Yesterday, the National Health Action Party launched.
The idea behind the NHA Party is one I support: since the Labour Party is unable and unwilling to properly defend the NHS against the Tory attacks – unable because it is at present a minority party with an unpopular leader, unwilling because properly doing so would involve backtracking and acknowledging that the Labour Party itself went hellishly wrong during the Blair years – there must be political pressure on Labour to force them to act when, as I hope, they win the next election.
Founded by a group of health professionals, our party strongly opposes the Health and Social Care Act. We believe the Act is wrecking the NHS in England by allowing it to be broken up and sold off. We intend to put up around 50 candidates in carefully chosen general election constituencies, and we will urge the Labour party to repeal the Act. We’ll also field candidates in local council elections.
Party co-leader and cancer specialist Dr Clive Peedell said: “For generations we’ve trusted the NHS to be a safety net for everyone in times of need. Putting the values of business and the markets ahead of those of patients and communities will ruin the NHS. This destruction is being fast-tracked by Tory and coalition policies. We hope our new party will halt this process.”
In May 1997, back in those lovely days where we were sure we’d got rid of the Tories and now had a Labour government, Tony Blair put Alan Milburn in charge of the Department of Health, where he stayed for about 18 months until Peter Mandelson first got caught in a dodgy money deal, whereupon Milburn was reshuffled to the Treasury and in 2003 resigned from government to “spend more time with his family” and with Bridgepoint Capital, a venture capital firm with clients including Alliance Medical, Match Group, and Medica.
Between the Treasury and the NHS, Alan Milburn – an enthusiastic supporter of Blairite policies – set in train everything needed to make an NHS Trust go bankrupt.
George Monbiot, on The Biggest, Weirdest Rip-Off Yet:
When Labour took power in 1997, it told public servants that there would be no alternative to PFI. “When there is a limited amount of public-sector capital available, as there is,” the health secretary Alan Milburn announced, “it’s PFI or bust”. After 12 years, the policy hasn’t changed. A leaked email summarising a meeting with the current health secretary, Alan Johnson, in January this year  revealed that “PFIs have always been the NHS’s ‘plan A’ for building new hospitals … There was never a ‘plan B’.” If you apply for public funds, you won’t get them: to build a new hospital or school or prison, you must PFI it.
South London Healthcare runs three hospitals in Orpington, Sidcup, and Woolwich. The Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich were both built using Blair’s darling and Milburn’s favourite: Private Finance Initiative. Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup was built in 1974.
Talking on Facebook is like having a conversation in a busy cafe. You have a reasonable expectation of privacy, if you’re an ordinary person talking quietly to a friend, but of course you can be overheard – and if you’re a political candidate for a non-Tory party and the person at the next table works for the Telegraph and you’re making [expletive deleted] comments that the Telegraph thinks they can use…
Lyall Duff is standing for election on 3rd May for the SNP in North Lanarkshire. Duff made the comments in January and February that the Telegraph chose to report today, so the timing is politically motivated: the SNP have the choice of backing Duff or sacking him, but it’s too late for them to invite him to stand down and let them find another candidate. If you are a candidate running for election it is sensible, to say the least, to make sure that your social media accounts say nothing that you would not wish to see quoted in the newspaper of your worst enemy.
On 23rd March, the Guardian broke the news that SPUC (the “Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child” to give them their full, misleading name) had a presentation for schoolchildren that wasn’t so much anti-abortion as anti-science. The headmaster who invited SPUC into his school to give a prolife presentation to the children says he provided “balance” by asking a feminist group along too, but this showed a real lack of interest in the children’s scientific education and wellbeing.
There are a set of moral, ethical, and medical issues around abortion.
[Also about use of Care Quality Commission staff for a politician's personal prejudices. More of that in the update below.]
The Telegraph does not appear to be interested in any of them, in its latest US-style article about “abortion clinics”.
First and most importantly: Is the person who is having the abortion being coerced in any way? It would be immoral and inethical for a doctor to perform an abortion on anyone unless she wants to have her pregnancy terminated.
What have the LibDems accomplished, says this bright infographic. It doesn’t reference the coming privatisation and breakup of the NHS in England.
(Not in Scotland or Wales, thanks to devolution – neither country has a Tory government.)
My father is alive and well (fairly so) at 85 because of the NHS. (In the past ten years, he’s broken his wrist and his hip – he has osteoparosis – and had eye operations for a cataract and for glaucoma. He has a pacemaker to keep his heart beating.
My mother’s diabetes was diagnosed promptly (at the age of 77) because of the NHS.
Myself, my brother and sister, my nephew, we were all born on the NHS.
One unamed “loyal senior Lib Dem MP” said: “I’ll hold my nose and vote for it [the NHS bill].”
That’s nice for him, whoever he is. He’s probably rich enough that he thinks he can do without the NHS. Perhaps he even thinks he can leave enough money for his children that they’ll always be able to afford private healthcare.
I read in Cake and Morphine’s blog a few days ago a hopeful assumption that if Tory MPs had only experienced the kind of shattering “lifestyle choice” of devastating illness or injury, they wouldn’t have voted in the Welfare Reform Bill.
But two or three years ago, Iain Duncan Smith’s wife had cancer. IDS took six months off work to care for her (and claimed thousands from the taxpayer while he was doing so). David Cameron had a disabled child, but Cameron doesn’t give a damn about the disabled children of families who aren’t, like himself, wealthy enough not to care what’s the price of services. Continue reading