The next General Election for the UK will be on 7th May 2015. In Scotland, we’re all looking at 18th September 2014, but for the Westminster parties, the general election campaigning has already begun.
At the 2010 general election, the results were Conservatives 307, Labour 258, Liberal Democrats 57: the LibDems dashed into a coalition with the Tories, and the hugely unpleasant mess that followed is still miring us up.
It’s fair to say that without the LibDem decision to join the Tory party and keep them in government (despite Tories not having won an election since 1992) – there likely would not have been a majority-SNP government in Holyrood: conceivably, if enough Scots had voted LibDem in 2011, there might not be an independence referendum this year.
Government departments and their ministers, reshuffled
We’re in a recession heading for a depression, and George Osborne is Chancellor of the Exchequer. Osborne believes that the right thing to do when the economy is failing is to cut government spending and to make large numbers of people unemployed. Even economists who thought this theoretically might work realise it’s long since proved to be not working (Martin Wolf of the Financial Times was recommending in May that the government announce a change of plan): Nobel Prize winning economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, turn out – strangely enough – to know more about the economy than a man whose main qualification for being Chancellor is that he was in the Bullingdon Club with David Cameron.
Yet Osborne is set to continue cutting till May 2015. And short of revolution, we can’t get rid of him.
Jeremy Hunt isn’t just an unscrupulous toerag – we knew that. He’s now Health Secretary, despite believing that:
- Homeopathy works*
That this House welcomes the positive contribution made to the health of the nation by the NHS homeopathic hospitals; notes that some six million people use complementary treatments each year; believes that complementary medicine has the potential to offer clinically-effective and cost-effective solutions to common health problems faced by NHS patients, including chronic difficult to treat conditions such as musculoskeletal and other chronic pain, eczema, depression, anxiety and insomnia, allergy, chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome; expresses concern that NHS cuts are threatening the future of these hospitals; and calls on the Government actively to support these valuable national assets. (EDM 1240 in support of Homeopathic Hospitals, 2007, h/t Tom Chivers)
Apparently at the Lib Dem conference in Gateshead last weekend, Nick Clegg tried to claim that the NHS Reform bill is strictly Tory.
This is of course not true. While it originates with the Tories, and will obviously benefit their donors, the Liberal Democrats are directly and very publicly responsible for ensuring that the bill will pass – even though it was not part of the original coalition agreement, was not even on the Tory manifesto, and has been comprehensively rejected by both the general public and the NHS professionals who would be required to implement the changes.
The emergency motion that Dr Evan Harris had proposed for debate Sunday morning, to have the LibDem conference vote to drop the bill, was defeated because Nick Clegg’s office instructed Shirley Williams to put forward a competing motion.
While the defeat of the Shirley Williams motion has been billed as a defeat for Clegg, in fact Nick Clegg won as soon as the motion his office had drafted had been chosen for the emergency debate Sunday morning: Continue reading
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.