UK politics news review

It’s the last day of the Liberal-Democrat-Conservatives conference at Brighton today.

  • Seumas Milne has a comment is free article on the unity of the coalitionwhile there is empty, superficial, phoney differentiation.Some of the battles are real enough. But when it comes to the core of the government’s programme, they’re little more than shadow boxing. As the Lib Dems’ man at the Treasury, Danny Alexander, spelled out on Tuesday, the whole coalition backs a scale of cuts the Institute for Fiscal Studies has called “almost without historical and international precedent” – but is now committed to an additional £15bn squeeze for 2015-16.

    For all the Lib Dem boasts about their green credentials, a pupil premium that isn’t getting through to the poorest and increases in tax allowances that are mainly benefiting the better off, they remain fully signed up to the main agenda: an austerity, welfare cuts and privatisation programme that is cutting taxes for the rich and the banks, throttling recovery and threatening to widen inequality still further for years to come.

    We may not all be in this together – but they are. Lib Dem activists naturally don’t like it, but there’s little sign of rebellion. In what remains the most democratic of the main parties’ conferences, delegates still allowed themselves to be pushed into voting for more austerity – apparently out of loyalty and fear of what Tim Farron, their president, insisted would mean “chaos, mass unemployment and human misery”.

    When it comes to the Liberal Democrat leadership, it’s easy to forget how close the Orange Book faction around Clegg were to the Tories on economic policy to start with. In an echo of New Labour, the pro-privatisation, small state Orange Bookers – including Clegg, David Laws and Ed Davey – took over the Lib Dems at exactly the time the neoliberal model they so admired was imploding in the crisis of 2007-8.

    But their rapid rise laid the ground for the coalition with Cameron’s Tories. And any idea that they might have rethought a discredited ideology was dispelled on the Brighton fringe, where the home office minister Jeremy Browne rhapsodised about the free market, and Orange Book editor and hedge funder Paul Marshall gleefully recalled that Cable, another contributor, had endorsed privatisation of public services and a state spending cap of 40% of GDP (it’s now about 45%).

  • Conservative Liberal-Democrat leader Nick Clegg is expected to make a speech today extolling the virtues of the ConDems slashing social benefits and public services while supporting super-rich bankers with huge benefits. He is expected to make the preposterous claim that the fourth, fifth or sixth party in UK politics is now a party of government. I expect the speech will be altered to avoid mention of Alan Sugar who called him a twat.
  • 6,000 nurses cut from NHS in two years

    The number of nurses and midwives working in the NHS has plummeted by almost 6,000 in the last two years, figures showed today.

    Since April 2010 the number of qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff has fallen by 5,748, according to data gathered by the Health And Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

    Between May and June this year a further 840 posts were lost, according to the HSCIC’s workforce statistics for England.

    The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warned that the fall in numbers would cost the NHS more in the long run.

    RCN chief and general secretary Peter Carter said: “Our members have been highlighting the posts being slashed by NHS trusts for more than two years now and we have proved that more than 60,000 posts are at risk.

    “You simply can’t take out this many posts without profoundly affecting patient care.”

 

 

NHS privatisation: Compilation of financial and vested interests

 

 

We do want to break up the NHS. We don’t want to privatise it, we want to break it up.” Nick Clegg.

 

Nick Clegg’s demand for the NHS to be broken up

Opponents said the comments about the NHS, in a 2005 interview in the Independent, showed that Mr Clegg had no understanding of the way the health service works.

In the interview, carried out while Charles Kennedy was leader and two years before Mr Clegg took the job, he said: ‘I think breaking up the NHS is exactly what you do need to do to make it a more responsive service.’

Asked whether he favoured a Canadian or European-style social insurance system, he said: ‘I don’t think anything should be ruled out. I do think they deserve to be looked at because frankly the faults of the British health service compared to others still leave much to be desired.

‘We will have to provide alternatives about what a different NHS looks like.’

Under a social insurance system, members pay into an insurance scheme, either themselves or through an employer, to guarantee their healthcare. It means that those who pay into a more expensive scheme can get better care.

Under the NHS, however, everyone pays into the same scheme through taxes – and is then guaranteed care that is ‘free at the point of use’.

In the interview, Mr Clegg said ‘defending the status quo’ is no longer an option. Instead, he called on his party to ‘let its hair down’, ‘break a long-standing taboo’ and be ‘reckless’ in its thinking.

‘We do want to break up the NHS,’ he said. ‘We don’t want to privatise it, we want to break it up. Should the debate be taboo? Of course not, absolutely not.’

A year earlier, Mr Clegg had contributed to the notorious Orange Book in which those on the right of the party discussed how policies should change under Mr Kennedy’s leadership. The conclusion of the book outlines in more detail the type of insurance scheme he was outlining.

‘The NHS is failing to deliver a health service that meets the needs and expectations of today’s population,’ it said.

John Lister, of the lobby group Health Emergency, said: ‘These comments show Mr Clegg does not understand the NHS. He seems to be ignorant of the fact that social insurance schemes in Europe are far more expensive.’

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘The NHS is one of Britain’s most loved institutions. People will be worried that Nick Clegg wants to “break it up”.’ [!!! That’s Andrew Lansley pretending that the NHS is safe in Tory hands before the election !!!]

 

How the Orange Bookers took over the Lib Dems


What Britain now has is a blue-orange coalition, with the little-known Orange Book forming the core of current Lib Dem political thinking. To understand how this disreputable arrangement has come about, we need to examine the philosophy laid out in The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism, edited by David Laws (now the Chief Secretary to the Treasury) and Paul Marshall. Particularly interesting are the contributions of the Lib Dems’ present leadership.

Published in 2004, the Orange Book marked the start of the slow decline of progressive values in the Lib Dems and the gradual abandonment of social market values. It also provided the ideological standpoint around which the party’s right wing was able to coalesce and begin their march to power in the Lib Dems. What is remarkable is the failure of former SDP and Labour elements to sound warning bells about the direction the party was taking. Former Labour ministers such as Shirley Williams and Tom McNally should be ashamed of their inaction.

Clegg and his Lib Dem supporters have much in common with David Cameron and his allies in their philosophical approach and with their social liberal solutions to society’s perceived ills. The Orange Book is predicated on an abiding belief in the free market’s ability to address issues such as public healthcare, pensions, environment, globalisation, social and agricultural policy, local government and prisons.

The Lib Dem leadership seems to sit very easily in the Tory-led coalition. This is an arranged marriage between partners of a similar background and belief. Even the Tory-Whig coalition of early 1780s, although its members were from the same class, at least had fundamental political differences. Now we see a Government made up of a single elite that has previously manifested itself as two separate political parties and which is divided more by subtle shades of opinion than any profound ideological difference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue ReadingUK politics news review

NHS news review

 

Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat(Conservative) coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

 

Today’s NHS news review makes clear that the Lib-Dem-Conservative – the ConDems – coalition government’s brutal attack on the NHS continues apace.

NHS rationing ‘forcing patients to go private’

More patients are going private because the NHS is increasingly cutting back on providing a range of treatments.

GPs believe the numbers of patients asking about paying for operations including cataract removal and joint replacements has increased markedly in the last year, according to a poll.

Dr Clare Gerada, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said it was “incontrovertible” that increased NHS rationing was behind the increase in going private, a trend she described as “very sad”.

The poll, carried out by ComRes for the firm BMI Healthcare, found that 70 per cent of GPs are now unable to refer a patient for further treatment on the NHS at least once a month because they do not qualify under local criteria.

Primary care trusts (PCTs) have increasingly been restricting access to treatments including cataract removals, hernia operations and hip and knee replacements, by raising the threshold of how ill or disabled a patient has to be.

A quarter (24 per cent) said they themselves were now more likely to raise the possibility with patients, compared to only three per cent who said they were less likely to do so.

The principal reason behind increased interest in “self-pay” healthcare is treatments no longer being available on the NHS, according to the poll, with 66 per cent of GPs citing this.

Furthermore, 56 per cent thought patients were considering self-pay more because NHS waiting times had increased.

Dr Mark Ferreira, medical development director of BMI Healthcare, said: “As this survey shows, patients are being forced to consider how they will be treated and how they will pay for their healthcare.”

CBI says only privatisation can save the NHS

Only outsourcing to the private sector can save the NHS and other public services, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

A report commissioned by the CBI estimated that outsourcing of public services could save the Government £22.6bn a year by enabling adoption of more efficient business methods.

CBI Director General John Cridland said the report proved that for UK public services “business as usual is not an option”.

He criticised the coalition Government for failing to deliver on the policies of its 2011 white paper Open Public Services, which promised rapid privatisation.

Serco and Virgin Care are among 39 parties interested in South London Healthcare Trust

Thirty-nine organisations have expressed interest in taking over all or part of South London Healthcare NHS Trust, the first trust to have the failure regime applied to it.

Earlier this year special administrator, Matthew Kershaw, invited public and private organisations to express interest in running it.

HealthInvestor can reveal that organisations that have expressed interest include Oxleas Foundation Trust, Serco and Virgin Care.

A spokesman for the Office of the Trust Special Administrator said: ‘The market engagement exercise carried out by the Trust Special Administrator has now come to an end. There have been 39 responses received and these are being reviewed against the criteria set for this process which have been developed to ensure possible recommendations deliver safe, high quality, affordable and sustainable health services for the people of south east London.’

 

NHS privatisation: Compilation of financial and vested interests

 

 

We do want to break up the NHS. We don’t want to privatise it, we want to break it up.” Nick Clegg.

 

Nick Clegg’s demand for the NHS to be broken up

Opponents said the comments about the NHS, in a 2005 interview in the Independent, showed that Mr Clegg had no understanding of the way the health service works.

In the interview, carried out while Charles Kennedy was leader and two years before Mr Clegg took the job, he said: ‘I think breaking up the NHS is exactly what you do need to do to make it a more responsive service.’

Asked whether he favoured a Canadian or European-style social insurance system, he said: ‘I don’t think anything should be ruled out. I do think they deserve to be looked at because frankly the faults of the British health service compared to others still leave much to be desired.

‘We will have to provide alternatives about what a different NHS looks like.’

Under a social insurance system, members pay into an insurance scheme, either themselves or through an employer, to guarantee their healthcare. It means that those who pay into a more expensive scheme can get better care.

Under the NHS, however, everyone pays into the same scheme through taxes – and is then guaranteed care that is ‘free at the point of use’.

In the interview, Mr Clegg said ‘defending the status quo’ is no longer an option. Instead, he called on his party to ‘let its hair down’, ‘break a long-standing taboo’ and be ‘reckless’ in its thinking.

‘We do want to break up the NHS,’ he said. ‘We don’t want to privatise it, we want to break it up. Should the debate be taboo? Of course not, absolutely not.’

A year earlier, Mr Clegg had contributed to the notorious Orange Book in which those on the right of the party discussed how policies should change under Mr Kennedy’s leadership. The conclusion of the book outlines in more detail the type of insurance scheme he was outlining.

‘The NHS is failing to deliver a health service that meets the needs and expectations of today’s population,’ it said.

John Lister, of the lobby group Health Emergency, said: ‘These comments show Mr Clegg does not understand the NHS. He seems to be ignorant of the fact that social insurance schemes in Europe are far more expensive.’

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘The NHS is one of Britain’s most loved institutions. People will be worried that Nick Clegg wants to “break it up”.’ [!!! That’s Andrew Lansley pretending that the NHS is safe in Tory hands before the election !!!]

 

How the Orange Bookers took over the Lib Dems


What Britain now has is a blue-orange coalition, with the little-known Orange Book forming the core of current Lib Dem political thinking. To understand how this disreputable arrangement has come about, we need to examine the philosophy laid out in The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism, edited by David Laws (now the Chief Secretary to the Treasury) and Paul Marshall. Particularly interesting are the contributions of the Lib Dems’ present leadership.

Published in 2004, the Orange Book marked the start of the slow decline of progressive values in the Lib Dems and the gradual abandonment of social market values. It also provided the ideological standpoint around which the party’s right wing was able to coalesce and begin their march to power in the Lib Dems. What is remarkable is the failure of former SDP and Labour elements to sound warning bells about the direction the party was taking. Former Labour ministers such as Shirley Williams and Tom McNally should be ashamed of their inaction.

Clegg and his Lib Dem supporters have much in common with David Cameron and his allies in their philosophical approach and with their social liberal solutions to society’s perceived ills. The Orange Book is predicated on an abiding belief in the free market’s ability to address issues such as public healthcare, pensions, environment, globalisation, social and agricultural policy, local government and prisons.

The Lib Dem leadership seems to sit very easily in the Tory-led coalition. This is an arranged marriage between partners of a similar background and belief. Even the Tory-Whig coalition of early 1780s, although its members were from the same class, at least had fundamental political differences. Now we see a Government made up of a single elite that has previously manifested itself as two separate political parties and which is divided more by subtle shades of opinion than any profound ideological difference.

Continue ReadingNHS news review

UK politics news review

 

There’s still little UK politics news despite the Liberal-Democrat-Conservative conference continiuing at Brighton.

 

  • Students reject Nick Clegg apology

    Lib Dems are less popular than the Conservatives, according to an NUS survey

    Nick Clegg‘s apology has done little to redeem his party’s reputation among students, according to an NUS survey of 25,000 students.Just one in 10 students (11.1%) say they are more likely to vote Lib Dem after the deputy prime minister said sorry for promising not to increase tuition fees before the last election.

    When asked which political party they would to vote for, one in 13 (7.7%) said they would back the Lib Dems, making them less popular than Labour (37.9%), Conservatives (16.8%) and the Green party (8.0%).NUS president

    Liam Burns was unsurprised by the findings, adding that students felt betrayed by Clegg’s decision to renegade on his promise not to vote for a tuition fee rise. “Nick Clegg actually won students’ votes by signing the pledge. It is clear he has lost them by breaking it. This attempted apology has created more confusion than clarity. Mr Clegg must now make amends by changing his policies.”

    In the runup to the 2010 general election the Lib Dems targeted university campuses with their campaign to abolish fees, while Clegg and his MPs signed the NUS pledge not to vote for a rise.

  • Some Li b-Dem made a speech which attacked their Tory companions.
  • Problems continue for patrician Andrew Mitchell as a policeman’s log is published.

 

NHS privatisation: Compilation of financial and vested interests

 

 

We do want to break up the NHS. We don’t want to privatise it, we want to break it up.” Nick Clegg.

 

Nick Clegg’s demand for the NHS to be broken up

Opponents said the comments about the NHS, in a 2005 interview in the Independent, showed that Mr Clegg had no understanding of the way the health service works.

In the interview, carried out while Charles Kennedy was leader and two years before Mr Clegg took the job, he said: ‘I think breaking up the NHS is exactly what you do need to do to make it a more responsive service.’

Asked whether he favoured a Canadian or European-style social insurance system, he said: ‘I don’t think anything should be ruled out. I do think they deserve to be looked at because frankly the faults of the British health service compared to others still leave much to be desired.

‘We will have to provide alternatives about what a different NHS looks like.’

Under a social insurance system, members pay into an insurance scheme, either themselves or through an employer, to guarantee their healthcare. It means that those who pay into a more expensive scheme can get better care.

Under the NHS, however, everyone pays into the same scheme through taxes – and is then guaranteed care that is ‘free at the point of use’.

In the interview, Mr Clegg said ‘defending the status quo’ is no longer an option. Instead, he called on his party to ‘let its hair down’, ‘break a long-standing taboo’ and be ‘reckless’ in its thinking.

‘We do want to break up the NHS,’ he said. ‘We don’t want to privatise it, we want to break it up. Should the debate be taboo? Of course not, absolutely not.’

A year earlier, Mr Clegg had contributed to the notorious Orange Book in which those on the right of the party discussed how policies should change under Mr Kennedy’s leadership. The conclusion of the book outlines in more detail the type of insurance scheme he was outlining.

‘The NHS is failing to deliver a health service that meets the needs and expectations of today’s population,’ it said.

John Lister, of the lobby group Health Emergency, said: ‘These comments show Mr Clegg does not understand the NHS. He seems to be ignorant of the fact that social insurance schemes in Europe are far more expensive.’

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘The NHS is one of Britain’s most loved institutions. People will be worried that Nick Clegg wants to “break it up”.’ [!!! That’s Andrew Lansley pretending that the NHS is safe in Tory hands before the election !!!]

 

How the Orange Bookers took over the Lib Dems


What Britain now has is a blue-orange coalition, with the little-known Orange Book forming the core of current Lib Dem political thinking. To understand how this disreputable arrangement has come about, we need to examine the philosophy laid out in The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism, edited by David Laws (now the Chief Secretary to the Treasury) and Paul Marshall. Particularly interesting are the contributions of the Lib Dems’ present leadership.

Published in 2004, the Orange Book marked the start of the slow decline of progressive values in the Lib Dems and the gradual abandonment of social market values. It also provided the ideological standpoint around which the party’s right wing was able to coalesce and begin their march to power in the Lib Dems. What is remarkable is the failure of former SDP and Labour elements to sound warning bells about the direction the party was taking. Former Labour ministers such as Shirley Williams and Tom McNally should be ashamed of their inaction.

Clegg and his Lib Dem supporters have much in common with David Cameron and his allies in their philosophical approach and with their social liberal solutions to society’s perceived ills. The Orange Book is predicated on an abiding belief in the free market’s ability to address issues such as public healthcare, pensions, environment, globalisation, social and agricultural policy, local government and prisons.

The Lib Dem leadership seems to sit very easily in the Tory-led coalition. This is an arranged marriage between partners of a similar background and belief. Even the Tory-Whig coalition of early 1780s, although its members were from the same class, at least had fundamental political differences. Now we see a Government made up of a single elite that has previously manifested itself as two separate political parties and which is divided more by subtle shades of opinion than any profound ideological difference.

Continue ReadingUK politics news review

UK politics news review

There’s very little politics news at the moment. If you want some real politics and real reality I suggest that you watch the revolution will not be televised – a chronicle of the US-backed coup attempt against Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela. The phrase the revolution will not be televised is often wrongly attributed to Jean Baudrillard while it is actually the title of a song by Gil Scott-Heron.

  • The Liberal-Democrat-Conservative conference continues at Brighton. There’s not much happening and you can’t believe a word they say anyway. Clegg has suggested that parents and grandparents can help raise deposits for houses against their pensions. Although vague and woolly at the moment, it looks like a loan of a portion of the pension pot. There are also rumours of taxing the rich and objecting – belatedly – to the Con-Dems’ attack on benefits. (Clegg and the Liberal-Democrat-Conservatives are generally despised and desperate for support).

  • Living standards report shows bleak future of a divided Britain

    Independent study suggests rich will get richer and the poor poorer as chancellor plans further £10bn of welfare cuts

    Living standards for low- and middle-income households will fall until 2020, even if the country enters a golden period of steady economic growth, according to an incendiary analysis of deepening income inequality in Britain.

    The independent study, carried out for the Resolution Foundation by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Institute for Employment Research, paints a stark picture of a nation increasingly polarised between a poorer half whose incomes are set to fall and a top half whose living standards will continue to rise.

  • Downing Street nonsense continues. Tory Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell allegedly insulted Downing Street policemen when they refused to open the big gate for him on his bicycle.

 

NHS privatisation: Compilation of financial and vested interests

 

 

We do want to break up the NHS. We don’t want to privatise it, we want to break it up.” Nick Clegg.

 

Nick Clegg’s demand for the NHS to be broken up

Opponents said the comments about the NHS, in a 2005 interview in the Independent, showed that Mr Clegg had no understanding of the way the health service works.

In the interview, carried out while Charles Kennedy was leader and two years before Mr Clegg took the job, he said: ‘I think breaking up the NHS is exactly what you do need to do to make it a more responsive service.’

Asked whether he favoured a Canadian or European-style social insurance system, he said: ‘I don’t think anything should be ruled out. I do think they deserve to be looked at because frankly the faults of the British health service compared to others still leave much to be desired.

‘We will have to provide alternatives about what a different NHS looks like.’

Under a social insurance system, members pay into an insurance scheme, either themselves or through an employer, to guarantee their healthcare. It means that those who pay into a more expensive scheme can get better care.

Under the NHS, however, everyone pays into the same scheme through taxes – and is then guaranteed care that is ‘free at the point of use’.

In the interview, Mr Clegg said ‘defending the status quo’ is no longer an option. Instead, he called on his party to ‘let its hair down’, ‘break a long-standing taboo’ and be ‘reckless’ in its thinking.

‘We do want to break up the NHS,’ he said. ‘We don’t want to privatise it, we want to break it up. Should the debate be taboo? Of course not, absolutely not.’

A year earlier, Mr Clegg had contributed to the notorious Orange Book in which those on the right of the party discussed how policies should change under Mr Kennedy’s leadership. The conclusion of the book outlines in more detail the type of insurance scheme he was outlining.

‘The NHS is failing to deliver a health service that meets the needs and expectations of today’s population,’ it said.

John Lister, of the lobby group Health Emergency, said: ‘These comments show Mr Clegg does not understand the NHS. He seems to be ignorant of the fact that social insurance schemes in Europe are far more expensive.’

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘The NHS is one of Britain’s most loved institutions. People will be worried that Nick Clegg wants to “break it up”.’ [!!! That’s Andrew Lansley pretending that the NHS is safe in Tory hands before the election !!!]

 

How the Orange Bookers took over the Lib Dems


What Britain now has is a blue-orange coalition, with the little-known Orange Book forming the core of current Lib Dem political thinking. To understand how this disreputable arrangement has come about, we need to examine the philosophy laid out in The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism, edited by David Laws (now the Chief Secretary to the Treasury) and Paul Marshall. Particularly interesting are the contributions of the Lib Dems’ present leadership.

Published in 2004, the Orange Book marked the start of the slow decline of progressive values in the Lib Dems and the gradual abandonment of social market values. It also provided the ideological standpoint around which the party’s right wing was able to coalesce and begin their march to power in the Lib Dems. What is remarkable is the failure of former SDP and Labour elements to sound warning bells about the direction the party was taking. Former Labour ministers such as Shirley Williams and Tom McNally should be ashamed of their inaction.

Clegg and his Lib Dem supporters have much in common with David Cameron and his allies in their philosophical approach and with their social liberal solutions to society’s perceived ills. The Orange Book is predicated on an abiding belief in the free market’s ability to address issues such as public healthcare, pensions, environment, globalisation, social and agricultural policy, local government and prisons.

The Lib Dem leadership seems to sit very easily in the Tory-led coalition. This is an arranged marriage between partners of a similar background and belief. Even the Tory-Whig coalition of early 1780s, although its members were from the same class, at least had fundamental political differences. Now we see a Government made up of a single elite that has previously manifested itself as two separate political parties and which is divided more by subtle shades of opinion than any profound ideological difference.

Continue ReadingUK politics news review

UK politics news review

cleggoccio
Nick Clegg apologises for broken tuition fees election pledge

Nick Clegg apologises for tuition fees pledge

“There’s no easy way to say this: we made a pledge, we didn’t stick to it and for that I am sorry. . . When we’re wrong, we hold our hands up. But when we’re right we hold our heads up too. We were right to leave the comfort of opposition to face the realities of Government and I know we are fighting for the right things.”


 

 

London bomb plotters launch appeal over ‘flawed’ forensic evidence

Four convicted over 21 July 2005 plot claim evidence that bombs were intended to cause carnage was unreliable

Four of the terrorists convicted for the 21 July 2005 bomb plot will launch an attempt to have their sentences quashed following claims by a former senior government scientist that key forensic evidence used to jail the attackers was flawed.

Evidence from Sean Doyle, the former principal scientist at the Ministry of Defence’s Forensic Explosives Laboratory (FEL) who was involved in the investigation into the explosive devices, is set to be submitted to the court of appeal and the Criminal Cases Review Commission by lawyers for Muktar Said Ibrahim, Yassin Oma and Ramzi Mohammed. They were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison in July 2007 for trying to cause carnage on the London transport system.

Their failed attack came two weeks after four suicide bombers murdered 52 people on London’s transport network on 7 July 2005. Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, who pleaded guilty on the lesser charge of conspiracy to cause an explosion, is also seeking to have his conviction overturned.

Doyle alleges that scientific evidence submitted in the original trial that the bombs were intended to cause carnage was unreliable. Lawyers for the men claim that concerns about that evidence should have been disclosed to the court as it went to the heart of the prosecution case. Failure to do so was an abuse of process that should have caused the proceedings against the defendants to be stayed, they say.

The bombs failed to detonate properly and the terrorists’ defence was that the chapati flour and bleach in their rucksack explosives were deliberately mixed to ensure there was no harm caused. They said the attack was “an elaborate hoax designed to protest against and draw attention to Britain’s role in the attack upon and occupation of Iraq”.

 

The silence of the bees: government refuses to act on pesticide evidence

The bee fiasco began in March with the publication of two studies in Science. The first found that bees consuming one pesticide suffered an 85% loss in the number of queens their nests produced, while the second showed a doubling in “disappeared” bees, those that failed to return from food foraging trips. The work was the first to be carried out in realistic, open-air conditions and used levels of neonicotinoids found in fields.

Professor Mickaël Henry, at INRA in Avignon, France, who led the “disappeared” bees study was under no illusion about the implications of his findings: “Under the effects we saw from the pesticides, the population size would decline disastrously, and make them even more sensitive to parasites or a lack of food.” He said current regulation was inadequate.

These high profile studies – and others – prompted the UK’s environment ministry (Defra) to investigate. “It is appropriate to update the process for assessing the risks of pesticides to bees in the light of scientific developments – including the latest research,” it stated.

Now, six months on, it has delivered its verdict: “The recent studies do not justify changing existing regulation.” How can this be? Defra states:

The studies were interesting but they either used neonicotinoids at a higher level than is currently permitted, or the studies weren’t carried out under field conditions. The studies did not show that currently permitted uses of neonicotinoids have serious implications for the health of bee populations.

Continue ReadingUK politics news review

NHS news review

Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat(Conservative) coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

 

‘Chickens coming home to roost’ as number of debt-ridden NHS trusts rise

The Audit Commission report highlighting the increasing number of NHS organisations in debt shows that “chickens are coming home to roost” for David Cameron, Unite, the largest union in the country, said today (Thursday, 20 September).

Unite’s head of health, Rachael Maskell said: “We now know why the risk register into the coalition’s so-called NHS reforms never saw the light of day, despite the best efforts of the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham.
“The financial risks of Cameron’s reforms have resulted in trusts rapidly sinking into debt, leaving them ripe for accelerated privatisation.

“Services are being rationed which means patients have to wait longer or travel further for treatment which, in turn, puts the public at greater risk. No wonder Cameron exercised the Cabinet veto to stop the risk register being published.

“The new health secretary, Jeremy Hunt is on holiday in France, sipping fine wine, when he should be at his desk getting to grips with the chaos left by his predecessor, Andrew Lansley. The chickens are coming home to roost.”

The Audit Commission reported that the number of NHS trusts and foundation trusts in deficit increased from 13 in 2010/11 to 31 in 2011/12. Thirty nine NHS trusts reported a poorer financial position in 2011/12 than in the previous year, and 18 NHS trusts and foundation trusts received financial support from the Department of Health.

Increasing use of “zero-hours” contracts in Britain’s National Health Service

“Zero-Hours” contracts, which restrict workers to on call working, no guaranteed income or employment rights have been widely implemented across the National Health Service (NHS). The Independent recently reported that zero-hours contracts are increasingly being used “in core services such as cardiac, psychiatric therapy, respiratory diagnostics and adult hearing” describing this as “a key change to the fabric of NHS employment.”

Zero-Hours contracts are part of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government’s plans to drive down wages and working conditions across the NHS and prepare it for full privatisation. The Independent report identifies the concerns of critics and experts, who warn of a “G4S-style” fiasco within the NHS, referring to the inability of private security firm G4S to provide the required amount of staff at the London Olympics due to the scandalous pay and conditions offered.

NHS workers have already suffered a two year pay freeze, attacks on pensions and increases in the retirement age. They will now be in danger of losing welfare benefits that top up their salaries, such as child tax credits. Qualification for these requires a person to work a minimum 16 hours a week. According to the Citizen Information Board workers on zero-hours contracts “are protected by the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 but this does not apply to casual employment.”

The protection offered by the Act is nothing but a rubber a stamp for slashing wages even further.

If a worker “under a zero-hours contract works less than 25 percent of their hours in any week they are entitled to be compensated. The level of compensation depends on whether the employee got any work or none at all. If the employee got no work, then the compensation should be either for 25 percent of the possible available hours or for 15 hours, whichever is less. If the employee got some work, they should be compensated to bring them up to 25 percent of the possible available hours.”

But as the report in the Independent outlined, the contracts being offered by the NHS Trusts and private firms “do not guarantee any specified number of hours”. NHS workers will be on call but will have no guarantee on hours, pay or employments rights and will only get paid for the actual time spent at work—meaning they are “in work, but not always at work” as one expert explained.

NHS faces £8bn cuts ‘after next election’

The National Health Service could face cuts of almost £8bn immediately after the next general election, according to the first analysis of the Government’s own figures as it draws up another round of spending reductions.

In a report published today, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank reveals the stark choices facing all three main parties at the 2015 election. Although most attention has focused on George Osborne’s plan for a further £10bn of welfare cuts, that would not ease the pressure on other budgets such as health, education, defence and law and order.

David Cameron has pledged to increase NHS spending by more than inflation every year but that might not be extended beyond the election. The Chancellor has already conceded that more cuts will be needed in the first two years of the next parliament because he will not clear the deficit as quickly as he originally planned after the economy went back into recession.

According to the IPPR, the Government’s fiscal targets imply real terms cuts of 3.8 per cent in 2015-16 and 2016-17 – higher than the 2.3 per cent average reduction now being implemented across Whitehall departments. Unless the NHS pledge is extended – a move the Treasury may oppose – its budget would be cut by £7.8bn in 2016-17. If the cuts were spread evenly, education spending would fall by £3.8bn, defence by £1.7bn, local government by £1.6bn and the Home Office by £500m.

£20bn opportunity for private sector in NHS

Changes in healthcare policy and pressures on public finances represent a “£20bn opportunity” for the private sector to increase its NHS provision, according to a research report out this week.

A report by Catalyst, the corporate finance adviser, said the private sector is becoming increasingly involved in delivering healthcare services as the NHS struggles to cope with the demands of an ageing population and the need to make efficiency savings of £20bn by 2015.

It said there is a significant opportunity for the private sector in primary and secondary care in particular, markets it estimates to be worth around £20bn.

The report noted that while the private sector currently delivers a very small proportion of primary and secondary care, “if the Government is to manage funding pressures and achieve improved outcomes for patients this will need to increase”.

It said that landmark contracts awarded to providers such as Circle, Virgin Care and Serco show growing “recognition from the public sector that leveraging the private sector’s ability to invest capital and use more efficient delivery models is necessary for the Government to reduce costs while improving the quality of healthcare”.

Justin Crowther, director at Catalyst and co-author of the report, said: “Despite many challenges, the private sector is increasingly providing healthcare services, whether paid for by the taxpayer or directly by consumers at the point of use.

“Whether this is to turn around underperforming hospitals, operate GP surgeries, deliver community services or create centres of excellence in areas such as pathology, [NHS] commissioners are increasingly using the skills and capital of the private sector.”

 

NHS privatisation: Compilation of financial and vested interests

 

 

We do want to break up the NHS. We don’t want to privatise it, we want to break it up.” Nick Clegg.

 

Nick Clegg’s demand for the NHS to be broken up

Opponents said the comments about the NHS, in a 2005 interview in the Independent, showed that Mr Clegg had no understanding of the way the health service works.

In the interview, carried out while Charles Kennedy was leader and two years before Mr Clegg took the job, he said: ‘I think breaking up the NHS is exactly what you do need to do to make it a more responsive service.’

Asked whether he favoured a Canadian or European-style social insurance system, he said: ‘I don’t think anything should be ruled out. I do think they deserve to be looked at because frankly the faults of the British health service compared to others still leave much to be desired.

‘We will have to provide alternatives about what a different NHS looks like.’

Under a social insurance system, members pay into an insurance scheme, either themselves or through an employer, to guarantee their healthcare. It means that those who pay into a more expensive scheme can get better care.

Under the NHS, however, everyone pays into the same scheme through taxes – and is then guaranteed care that is ‘free at the point of use’.

In the interview, Mr Clegg said ‘defending the status quo’ is no longer an option. Instead, he called on his party to ‘let its hair down’, ‘break a long-standing taboo’ and be ‘reckless’ in its thinking.

‘We do want to break up the NHS,’ he said. ‘We don’t want to privatise it, we want to break it up. Should the debate be taboo? Of course not, absolutely not.’

A year earlier, Mr Clegg had contributed to the notorious Orange Book in which those on the right of the party discussed how policies should change under Mr Kennedy’s leadership. The conclusion of the book outlines in more detail the type of insurance scheme he was outlining.

‘The NHS is failing to deliver a health service that meets the needs and expectations of today’s population,’ it said.

John Lister, of the lobby group Health Emergency, said: ‘These comments show Mr Clegg does not understand the NHS. He seems to be ignorant of the fact that social insurance schemes in Europe are far more expensive.’

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘The NHS is one of Britain’s most loved institutions. People will be worried that Nick Clegg wants to “break it up”.’ [!!! That’s Andrew Lansley pretending that the NHS is safe in Tory hands before the election !!!]

 

How the Orange Bookers took over the Lib Dems


What Britain now has is a blue-orange coalition, with the little-known Orange Book forming the core of current Lib Dem political thinking. To understand how this disreputable arrangement has come about, we need to examine the philosophy laid out in The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism, edited by David Laws (now the Chief Secretary to the Treasury) and Paul Marshall. Particularly interesting are the contributions of the Lib Dems’ present leadership.

Published in 2004, the Orange Book marked the start of the slow decline of progressive values in the Lib Dems and the gradual abandonment of social market values. It also provided the ideological standpoint around which the party’s right wing was able to coalesce and begin their march to power in the Lib Dems. What is remarkable is the failure of former SDP and Labour elements to sound warning bells about the direction the party was taking. Former Labour ministers such as Shirley Williams and Tom McNally should be ashamed of their inaction.

Clegg and his Lib Dem supporters have much in common with David Cameron and his allies in their philosophical approach and with their social liberal solutions to society’s perceived ills. The Orange Book is predicated on an abiding belief in the free market’s ability to address issues such as public healthcare, pensions, environment, globalisation, social and agricultural policy, local government and prisons.

The Lib Dem leadership seems to sit very easily in the Tory-led coalition. This is an arranged marriage between partners of a similar background and belief. Even the Tory-Whig coalition of early 1780s, although its members were from the same class, at least had fundamental political differences. Now we see a Government made up of a single elite that has previously manifested itself as two separate political parties and which is divided more by subtle shades of opinion than any profound ideological difference.

27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.

I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.

Please be assured that this blog is a non-commercial blog (weblog) which does not feature advertising and has not ever produced any income.

dizzy

Continue ReadingNHS news review

UK politics news review

News of the World ‘ordered burglary’

Police probe link to break-ins at homes of MPs and stars

Detectives have evidence which suggests that a notorious private detective agency carried out a burglary while working for the News of the World.

In the latest twist to the phone-hacking scandal, a police intelligence report indicates that Southern Investigations, based in south London, targeted the home of a newsworthy individual in an attempt to dig up salacious information.

The Independent has established that the material – the first suggested link between the News of the World and burglary – is being held by Operation Tuleta, the police inquiry into illegal newsgathering techniques other than phone hacking and corruption. It refers to a “sortie” carried out into a woman’s home in Ascot, Berkshire, and mentions the name of Alex Marunchak – a long-serving executive on the News of the World.

A police assessment indicated that Southern Investigations or an associate had “gained unauthorised access into a private domestic premises with a view to gaining information on the resident”.

Separately, a former undercover policeman who infiltrated Southern Investigations said that it burgled MPs’ homes in an attempt to obtain embarrassing information for the newspaper. All those involved in Southern Investigations, and Mr Marunchak, deny any involvement in break-ins or knowledge of any illegal acts.

Britain’s most senior police officer was the target of a secret surveillance operation by the News of the World.

Lord Stevens, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police from 2000 to 2005, was tailed by a private detective agency working for the tabloid in 1999, shortly before he took charge of London’s police force.

The agency, Southern Investigations, received a tip-off that the then-deputy commissioner was using taxpayers’ money to fly a Metropolitan Police aircraft up to Northumberland to see his mistress. There is no suggestion that the tip-off had any foundation in truth.

According to Derek Haslam, a former undercover police officer who infiltrated Southern Investigations for Scotland Yard, the agency wanted to use the sensitive information to “control” Lord Stevens. Mr Haslam said: “I told my handler, ‘You’d better tell him they are on to him and they are looking at anything’. They saw filth on police and politicians as a way to control them.”

Jonathan Rees, a partner in Southern Investigations, rejected that allegation as “absurd” but confirmed the surveillance took place. In an interview with independentvoices.com, he said: “We were given instructions and an allegation that he was using a Met Police plane from Biggin Hill to see his mistress in Northumbria [sic].

“Now we did organise a surveillance team because it’s what the News of the World wanted and we had team in Northumbria and here, but he never showed, so whether the allegation is true or not, who knows? The allegation was that he was using… a Metropolitan Police Federation plane bought by donations from charity… to travel up to [Northumberland] to see his mistress. You can see why people wanted… that story.”

Yesterday, a spokesman for Lord Stevens denied that he flew a police aircraft to Northumberland or had a mistress. He added that the former commissioner was unaware he was under surveillance.

Indeterminate sentences ruling due from European Court

The European Court of Human Rights is set to rule later on whether indeterminate prison sentences in England and Wales are lawful.

Three convicted criminals say their human rights were breached because they were stuck on a waiting list for rehabilitation courses.

The courses assessed whether prisoners given indefinite sentences were safe to be released.

[I]n the three cases before the Strasbourg court, the men said they could not get on to the courses to show they had changed.

Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years

One of the world’s leading ice experts has predicted the final collapse of Arctic sea ice in summer months within four years.

In what he calls a “global disaster” now unfolding in northern latitudes as the sea area that freezes and melts each year shrinks to its lowest extent ever recorded, Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University calls for “urgent” consideration of new ideas to reduce global temperatures.

In an email to the Guardian he says: “Climate change is no longer something we can aim to do something about in a few decades’ time, and that we must not only urgently reduce CO2 emissions but must urgently examine other ways of slowing global warming, such as the various geoengineering ideas that have been put forward.”

These include reflecting the sun’s rays back into space, making clouds whiter and seeding the ocean with minerals to absorb more CO2.

Wadhams has spent many years collecting ice thickness data from submarines passing below the arctic ocean. He predicted the imminent break-up of sea ice in summer months in 2007, when the previous lowest extent of 4.17 million square kilometres was set. This year, it has unexpectedly plunged a further 500,000 sq km to less than 3.5m sq km. “I have been predicting [the collapse of sea ice in summer months] for many years. The main cause is simply global warming: as the climate has warmed there has been less ice growth during the winter and more ice melt during the summer.

“At first this didn’t [get] noticed; the summer ice limits slowly shrank back, at a rate which suggested that the ice would last another 50 years or so. But in the end the summer melt overtook the winter growth such that the entire ice sheet melts or breaks up during the summer months.

“This collapse, I predicted would occur in 2015-16 at which time the summer Arctic (August to September) would become ice-free. The final collapse towards that state is now happening and will probably be complete by those dates”.

Vivienne Westwood uses London Fashion Week to declare support for Assange

Jade Parfitt wears Vivienne Westwood Assange T-shirt at the Foreign Office
Jade Parfitt wears Vivienne Westwood Assange T-shirt at the Foreign Office

Dame Vivienne Westwood used a London Fashion Week show held at the Foreign Office to declare a message of support for Julian Assange.

The veteran British fashion designer handed out T-shirts bearing her photo and the slogan “I’m Julian Assange” to models and celebrities in the front row.

Her move will be seen as provocative because the show was held in the headquarters of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, off Whitehall, which is caught in a diplomatic stand-off over the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition.

The model Jade Parfitt was photographed wearing one of the pro-Assange T-shirts during the event on Sunday afternoon.

Lorraine Candy, the editor-in-chief of Elle UK magazine, posted a picture of the model online, together with the message: “Jade in Assange supporter Tshirt V Westwood has designed! It’s going to be controversial show at foreign office!”

Last month the 71-year-old designer, who came to prominence selling punk clothes with Malcolm McLaren, issued another public statement in support of Mr Assange.

The message, which included the phrase “we are all Julian Assange”, was delivered outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in Knightsbridge where he has been holed up for almost three months.

27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.

I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.

Please be assured that this blog is a non-commercial blog (weblog) which does not feature advertising and has not ever produced any income.

dizzy

Continue ReadingUK politics news review

UK political news review

Since the last UK politics news review the main issue is that the official narrative of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster has been proved to be totally fabricated. Feckin wake up will you? Terrrists that hate our freedoms brought down two skyscrapers, Suicide bombers in London, JCD was not murdered by Zionist scum? Come on.

Continue ReadingUK political news review