Tag Archives: expand

Badger cull is expanded to ‘unimaginable scale’. Why do Tories hate them so much?

What is the Conservative fascination with killing badgers?

Was a Tory agriculture minister once baited by one?

Or is the badger cull the Tory response to the hunting ban?

It seems they are determined to get their kicks from killing animals somehow.

The badger cull certainly has no justification in terms of beating TB in cattle.

So, why are the Tories determined to expand it, if not for cruelty?

The controversial badger cull in England has been expanded to an “unimaginable scale”, according to a leading expert who warned the government is paying far too little attention to the transmission of tuberculosis between cattle when they are traded.

Ministers approved culling in 11 new areas on Wednesday, taking the total to 43. Up to 64,000 animals are likely to be killed this autumn, up from a maximum of 42,000 last year.

TB infections in cattle blight farms and cost taxpayers more than £100m a year in compensation payments. But scientists and conservationists oppose the cull, saying there is little evidence it is effective and is being badly run.

Source: Badger cull in England extended to ‘unimaginable scale’ | Environment | The Guardian

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Another Tory promise ditched: Plan to expand mental health services lasted less than two months

Labour MP Luciana Berger said Theresa May’s ‘cuts are harming mental health services’ [Image: PA].


Jeremy Hunt promised to expand mental healthcare, creating 21,000 new posts by 2021, on July 30. It is now September 20 and that plan is in tatters after Clinical Commissioning Groups said they couldn’t afford it and will reduce their provision.

It’s not a record in terms of the brevity of Tory promises – consider some of their mayfly manifesto pledges from this year’s general election campaign – but it is yet another demonstration of the minority government’s inability to achieve anything positive at all.

Before anybody points out that Theresa May promised to improve mental healthcare in January, just remember that she never offered to put any money into her plan and it was essentially meaningless.

And how much are these CCGs giving to private health companies, who will pass much of the money on to their shareholders as profit – meaning it will not be used to provide any health care at all?

Finally, can everybody see what’s missing from the Department of Health statement? Well, it could have mentioned the amount of investment in mental health in 2010, so we could work out the exact amount by which it has risen. Then we could calculate it as a percentage increase, which we could compare with rates of inflation over the last seven years to work out whether there has been only a money-terms (and therefore meaningless) increase or an actual rise in spending.

As it is, the comment is meaningless and casts suspicion on the validity of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View.

The Government has been accused of “empty promises” over boosting mental health provision as new figures reveal that half of local NHS bodies plan to slash spending on vital services.

Cash-strapped Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England said they will reduce the proportion of their budgets spent on offering mental health support in 2017/18, despite previous commitments from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt that spending would increase.

New figures show that 50 per cent of CCGs would see their mental health budgets squeezed next year, compared to 57 per cent in 2016/17 and 38 per cent the year before.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “This government has increased, not decreased, investment in mental health services. Since 2010, spending on mental health has risen to a record £11.6bn this year, with a further investment of £1bn every year by 2020/21 and we expect CCGs to increase their spending as set out in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View.”

Read more: Government accused of ’empty promises’ on mental health as NHS plans to slash funding


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Tories are expanding undergraduate medical education by 1,500 places. How long does it take to train a doctor?

Health professionals: You can tell this is a promotional picture for the Tory government’s press release, can’t you?

Currently doctors in the UK may train for up to 16 years before qualifying. 5 years for their degree (or six if you intercalate and take a useful subject like, say, History of Medicine), 2 years for a post-graduate foundation course, and then 3 to 8 years in specialist training.

So those who start their courses in 2018 may begin to see patients as soon as 2024 – or as late as 2034.

Either way, they won’t be useful to patients until long after most, if not all, of the NHS in England has disappeared into the grubby hands of private profit-making businesses.

They will be absolutely useless in coping with the current crisis in the English NHS that has been created entirely by the minority Conservative government.

As for the 10,000 places being offered for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals – how many of those will be taken up? The Tories have made healthcare one of the least attractive professions in the UK.

It’s years past time they owned up to what they have been doing and made a positive difference – by resigning and allowing a Labour government to rectify their blunders.

Here‘s the announcement, for what it’s worth:

The department has published the government response to the recent consultation on expanding undergraduate medical education.

The government will increase the number of student places at medical schools in England by 1,500.

From next year, existing medical schools will be able to offer an extra 500 places to future doctors. Another 1,000 places will be allocated across the country, based on an open bidding process.

The bidding process will be supervised by Health Education England and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The extra places will be targeted at under-represented social groups such as lower income students, as well as regions that usually struggle to attract trainee medics.

The government has also pledged to ensure the places are allocated to medical schools who will work closely with their local communities to help talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds become doctors.

Alongside the plans to train 1,500 more medical students, the government will also fund 10,000 additional training places for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals. Some of these places will be available to students next month.


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NATO and the Economic Exploitation of Eastern Europe – Beastrabban\’s Weblog (and Russell Brand)

NATO expands: On the left, the situation in 1990; on the right, the scene in 2009 - NATO expanded right up to Russia's borders.

NATO expands: On the left, the situation in 1990; on the right, the scene in 2009 – NATO expanded right up to Russia’s borders.

Isn’t it interesting, how concepts coincide?

Only last night I read, in Russell Brand’s Revolution: “When Mikhail Gorbachev, who it turns out was a lovely fella who bent over backwards to prevent nuclear war and deserved to be remembered for more than that birthmark on his head, allowed a unified Germany to enter NATO, a hostile military alliance, on the condition that ‘NATO would not expand one inch to the east,’ the US agreed. Then they expanded right into East Germany, likely giggling as they went. This dunderheaded truculence persisted under every US regime change… Clinton in his tenure expanded NATO right up to Russia’s borders. Chomsky says all this aggro we’re having today in the Crimea and Ukraine is because of these unreported acts of military expansionism by the West.”

Now here’s the Beast: “I … found this little piece in ‘The View from the Bridge’ column in Lobster 45, reproducing statements from elsewhere that NATO was being used to exploit the former eastern bloc countries that have joined it after the fall of Communism. Although over a decade old [bolding mine], it’s relevant now as we are in period of diplomatic tension with Russia over the civil war in Ukraine. This has been presented as a case of pro-Western Ukrainian patriots attempting to free themselves from Russian domination. The reality is somewhat murkier, as the pro-Western side themselves were guilty of considerable corruption. It also includes open Neo-Nazis.”

The stories quoted are about NATO bullying eastern European countries into selling off their national economic assets to foreigners and spending huge amounts of money on US-manufactured military hardware, under threat of losing a place in NATO military committees and command structures.

The Beast writes: “This makes you really wonder what the reality behind the ousting of President Yanukovych in Ukraine really was, and who was supposed to benefit: the Ukrainian people, or Western multinationals.”

And now Greece is rolling back the privatisation programme imposed by the West, against hugely unreasonable – yet mounting – opposition from the Troika and Western right-wingers.

The UK, it seems, is on the side of NATO, and – as long as we have a right-wing government – the privateers. This leads to a very worrying question:

When did we become the bad guys?

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