Commentary and analysis of recent political events

The government is trying to pass a clause in the Care bill today that will allow hospitals to be closed much easier without public consultation.

Hospital closure clause battle heats up today

Stormy scenes are likely in parliament today as the government tries to “rush through” changes that will make it far easier to close hospitals without public consultation. The changes,which OurNHS has campaigned on from the start, now face fierce opposition from doctors, 38 Degrees, the British Medical Association, NHS campaigners and charities.

On Friday Ed Miliband tabled a motion of opposition to the Bill, saying it “includes provisions which could put NHS hospitals at risk of having services reconfigured without adequate consultation and without clinical support”.

The hospital closure clause gives Trust Special Administrators greater powers including the power to make changes in neighbouring trusts without consultation. It was added to the Care Bill just as the government was being defeated by Lewisham Hospital campaigners, in an attempt to ensure that campaigners could not challenge such closure plans in the future. But the new Bill could be applied anywhere in the country.

Louise Irvine, Chair of the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign, said “If services need redesigning the law must ensure this is with proper and extensive consultation with local people. This process cannot be rushed. Decisions should not be based on the needs of investment banks. What happened to the government promises that in the NHS there would be ‘no decision about me, without me’?

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Ed Miliband commits to doubling the number of homes built each year. The move is likely to prove very popular. I think that he’s correct in recognising development and building as a racket concerned with profiteering. I would also like to see the renovation of properties and the conversion of buildings to homes or other forms of social housing.

Ed Miliband promises drive to double rate of housebuilding

Profiteering property developers that hoard land and councils that block developments will be swept aside in a “non-stop drive” to more than double the number of homes being built each year in England, Ed Miliband will promise on Monday.

Attacking “stick-in-the-mud councils”, the Labour leader will say he would order a national planning inspectorate to give priority to local authorities that want to expand if they are being blocked by neighbouring councils refusing to release land.

Under the Labour plans, councils would be empowered to compulsorily purchase land or charge fees if developers fail to build on land for which they have planning permission. Michael Lyons, the chair of Labour’s new independent commission on housing and a former BBC chairman, told the Guardian that Britain needed to recapture the postwar spirit when building homes was the national priority.

Despite MPs claiming publicly that they object to their intended pay rise, only 10 MPs back a motion to limit their pay rises to 1% to match the public sector.

Cuts to care funding mean half a million fewer looked after, study finds

Almost half a million fewer old and disabled people are receiving care and support from the public purse than would have been the case before the financial crash, according to an expert study.

The research comes as MPs vote on Monday on the coalition’s care bill, which aims to overhaul the care system in England but threatens to tighten still further the rules of eligibility for state support.

Charities and care organisations are calling on ministers to address a “black hole” in social care funding which they say has left the system short of £2.8bn a year that would be necessary to meet people’s needs assessed as “moderate”.

Bridget Warr, chief executive of the United Kingdom Homecare Association, said: “Funding good care which helps people stay in their own home is not only a moral responsibility for any civilised society, but is also cost-efficient as it extends people’s wellbeing, reducing admissions to A&E, and helps people return home from hospital quicker.”

Continue ReadingCommentary and analysis of recent political events

Coalition cuts blamed for shortage of 20,000 NHS nurses

FOI requests reveal ‘hidden workforce crisis’ at odds with official statistics

Image reads Accident & Emergency, A & E

Freedom of Information requests submitted by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to dozens of NHS hospitals in England have exposed a “hidden workforce crisis” that has been missed by government statistics.

While official figures say that just 3,859 full-time nurse, midwife and health visitor posts have been lost since the Coalition came to power in May 2010, the RCN said that thousands more nursing vacancies have been created because hospitals have not been replacing staff that have retired or moved on due to reduced budgets.

Staffing shortages have been highlighted in a number of reports into NHS care. Robert Francis drew attention to understaffed wards at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust in his report into one of the worst care scandals in the health service’s history.

Howard Catton, the RCN’s head of policy, said that Government figures had not been “fully reflecting the shortages [that nurses] are experiencing at ward level”.

The report came as Downing Street confirmed that the Prime Minister is personally overseeing the NHS’s response to what A&E doctors have warned could be “our worst winter yet”. Many trusts missed their A&E targets last winter and there are fears that amid rising demand and reduced resources, the system may struggle to cope with expected spikes in admissions.

Thousands of patients wait 12 hours in A&E

New figures show 12,000 patients were left lying on trolleys for at least 12 hours in emergency departments last year

Around 12,000 patients spent at least 12 hours lying on trolleys after being admitted to A&E last year, according to new figures.

A further 250 people waited for treatment in casualty wards for 24 hours or more, a Freedom of Information request revealed.

One person was left for 71 hours and 34 minutes, nearly three days, at North West London trust, which runs Northwick Park and Central Middlesex A&E departments.

In another shocking case a patient waited 37 hours at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen A&E while a third was left for 33 hours at Ashford and St Peter’s in Chertsey, Surrey.

Health campaigners claimed the figures were more evidence of the growing crisis in hospitals’ emergency wards.

The figures came as the government received a warning that the closure of 50 out of 230 NHS walk-in centres in the last three years was putting extra strain on A&E units.

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.


Continue ReadingCoalition cuts blamed for shortage of 20,000 NHS nurses

Medical tourism generates millions for NHS and wider economy, finds study

‘Foreigners abusing system’ claim contradicted by research that also shows more people go overseas for treatment than arrive

Medical tourism is a lucrative source of income for the NHS, according to a major new study that contradicts many of the assumptions behind the government’s announcement that it will clamp down on foreigners abusing the health service.

Eighteen hospitals – those deemed most likely to be making money from overseas patients – earned £42m in 2010, according to researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and York University. Medical tourists spent an estimated £219m on hotels, restaurants, shopping and transport in the UK.

The researchers also found that more people leave the UK seeking medical treatment abroad than arrive in this country for care: about 63,000 people from the country travelled to hospitals and clinics abroad in 2010, while considerably fewer, about 52,000 people, came here.

The research flies in the face of assertions by Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, that the tourists cost the health service money.

He said on Tuesday: “It’s time for action to ensure the NHS is a national health service – not an international one. With the NHS already under pressure from an ageing population, it cannot be right that large amounts of taxpayers’ money is being lost through treating people who should be paying from foreign countries.”

But the lead author of the new study, Johanna Hanefeld, from the faculty of public health and policy at the LSHTM, said the government-commissioned research published on Tuesday was “much more across the government immigration agenda than anything to do with health”.


Continue ReadingMedical tourism generates millions for NHS and wider economy, finds study

NHS watchdog concerned over care and safety at one in four hospitals

Care Quality Commission says performance at 44 out of 161 acute hospital trusts in England is cause for concern

Accident and emergency
Accident and emergency

One in four NHS hospitals is a cause for concern over the quality or safety of the care it provides to patients, the service’s statutory watchdog has warned.

In an analysis of all 161 acute hospital trusts in England that is the most comprehensive ever carried out, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) says it is worried about aspects of care at 44 (27.3%) of them.

Performance in some areas is so inadequate that it poses a risk or an elevated risk to patients.

The sheer number of hospitals about which the regulator is concerned dwarfs the 14 trusts that Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS’s medical director, investigated earlier this year. Eleven of those 14 were put into special measures as a result of inadequacies he uncovered.

Continue ReadingNHS watchdog concerned over care and safety at one in four hospitals

Fury at Bully Hunt’s NHS Pay Rise Snub

Health Secretary keen to axe 1 per cent increase

Image of Jeremy Hunt and David CameronUnions laid into Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday for wanting to ditch a miserly 1 per cent pay increase for hard-working NHS staff.

The GMB accused him of “berating and bullying staff” and said that his behaviour “will not be tolerated,” warning that industrial action was possible.

Unite called for the introduction of the living wage to benefit the NHS’s 17,000 lowest-paid workers.

Mr Hunt caused a huge furore when he said that the independent NHS pay review body should not implement a one per cent increase for 1.3 million NHS staff, or maintain performance-related increments.

Pointing out that the NHS pay review body was independent, GMB’s national NHS officer Rehana Azam said: “You only have to spend time with a paramedic, nurse, theatre porter or any other frontline NHS worker to see their number one priority is to deliver quality care and the best outcomes to patients they care for.”

“Why then does Jeremy Hunt want to berate and bully staff while they are trying to do a good job often under difficult circumstances?”

“This is just wrong and will not be tolerated.”

Continue ReadingFury at Bully Hunt’s NHS Pay Rise Snub

Number of NHS A&E units failing to meet targets triples in a year

Thirty-nine departments failed to see 95% of patients within four hours in England, up from 14 units for same period in 2012

Accident and emergency
Accident and emergency



The number of A&E units failing to meet the government’s four-hour target has almost trebled in a year.

A total of 39 departments failed to meet the target of seeing 95% of patients within four hours between July and September, according to NHS England data. This compares with 14 units during the same period last year.

The target covers all A&E types, including minor injury units and walk-in centres, and the number discharged, admitted or transferred within four hours of arrival.

The NHS as a whole across England is still hitting the target, with 96% of all patients seen within the time between July and September. But this is only because some units perform way above the target, with some consistently hitting 100%.

In August, David Cameron announced £500m of extra funding over the next two years to support A&E.

The cash is intended to help units through the winter, cutting delays and reducing the number of admissions.

The shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, said: “David Cameron’s ill-judged re-organisation has placed the NHS in the danger zone. The government cannot continue to ignore the warnings. Until ministers face up to the fundamental causes – the collapse of social care and frontline job losses – the NHS will continue to struggle.

“This is further proof you can’t trust David Cameron with the NHS. We can’t have another year in the NHS like the last one – he needs to urgently get a grip.”


Continue ReadingNumber of NHS A&E units failing to meet targets triples in a year

NHS faces unexpected £500m cuts, say hospitals

Hospital trusts say frontline services are threatened by cuts on top of anticipated £1bn fall in funding

NHS sign

The NHS faces unexpected cuts of £500m that threaten frontline services, according to a body that represents hospital trusts.

Despite the government’s pledge to protect frontline services with real-terms increases in funding, Monitor, the NHS watchdog, has proposed that in 2014-15 hospitals should be paid 4% less for operations than they were the previous year.

While hospitals were braced for a cut of about £1bn in funding, the Foundation Trust Network, which represents all 160 hospital trusts in England, calculates that Monitor is now asking for another £500m in savings – roughly £3m from each trust.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network, said cuts to frontline services would be deeper than expected and questioned whether the NHS could invest in much needed changes to the way hospital services work, recommended by the Francis report into failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.

He warned that hospitals were facing a “quadruple whammy” of “implementing the Francis report’s recommendations on quality such as improving staff-to-patient ratios, putting seven-day working in place, coping with increasing demand and investing in much needed change”.

“The level of efficiency savings the NHS has delivered over the last three years is unprecedented, but this level of performance cannot be sustained year on year till 2021. We need a reality check here – in the end you get what you pay for, and trusts can’t perform miracles out of thin air.”

Officials at Monitor were unrepentant, saying the forcing of hospitals to charge less for operations would free more money for clinical commissioning groups – clumps of GPs who purchase care on behalf of patients – to spend on the public.

However, Labour said it was another example of how the coalition’s reforms were silently squeezing the NHS.



Continue ReadingNHS faces unexpected £500m cuts, say hospitals

Tory marginal MPs facing electoral axe because of NHS crises in their patch

by Racheal Maskell

New research from Unite union predicts that the fate of 11 Tory MPs at the 2015 election could be strongly influenced by the rising tide of public concern about the state of the NHS in their areas.

A chill electoral wind is gathering strength. Public anger and revulsion at what the Tories have done to the NHS with their pro-privatisation agenda could end the tenure of David Cameron in Downing Street.

Not one Tory MP voted against the pro-privatisation Health and Social Care Bill. Now, Unite says, the chickens are coming home to roost. Several Tory MPs could lose their marginal seats because of what is happening to the NHS in or near their constituencies.

These include George Eustice, David Cameron’s ex-spin doctor, who has a wafer-thin majority of just 66 in Cambourne and Redruth.

Public health minister Anna Soubry, who was on the committee that scrutinised the bill, is also clinging onto her Nottinghamshire seat of Broxtowe by 389 votes.

New research from Unite union, titled NHS critical in Tory marginals, has highlighted 11 tight marginal seats: Amber Valley, Brighton Kempton, Broxtowe, Cambourne & Redruth, Lancaster & Fleetwood, Lincoln, Morecambe & Lunesdale, North Warwickshire, Sherwood, Thurrock, and Truro & Falmouth.

But don’t just take the word of the country’s largest union.

Tory grandee Lord Ashcroft finances in-depth polling on behalf of the Conservative party.

His latest poll interviewed 12,809 people in the 40 most marginal Tory-held seats between 1 August and 5 September. Interviews were also conducted in seats where Labour and the Liberal Democrats were the runners up in 2010.

The polling revealed that the NHS is the second most important issue for voters after “jobs and the economy.” It’s even more important in the 40 key Tory marginals that Ed Miliband must take back to win a majority.

Labour is ranked twice as likely to improve the NHS as the Tories.

The fact that at least 55,000 people marched through Manchester on the Save our NHS rally at the start of the Conservative party conference on Sunday (29 September) is firm evidence of mounting public concern about the plight of the NHS.

It should not be forgotten that there was no mention of plans for the biggest overhaul of the NHS in the 2010 Tory manifesto. Or that within three months of government the then health secretary, Andrew Lansley, had come up with legislation that is now handing over great swathes of the NHS to the likes of Richard Branson and other private healthcare operators.

The electorate has never wanted to turn over Aneurin Bevan’s 1948 creation – promising universal free healthcare at the point of delivery to all those in need – to the aggressive and predatory instincts of the market.


Continue ReadingTory marginal MPs facing electoral axe because of NHS crises in their patch

UK politics news review

Labour Party leader made a well-received speech at their conference at Manchester yesterday.

“They think they are born to rule.” … “Have you ever seen a more incompetent, hopeless, out of touch, U-turning, pledge-breaking, make-it-up-as-you-go-along, back-of-the-envelope, miserable shower?” Miliband is here referring to class and/or private education (known in the UK by the misnomer ‘public school’) which is recognised to be much the same thing i.e. to be privately educated is to be ruling class and to be ruling class is to be privately educated[*1]. Private schools teach being ruling class, how to succeed in life by being a ***t [take your pick ;), to lie and cheat and to have an unflinching belief in your own innate superiority and righteousness.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt makes loads of money for nothing and has charged the public purse for Mandarin lessons. How do Mandarin lessons benefit his constituents or the public? Talk about benefit scroungers …

A railway omnishambles proves Miliband’s point

One of the most powerful sections of Ed Miliband’s speech came when, with remarkable fluency, he declared of the government: “Have you ever seen a more incompetent, hopeless, out of touch, U-turning, pledge breaking, make it up as you go along, back-of-the-envelope, miserable shower?” Less than a day later, ministers have demonstrated exactly what he meant.

The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced that the decision to award the West Coast Main Line rail franchise to FirstGroup has been cancelled after the discovery of “significant technical flaws” in the bidding process. The government will no longer challenge the judicial review sought by Virgin, the current operator, which has long argued that the process did not adequately assess the risks of competing bids (it warned that FirstGroup’s £5.5bn bid was a recipe for bankruptcy). According to McLoughlin, the reopening of the bids will cost the taxpayer “in the region of £40m”.

How GM crops have increased the use of danger pesticides and created superweeds and toxin-resistant insects

Planting GM crops has led to an increase rather than a decrease in the use of pesticides in the last 16 years, according to US scientists.

The researchers said that the plants have caused superweeds and toxin-resistant insects to emerge, meaning farmers have not only had to use more pesticides on their crops overall, but are also using older and more dangerous chemicals.

The findings dramatically undermine the case for adopting the crops, which were sold to farmers and shoppers on the basis that they would reduce the need to be treated with powerful chemicals.


*1. This is not exclusively so. Ed Miliband attended Oxford University after his state schooling and was born to intellectual pretend-Socialist parents. While he missed out on public school, he did have the rest of the ruling class treatment. Does it make him semi ruling class or something similar? Notably, Miliband – just like his brother David – studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford. Virtually all UK prime ministers follow this course. Isn’t it strange that two brothers follow the same University course? Is there something [not] going on?

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.


Continue ReadingNHS news review