11 December 2018
Diary of a Corbynista
NHS in Meltdown
by Don Urquhart
Jeremy Hunt tells us that we must do more to safeguard the wellbeing of mothers and babies during childbirth. Maternity care services report that life-threatening incidents in their units are running at a rate of 140,000 per year and it is certain that not all are reported.
In casting around for causes Mr Hunt might consider the advice of the Royal College of Midwives that we are short of 3,500 midwives.
In 2015 the Labour Party elected a new leader and deputy leader. There were 4 candidates for each position and each posted an election pitch on the party’s website. One thing that struck me was that Corbyn’s was the only one that did not use the words “I” or “me”.
Yesterday Theresa May spoke to British troops garrisoned in Cyprus:
“Look, I am going to deliver on Brexit. That is undoubtedly the case, but I am doing other things as well.”
If only she were not being held back by that bunch of deadbeats she has to sit next to in the Commons.
It’s the time of year for leaders of all kinds to tell their followers about what matters. I suspect that most people see this as a ritual that has to be observed and don’t take too much notice. Theresa May delivered a commercial for Christian values. That’s fine if she thinks people will change their behaviour at her behest. You have to wonder about the Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhist and others, many of whom will see the roots of their homelands’ problems as stemming from overzealous promulgation and utilisation of Christian dogma back in the day.
Lord Heseltine has expressed the view that a Labour government would be preferable to leaving the European Union. He foresees the demise of the Tory Government and a second referendum under a Labour Government. It is becoming a recurrent theme. Jeremy Corbyn has had to go on record that a second referendum is not his party’s policy. Heseltine’s statement has been denounced by the Bow Group as treachery against party and country. Myself, I am starting to take a shine to him.
Xylella fastidiosa is a disease that can affect 350 different plant species. It has wiped out whole olive groves across the south of the continent. It is coming our way and could have a devastating effect on horticulture here. Defra has everything under control:
“That is why this year we have pressed hard at EU level for increased protections against Xylella, in order to prevent the devastating disease reaching our shores, and these were approved in October and came into force this month.”
“When we leave the EU we will also have an opportunity to examine all our national biosecurity measures on plant imports to ensure they are as robust as possible to protect the UK against diseases like Xylella.”
When we take such an insular view of our neighbours’ problems is it any wonder they are queuing up to give us a punishment beating?
Someone once said “L’Etat, c’est moi”. Political leaders sometimes feel compelled to identify with the state and anyone who disagrees with the leader is stigmatised as disloyal to the state. Theresa May’s misfiring election strategy pursued this sort of course and stuck in the throats of many erstwhile Conservative voters. Newspapers like the Mail and the Telegraph are quick to cry treachery, as recently when 11 Tory MP’s voted for the Brexit deal to be debated by Parliament. Lord Heseltine was denounced as a traitor to party and country for advocating a second referendum.
In his neck of the woods the Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani is employing the iron fist of the state, the Revolutionary Guard, to keep a corrupt theocracy in charge.
For many in the UK nothing is more enjoyable than mining the media for anodyne comments that can be portrayed as racist bigotry.
In August Shadow Minister Sarah Champion was quoted in The Sun to the effect that men of Pakistani descent were abusing young white women. She claimed to have been misquoted but was forced to resign her front bench post.
In Germany your racist bigots are loud and proud. The Cologne police tweeted a New Year message in Arabic and were accused by AfD’s deputy leader of appeasing “barbaric, gang-raping Muslim hordes of men”. The German police are deciding whether to charge her with incitement to hatred. We can characterise AfD as a far right party but it has 94 of the 709 Bundestag seats and achieved nearly 6 million votes in the recent general election.
Ambulance services are beyond their limits, operations are being cancelled, people are being shuffled into mixed wards and we are being told that if we need medical treatment A&E is the place to avoid. As if GP surgeries and walk-ins are brimming with over capacity.
The Department of Health is spinning it as the implementation of sophisticated contingency plans.
Esther Herbert accompanied her 87-year-old mother to Worcestershire Royal Hospital before Christmas.
“The doors opened and it was just a sea of people,” she said.
“There were people on beds all the way down the corridor, as far as you could see.”
Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre has asked patients to avoid its A&E after being deluged on Tuesday evening.
Leah Butler-Smith was with her mother, who was having a stroke, when she was caught in a queue outside Broomfield Hospital in Essex this week.
It was five hours before she was seen by a doctor – an experience she described as “scary”.
“We weren’t moving. We weren’t going anywhere,” she said.
Ambulances continued arriving; making them scared they would be bumped for more urgent cases.
She said it was too soon to know what effect the delay had had on her mother’s health.
“The staff are doing all they can. There just aren’t the funds for the beds.”
Tom Tugendhat, head of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee criticises Jeremy Corbyn for not condemning the Iranian regime’s suppression of demonstrations. Three things here. Corbyn probably has better things to do than letting his stomach rumble at distant Ayatollahs. Tugendhat must have better things to do than turn Iran’s problems into a UK party political issue. And how shouty should any of us be when we are still trying to extricate Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from an Iranian prison?
We are in the middle of a cabinet reshuffle. For a day or so now we have heard that Justine Greening will be sacked as Education Minister. On Daily Politics, Jo Coburn reports that Andrea Leadsom is for the push as Leader of the House. For a few days we have been hearing that Jeremy Hunt is ripe for promotion, with Deputy Leader as a possible new slot.
The Conservative Party this morning tweeted congratulations to Chris Grayling on becoming party chairman, then hastily deleted the tweet. Apparently Brandon Lewis will be taking on that job. One thing he might address is how best to manage and communicate a cabinet reshuffle.
We Corbynistas play a game called “Red Scare” where we spot Tory apologists running out of logical arguments.
Kwasi Kwarteng MP talked over Jo Coburn on Daily Politics but she managed to interject that several senior members of the medical establishment were calling this an unprecedented health service crisis. Kwasi’s response:
The Labour route would be one of complete ruin and economic catastrophe. That’s not going to help the NHS if you get Marxists running the economy.
The National Audit Office (NAO) reports:
“Over the last three years long-suffering passengers on the Thameslink franchise have experienced the worst performance on the rail network.”
The DfT “did not seek sufficient assurance that Govia Thameslink would have enough train drivers when it took on the franchise”.
A spokesman for Govia Thameslink expressed regret for the disruption to passengers.
Two GTR directors were paid £3.4 million between them last year. It is not known how they felt about the firm’s contract with the DfT or how they felt things were going in general.