It’s becoming clear that the focus of next years’ General Election – and the key policy issue which highlights the difference between what the Labour Party stands for and what the Conservatives are all about – is the way we look after our NHS.
The Tories have delighted in negative stories about the NHS. They’ve said it needs reform.
The fact of the matter is we all know that the NHS isn’t perfect but what it does guarantee is that every person in this country receives whatever medical treatment they require no matter what background they come from and at no charge.
It’s the most basic moral offer of a civilised society – that we’re all born equal human beings and health or medical problems are not in our control and should not require payment. The rich should have no more right to medical treatment than a person living off benefits having been in a road accident that has prevented them from working.
No matter how hard the Tories try to tell us they care about the NHS, deep down we all know the truth. They don’t care because, firstly those at the top of the Conservative Party have no problem in paying for their own healthcare and secondly, basically they know that those most likely to need healthcare are from more deprived areas and most definitely not likely to vote Conservative.
The Tories opposed the creation of the NHS – fact. And in every Tory government since then they’ve tried to dismantle it. We cannot afford to let them get another five years or it will without a shadow of a doubt be too late.
The sweeping cuts being made by Blackburn Council’s Tory led administration, announced in today’s Lancashire Telegraph (1st July 2010) show their complete failure not only to understand the needs of the local community but also to stick up for Blackburn in Westminster.
The cuts will have a massively damaging effect on those most in need – take Shadsworth with Whitebirk for instance – one of Britains top ten most deprived wards – it faces losing two community centres and a leisure centre, on top of this the Blakewater College is due to close under Building Schools for the Future – so the ward will have no community facilities at all.
All community centres in the Borough are facing closure – and surprise surprise they are situated in wards represented mainly by Labour Councillors. The fact is the Tories simply don’t care about these communities because they can’t win any elections there. In this years’ Council elections they didn’t even bother standing candidates in most of them.
Not only this though, the cuts being made are terrifyingly shortsighted. Many of the problems of high crime and vandalism that we have experienced were as a result of the last period of Tory government when there was no investment in schools, the police or communities. Labour did invest which is why we now have the highest ever school standards and the lowest crime for almost 30 years.
It’s a well known fact that Blackburn is one of the most deprived communities in England and its funding from Government reflects that fact. However, under George Osborne’s proposals the Council is forced to make higher cuts than almost every other authority in Britain – at the same time as authorities represented by Tory Ministers which have to make no cuts at all.
Yet when there was a Council meeting following the ’emergency’ budget the Tory and Lib Dem members in Blackburn refused to back Labour’s motion demanding that the national spending cuts be shared out fairly and equally.
We all know what the Tory answer to this mess is – ‘it’s Labour’s fault’. Change the record please – in Blackburn the Tories have now been in power for over 3 years – they’ve had massive amounts of money allocated by the then Labour Government yet they have failed to use that money responsibly. We now have a Tory government which has asked its Tory chumps in Blackburn to make massive cuts – Council Leader Mike Lee must be saying thanks a bunch to his pals David Cameron, Nick Clegg and George Osborne!
Am I the only one who can see this through Christine Pratt’s cynical comments on the Gordon Brown bullying allegations? I suspect not.
No one condones bullying of any form and if there have been any cases at Number 10 then these should be investigated. However Mrs Pratt’s outburst appears very conveniently timed given the Conservative Party’s increasing inability to persuade voters to leave Labour.
With the gap in the polls down to 6% on Sunday 21st February it is clear that people are now thinking more seriously about who is most fit to run the country. Gordon Brown’s efforts on the economy have been widely backed – even unemployment has failed to climb as high as predicted (remember that in each of the last two recessions – both under the Tories – unemployment rose to over 3 million).
So lo and behold as the Tories fail to win the political argument they come along with the usual character assassination stuff! Remember the ‘demon eyes’ campaign against Blair in 1997 – yes, we’ve been here before.
The Patrons of Christine Pratt’s charity are former Tory Minister Ann Widdecombe and current Tory Councillor Mary O’Connor. It has been stated that a number of Conservative MPs have called Mrs Pratt offering their support. All sounds a bit too suspicious to me.
Professor Cary Cooper who was on the Board of the National Bullying Helpline has resigned following Mrs Pratt’s comments. This eminent academic is clear that in naming the employer involved in the allegations a confidentiality has been breached.
I think it’s time we had some proper debate about the issues that really matter!