Yearly Archives: 2013

Soon you will have to prove your nationality before receiving NHS treatment

'Papiere, bitte!' An NHS nurse checks a patient's claim to be British in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat idea of a 'fair' NHS.

‘Papiere, bitte!’ An NHS nurse checks a patient’s claim to be British in the ‘fair’ NHS of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government.

Suppose Michael Schumacher had moved to Britain and had his accident here after new government plans for the NHS were put in place – would he have been refused treatment?

Admittedly, that is a bad example to use. Mr Schumacher is undoubtedly wealthy enough to buy any healthcare he needs, and we should not wish poor treatment on him in any case.

It does show up the poverty of the Conservative-led government’s moral attitude, though. The fact that he is German adds another dimension, in that his people may have a particular aversion to any situation in which their papers are demanded by officials before they are allowed to do anything.

The proposals demonstrate the depths to which the UK is falling under the current despotic, unelected right-wing administration and the petty would-be tyrant at its head. We are drifting ever-closer to totalitarianism and comparisons with 1930s and 40s Germany are becoming ever more accurate.

They mean patients admitted to hospital in an emergency would have to be able to prove they are not immigrants, or be refused possibly life-saving treatment.

Ask yourself this: Before you leave your house, do you make sure you have papers on you that prove your nationality? If it isn’t a part of your daily routine, then under our government of new totalitarians, it will be.

Is this so far from the Germany of 70 years ago, where the phrase “Ausweis, bitte” was not only a part of daily life but a hallmark of the Nazi government?

Do we really want that here? Are we really saying we will allow an unelected regime to impose it on us?

Never mind the pretext that it will save money that would otherwise be spent on people who do not deserve the care and will not pay their debt – this is about our freedom.

Do you want to trade your freedom for a saving that isn’t even worth very much – around 1/240th of the yearly national deficit at the current level – and will not benefit you in any way at all?

The government says nobody will be denied medical care – but it also said it would not impose a top-down reorganisation of the NHS, and how long did that promise last? Andrew Lansley had been working on it for many years before that infamous campaign announcement was made, but was under orders not to speak about it until a Conservative-led government was firmly installed in office and nobody could do anything to stop it.

The government says the changes will ensure that the system is “fair” – but then, this government has a strange notion of fairness. According to David Cameron, it is fair to deny life-saving benefits to the disabled and long-term sick in the name of deficit reduction, while granting huge tax breaks to the spectacularly wealthy that ensure the deficit will not go down.

I don’t even know what my NHS number is – but soon I will have to, in order to satisfy Britain’s new immigration officials, otherwise known as doctors and nurses.

Perhaps the government is hoping to make a saving by scrapping the UK Border Agency that Theresa May has so hopelessly failed to reform into an effective force (but I doubt it). Perhaps she was wrong to criticise the previous Labour administration about it as harshly as she did.

Perhaps they will use the money they save to buy jackboots.

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Vox Political’s 2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 940,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 40 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Are the Tories planning to bury us in debt when interest rates rise?

Don't look so smug, George - we know what you're trying to do.

Don’t look so smug, George – we know what you’re trying to do.

It is surprising that they don’t seem to think we can make the connections.

Two articles have leapt from the national media to trouble us this week. The first, in the Telegraph, states that the economic recovery that has made George Osborne so proud is built on mounting consumer debt and a housing bubble.

(This is something that has been known to us for several months, in fact. Osborne’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme is the principle cause of the bubble, and it was recently revealed that there is no way to slow it down. Let’s not forget that the taxpayer is underwriting the scheme – so when the bubble bursts we will have to pay both as individuals and as a nation!)

The second article is on the BBC News website, which tells us that up to 1.4 million extra households could face “perilous” levels of debt when interest rates begin to rise – in addition to the 600,000 families already in that situation.

(It adds that mortgages are the largest source of household debt.)

Vox Political has long held the belief that the Conservatives have been trying to increase personal debt. Whether the plan was to decrease the national debt in this way is debatable as the deficit has plateaued at around £120 billion for the last few years.

When Mark Carney became governor of the Bank of England, he said he would not raise interest rates until unemployment falls below seven per cent – which might provide a bit of breathing-room for those having to deal with mounting debt.

However a few months ago, at the Conservative conference, we heard that George Osborne wants to falsify unemployment figures by putting the long-term unemployed on Workfare indefinitely.

If a person is put on Workfare, they are removed from unemployment statistics, even though they only receive social security payments for the work they do.

We already know that figures show a larger fall in unemployment than commentators had anticipated, so it now stands at 7.4 per cent, according to official statistics. Putting hundreds of thousands more people on Workfare should cut that figure below Mr Carney’s benchmark.

Meanwhile, household debt is due to rise to 160 per cent of income by 2018, partly because wages are dropping in comparison with inflation. The number of households using half their disposable income to repay debt could rise from 600,000 to 1.1 million if interest rates rise to three per cent (according to the Resolution Foundation, as quoted in the BBC piece) – and to two million if rates hit five per cent.

In the light of this information we must ask ourselves: Is this a Tory trap? Are they trying to create conditions in which more people on low or middle incomes become indebted to the rich, just by fiddling interest rates?

What do you think?

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Vox Political’s top 12 of 2013

Government repression of the people, plans to give corporations the power to overrule national laws, the end of legal protection of our human rights and the continuing horror story that is the Coalition government’s idea of a benefit system were among your top priorities in 2013.

It would have been easy to write a ‘review of the year’ highlighting what I think were the main issues of the year, but this may not have been representative of the feelings of readers.

Instead – borrowing an idea from Pride’s Purge – let’s look back at the articles you, the reader, found most interesting. These are the subjects that we should all watch carefully as the new year progresses and we move ever-closer to the general election of 2015.

While we can see Conservative and Liberal Democrat policies reflected in these stories, let’s also ask what Labour would do. What are the policies of the Opposition on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership? Would the current Labour leadership reverse party policy of the last 100 years and move to restrict our legal freedoms (as suggested by the disastrous decision to support Iain Duncan Smith’s repressive retroactive law on Workfare in March)?

And what about the other parties – the Greens, UKIP, and the new pretenders that have sprung up in protest at the excesses of a government that was never elected by the British people but has set about changing the face of Britain in such a massive way that the UK of 2015 will hardly be recognisable as the same country that went to the polls in 2010? Are they a serious political force, a vote-splitting annoyance that could allow the Tories back into power, or an expression of the nation’s conscience?

Take a look back – and then take a look forward.

1. Sleepwalking further into Police State Britain as law offers new powers of repression (November 11)

2. Death of a great man marred by the hypocrisy of a weasel (December 6)

3. Iain Duncan Smith has committed contempt of Parliament and should be expelled (May 10)

4. Back to the Dark Ages as the Tories plan to scrap your Human Rights (March 10)

5. Judges find DWP ‘fitness for work’ test breaches the Equality Act and is illegal (May 22)

6. UK police state moves a step closer (to your door) (February 11)

7. Austerity programme proved to be ‘nonsense’ based on a spreadsheet mistake (April 19)

8. Is Labour planning to betray its core supporters by siding with Iain Duncan Smith? (March 16)

9. The biggest threat to democracy since World War II – and they tried to keep it secret (December 4)

10. Are you going to let David Cameron abolish your rights without a fight? (June 10)

11. MPs tell their own Atos horror stories (January 18)

12. Skeletons in ministers’ closets (or indeed bedrooms) come back to haunt them (May 6)

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