. At the same time, hard Brexiteers continue with their disingenuous promises of daily millions that will flow to the NHS, money saved from the UK’s contribution to the EU budget. Now, here are two excellent reasons to back Norway Plus! Let’s look at them briefly:

Any trade deal with the United States with include stringent clauses which force the UK government to ‘open up’ the NHS to the predatory behaviour of Big Pharma and give them the right to sue the London government in tribunals controlled by private law firms in the employ of Big Pharma. This is no criticism of the Trump administration per se. Looking at the manner in which the Obama administration negotiated both TTP and TTIP, it is obvious that any UK-US trade deal will be detrimental to the NHS’s autonomy from the predatory medical-industrial complex.

As for the Brexit dividend for the NHS, it is a figment of Boris Johnson’s imagination: Setting aside the tax decline due to slower growth in the long term (following any Brexit that take Britain out of the single market), the sheer administrative post-Brexit costs will overwhelm any net gains from not contributing to the EU budget.

In short, Norway Plus offers the NHS a shield from the lurking predatory medical-industrial complex and minimises the pressures for further cuts on the NHS due to Britain’s stressed fiscal position.

This is one of four short articles extracted from the debate that followed this meeting at the House of Commons, in which I presented the left-wing case for a Norway Plus Brexit agreement. To read/listen to that presentation, click here.