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It is unusual for me to turn to ‘The Telegraph’ for political solace, but an article written by Christopher Booker on 15 October 2011 is a timely lesson for anyone who performs on the political stage.

The item is entitled:

The day Liam Fox chose power over sense of outrage

I don’t wish to dwell on Dr Fox’s fall from grace; I think most people recognise that he has been incredibly silly and naïve.

Booker writes: “People become motivated to take an interest in politics, the writer Paul Johnson shrewdly observed many years ago, either by a love of power or by a sense of outrage.”

He then continues to describe how in his view Fox moved from the path of outrage to the love of power.

I think this offers a reality check for all of us when we reach certain crossroads in our lives.

Perhaps our local MPs in both Pendle and Burnley who electioneered on maintaining hospital facilities prior to the General Election and who are now incredibly quiet on the subject should consider which road they have gone down and ask themselves ‘is it too late to turn back?’

If they wish to turn back, they could make a start by campaigning to retain the existing services at Pendle Community Hospital.

Alternatively they could hide behind the future provisions of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care Bill 2011.

We will have to wait and see the answer, but I suspect they will carry on down the road of “the love of power”.


 

 

On Saturday a group of us from Pendle CLP went to Colne Market with our petition to save Pendle Community Hospital.
People were shocked and upset that the beds, wards and services at the Community Hospital are under threat and we took 291 signatures in just one day!
People told us personal stories of themselves or family members that have used the Hospital; they think it's disgusting that its services are threatened.
I met an Irishman called Denis who not only signed the petition but bought me some red and white flowers from the market stall too!
 
Sheryl Waterhouse
Labour Candidate for Vivary Bridge 2012

 

"The Lords should be affronted by the slipshod way our health system is being blown apart before they can even debate it".

Can we count on Lord Greaves to defend Pendle's NHS by voting to support proper scrutiny of the Health Bill this week, and not just to toe his Party line again?

Polly Toynbee's article on Saturday must surely have given him pause for thought.

And after all, he did call for proper debate in his motion to Pendle Council in April,

 

I recently emailed the local Conservative MP asking him to oppose the Government’s reforms of the National Health Service.

Will he take any notice? I doubt it; toeing the party line appears to be more important than constituents’ concerns.

Interesting that one of the changes that was proposed following the ‘pause for consultation’, is to open up the membership of the new GP led consortiums designed to take control of around 65% of the NHS budget, to include clinicians and nurses.

Therefore any decisions to review department or hospital closures will be in the hands of a broad based group of health professionals rather than the PCT. The result will be an influential body that will have total say on which services should be provided at which hospital and which hospitals will remain in operation.

A very convenient outcome, if your name is Cameron or Clegg or Lansley and prior to the 2010 General Election you had given the people of Enfield, Bury North or even Pendle and Burnley a warm feeling that if they voted either Conservative or Lib Dem a future review of services could keep departments and hospitals open.

It may also be a convenient outcome for those Lib Dem and Conservative parliamentary candidates who had campaigned for the retention of local services as part of their election platform, that the issue is now being taken out of their hands and it will be solely down to the health professionals. Result - no need for articles in glossy leaflets, chains, or stalls outside of department stores any longer.

Anyone seen the soap?

 

You’ll be hard pressed to find a Labour supporter who admires the Tories. But in one crucial area I take my hat off to them – they are an election-winning machine. On polling day, their activists are out in force, ferrying people to polling stations and ensuring they get their vote out.

It doesn’t stop there though – because every week of the year local Tory associations do their Jam and Jerusalem style events, firing up the Blue-rinse brigade and seeing to it that come the day an election is called, the whole of the local membership is motivated and ready to go.

In winning elections they do also have some other crucial advantages. They have the massive financial support of ultra-rich backers (non-doms etc), they have the overt support of broad sections of national media and they have the confidence born of a misplaced arrogance that they are somehow the natural party of government. In short, they think they are born to rule. It’s possibly a delusional throw back to the aristocratic roots of their party, but there you have it.

The problem with this for us as Labour supporters is that we – conversely – have a slight deference.  After all, nineteen of the current Tory MPs were schooled at Eton and two thirds of them were privately educated – I’m pretty sure that there aren’t any MPs who went to Edge End in Nelson, like I did!

So their elitist education and rich backgrounds mean that the Tories see themselves in power as the natural order of things. Conversely, we don’t perceive ourselves as the natural inheritors of power – but then, nor should we!

My view is that it’s time we turned this to our advantage. The Tories will do anything for power – good grief, they even got the Lib Dems involved, so desperate was their clamour! Our road back to power should be one that is informed by something more enlightened.

We don’t want power for power’s sake – we want power because we share fundamental principles. The core principles of seeking a freer, fairer, more equal society, and an end to want and ignorance should be sufficient to motivate us to fight for victory.

Acting upon those principles will make a better society, give us better government and hopefully, finally put an end to Labour deference and Tory arrogance. In practice, the delivery of these principles sees us working positively for a National Health Service free at the point of need. Our principles mean that as a party we are uniquely committed to a world-class education system that is a right, not a privilege. And our principles see us committed to the extension of opportunity to all, rather than the imposition of the glass ceiling we’re seeing from this Tory-led government.

In Pendle, the application of these principles is even more urgent than in many other places. Whilst living here in such a beautiful part of the country and amongst so many fantastic people should never be underestimated, we can’t overlook some of the unique challenges we face. Our traditional industries have all but gone and we need to address how we redefine Pendle. My view is that this process is best served by a Labour government nationally, as well as a Labour MP and a Labour council for Pendle.

So come on – let’s beat the Tories at their own game and build our own election winning machine in Pendle!  By all means you can take your hat off to their election winning machine, but don’t doff the cap, eh?

 

It was a vintage piece of political theatre when a photocall by David Cameron and Nick Clegg at Guy's Hospital was disrupted last week by a disgruntled surgeon objecting to the poor compliance of the camera crew with hygiene regulations.  A clip of the incident went viral on Youtube.

 

There is a brilliant blog on the ongoing saga of this governments treatment of the NHS and Social Care.

The blog combines both being witty, very witty and profound at the same time.

The blog is here www.nhsmanagers.net.

Happy reading, be informed and enjoy!.

 

In the USA there is no NHS and the anti-Obama camp and other tea-leaves are fighting tooth and nail to prevent one being created.  So how does one get health care when you have no money?  Well unemployed Richard James Verone decided that the only logical thing to do was to get himself put in jail.  He went into a bank, handed a note to the teller saying he had a gun and that the teller should hand over $1.  He then went and sat down and wait to be arrested.  They get free health care in jail.  Good job Ken Clarke's reforms never got passed - when Lansley sells off the NHS folks would have had to plead not-guilty to get health-care!

 

On June 30th 750, 000 public sector workers will go on strike over pensions.

In the Autumn it is likely that 3 million public sector workers (including the NHS and Local Government, as well as Schools, Universities Civil Service etc) will go on strike. And I will be one of them.

We will be going on strike because the government is proposing to massively cut our pensions. To be more precise the government is saying we have to pay higher pension contribution, work longer and get a 30% average reduction in pension.

The government says the public sector pensions are not affordable and cost the country £3 billion a year to support. And this is after the government fiddled the rules in the last budget and decided to take a special £5 billion per year out of the public sector pension pot, So it is now making a loss.

Is it true that the 6th richest country in the world cant afford public sector pension?. Well it can there is huge tax avoidance by the very wealthy in the UK which can be used to plug any created pension gap. Tax avoidance runs at £120 billion a year. According to the National Audit Office 220 of the top 700 companies in the UK avoid paying corporation tax. As an example Vodaphone UK avoids paying tax to the tune of £3.2 billion annually (but is bidding for the next round of mobile phone contracts).

So should 3 million public sector workers have their and their families pensions cut or should Vodaphone UK continue to be allowed to tax avoid? I think I know the answer to that.

I also know that the government will say that Public workers should not have half ecent pensions when the private sector have poor and sometimes no pension, Well I agree with that. The private sector indeed all working people should have decent final salary full pensions. It will cost of course and is estimated to cost £20 billion a year. We should do it. Should private sector workers and their families get full decent final year salary pensions or should 5 other companies like Vodaphone continue to tax avoid every year. I think I know the answer to that.

I encourage all ordinary working people of Pendle to support the Pension disputes.

We and our families need full pensions.

 

Its encouraging that a major group of economists have written to The Observer calling on the Government to move to a Plan B and abandon its cuts in public services and welfare.

Its discouraging but all too predictable that this Government has said that it is 'steady as she goes' with the cuts as our country's economy continues in stagnation.

We know the cuts are hurting but we also know they are not working.

Our country's problem is that we have two and a half million unemployed since the bankers collapsed the economy in 2008. The unemployed, and its not their fault, damage our tax base and cause our country to lose billions in tax and national insurance income, as well as cost billions in benefits. This problem is exacerbated by the billions (£120 billion to be precise) lost by tax avoidance by the very rich, including shamefully by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

We should be investing to get people back to work as in the 1930's (remember Keynes?) and as after the second world war, and as in Japan (after a decade of cuts and stagnation) in the late 1990's.

Our country can, indeed must afford it. The UK's debt ratio indeed is the lowest of the advanced economies. You won't hear the Government say this, they will say that the country has 'maxed out' its credit card and is near bankrupt. That's a big spin to justify their small state approach, but the UK's debt ratio is 76%, Germany's is 79%, France's is 83%, Italy's is 118% and Japan's is 226% (source CIA Factbook)

So we must invest to get people back to work (one in five young people are unemployed).

In mid 2010 before the cuts the UK economy was recovering and growth was 2.5%, now as the cuts bite growth is down, and ongoing stagnation looms.

It quite simple and basic, people in work are productive economically, socially and morally.

If the Government won't go for Plan B, then this Government must go.

 
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