THE FINAL COUNTDOWN TO SAVE OUR NHS
By shalondon, May 5 2015 08:38PM
‘Can the last 36 hours make a difference?’ asks Jon Snow.............
Surreally, we now have just 2 days to go to #GE20 15 – it barely seems possible to dream that after 5 long years of slog, battling the most insidious and damaging set of policies in living memory, that we are in touching distance of potentially taking the Tories out of power.
When long term right wing commentators such as Peter Oborne Tweet that the ‘Tory Party's uncosted and fiscally reckless manifesto shows that George Osborne still firmly in charge’ and that the ‘Tory manifesto also highlights Cameron's error in allowing post of chief political strategist and Chancellor of Exchequer to be merged.’ even Crosby must know he’s in trouble - which explains the vitriol of the final front pages of press bias towards Ed.
After 18 constituencies and 35 canvas sessions, I can see the ballot boxes are now in sight. But with heart in mouth – the key question remains :
What will the end result hold?
For Labour to win we have to tap into the fundamental reasoning of each voter -
I know the reasons I have taken an interest in current affairs since I was in primary school. I know the reasons I have been a Labour supporter since I left school (despite my family’s politics!). I know the reasons I support the NHS – numerous family members have been medical practitioners of one kind or another and I have worked for and with the NHS in various ways since I was a teenager on work placement. The NHS has also saved my life – more than once and has kept me going. Last week the NHS provided a family member with crucial life/death treatment. A nature /nurture fusion of reasons - personal circumstances and personal reasoning - which any political party has to tap into - or not.
Only because of the NHS have I been able to canvas and campaign – for Labour and for the NHS.
We all know that if Labour does not win the General Election 2015, we will be in grave danger.
A further 5 years of Tory ( or dare to speak the dread words ) a Tory/UKIP/DUP Coalition, will reduce our public sector and our NHS to rubble and the UK to a fragmented disunion, as Scotland at the very least, flees in disgust. Forget what Lucy Powell has gaffed this afternoon – the question is :
With the polls predicting what could even amount to a democratic crisis, what more can we do to minimise yet another Tory administration from taking hold?
For some, there is absolutely no compromise. Last week, the unmatchable ex chair of the Royal College of GPs , Dr Clare Gerada, told me that she could at last go public on her decision to resign from NHS England in order to campaign for the Labour party
‘We are at the tipping point for the NHS – I resigned from my post with NHSLondon in order to be free to explain the situation publicly. My visit to South Thanet and to marginal seats in London has proved to me that many at people still need to know the acute danger that we face if we do not have a Labour government next week.
The NHS is a national investment which helps to hold our economy together and we need a government who will rescue it from being consumed by the private sector. We must focus patients and only Labour will enable this to happen.’
Clare made an Election speech to the Royal College of GPs on Friday and her first fully public political appearance with Andy Burnham and Jo Brand in Ealing on Saturday.
Meanwhile Andy is conducting a whistlestop tour of the country – a boggling 15 rallies in 6 days – with travel time in between. On Saturday he went from Bristol, to Ealing to Norwich. Standing ovations are following his rallying words ......
’We’ve got the faith – let’s get the fight together! We are going to give hope! Pass the word on – get that message out!’
‘I’ve called time on this market experiment........ we are going to ask the NHS to lift up social care!’
‘our new Bill – which we are already writing, will fully exempt the NHs from EU procurement & competition law, it will put the right values back at the core – it will put collaboration before competition, people before profit – that is a firm commitment’
On Sunday Clare and I went from Ilford North out to South Thanet to bother Nigel Farage. On Monday we did the London key marginals of Bermondsey and Battersea.
Aside from some much needed bracing sea air, our visit to the South coast was a salutary lesson in how far our nation’s politics have been tainted by Farage .....
‘I really don’t care!’ said one woman when I mentioned the plight of those who would not be able to afford private healthcare – or simply to be greeted by a sheer look of utter disgust from another doorstep dweller as soon as she opened the door. She was evidently a fan of the man who rhymes with her garage, but other than a performing a drunken song on a pub tabletop is rarely to be seen thereabouts. Another was just grateful that someone had come to speak to her about #GE2015 - the first time she had ever been approached by any party.
Local Labour activists are 100% behind their brilliant young candidate Will Scobie . Sympathetic voters say that it is only since the arrival of the UKIP leader have they noted that a few people feel they have permission to speak in an aggressive and prejudiced way instead of the usual polite & friendly approach in the community. With vigorous street teams #TeamScobie continue to press both UKIP and the Tories hard and it seems increasingly likely that Farage will not succeed, although UKIP founder turned Tory ,Craig McKinley remains the one to beat.
Nationally, Labour has already achieved well in excess of the planned 4 million conversations – and thanks to an army of thousands of volunteers, a week earlier than expected. Will Martindale in Battersea, fighting Hunt minister Jane Ellison and Neil Coyle fighting justice system destroyer Simon Hughes are running the best of campaigns. A combination of carefully targeted door knocking teams, Super Saturdays, bus tours and intensive phone banking is steadily moving the message into target communities. In other key marginals, a set of formidable new BAME women candidates, including Uma Kumaran, Tulip Siddiq and Rupa Huq are rattling those Tories to likely victory
As Labour has visibly gained ground, the hostile press ( sadly including the BBC ) is increasingly against us – to the point of Richard Littlejohn’s nauseating correlation between a Labour govt and Savile, to which I will not supply a link, but instead offer the fantastic Kitty Jones blog to provide us with the theoretical analysis of the politics of blame which lies behind all of this....
The Scottish situation is set to become the clincher. Clearly Sturgeon believes she is to be the broker, with Clegg potentially out to grass, courtesy of Labour’s Oliver Coppard – although tactical voting by local Tories now seems likely to bring him back ( sadly). So dubious Clegg could yet be the 'kingmaker'.
It will certainly be anathema for Labour to do business on the basis of full devolution, but clearly the Scots will expect far more autonomy in return for support in the Chamber, should the need arise. Labour has consistently stated that the SNP cannot be a full Coalition partner – meanwhile Sturgeon is doing her best to play the two main parties off against each other, which is making her seem increasingly untrustworthy to all but her Scottish supporters – some of whom have no compunction about using aggressive tactics of the far right.
Certainly across the English constituencies I’ve canvassed so far, there does seem to be an increasing focus on the two main parties in England – and with not only Steve Coogan but also Russell Brand speaking out for Labour. Flirtations with the Greens and even the previously ubiquitous UKIP seem to be more limited than was indicated a few weeks ago, as the polls lurch backwards and forwards across a knife-edge result, the best it seems likely we can hope for is a minority Labour govt or a Borgen-esque left leaning coalition, but only the results will tell.
To win the day, clearly we must
a Highlght Tory/UKIP shortcomings – especially where health & the economy are concerned, backed up by hard evidence.
b. Explain to doubters what Labour has firmly outlined – with 100 new policies there is plenty to go at!
To push as far away from a coalition scenario as possible, we need to maximise on the key differences between Labour and the Tories to pull ahead in those key marginals – while the parties all state similar objectives, the means of delivery are very different :
Attack our NHS. Pro unaccountable market – pro TTIP, pro competition. Keep the H&SCA and Section 75. Not a single penny of the £8billion promised has been identified. Hunt now says it will simply come from a ‘stronger economy’ however we know that all the evidence points to them increasing cuts to acutely dangerous levels. Market is also v wasteful of precious funds.
Defend our NHs via Repeal of H&SCA and protect the NHS from TTIP under the Rule of Sovereignty in the Treaty of Lisbon. Beef up HWBBs to take on joint working role to bring in aspects of housing, leisure etc under a healthy living banner. Bring 999, 111 & out of hours into one service. Re-establish medical training routes and especially GPs. Rescue care provision and create integrated model. Fully costed plan.
We all know that despite latterday protestations that UKIP support a free at the point of need model, that this in reality will mean a business model with insurance/means testing as per the US system.
Who knows. Whatever the mood strikes them - and even then they will deny everything.
In want of a health policy of their own, followed the NHA and grabbed the uncosted Pollock Reinstatement Bill with both hands - this has much in common with the Burnham approach, but other aspects which deviate towards another untimely top down reorganisation which Burham believes will be too much for the NHS to bear at the current juncture ~ 'it will instead result in the collapse of the very thing they seek to save'.
Pollock also maintains this Bill is 'still in Parllament' and presents it to the great and the good as being the only health legislation on offer.
This is inaccurate for 3 reasons :
a. there has been no Parliament extant since March 30th
b new Parliament requires the presentation of new legislation
c. Team Burnham have legislation in preparation to include in the Queens Speech in the instance Labour form a govt - this includes the Repeal of the Health & Social Care Act & rescue of social care.
USEFUL DIFFERENTIAL REFERENCES :
IFS cut figs -
Tories cut £30 billion
LibDems cut £12 billion
SNP cut £6 billion
LAB cut £1 billion
For an additional barometer as to how far the NHS can make an impact in Tory heartlands - the odds on NHA's Dr Louise Irvine taking Jeremy's Hunt's South West Surrey constituency have just been slashed to 12/1.
One thing is clear - the 2015 General Election is on a cliff edge - and literally every vote will count as to whether we have another 5 years for the 1% or the opportunity to redress the imbalance through a Miliband - led government.
Finally let’s just pop back to London .....
NORTH WEST LONDON HOSPITALS - BURNHAM ANNOUNCEMENT
An interim report from the Mansfield Health Commission into the ‘Towards a Healthier Future’ reconfiguration has stated that the plans are ‘deeply flawed’
When Andy Burnham was in Ealing on May 2nd he stated unequivocally :
‘NW London is now at the frontline of cuts... this local trust has never met the government’s A&E target....A&E is the barometer of what is going on in local services – it tells you that your NHS services are in trouble.
We will call an immediate halt - there has to be a new clinical review.
It cannot make sense to close A&Es in the middle of an A&E crisis – it cannot make sense to close A&Es when they are packed to the rafters
My view is that it will be unsafe to proceed with those changes.
The lack of consultation ...and the way in which you have been treated... is quite shocking...
The NHS Constitution says communities have the right to be consulted – this falls far short.'
Nowhere so clear is the difference between Tory greed and Labour social justice.
We have 2 more days to make this – and so many other measures we so badly need, happen.
I know you must be tired – but don’t stop just yet!
Please try and lend a hand in those key marginals...
Knock on those doors - make those calls – tell your friends and rellies – Tweet/Facebook/Blog!
WE ARE ON A COUNTDOWN TO SAVE OUR NHS!
WE ARE ON A COUNTDOWN TO RESTORE A CIVILISED GOVERNMENT!
Let's make it happen. VOTE LABOUR!
Jos Bell May 5 2015