14 December 2017
Diary of a Corbynista
Jeremy takes his eye off the ball
by Don Urquhart
Jeremy used his 6 PMQ’s questions to attack the government’s Brexit performance. It was a big mistake. The PM was well rehearsed on this one and stuck obstinately to her script. He should have gone in on the NHS where A&E performance is already off the scale and winter has hardly arrived. I had occasion to visit ours recently but could not get through the door for the people in the vestibule on chairs, trolleys and sprawled on the floor. They looked hunted, desperate and in some cases hostile. Had there been a massive ceiling fan it could have been Damascus Airport where I was once stranded during a different crisis.
The EU and UK have agreed to move on to the next phase of negotiations. A form of words has been found that appears to give everyone what they want. Given the Civil Service horse power which has been moved to David Davis’ team from other departments it is surprising that this was not achieved for the first draft so that Monday’s farcical intervention by Arlene Foster could have been avoided.
Sooner rather than later! The Irish fudge in Friday morning’s agreement will unravel (or melt away?) as people start blinking and thinking. Will Arlene Foster demand to know to what extent the Province is to be merged with the EU and the people to her south? Will Rees-Mogg and his kind wonder aloud about the integrity of our borders and taking back control of our justice system? Who really understands where we are going except into a tortuous rehash of the same old issues? In our hour of need where is our Alexander to cut the Gordian knot?
Right at the start of 2017 Theresa May clumsily held hands with Donald Trump. Now she has Northern Ireland and he has Jerusalem. If ever there were two places in the world that needed handling with sensitivity. He is in like a bull in a china shop to divert attention from the Mueller investigation threatening his presidency. She has promised all things to all men to keep herself and her shabby associates in power for a few more weeks. Two of a kind – they deserve each other.
Lord Kerslake has resigned as Chairman of Kings College NHS Foundation Trust. NHS Improvement described the Trust’s financial performance as “unacceptable”, adding
“It is the worst in the NHS and continues to deteriorate”.
Lord Kerslake says
“I do not do this lightly as I love King’s but believe the government and regulator are unrealistic about the scale of the challenge facing the NHS and the trust.”
So, unless you have your head in the sand, you have to weigh up who to believe – the former Head of the Home Civil Service or Jeremy Hunt’s bean counter attack dogs.
Alabama is in the spotlight today. Donald Trump selected Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as his Attorney General thus creating a vacancy. The election for his successor takes place today. The GOP candidate is Roy Moore who is struggling with allegations of sexual wrongdoings some 40 years ago. Nevertheless he has the wholehearted endorsement of the President (and Farage as it happens). The Republicans currently hold 52 of the 100 Senate seats so the majority is safe. More significant is the potential for interpreting the vote as a referendum on POTUS himself.
The OFSTED annual report is out. 100 schools have not reached “Good” status since 2005 and 700 have “Required Improvement” in the last 2 inspections. 34% of local authority children’s services are “Good” or “Outstanding”. The Chief Inspector is particularly concerned about educational standards in young offenders institutions which could be “extremely poor”. “Could be” indicates that she probably doesn’t have the resources to find out. In Education Questions the other day Justine Greening majored on the number of children going to good or outstanding schools. Why would she want to dwell on the severe underfunding affecting too many children?
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