Posts Tagged ‘National Polls’
A miracle has happened! It wasn’t pouring down when we cleaned out the hens and the mud this morning, in fact we could even see patches of blue sky. But we were still downcast for the hoped for miracle of the privatisation of the NHS being stopped by the House of Lords didn’t happen. The attempt by David Owen to subject the legislation to deeper scrutiny drew the support of 262 peers, but the motion was defeated by 68. The reason was the decison of 80 Lib Dems to vote against!
They did so having been pressed by Nick Clegg to support his stance, this despite the Lib Dem conference having voted otherwise and national polls showing great opposition on the part of the vast majority of those who voted Lib Dem at the general election. Clearly he is still besotted by his right to sit at Cameron’s right hand in the Commons!
The effect of this latest betrayal of all that he promised during the elction campaign is that Clegg has aligned his party to the Conservatives. If the reaction of those amongst my allotment pals who voted Lib Dem is any indication, the other effect will be the total annihilation of the party come the next election. The message is now clear – if you favour Conservative policies vote Conservative, if you oppose them vote Labour. The Lib Dems have ceased to exist in ideological form.
The right wing press has this morning seized on reports of neglect of the elderly at some NHS hospitals as justification for Lansley’s bill. It is nothing of the sort. As it has shown only this week in Cumbria the NHS regulator, Monitor, has powers to deal with such unacceptable performances. It can, and has, put in a new management team with absolute authority to make whatever changes are necessary. Incidentally the Daily Mail claim that one in five hospitals were found wanting is somewhat dubious since only the 100 lowest rated were inspected!
The idea that bringing in the private sector will in some mysterious way ensure good treatment of the elderly reminds us of the recent revelations of the treatment afforded to residents in the care of Southern Cross homes. Once our elderly and vulnerable are bundled off into the avaricious grasp of for-profit companies the monitoring of their care becomes far more difficult, more obscure.
No one denies that those hospitals which fall short must be brought up to the stnadard of the majority of excellent NHS centres. No one denies that bureaucracy must be minimised. What millions reject is the introduction of private providers who will ‘cherry-pick’ the easier and more lucrative services, leaving NHS hospitals with the impossible task of balancing the books or of funding critical care in such fields as cancer, coronary or emergency medicine.
Several years ago the Labour government under Blair attempted to transfer outpatients services in the North West to a South African company called Netcare. When it became apparent that the effect of this would be to render insolvent the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals there was a massive public outcry. Led by Lindsay Hoyle, now Deputy Speaker, thousands took to the streets. A police presence was needed to control what followed and in due course the government backed down. Had they not done so, Lancashire would by now be quite the wrong place to be if you or yours were unfortunate enough to need emergency care.
So I am not making a political point when I say that the coalition are heading the NHS toward its destruction. Already there have been mass redundancies, already waiting times are doubling, already there are many advertisments for private medical insurance. Hopefully the chaos caused by Lansley’s incompetent handling of the bill will subside, but what will be left is a service of postcode medicine and preferential treatment for those who can afford it.
It would be wrong to blame right-wing conservatives such as Lansley and Liam Fox for all that is happening for their preference for private initiatives was clear for all to see. But Clegg and his henchmen supposedly stood for something quite different. As their president has made clear, they recognise that the profit motive and acute medicine make poor bedfellows. Like many of the politically uncommitted they see social injustice writ large in the American model and its giant private healthcare providers, some of whom are already being brought in to provide the commissioning services that GPs clearly are not equipped to handle.
Yesterday Clegg delivered his final death sentence on the national service that has meant a great deal to so many for so long. Serious illness is stressful enough without the added burden of worrying about finding the cash for good treatment. Our society will never feel the same again and for that we can thank the Lib Dems for selling their own principles for the illusion of power.
The ’38 Degrees’ protest organisation has mustered millions of signatures for its petition opposing Lansley. This week it raised £75,000 in four days to fund a special campaign aimed at members of the Lords. Sadly it underestimated just how far a Judas will go!
Interestingly immediately after the result of the vote was known the President of the Royal College of GPs sent an email urging 38 Degrees to carry on the fight. So much for Lansley’s claim to have clinical support! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S MIDWEEK QUIZ; 1. Broadcasting House 2. Cable News Network 3. Radio Times 4. Reuters 5. Private Eye 6. Aberdeen 7. Advertising 8. Which? 9. Fred Basset 10. China
We are feeling much as we imagine Nick Clegg is feeling this morning. The sun has vanished, so have a couple of the hens. Some of the others have indulged in a spate of egg-pecking and someone has broken the main gate in to the allotment, (Inspector Knacker suspects a connection here). There are times when you have to take a deep breath and decide whether what you are doing is really worth it. Perhaps what we need is some fresh blood, some younger legs as Fergie is apt to say. Bob suggested we should invite Nick Clegg to join us. One reason was the suspicion that he is daft enough to take the blame for everything, the other that we all have a sneaking sympathy for the bloke that struck such a chord with us just twelve months ago.
If the polls are correct his dream of winning a referendum on the voting system is about to be crushed. Bad enough in itself for young Clegg who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the chance to introduce electoral reform, but even worse there is little doubt that his critics will argue that he got his timing wrong and compounded this by appearing in the campaign. To add to his day of gloom it seems probable that the Lib Dems will receive a thrashing of Wackford Squeers proportions in the local elections.
There will not be a leadership challenge since even the most ambitious would shudder at the idea of taking the Lib Dem helm at a time when they are in the clutches of the Conservatives. And any doubts will be quickly dispelled when they notice that the Tories are neck-and-neck with Labour in the national polls. If the economy does respond to treatment the only section of the coalition that would benefit from a general election would be the Tories, and with Miliband still looking somewhat lightweight they might just fancy it if Nick and his pals become too stroppy. If, as many economists expect, the ecionomy goes belly-side-up the odds are that the blame will fall on Clegg for allowing such drastic cuts to be enacted.
It is not a happy scenario and the ‘I agree with Nick’ sweaters have been consigned to the shoe-cleaning trade. The truth is that in his eagerness to demonstrate committment to the coalition, the inexperienced Nick made too many mistakes. He may not have been able to stop the tuition fees increases but he should at least have been seen to vote against them.On the NHS it was only after being chastised by the party conference that he decided to seek concessions. In fact on almost every issue he failed to grasp a central truth which is that in coalitions the junior party never gets the credit but always gets the blame. And as shown in the national brochures supporting the AV ‘No’ vote, beneath that silky exterior lies a Cameron always ready to put the boot in.
Who can tell whether this government will last the course? But of one thing we can be reasonably sure, Nick Clegg is finished. Even if the Lib Dems eventually recover their support – and one only has to note the trades union support for the Labour Party to hope that they do – they are hardly likely to persist with the Sheffield Kid.
How would I know? I don’t but I can calculate odds, and I rate the chance of a comeback by the fallen Nick Clegg as similar to those of our missing hens. And they are probably in some traveller’s pot right now.
Come and join us Nick. The only qualification is a working knowledge of cricket and a deep distrust of all politicians. We imagine that you meet the second criteria now, the first is merely a matter of buying the latest Wisden.
THOUGHTS FOR TODAY; CRICKET: “I took an American friend to her first game of cricket. She took one look at the umpires and asked “what are the butchers for ?”……Alan Henderson “I watched a game of cricket for three hours waiting for it to start”……Groucho Marx “Personally, I have always looked on cricket as organised loafing”.,…William Temple “Cricket is basically baseball on Valium”……Robin Williams “My definition of a foreigner is someone who doesn’t understand cricket”…..Anthony Couch “A loving wife is better than making 50 or even 99. Beyond that I wouldn’t go”…….James Barrie “I am to cricket what Dame Sybil Thorndike is to non-ferrous welding”……Frank Muir “Facing a fast bowler is like standing in the outside lane of the M1, and when a car is 22 yards away, trying to get out of the way”…..Alec Stewart
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ; 1. Northern Ireland 2. Georgia
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Did Henry Kissinger remain secretary of state when Richard Nixon resigned? 2 Busby Berkeley died in 1976. For what kind of films was he famous?