Friday, 16 March 2012

The Future of the NHS: A Tale of Two Headlines...

Just take a minute to review these two headlines running at the moment about health care in the UK.

Firstly on the BBC website

"Home care for elderly branded 'shocking and disgraceful'"

link here; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17389588

then this one from the Guardian website

"Devon NHS children's services set for privatisation"

link here; http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/mar/15/devon-nhs-childrens-services-privatisation

Now to the first headline - the fact is that Elderly Home Care has been continually outsourced (privatised) from Local Authority control for about 20 years or so - and this is the headline we have and the evidence before us in 2012.

Despite this, the Coalition Government are pursuing the same failed prescription in Children's care today.

Quite frankly it is ludicrous, dangerous and morally, economically, politically and socially wrong on every level.

Is it any wonder I can't sleep at night!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Cameron's Weakness is All Too Plain to See - Political Cowardice

You wouldn't have thought it from a Tory Old Etonian, but our 'Establishment' Prime Minister is starting to show a very unexpected sign of weakness - political cowardice. The evidence is starting to build that when the going gets tough, the PM hardly gets going - except by his strenuous efforts to avoid his opponents.
I first picked this up when there were reports that Cameron was arranging Parliamentary recesses and foreign visits seemingly to avoid PMQ's (reported by Dr Eoin Clarke over at http://eoin-clarke.blogspot.com/) . Then we have Cameron's NHS summit to come on Monday 20th February where the invitations have only been sent to those in the health service that are more compliant towards the heavily criticised NHS and Social Care Bill - no invites for those from the Royal Colleges who have dared to demand that the Bill be dropped. On top of this we have the breaking news that Cameron actually shut journalists away when he recently visited the RVI Hospital in Newcastle, presumably so they could neither witness nor comment on the apparent rough ride he was given by some NHS staff. Contrast this to the way Blair and Brown undertook such visits - the contact with the staff and the public (and indeed confrontation on occasions) Blair and Brown both had were witnessed by a breathless media.
One wonders whether this is just an adept PR professional - which Cameron undoubtedly is - managing his appearance for the electorate or whether it is a sign of something deeper within the man himself - or could it be both perhaps?
If you witness how Cameron reacts to criticism, either in the HOC or elsewher, he either gets very short-tempered as the testy exchanges with the Leader of the Opposition would indicate, or he seems to simply sulk and avoid eye contact, as he was when dealing with a frosty Sarkozy straight after his EU veto that never was. An interesting aside on this is that many Conservatives consider Cameron's use of the veto was from a position of weakness and not strength despite the tub-thumping response it got from the Right.
Are the spin doctors worried about how Cameron appears under pressure and if so are they managing him so as to avoid anticipated pressure points? If this is the case then the Coalition needs to be worried. Should Cameron continue to be closetted in such a way and continually surrounded by people who don't disagree with him then there will only be one result - bad advice, bad policies and electoral disaster. Whilst one could accuse me of hoping for the latter, I would rather not have the former.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Complaint to BBC

Below is a copy of a complaint just sent to the BBC

On the BBC Six O'Clock News broadcast on 17th January 2012 Nick Robinson, Political Editor, was covering a news story about Ed Miliband's response to UNITE criticism about his policies on the Coalition Government's spending cuts . In the item Mr Robinson stated that "Labour Controlled" Doncaster Council, Ed Milband's own Council in his constituency, was cutting staff salaries by 4%. I believe Mr Robinson intended viewers to believe that this was a local Labour Party decision when actually Doncaster Council has an elected Mayor who is from the English Democrats Party. Mr Robinson either has no idea of the decision-making of local authorities who have an elected Mayor or he intentionally sought to mislead viewers in order to show a Labour Council supporting salary cuts to public sector staff. Therefore, either Mr Robinson is extremely ill-informed, which I doubt, or he made the statement in order to intentionally mislead viewers. I would want the BBC to correct the statement on a future news programme and an apology for what was at best poor, and at worst, biased journalism.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Letter to the Guardian

Sir

I am writing to complain about a worrying trend in the Guardian and that is the articles that are opened up for reader's comments and those which are not. It is noticeable that when there is a critical story about the coalition or more pointedly David Cameron or Nick Clegg in person, invariably the article is not open for reader's comments. However, critical coverage of the Leader of the Opposition (of which there seems to be more of late) is almost always open to reader's comments. The most recent example being a comparison between the two articles surrounding Ed Miliband's twitter typo ("Blackbusters") and the Prime Minister's apology for his Tourettes jibe at Ed Balls. Both the articles about Miliband are open to comment the single article about Cameron isn't. Perhaps you could explain why this is the case - and more worryingly, why this is the case most of the time?

Regards

Andrew Freeman