18 January 2018
Diary of a Corbynista
Fun with Trump, Carillion and the NHS
by Don Urquhart
Chris Hopson, of NHS Providers, said hospitals were now unsafe and over-crowded and the government should rethink its policies.
At PMQ’s yesterday the Prime Minister reported that Britain’s Health Service had been rated the world’s best of 11 countries by the Commonwealth Fund (a Washington based foundation). The European Commission’s ranking of 35 countries has us at number 15. England is 6th according to the Gazette Review. Business Insider has the UK in 18th position. If you are an A&E customer such judgements have no relevance.
How long before a bewildered middle-aged lady languishes on a trolley in Maidenhead A&E waiting for chronic denial surgery?
Back in 2006 Ali G presaged current trends when he visited the UN and asked his guide:
“Why do you let crap countries like Guinea have a vote? Where’s Africa?”
When the guide responded that Guinea was part of Africa Ali G indignantly grunted:
“So you claim!”
He was ahead of his time. Yesterday the President of the United States complained:
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” The countries he referred to were Haiti and El Salvador as well as Africa in general.
Ignorant abuse and insults are de rigueur for the Donald. Unlike Toby Young he will get away with it.
Having spent 8 years dismantling and selling off the Health Service, the Tory Party now wants to take it out of politics. They quote someone called Maurice Saatchi who has proposed a Royal Commission. The name rings a bell, but I understand that he’s not the person who didn’t manage to strangle Nigella. Maurice is some sort of advertising agent. It’s the equivalent of asking Katy Price whether we should stay in the EU (well done Paxman) or hounding Mariah Carey for sound bites about an ongoing mass murder in Las Vegas (nice work Piers Morgan).
The impending demise of Carillion can come as no surprise. The company has been the favourite short-selling target for hedge funds for over 2 years. In a way it is the mirror image of the train companies which are featherbedded by soft contracts with the Government. Carillion clearly does not have contractual ways of liberating rescue funds from the taxpayer. The government talks about contingency plans. We shall see whether these are invoked to the benefit of employees, pensioners, customers, or could it be the big banks looking for repayment of some injudicious loans? And to what extent are these banks hedging their bets with big shorts on the firm?
Donald Trump tells us he is not a racist. You can mull over what he has said – the Mexican rapists, the shithole countries and the rest, but it is irrelevant. It’s not just the Donald. Look at the aggressive statements made by both sides in the Brexit negotiations. When push comes to shove what counts is the end result. Back to Trump – could his exchanges with Kim Jong-Un have been more vituperative and yet we see the chubby North Korean now apparently softening. Before long he will be receiving a tickertape reception in New York.
David Lidington and Oliver Dowden are the people sent out to put some sort of positive spin onto the Carillion fiasco. At the sharp end, small businesses are folding and workers are casting round for jobs in what is now very much a buyers’ market. What does it mean that workers on government contracts continue to be paid? How long for? Have the people running this company have enriched themselves by conning the government or with the connivance of a government keen to defer bad news?. Or both?
I am looking forward to PMQ’s. Jeremy has to go on Carillion and I ask myself what possible defence Theresa May can offer. Certainly she will major on the robust measures she is taking to protect jobs and ensure that public services are not affected. Jeremy will depict this as a watershed. It seems that Interserve, bigger than Carillion are going the same way. One of the plusses of the crisis is that I obtained Red Scare points by spotting Anna Soubry on Daily Politics twice denouncing nationalisation of public services as Marxism.