In December 2010 I was talking to a newly elected Labour MP. This person told me that Michael Meacher and Hilary Benn, both hugely respected veterans of Labour politics, Michael as a Front bencher and then Minister, and Hilary as Leader of Ealing Council and Cabinet Minister had said in a meeting that this Tory led Government was worse than anything that Thatcher had done.
I put it down to justifiable anger, laced with a bit hyperbole given the horrific shock that the Labour Party had undergone when we hammered at the polls that spring. We were all still in a state of shock. What this MP was articulating couldn’t possibly be true. I loathed and detested Thatcher (hate is too strong, she always put the country first and despite being desperately wrong headed she was a patriot) and the havoc she wrought upon those who were not, “one of us” meant that the Labour Party brilliantly led by Tony Blair had a monumental task to turn the country around and restore the British key traits of respect for all, and taking decisions for the good of everyone rather than a tranch constituency (white van man in Maggie’s case) who would be lobby fodder come election time.
Labour left a legacy of economic growth despite the Banking Disaster, an NHS with record satisfaction levels, crime down by 40%, record investment in schools, SureStart to support young families and above all a country more at ease with itself despite the economic spasm induced by the greed of those in the City. We protected jobs by investment as exemplified by the car industry scrapage scheme, and helped cushion the blow for families by tax cuts and slashing VAT.
Yes, we failed miserably to regulate the Banks, but Osborne said in 2008 that, “less not more regulation is what is needed. Ireland provides the template for a successful economy”, so we aren’t going to take any lectures from the likes of the Tories. Our second major mistake was not to limit immigration from accession countries to the EU. This drove down wages and perversely damaged the skills base for jobs vital to economic recovery in construction and capital projects. We came to industrial policy too late, got tangled up with PFI and didn’t have the courage to make reforms to land ownership in order to build affordable homes. But overall the Labour Government was a success, and we left the country in better state than we found it.
This Coalition has been the Tories dream come true. They were able to rip up their manifesto with its fig leaf of “compassionate Conservatism”, and justify this by using the excuse of two party Government. They have then embarked on the most savage destruction of the Public Services imaginable whilst racking up record Government borrowing and increasing the deficit by a monumental 30% to £150 billion (source: ONS quoted in the Guardian 22nd May 2012) by the end of this Parliament.
The first sign of the true cruelty of this Government was revealed by the axing of the Gateway Initiative, a £150 million project to revitalise blighted estates across the North of England. Residents were energised by the plans, which besides creating much needed jobs, gave a massive boost to tenants that the Government cared about what happened to them. But instead residents found, “that the values of these homes been slashed by 50 per cent and we would have great difficulty in selling them.”
The estates have been overrun due to derelict properties being mixed in with homes where families are trapped.
I could go on. There are numerous examples of sick-minded barbarism masquerading as “deficit reduction”. From the axing of BSF, harassment of the dying via the DWP backed ATOS, to trashing of affordable pensions, this Government has left a trail of deliberate destruction in it’s wake.
The Tories hate the NHS with a passion. They hate the concept that everybody is equal in the eyes of the service. They hated the fact that under the Labour created system rich people could not outspend average hard working families in access to hospital; this has been changed as 50% of beds can now be annexed with personal wealth, squeezing out desperately ill patients. The NHS Bill trashes everything that is sacred to the UK public.
BUT, UNLESS IT HAPPENS TO YOU OR TO A LOVED ONE, THE DESTRUCTION IS REGRETTABLE BUT NEBULOUS.
THIS HAS TO CHANGE.
Today’s story about the NHS in Hull should set massive alarm bells clanging all over the nation, as it is in microcosm what the Tories attitude to public health really is.
“Hull And East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham, has to make £94 million in efficiency savings by 2015, including £27 million this year.
It will close ten wards by 2015, reducing the number of beds by 300, and Ward Six is a victim of the cutbacks”.
Ward Six is brand new, built by a Labour Government to provide specialist cardiac care instead of loading patients into general medical wards.
I should know. I was looked after in this world-class facility in April.
Prof. John Cleland (Head of Cardiac Services) said this about the Tories butchery of heart care, ““The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) thinks that’s dangerous and I would endorse that,” he said.
NICE say it is DANGEROUS. In the language of the public sector this is unprecedented. NICE are saying people will DIE.
Neurology has similarly had an axe taken to it. I am lucky. I have my case dealt with by the world’s leading consultant, at the Royal London, but if this had happened to me now, who knows.
SEVEN NEUROLOGISTS AT HULL ROYAL HAVE WRITTEN A LETTER.
Due the closure of the neurology ward at Hull Royal, there are NO NEUROLOGY BEDS IN THE TRUST.
“We have voiced our concerns on numerous occasions at managerial meetings and our opinions and concerns have been disregarded and a dictatorial approach has been taken, with new changes to our service implemented against our advice.”
What more do we need to hear? We MUST take action now.Don’t wait till it happens to you, or someone you love.
Table resolutions at your B/CLP, at your Union meetings. Include a mandate to write to our Councillors and our three MP’s. Mandate members to organise, contact CLP’s across the area and hit the streets.
Don’t let us say down the line that we wish we had done something.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get this show on the road.