Archive for the ‘Health’ Category
The Mayor of South Tyneside to cut her weight
The Mayor of South Tyneside Cllr. Eileen Leask told me today that she is on a mission to make serious cuts! No, not more public finances under threat but her waistline!
Eileen is determined to lose a few pounds and will be asking people to sponsor her to raise funds for some of the Mayoress’s charities this year. Having lost a few myself over the past two years I’ll be only too happy to help her out, and a little publicity to start her campaign cannot cause it any damage. More details when I get them – best of luck Eileen 🙂
……..they can hardly ever tread a straight path.
In some other European countries such as Belgium and Italy, where the electoral system is forever throwing together pacts and coalitions between parties, they are used to seeing compromises, here in the UK we are more likely to call them “U-turns”. Whether its on deficit reduction, higher education, NHS reform, defence, or justice the ConLib coalition is constantly in flux with policy being driven more by the need to keep the coalition together than what might be seen as the necessities of good government.
In many respects this was to have been expected when David Cameron’s Conservatives and Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats drew up their agreement last year after we failed to make a clear decisive choice at the general election, but by far the biggest flaw at the outset was the agreement manipulated by David Cameron to engineer a five year fixed Parliament. With this new restriction in place Cameron probably felt that he had a chance of carrying through most, but not all, of his party’s programme, with a few adjustments along the way. However, it is inevitable that tensions will arise within government and within the two parties making up the administration, and as one policy after another appears to the press and Opposition as being ill judged or poorly formulated detractors can (almost justifiably) point to yet another U-turn or abandonment of important party principle. During previous periods when we have had either a minority government or a government getting by with a small majority the most important opposition has come from within the ranks of the governing party keeping the executive on its toes, this is not quite so easy to achieve when two parties are involved. The other important position to note was that a major defeat for such a government in The House of Commons might lead to a new general election as the Prime Minister attempts to secure a good working majority.
David Cameron, unfortunately decided to tie his own hands behind his back with the fixed term Parliament and it would take an enormous effort from MPs to force him back to the polls, it has also tied Nick Clegg into a very tight arrangement which so far has resulted in his party becoming the whipping boys for the coalition, some say Cameron has played a blinder! I don’t, and I see this coalition arrangement leading to weakened policy as some on the right wing of the Tories become more vociferous, and more on the left wing of the Liberal Democrats become more rebellious, “fudge” will become the flavour of the month! I would have been far happier with a much more fluid and loose voting arrangement between the parties, without Lib-Dem ministers, that would enable a Cameron government to start out along its path, with the possibility of a sooner rather than later general election to try and cement his position.
The risk of a government falling can actually strengthen its hand with its own backbenchers and fortify its survival measures. There is nothing quite like the threat of losing one’s seat to exercise the minds of those recalcitrant MPs in marginal seats (of all parties), as they huff and puff to try and blow the government off course!
The five year fixed Parliament is a classic illustration of fixing something which was not broken at the outset.
Click thumbnail to enlarge
Unless I am dreadfully wrong Ravensworth Terrace in South Shields still runs from the Stagecoach bus depot at Chichester uphill following the Metro line to the West Park, it has always been thus, even though the lowest part is little more than a footpath. Google Maps does show that Ravensworth Terrace seems to stop at its junction with Hampden Street, but they have been known to make one or two small errors in the past. So, I’m puzzled, is the footpath part of Ravensworth Terrace or not? Has the last small section of highway been legally stopped up and removed from the maps ? (Durham County Council’s Historic maps show that the change from road to footpath happened after 1979)
Foregoing the above digression, I’d like you to take note of the fence on the right hand side of the picture, on the left is a building site growing in the car park of the former central surgery, which has now by and large relocated to the new “clinic” near The Nook (so I haven’t shown it), you might just see a small notice affixed to the railings, which I believe are still the responsibility of Nexus, the Metro light rail operator. Puzzling thing is the content of the notice, seems we now have some sort of semi official designated smoking zone on a public footpath, it is difficult to know which of South Shields’ smokers this is targeted at – all of them, or just the pitifully small number who use this footpath regularly? Perhaps it is targeted at the workforce involved at the former surgery, who knows?
However, after the public complaints surrounding the smokers at the General Hospital gate on Macannany Avenue I’m half expecting the NHS Primary Trust to erect a suitable notice on the adjacent bus stop, I’m sure Nexus won’t mind. Events now are far removed from the original health service that I first enjoyed as a young lad visiting his GP in Laygate Lane, back then you needed a fully operational gas mask, an 18 inch electric fan, and a million candle power torch to find your pipe smoking doctor in the the midst of the thick fog and smoke of his surgery!
I wonder if my two Progressive and one Labour councillor are aware of the emergence of this new public designated smoking area, or if Nexus are aware of the innovative use of their newish fence?
Perhaps it explains the lack of hedgehogs and foxes around there recently.
Labour’s poster aims at their own left foot?
Another good thing about having my feed reader working again is that I’ve seen this Labour poster being discussed all over the place. Once more they are attempting to draw dividing lines, and where the Tories don’t have a policy then Gordon Brown will happily invent one for them, just so he can spend his time cynically attacking said made up policy.
It’s almost laughable, anyway over at Shane Greer’s august and excellent blog, he discusses the negativity of the government’s present campaign strategies:
If any more evidence were needed that Labour are determined to mount an utterly negative election campaign drive by fear, in which truth is sacrificed at the alter of perceived political expediency then one need look no further than their new poster campaign (see picture).
Really!? David Cameron wants to scrap my right to see a cancer specialist within two weeks!? And what’s that you say… the Tories want to put old people onto the street and sell Britain’s children on a completely unregulated free market so that bankers can enjoy massive bonuses!? That’s awful!
Shane then dissects some of the more basic errors in Labour’s arguments about Conservative plans for removing some process targets in the NHS, a health system which, as we all know, David Cameron reveres and has so much time for, Labour forgets the trials and pain that the Cameron family went through in the short life of their son Oliver! On a personal level I have spent many months as a guest in South Shields District Hospital (Harton General) over the years, and the old Ingham Infirmary when I was a teenager, and at least one leading Tory in South Shields spent many years working in the NHS.
Instead of process targets which skew clinical priorities, the Conservative Party would place the emphasis on results. Because, at the end of the day, results are the only thing that matter. And given the choice between a ‘right’ to be seen within two weeks with no consideration given to the eventual outcome, and an NHS which is laser focused only on achieving the best outcome possible, I know which I would prefer.
The tragic thing is that Labour’s poster demonstrates that when it comes to the NHS, for them petty politics will always trump the patient.
Quite right Shane, they have an unshakeable belief that the NHS is theirs and theirs alone, a child of the golden renaissance period of state ownership from 1945 to 1951 and nobody else has any right to modernise, organise, reform, manage, improve, rationalise, or do anything else with it!
Anyway, how many of you can remember what the right hand side of the poster says? Thought not.
One of Shane’s comments read:
Probably worth pointing out, though, that the way the poster is designed draws your eye to the left side and causes you to ignore the right side. Also people don’t read word for word, they look at the whole and the brain guesses what it says. All of which means all voters see is DAVID CAMERON, “we are committed to the NHS”.
When will they understand that the price of alcohol is not the problem, the culture is the problem that needs to be solved!
The crackdown will mark the culmination of a scheme, overseen by Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, to cut alcohol abuse. Tackling the problem will be a major plank of the party’s manifesto.
Except, of course, this idiotic idea will not solve the problem, price has little or no correlation to the amount of consumption and as Timmy points out minimum price setting would be illegal under EU laws and the use of a tax revenue as an alternative would be legal but only supply a never ending stream of cash to those puritanical bodies in advance of those who are far more deserving of taxpayer help.
No, it’s not just the cretinism of raising alcohol prices (looking across Europe there are countries with lower prices and less drunkenness, places with higher and just as many problems with binge drinking), they’ve also managed to come up with the worst possible method of doing it. Illegal and creating an independent bureaucracy with no financial oversight.
Edukashun, edukashun, edukashun! (Tony Blair was right there, so where have they gone wrong?)
Health police launch attack on food
Click picture for story
Yes folks Hilary Benn and Labour’s “health police ” are on the march again as the nanny state establishes a new “Healthy Food Code of Practice” that will ask all restaurants and fast food outlets to clearly label the amount of sugar and fat in unhealthy meals. Not only will they give manufacturers the excuse to score more profit by reducing the amount of crisps in the packet but they’ve even managed to link in the global warming crisis too – ingenious!
They’ll tell us to eat less meat, go vegetarian, and keep a slop bucket in the kitchen, we’ll start digging for victory campaigns in poorly used public parks and become a nation of turnip growers again.
All because Mr. Benn presumably thinks we are all thick and we don’t realise that eating makes us fat!
God save us from the nanny state.