Friday, 30 May 2014

Change in the NHS?

The NHS is a common theme in these blogs - well I did work there for 25 years so I know a little bit about it. Common themes run along the lines that members of the public want a good local service, there is pressure to close smaller hospitals and there should be local accountability.

However there is no local accountability and the NHS has been centralised. There seems to  be a certain inevitability about centralisation as technology advances and becomes more expensive, but the whole of the NHS, regardless of its sophistication, has been swept into the tide of centralisation. Minor injuries are often dealt with at centres of excellence. Consultations often take place in hospitals which are miles from the patient's home when all that is needed is a private room. Local hospitals have closed.

Times may have changed in regard to the provision of local NHS services. The BBC reports that the new chief executive, Simon Stevens said that there needed to be new models of care built around smaller local hospitals.There appears to be a welcome shift towards prevention rather than treatment. When there is a need for acute care then centres of excellence may be the place to be, but there are so many health care interactions that take place that do not need these centres.

The appointment of Simon Stevens could provide a much-needed opportunity for change for the better. He has a lot of relevant experience and a good reputation and crosses the political divide, being an adviser to the former Labour government  that the current government is very happy to have acquired. Hopes and expectations are running high. Are those hopes and expectations justified? Well you can see from the links above that he's now saying some of the things that I've been saying in the past, so that's definitely a good sign :-). Maybe it is beyond Simon's scope but let's also hope that local accountability also gets on the NHS agenda.

Change the world.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Reason 9: Making it legal for a man to rape or assault his wife

I have received a comment about last week's blog 'Top reasons for voting UKIP?' which asked about point 9, 'Making it legal for a man to rape or assault his wife'. Here is a brief answer to that comment.

In 2006 UKIP members voted against a resolution titled "combating violence against women", one which "urges member states" ... "to make rape within marriage a criminal offence".

Now UKIP almost always either abstains or votes against absolutely anything and everything which comes up in the European parliament (which is why their claim to "give the UK a voice in Europe" is particularly nonsensical), so it might have made some sense for them to abstain. At least they would have been being consistent in doing so. But they didn't abstain, they voted against. At the time there were 12 UKIP MEPs, and the vote went 545 for and 14 against, so you can see that apart from UKIP there were only 2 MEPs disturbed enough to vote against. To absolutely everyone else UKIP must have been seen as a pariah, and Britain too by extension, because we are disturbed enough to vote these people in.

It could be argued that voting against the criminalisation of something is not the same as voting for that something, so that technically the list of ten reasons is slightly inaccurate, but that is a technicality which I think wouldn't impress many people. What cannot be doubted is that UKIP made a very wrong move, one which showed them up and showed Britain up, and they should be ashamed about it.

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Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Reason 1: Scrapping Paid Maternity Leave

This week the police asked someone to remove a tweet about the ten UKIP policies that I listed in yesterday's blog. I am concerned that the police don't know how tweets work. I am more concerned that they tried to stifle political debate. I am even more concerned that the police acted on a complaint from a UKIP councillor even though there was nothing illegal. The police should have enough to do maintaining law and order. However I save my greatest concern for UKIP policies themselves - and if polls are anything to go by, they will receive votes for these policies in the European elections.

So in this blog I will look at the first policy on the list, scrapping paid maternity leave. This link doesn't just tell us that UKIP would abolish statutory maternity leave, it is also a useful link for anyone wanting to read abour UKIP's other policies. They would make a good comedy sketch except this isn't a comedy. Here is another link to a web page entitled 'support maternity leave'.

I have linked to this piece in the Guardian previously as it is a good expose of the rubbish that was the UKIP manifesto in 2010. If you are a UKIP supporter and want to criticise me for being vague in my criticism then I would ask you to read the article and be aware that Nigel Farage thinks it is rubbish too. Is your faith in UKIP's policies now not shaken to the core? How can you lend support to a party that asks for your vote on a manifesto based on rubbish? You may feel that that was then and this is now and Nigel is a good bloke that you could go down to the pub with and share a pint. Well think again. This week UKIP don't want you to hear their policies and will send the police round if you mention them. I'll soon be writing about the other policies. In the meantime the gauntlet is still down for any UKIP supporter.

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Monday, 12 May 2014

Top reasons for voting UKIP?

There is a parody of a Ukip poster which may be seen on social media. To save you looking for it I will let you know the 'ten great reasons' that it mentions for voting Ukip. It is supposed to be a parody. The trouble is that I am willing to throw down another gauntlet (see previous blog), this time to Ukip and see if anyone wants to debate any of their policies. Here they are...

Scrapping paid maternity leave
Raising income tax for the poorest 88% of Britons
Scrapping your holiday entitlement
Speeding up privatisation of the NHS
Cancelling all planned house-building
Abandoning all action on climate change
Cancelling regulations to make banks safer
Abolishing laws to protect your human rights
Making it legal for a man to rape or assault his wife
Cutting education spending and buying 3 aircraft carriers instead

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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Labour for ... what, exactly?

I have just watched the Labour Party broadcast. I know it is the Labour Party's because it said so in the first few seconds. The rest of the broadcast was spent insulting Nick Clegg. It did mention the Labour Party in the last few seconds but we didn't hear anything about their policies.

The theme was that Liberal Democrats were ineffective in Government. Well how does the Labour Party account for the implementation of 75% of the Liberal Democrat manifesto? There was specific mention of tuition fees - now that is obviously part of the 25% which didn't get through the coalition agreement, but that's what it means to have a coalition. It doesn't mean that Liberal Democrats changed their opinion. Are the Labour Party telling us that the other 75% of the manifesto would have got through without a coalition government? I don't think so. Moreover, I am sure that they told us nothing about Labour policy.

If I want to hear what a party is saying then I will take a look at what they say. I will balance this with what the other parties say e.g. the Labour Party supports tuition fees - and introduced them. So much for informed democracy!

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P.S. I watched the broadcast again . It is simply insulting and wrong. I am happy to debate with anyone who wishes to take up the Labour gauntlet, but the reason for the P.S. is that the initial mention of the Labour Party tells us it is a broadcast for the European elections - it was absolutely nothing to do with the European elections. How do they get away with it?

Monday, 5 May 2014

UKIP against almost everything

As we get nearer to the European elections I think it is a good time to look back on blogs that I have written relating to Europe. I haven't written much about the BNP. They have been very quiet (thankfully) apart from one obnoxious leaflet. I hope it is easy for voters to see how obnoxious they are without too much explanation. The family of Lee Rigby managed to say how sickened they were when one party used his name in order to gain political advantage. Well the BNP have done so too. I haven't written much about the Tory or Labour views on Europe. They have also been quiet. However the Liberal Democrats have been active in our endorsement of the EU despite its faults. It is obvious that improvements can and should be made but that's far from UKIP's position of removing us from the EU.

UKIP have been making headlines, so this year I have written seven blogs about them. I have written many other blogs about UKIP in the past which is a good way of recording their message because there are many people who seem to think that UKIP's simple message is that immigration is bad (it isn't) and that all our problems would be solved in we left the EU and those interfering unelected European bureaucrats. You don't find specific accusations of bureaucracy because specific regulations are welcomed by those that have to deal with them. If you are buying or selling you want to know that safety standards have been met and that you have the right amount of what you are buying in your box. Consumers don't like bananas with too much of a bend. They aren't banned by the EU but if you get a lot of them in a box then you get fewer bananas and less people wanting to buy them.

UKIP are against a free market and  keeping up staffing levels in British industry (4th May). UKIP are against democracy (3rd May). UKIP are denying it is a racist party because its members are often to be found saying racist things (27th April). UKIP are climate change deniers - as well as Nigel Farage claiming women are "worth less" to employers and rejecting the whole of their last manifesto, and how this time it appears UKIP could not balance the countries books (15th Feb). Lord Pearson, UKIP's leader in 2010 didn't know their 2010 manifesto (4th Feb). UKIPs Head of Policy demonstrates that the party is anti-Muslim and does not have a Christian attitude when it comes to asylum policy (3rd Feb). Nigel making comments about race (they aren't racist because Nigel says they aren't a racist party but I can't tell the difference) as black people can't mix with white people because of the numbers involved. It is unstated whether two black people can get along - or 20 or 200 or 2000 which leaves the listener with the simple impression that Nigel is telling them there are too many black people in the country (why aren't UKIP racist?) (8th Jan).

Change the world

Sunday, 4 May 2014

UKIP against staffing care homes

The first page of yesterday's UKIP leaflet has the headline 'Our politicians have allowed open-door immigration'. When translated this means that we are a member of Europe which allows the free movement of labour i.e. our ability to work in the rest of Europe, and our ability to find employees for the jobs that English-born people can't or won't do or more simply for the jobs where nobody is applying. This means we can staff our NHS, our care homes, our farms, in fact any industry in areas where we don't have the workforce. UK Employers want that free market and so should we. Immigrants don't come here to claim benefits and they are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to getting a job.

If you believe that EU immigrants come here to take benefits then you may have been persuaded with phrases like 'open-door'. Oh the door is open, let's get a house and benefits. It doesn't happen but this rhetoric plays on fear.

'Only UKIP will take back control' completes page one of their leaflet. However our economy is stronger for immigration as it stands. If huge control measures (which would mean impositions on the many members of the UK who live in Europe) are imposed then is there any guarantee that our economy would improve? I can guarantee a huge increase in red tape.

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Saturday, 3 May 2014

UKIP against informed democracy

If you had to teach politics to young children then what would you tell them? You might start with the present voting system. It may not be perfect - actually it isn't perfect but it is the method that we have of electing our representatives. The voting system does not reflect the voting intentions of the population as it isn't proportional but at least we have the opportunity to vote. Then I would tell the children how important it is to vote. If we didn't then we may lose democracy completely. Dictatorships have some benefits but there are no checks and balances and dictators can be bad too.

I would tell the children that should vote but if they don't like any of the candidates then they should spoil their vote in order to register their protest. Apathy is the easiest answer for those asking why people don't vote. However the children would need to know what each candidate stands for. I have been a political activist for many years and I occasionally meet supporters of other parties who don't want to know about the opposition. How can they know that their party is the best unless they know what the others are saying?

Today I received my UKIP leaflet for the European elections. They obviously have plenty of money to spend on their leaflets but a large part of it is in the form of a poster. The sub-heading reads 'No More Leaflets Thank You'. It is obviously their party policy that their supporters should not be informed. They are not a party that supports informed democracy. They are the anti-politics party which does no-one who believes in democracy any good.

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