Archives for posts with tag: NHS

Comments on an FT article by Philip Stephens 

No policies? Every time I see Jeremy Corbyn being interviewed or giving speeches he is addressing these very issues and more.

“Who can worry about housing, schools or transport, let alone the mundane aspirations of Middle England, ahead of the great liberation struggles.” I don’t know where Philip Stephens has been but every time I see Jeremy Corbyn being interviewed or giving speeches he is addressing these very issues and more.

I would suggest he and the Labour party have lost the working-class vote thanks to the previous Blair government being non representative of them.  Remember Mandelson talking about being: ” Intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich as long as they pay their taxes…?” Corbyn has also suffered very badly by the press.  Mrs May has profited by Cameron’s mistake and badly handled Remain campaign and we are now at the mercy of this unelected PM and her party… (see also JC policy docs here)

Philip Stephens creates a narrative that doesn’t fit the facts. Corbyn has delivered effective attacks on the Government on welfare, the NHS and housing, some producing small U-turns.

He also travelled up and down the country campaigning to Remain. The problem was he and the Labour Party failed to breakthrough the media ignoring their campaign and focussing (in terms of the Remain argument) exclusively on the pathetic and useless official Remain campaign. Jeremy has been democratically elected twice to be leader. His record should in no way be considered dismal. He has consistently delivered his honestly and long-held beliefs.

Rubbish analysis as per usual although the historical throwback is well put.

Corbyn does care about housing, education, schools, middle england, under invested regions (it was Corbyn who was talking about a migrant impact fund), transition to Green energy.

Corbyn far-left? Inaccurate and “un-FT”. Corbyn seems to be a middle of the road socialist, at least by normal European standards.

Far-left policies include abolishing private healthcare, private education, the monarchy, making all third-level education free, nationalising banks and railways and a number of other things, some of which would probably be quite good for the country.

As it is, Corbyn seems to be a middle of the road socialist, at least by normal European standards. Far-left European politicians would include Vladimir Lenin, Rosa Luxembourg, Alexander Lukashenko and any number of dictatorial 1980s Communist party secretaries in Warsaw Pact-era eastern Europe. Jeremy Corbyn is quite clearly not in that zone unless one is a swivel-eyed Daily Mail reader.

A question: When Brexit is done and May is left standing there blinking vaguely and surrounded by the wreckage of the economy where will the Conservative Party be in the eyes of the electorate?

Its reputation for sound economic management will have been trashed along with the economic damage it has just imposed on the country so who wins?

Philip you are doing the FT (and its readers) a signal disservice by misunderstanding Corbyn and the Labour left.

Copeland was never likely to vote for an anti nuclear Labour Party – and well you know that. The wonder is that the Labour Party nearly won the seat despite being clearly antagonistic to the existence of the region’s biggest employer. WE, the subscribers to the FT, expect objective reporting that enables good decision making.

Corbyn and labour can’t win at the moment, if they go to the middle and ignore the democratisation of their party they will lose, if they stay a democratic left party the boomers and those with assets won’t vote for them as they fear socialism

Meanwhile the millennials and future generations bear the brunt of public debt created privately, and shareholder capitalism which is a race to the bottom, generation rent, and the absurd 40% of income rent costs in areas where there are plentiful jobs and opportunity epitomises the modern day surplus extraction and misery of those who have not lived among the golden age of capitalism, add tuition fees, stagnating public services (NHS), erosion of employment rights and you can see why Corbyn is confident among that 20% (of which I’m a part, ha ha ha, how funny he’s so inept ha ha ha lets all laugh at corbyn because there are so many other alternatives out there that are SO much better).

The Tories will continue their irrational, economically illiterate policy that is not running the country into the ground but causing growing social issues, and new social actors will emerge from the post 2008 age eventually tipping the balance towards something more corbyn-esque. Until then it will be the same old, same old.

Corbyn’s crackpot policies are simply outrageous! Spending a little more on the NHS and primary school education?  Providing a bit more affordable housing in the midst of a housing crisis? 

Failing to asset strip the public infrastructure? Rowing back a bit on the vast, exploitative Sports Direct-ification of the British economy?  Why, this is simply unpatriotic! How “radical” – somebody stop this crazed moderate, centre-left European-style social democrat Corbyn before my taxes end up a little bit higher and the proles end up with a slightly better quality of life!

God forbid that poorer people should ever have slightly better quality of life. Who knows where that might end? It’s better not to give people hope. It just encourages them to think. 

I agree.  Britain’s low wage, low skill, low investment, low productivity economy would be severely jeopardised by the dangerous, radical policies of Jeremy Corbyn. Sure, he’s languishing in the polls now, but the proles are a fickle lot and cannot be trusted to consistently vote for their own impoverishment. What if Corbyn dons a Union Jack leotard and starts leaping up to belt out a few verses of ‘God Save The Queen’ with gusto on the next campaign trail, waving a couple of flags about like the dickens.  Why, the proles might even be duped by this charade into voting him into office! This would leave us all at the mercy of an outbreak of half-decent working and housing conditions for the proles at any time.  This simply would not do, too much has already been invested by the Conservatives in their cooption of UKIP’s policy platform!

There was no money left. The Tories have just borrowed billions. The crash will be spectacular.

This article is high in the running for one of the worst I have read in the FT in years.  We are in the end times of Neo-Liberalism, an experiment where maybe 20% did very well, and 80% were massively left behind.

Corbyn, Trump, Brexit are consequences of a system that has failed, and a financial system that collapsed in 2008, never a crisis always a collapse.  Stevens has no understanding of the why’s of brexit or the rise of Corbyn.  The left-right paradigm is dead.  I could not find one sentence in this article that is not total ideological nonsense.

If Jeremy has got under the skin of Philip Stephens so badly he must be doing something right.

Most Labour MPs and most journalists hate Corbyn as if he were the devil.  He represents the one pole of the process of polarisation caused by the 2007-9 Great Recession and the continuing crisis of world capitalism.

Let there be no mistake. The reason Philip Stephens is so horrified is because if his buddies amongst the old Labour MPs who are career politicians, were instead people of principle and socialists, then the Labour Party would be challenging for power.

The lesson of our era is the fluidity and rapidity of change. If Corbyn is right, (and I think there is lots of evidence to back him up), if he can be seen to be a leader of masses on protests and demonstrations, this will sharply polarise politics and this may match a simultaneous collapse in Tory support.  The Labour MPs who are resigning and trying to oust Corbyn again with their endless press briefings against him are part of a deliberate coup attempt. This time a sort of coup by water torture. They will fail again. The only major criticism one can make of Corbyn is he is too soft on these saboteurs. There are times when a sword must be wielded.

The worrying thing about this analysis is, his policies weren’t even that far left, they were definitely more central than Thatcher’s. Yet the FT reports this as if he’s Lenin/Kim Jung Un etc. His biggest failing for the press is he wants a meritocracy and for companies which require state support (through the use of tax credits to prop up salaries and increase profits and bonuses) to not pay dividends, which is effectively the Government paying the rich in an indirect way. Yes he has his failings, as does everyone, but generally speaking a lot of his economic policies would work fairly well at creating a long term balanced economy.

Corbyn, and his anointed heir, need to show there is an alternative to the Conservative Creed. Perhaps he needs to lose an election to clear out the MPs who are undermining him.

Perhaps this will result in his own political demise. But if he has a suitable succession plan in place then his success will come after he is gone. With the LabouraTory MPs planked off the sinking ship, seats will be freed for real Labour candidates for the subsequent election.

Facetious commentary. Corbyn has inherited a mess of a party with crumbling membership and totally out of touch MPs.

Time and time again polls have shown that the public want a ring fenced NHS, working railways and better care for the elderly, sick and disabled. To finance that he has stated that he will increase funding to the HMRC so that it can go after companies that are not paying their taxes (last year’s estimated unpaid tax was £34 Billion) which is probably why this article has been written in the style it has.

People want the state to intervene if something isn’t working. The current level of income disparity is something that is directly affecting the world by creating the perfect soil for fascism. Yet no other political leader wants to do anything about it (since it will affect their careers after being an MP). 

Versus the CIA and capitalism he is the best chance we have of having a fair society


via the Brummie

redbrick 2 reader

Mental illness is an issue that affects many individuals in society, so why is it that the government is not doing more to help? Keah Joseph of Redbrick – the student publication (hard copy and online) of the University of Birmingham – explains what the new Labour party are offering as a solution and what this means for the future. Summary below, link to full article at foot of blog.

Jeremy Corbyn is changing politics in many ways, but mainly by wanting to create a ‘kinder politics and caring society.’ This type of politics completely contrasts that of David Cameron who during the election period made promises which he had no intention of keeping.

Mental health is among the most widespread health issues, yet despite this it does not receive enough attention. Unlike physical health issues, mental health problems are not as easily noticeable, but are equally distressing. There have been many cuts to mental health trusts over the past five years and under the Tory government these cuts are not over yet. It is becoming harder and harder to help those who are suffering. 41 mental health trusts prepare themselves for an upcoming bleak five years, as the plans of the Tories have revealed, involve an 8% cut in funding to the trusts. Keah Joseph asks:

  • If 1 in 4 people are suffering with mental health issues within in the United Kingdom, why are the government cutting back?
  • Why are the conservatives not investing in mental health trusts and providing them with the facilities needed to help those suffering from mental illness?

Labour is introducing a fresh, new way of thinking about how to tackle the challenge of mental health within our society. Jeremy Corbyn is the first Prime minister (sic) to place mental health centre stage and recognise how much it affects so many people’s lives.

This was demonstrated on his first day which he spent attending a fundraiser for mental health. 1 in 4 people within the UK suffer a mental health illness such as depression, bipolar, anxiety, panic attacks and so on. Now that’s one quarter of our population being affected. The most common of these being a mixture of anxiety and depression. Around 10% of our population are diagnosed with depression each year.

Jeremy is stressing the importance in tackling mental health in a way no other party leader has done before by appointing Luciana Berger as shadow minister for mental health. This shadow cabinet is not only a first for specifically serving those with mental health issues it is the first shadow cabinet with a majority of women working on board.

Jeremy has informed voters that they do not have to accept inequality and injustice thrown at them; ‘things can and must change!’

redbrick logoTo read the article in full – including Keah Joseph’s interview with shadow minister for mental health Luciana Berger about her views on government stance towards mental health – go to


Having doffed his green, safe and smart cap, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for community safety, James McKay, has now written to welcome the Government’s latest approach to extremism – “tackling the threat from terrorism in all its forms. We can’t pick and choose which extremism we want to tackle. We need to fight it all”.

bham air pollution

As an estimated 1460 Birmingham people die from air pollution each year, the government prefers to focus on terrorism, which has killed very few.

Public Health England reports show that air pollution is estimated to cause 1,460 excess deaths a year in Birmingham and the Government has been ordered by the UK’s highest court to take immediate action over its obligations under European law on air pollution limits.

In April, ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reported from Birmingham, one of the worst affected cities. Watch the video:

George Monbiot correctly points out that factors likely to kill far more people in this country than terrorists will manage, include:

  • diet, smoking, alcohol,
  • the slow collapse of the NHS,
  • child poverty,
  • air pollution,
  • traffic accidents,
  • lack of exercise,
  • even accidents due to the wrong kind of bedroom slippers,
  • and the writer adds, domestic violence,

and longer term:

  • climate change,
  • antibiotic resistance,
  • soil loss
  • and nuclear proliferation by states (including our own)

Monbiot insists that all the hazards he named – except nuclear proliferation – should be given more resources and political effort than are deployed to confront Islamic extremism.

A Moseley correspondent wrote that he hoped Jeremy Corbyn would ‘win’ (politics would become far more interesting) but that he would not vote for the Labour Party, presumably even one led by JC. Yet he has a young daughter . . . Surely a Corbyn-developed society would offer her a far better future?

corbyn young 2

Julia: “Let’s carry the spirit of Greenham all the way home to Number 10 and work to give our children and our children’s children a future”.

Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to stop spending an estimated 100 billion pounds on the replacement of Trident Nuclear submarines, a system which many military figures themselves have admitted is outdated and ineffectual as a so-called ‘deterrent’.

Instead, Corbyn would introduce a positive programme of rebuilding the UK’s battered infrastructure, which is presently suffering badly under cuts.

corbyn cndIt has been hit hard by these cuts. It is difficult to get a GP appointment. There is a shortage of hospital beds and the new QE is too small. How many people queue outside early in the morning to get one, or sit with someone who is desperately ill in a hospital waiting area, hoping that they will be admitted?

At present we face a new threat of reduced councillor services: local councillors to be cut from 120 to 100 at a time when other help agencies are also losing funding.

  • The new Birmingham Library has severely restricted hours and the important and rich collection of historic documents in Birmingham Archives is set to become all but inaccessible.
  • Birmingham’s heritage is being hit hard in another way too: with only two conservation officers where there used to be eight more important historic buildings, and buildings of period style are likely to be lost.
  • All three of the other candidates support the renewal of the four nuclear submarines, regardless of the nationally crippling cost of this outdated and dangerous system.

Corbyn has made it clear that a priority would be the redeployment of those currently working on the nuclear weapons industry into more socially productive industries.

In this not very radical part of the UK, Hall Green CND is proud to report that we played our own small part in gaining Birmingham’s only Constituency Labour Party nomination for Jeremy Corbyn in Birmingham, Yardley.

corbyn young 1Attending a rally in support of Jeremy Corbyn’s Policies for young people, at All Star Lanes on August 10 in London

A mixture of young and older people spoke up for Corbyn in the debate. We also met friends who we did not even know were supporting Corbyn. It was very exciting.

It has become very clear since then how fast the tide is turning. People want a new kind of Labour leader: a new kind of Labour Party.

Julia, a member of CND, says that the organisation does not exist to endorse any political party, but rather, primarily to achieve the end of nuclear weapons in this country. To this end, it endorses the Corbyn leadership campaign for the Labour Party because Corbyn, who also leads Parliamentary CND, has consistently supported CND throughout his entire political career.

We cannot, and should not, support any party or any candidate who is not firmly and unequivocally backing the removal of nuclear weapons from British soil and British waters. This time we have a Labour leadership candidate who understands that: someone we can be proud to endorse: truly one of our own: a member of the campaign since the age of 15, someone who was a positive presence at all those long ago, and recent, anti-nuclear and anti-war rallies, someone who, elected in that terrible year which nearly destroyed both CND and the Labour Party, never compromised but has supported us in every single nuclear vote since 1983. And we believe that Corbyn never will compromise.

To read the whole article and use the contact links, go to





armando iannucciIn a January article Iannucci wrote: “They’ve had months, years even, to prepare and mighty budgets for media spend, and yet we feel so little the wiser. You get the impression they’d love their manifestos to go out encrypted. It’s easy to see then why the Brand mantra – “Don’t Vote” – has so much appeal. Post 2010, we all got austerity measures, bedroom taxes, NHS reforms and tuition fees that absolutely nobody voted for because absolutely no political manifesto mentioned them. So why shouldn’t we abandon our political masters and stay at home?

Extracts from a more recent article by Armando Iannucci in the Observer

Questions to David Cameron include:

  1. What are the further £10bn of welfare cuts you need to make but haven’t detailed?
  2. Do you accept that parliament will not vote on a possible replacement to Trident until next year?
  3. If so, can you explain why the Ministry of Defence has for the last two years spent £1.24bn on “getting ready” a replacement and preparing “long lead” parts of an as-yet unvoted for missile system?
  4. Is it true that for your first year in office you had no idea of the full scale and ambition of Andrew Lansley’s NHS reforms and were furious when you found out?
  5. Why did you push the TV companies to schedule as many of the TV debates as possible before the publication of the party manifestos?
  6. How can the electorate question you on your proposals if you’ll take questions only before you propose them?
  7. Do you feel responsible for a political culture in which more than a million benefit claimants were sanctioned and penalised in 2013 but only one HSBC tax evader has been prosecuted?
  8. How do you feel about the rise in suicides of people who have been denied disability benefit?
  9. Why do we have so many food banks? Why do Save the Children and the Red Cross, two organisations set up to work abroad, now work extensively in the UK?
  10. How do you square launching the “big society” with Iain Duncan Smith’s refusal to meet volunteers from the food bank charity the Trussell Trust in 2013 because he felt they were “scaremongerers” and “political”?
  11. Why did IDS refuse to speak in a 2013 Commons debate on the growing use of food banks? Indeed, why did he leave that debate early?

Questions to Ed Miliband include:

  1. Why do you not make a speech highlighting the benefits immigration has brought to this country?
  2. Why did your work and pensions spokeswoman, Rachel Reeves, say Labour “is not the party of people on benefits”?
  3. If you’re prepared to admit that New Labour made mistakes over wealth inequality and financial deregulation, will you go further?
  4. Will you also admit that many of the administrative problems in the NHS were caused by New Labour’s mission to inject private market forces into an organisation not built for that purpose?
  5. Will you admit that much of New Labour’s obsessional drive to impose targets on the NHS pushed staff to breaking point with, to cite one example, paramedics suffering from urinary tract infections because their bosses wouldn’t permit them toilet breaks?
  6. If you’re in favour of commissioning a replacement to Trident, will you or any of your team be making a speech defending the cost and outlining your clear reasons for prioritising a nuclear deterrent over other spending plans? Or is this an awkward subject?
  7. When so much of the first-, second- and third-generation immigrant community votes for your party, why do you still prefer to use the language of “restricting” immigrant numbers employed by Conservatives and Ukip?
  8. Do you like the unemployed? Or are you embarrassed by them? Do you take it for granted they vote for you? Are you fully aware many of them are turning to the Greens, Ukip and the SNP instead?
  9. Why do you feel the need to talk tough about welfare cuts and immigration levels without much prompting?
  10. You do realise that the slogan Vote Labour, We’re a Little Like Ukip is not going to bring out your base?

Iannucci reflects: “Now is the best time in a generation to go out and vote. With such a fragmented system on offer, nothing is inevitable. Uncertainty may create instability, but it can also generate churn and change in a way that doing nothing never can. The truth is, we haven’t been abandoning politicians – they’ve been abandoning us . . . The 45% who voted yes to independence in Scotland . . . is driving the agenda in Scottish politics as powerfully as if it had been on the winning side . . . Alternative answers such as Green, nationalist, pro-NHS, even the Pub Landlord (standing against Nigel Farage), no longer look like stupid also-rans”.

To read the March article go to

green party logo borderThe Green Party of England and Wales has polled 10% for the first time this week, and online media reports that – according to a YouGov pollster – the recent surge in support is coming largely from Labour’s younger voters.

Although there has been a small increase in support from all age groups, the backing of 18–24 year olds is the driving force in its improved poll ratings.

Business Green (BG) comments that “The Greens are clearly positioning themselves as the ‘real opposition’ to the Coalition ahead of the general election, with Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas‘ article in the Guardian setting out seven reasons for this advance in the poll and asserting that Labour has failed to provide opposition to the government, particularly on austerity.

BG then referred to “the popularly held idea that the Labour Party has an historic role as the principled voice of the masses, which was lost when the New Labour project took off and has never been regained”.

New Labour has acknowledged this and appointed Sadiq Khan to head a new strategy unit hoping to address the Green challenge to Labour votes.


Voters’ views are more in tune with the National Health Action Party than government

NHAP logoAnother new poll shows that most voters in David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt’s constituencies are at odds with the PM and Health Secretary over the NHS and more in tune with the NHAP Party which is fielding general election candidates in both constituencies.

On behalf of UNITE, Survation interviewed 1016 residents of Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency of Witney and 1062 residents of Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt’s constituency of South West Surrey by telephone. Fieldwork was conducted between 2-5 December.

The poll shows that the overwhelming majority of voters in Witney and South West Surrey want the NHS exempted from the EU-US trade treaty, or TTIP, currently being negotiated in Brussels. Yet the Prime Minister has refused to keep the NHS out of the deal, even though he can.

Just 13% of voters in Witney and 16% in South West Surrey are in favour of including the NHS in TTIP.  Yet this is official Tory Party policy.

The poll also reveals that local NHS and GP services are by far the most important local issue – in Witney they are almost three times as important as immigration and in South West Surrey, they are as important as crime, immigration, employment and education put together.

lobbying for ttip

The National Health Action Party have long been campaigning for the NHS to be exempted from the TTIP deal and now believe the entire deal needs to be opposed. The Party’s co-leader and general election candidate for Witney Dr Clive Peedell said he welcomed today’s poll:

“It’s encouraging that such an overwhelming majority of voters in this constituency are calling for the NHS to be saved from this damaging and secretive deal and that they are putting health at the very top of their election agenda. If the NHS were to be included in this deal between the EU and the US, it would allow US corporations easier access to our NHS as well as other public services, and would mean NHS privatisation being locked in . . . The NHA Party is standing up against both NHS privatisation and this trade deal . . . “

Former MP Dr Richard Taylor, co-founder of  the National Health Action Party, calls for urgent and complete reform of the NHS Complaints Process.

dr richard taylorHe describes it as toothless and unhelpful from the patients’ or their relatives’ points of view. An impartial, independent opinion is not available until the complaint is passed to the Ombudsman.

When he was a medically qualified MP, assisting constituents with complaints, on several occasions the only ‘independent’ experts employed appeared to be on the side of the NHS and not really independent. They were defensive and expert at rubbishing the complaint or justifying the action, or lack of action taken, that led to the complaint.

In order to make effective complaints, patients need expert, independent help made easily and generally available early in the process and long before legal action is considered. Legal action must always be the last resort.

The Independent Health and Disability Commissioner of New Zealand, with offices in all major towns, is an example of an independent, accessible official to whom patients, relatives and staff can raise complaints and concerns with preservation of anonymity if desired. The Commissioner has the knowledge and ability to cope with these or to pass them on to the highest authority when appropriate.

Before Community Health Councils were abolished they had the ability to listen to complaints and then direct access to local NHS authorities or even the Health Secretary if necessary. There has been no adequate replacement for this vital service. Health Watch appears to be toothless in this respect.

An appropriate reform of the Complaints Process could fill this gap. Dr Taylor adds:

“Even more important is the need to avoid complaints. This can be achieved by improving communication between NHS staff and their patients. With open, comprehensible information-sharing and discussion most complaints can be avoided before they develop. As always full, open communication between patients and staff is vital”.


Our nearest hospital is Carlisle which is nearly bankrupt having been involved in what I think was called PFI, ie private funding.

The car parking there is so bad that one has to take a driver so one can go to the appointment whilst the driver waits to park the car. I am told many people give up and go home missing the appointment, thereby wasting time and costing money.


nhap header

Call ​for a Health Service Ombudsman for England​

Since the demise of the Healthcare Commission in 2009 the PHSO is the second and final tier in the NHS complaint process.  If the NHS trust has not given a satisfactory response, after the complaint process ends, the complainant can go to the Ombudsman free of charge. 

The National Health Action Party is supporting a call ​for a Health Service Ombudsman for England​ rather than the current joint Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman. Read more here.

Dr Kishore Tewary informs us that a Birmingham group has been in existence for some time, and will soon be launching a Facebook group as well as online discussion sessions.

The group aims eventually to have face to face meetings, and decide on strategies/actions.

national archives logo

The National Archives release of files from 1984 revived memories of hearing a Kings Heath CEGB engineer – in the ‘60s – telling his wife that he could not understand why cheap, low quality coal was being imported, when British coal burned longer and was actually cheaper in the long run. The cheap coal adversely affected the operation of the plant, leading to increased maintenance costs and higher generating costs.

Deliberate or merely short-sighted political action that sowed the seeds of economic decline?

A comment by ‘Stander’ on a Channel 4 blog says: “It was cheaper to import coal than pay our own miners to take it out of the ground, but it’s that kind of short-sighted thinking that sowed the seeds of economic decline. It overlooked the fact that the money paid to miners was largely spent in their local communities, driving the economy. Money spent on imported coal is simply a negative on the balance sheet of UK plc”.

‘Alan’: “It was all planned and is contained in the leak of the Ridley report in May 1978 in the Economist. The forces of the state were used by Thatcher to crush the unions to make way for selling UK assets to their mates”.

Extract from the leaked report of Nationalised Industries Policy Group (Ridley report) – see the text of The Economist article, and a link to the full report at the Margaret Thatcher Foundation:

1977 denationalisation ridley report

One reader’s verdict in 2014:

Shamus: “a greedy self serving elite that control the money, legislation and media”

And many doctors fear that these tactics are being used to ‘reform’ – privatise – the NHS

A politically angled account, with added material on state violence and reference to investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, may be read here.