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About Colin Leys

Colin Leys is emeritus professor of political studies at Queen’s University Canada, honorary research professor at Goldsmiths and works with CHPI. His most recent publication is “The English NHS: from market failure to trust, professionalism and democracy”, Soundings 2017.

Articles by Colin Leys

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Colin Leys is emeritus professor of politics at Queen’s University, Canada, and an honorary professor at Goldsmiths University of London. He has worked for many years on the political economy of development in Africa and Britain, and most recently on health policy in England.

How trustworthy is NHS Digital?

It looks as though ministers are bullying supposedly the independent patient data agency to hand over private information to the Home Office despite an uncertain legal basis.

How the left can win in Britain

Forget policy; focus on narrative: hammer the banks, reframe security, and other notes on how the left can win back Britain.

Sustainability and Transformation Plans - kill or cure for the NHS?

Local NHS areas have til June to try and submit convincing plans to dramatically improve healthcare whilst saving large sums of cash. But the decision making is secretive and dysfunctional.

Liberalism, the media and the NHS

Standing at some ill-defined midpoint between three neoliberal parties is now deemed, by the BBC and others, to represent some sort of "impartiality". Though impartial in Westminster terms it is clearly not in public terms. The NHS paid a heavy price.

Why do private hospitals want to hide their patient safety records?

In opposition George Osborne criticised the 'endemic culture of secrecy in some private hospitals'. But after 4 years in government, the secrecy persists, even as the NHS itself is opened up to ever more scrutiny.

Personal care budgets could further fragment the NHS

Aside from whether patients welcome the cash payments there are wider issues that need addressing, namely whether the scheme strips cash from the NHS and so weakens the service for others; will it be a subsidy for private care; and who steps in if the money is spent before the year is up?

The lost compassion of nursing? Making sense of the Francis report

The failures uncovered by the Francis report go far beyond the compassion of individual nurses and managers, they are a clear warning sign on the dangers of turning a public health service into a competitive market. The British public can see it, why can't the government?

The Dissolution of the Mandarins: the sell-off of the British state

For the UK's senior civil service, 'public interest' is increasingly defined in terms of the private sector's agenda. With high-profile figures moving to private directorship roles and policy making being tailored to corporate interest, the days of a bureaucratic public career are over. 

Commodification: the essence of our time

Under advanced capitalism, commodification expands into all corners of social and political life, with devastating consequences. Finding a limit to this process is more urgent than ever.

Living on borrowed time? The changing frontiers of the NHS debate

The author of 'The Plot Against the NHS' discusses the political struggle over England's national health service and considers what those determined to save it can still do.

The NHS will be privatised - it doesn't matter what the British people want

The majority of British voters want to keep the NHS public. The Prime Minister was elected on the promise of no major health reform. So why is parliament backing the Health and Social Care Bill, against the known wishes of the electorate?

NHS: Cameron's rhetoric is wearing thin

The Prime Minister has claimed to be committed to what he called our 'precious' NHS, yet Lansley's bill would destroy Britain's national health service. The government's rhetoric is wearing thin, and we must ensure that the aim of the proposed reforms are kept clearly in view throughout the 'listening exercise' charade

The Plot Against the NHS

In this lecture, based on the book The Plot Against the NHS, co-author Colin Leys attempts to set the record straight on plans for a new healthcare market. He argues that the healthcare reforms proposed by the Coalition are not as radical as they seem, but are part of a plot to dismantle the NHS born under Blair.
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