Tag Archives: Karl Turner

Mental health called into question as Theresa May stutters through #PMQs

Jeremy Corbyn likened Theresa May to Baldrick, saying her "cunning plan" was to have no plan at all [Image: Daily Mirror].

Jeremy Corbyn likened Theresa May to Baldrick, saying her “cunning plan” was to have no plan at all [Image: Daily Mirror].

Forget Brexit or Heathrow’s forthcoming new runway – Prime Minister’s Questions today was all about mental health.

Karl Turner told a packed House of Commons that his 25-year-old nephew, Mattie, had recently died while waiting six months for a ‘talking cure’ appointment to help him handle depression. He said these treatments were often a dangerous waiting game and a postcode lottery, and asked what Theresa May was doing to sort it out.

She stuttered through a non-answer about having established parity of esteem between physical and mental health treatment but accepted there was more to do, and moved on – only to be stopped in her tracks by Labour’s Alison McGovern, who wasn’t satisfied.

The Conservative manifesto promised shorter waiting times for people with mental health problems, but prescriptions for anti-depressants are on the rise and waits for treatment are lengthening, she said. Was the Tory manifesto just words, or would the PM ever deliver?

Mrs May, out of her depth, reiterated her previous statement.

Help came – too late, from Tory MP Helen Whately, who quoted Mrs May’s commitment to improved mental health on the day she became prime minister, and asked a hastily-prepared planted question about the Tory government’s five-year plan for mental health.

Mrs May responded with words from a piece of paper that had been slipped to her, showing an increase in appointments of 40 per cent since 2010, but the damage had been done. If she needs a planted question and the help of hastily-scribbled statistics to get her out of a hole, she won’t hold public confidence.

There were other disasters. Fellow Conservative Dr Tania Mathias backstabbed Mrs May over her decision to allow a third runway at Heathrow, when air pollution standards were already being breached.

Mrs May said air quality standards could be reached, but bizarrely reached toward road transport to help justify herself. Apparently electric vehicles on the roads will help Heathrow airport meet its air quality requirements!

It wasn’t all grim, though. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn enjoyed rubbishing Mrs May’s strategy on Brexit. After hearing her stuttering about “being very clear” on her aims for Brexit (while being about as opaque as she could be, he said: “I thought for a moment the prime minister was going to say ‘Brexit means Brexit’ again. I’m sure she’ll tell us one day what it actually means!”

Some commentators have accused Mr Corbyn of missing an open goal by neglecting to ask her about her speech to Goldman Sachs bankers, in which she outlined her concerns for business of the UK were to leave the EU after the referendum that, at the time, had yet to be held. But Mr Corbyn was skilful to avoid that; critics would only have attacked him on the grounds that times have changed.

A much better tactic was to say: “When you’re searching for the real meaning and the importance behind the prime minister’s statement, you have to consult the great philosophers. The only one I can come up with is Baldrick, who says, ‘Our cunning plan is to have no plan’.”

Mrs May’s attempt at a riposte – that the actor playing Baldrick (Tony Robinson) was a member of the Labour Party – was subsequently torpedoed by her own supporters, who gleefully undermined their leader by showing that Sir Anthony does not support Mr Corbyn.

Mark Wallace, executive editor of ConservativeHome, showed how far out of his depth he was by re-tweeting this comment from Sir Anthony:

It will be interesting to see what the media make of today’s events.

Faced with such a disastrous collapse by Theresa May, any attempt to spin the exchange into an attack on Mr Corbyn will be unrealistic – making Mr Wallace’s choice of quote doubly wrong.

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Labour and Green candidates left off postal ballot papers

Postal ballot papers for Hull East. Notice that no Labour or Green candidates are listed.

Postal ballot papers for Hull East. Notice that no Labour or Green candidates are listed.

High-profile Labour MP Karl Turner’s name has been omitted from 480 postal ballot papers in his Hull East constituency due to what the local council is calling an “inadvertent mistake”.

Yeah, right.

If that is the case, why were Mr Turner and Green candidate Sarah Walpole only missed off the papers for people who registered to vote after April 1? Doesn’t that imply that somebody removed their names deliberately?

Hull City Council had better check every single ballot paper it is preparing for election day, to prevent any further “inadvertent mistake”. Mr Turner was elected with a majority of more than 8,000, so the potential loss of 480 votes was unlikely to affect him. The loss of who-knows-how-many votes on the day might be a different matter!

Mr Turner told the BBC the mistake was “concerning” because people were “being denied the right to vote and take part in the democratic process”.

He added: “I have had calls from people in East Hull who are going on holiday this week and are angry that they are unable to vote. I have asked Hull City Council to urgently look into the matter and review their processes surrounding sending out ballot papers.”

The campaign is moving from desperation into criminality now, it seems. This Writer does not believe for one moment that those ballot papers were altered by “mistake”.

Expect further incidents like that in the last days of the campaign – and we can be sure plenty of last-minute voters will be locked out of their polling stations again, on the stroke of 10pm, just like last time. This gives Conservative candidates an edge over others because Tory voters are whipped into voting as early as possible.

In other news, it seems more than 70,000 ballot papers destined for Hastings and Rye, in East Sussex, were stolen along with the van that was transporting them there. Hastings Borough Council says it is putting measures in place to ensure that none of the stolen papers can be used, and we are being asked to believe that the loss of the papers was incidental to the theft of the van.

Yeah, right. But opportunism is a wonderful thing. Let’s see what happens there.

Both these events could lead to electoral fraud, which is a crime. Vox Political readers are urged to be alert for any possible “inadvertent mistake” in your own constituency and report anything suspicious to the Returning Officer (usually your local council’s chief executive) and to the police.

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Cameron’s ‘chicken’ songs – can he ever win back public respect?

Is this David Cameron's election battle bus?

Is this David Cameron’s election battle bus?

The amount of mirth created by David Cameron’s refusal to appear in more than a single TV leader debate, ahead of the general election, almost cancelled out the public’s annoyance that he won’t stand up and defend his policies.

It seems the Labour Party is right – Cameron knows he has a record to run from, and not a record to run on.

And it was good to see people in the public eye taking sides – like Mark Gatiss (actor/writer: The League of Gentlemen, Sherlock, Doctor Who), who tweeted: “Cameron’s mendacity is astonishing. He filibustered by insisting other leaders join the debate, now blames broadcasters for chaos. Childish.”

This Writer, together with Mrs Mike, participated in the festivities on Twitter, where John Prescott invited contributors to suggest possible titles for songs signifying Cameron’s behaviour. Here are some of our favourites:

“Comfortably Dumb” (Comfortably Numb).

“All Lied Out” (All Cried Out).

“The Tracks of My Fears” (Tracks of My Tears).

“Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheap”.

“People are strange, when you’re a chicken; debate gets ugly, when you’re alone” (People are Strange). This Writer was responsible for this particular suggestion, which seems appropriate to the Labour Party video that has now appeared on YouTube. Here it is:

http://youtu.be/fxQ6L3kN4n8

“A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Egg” (A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action).

“The Sound of Silence” (inevitably).

“Can’t get you out head to head” (Can’t Get You Out of My Head).

“Nice Eggs – shame about debate” (Nice Legs, Shame About The Face).

Ed Miliband is weak weak weak. So weak that David Cameron is Absolutely *terrified* of agreeing to TV Debates With him," tweeted Eoin Clarke.

Ed Miliband is weak weak weak. So weak that David Cameron is Absolutely *terrified* of agreeing to TV Debates With him,” tweeted Eoin Clarke.

At one point, Mrs Mike was singing, “Prince Chicken, Prince Chicken, ridicule is nothing to be scared of!” (This was to the tune of Prince Charming by Adam and the Ants.)

She later relented, deciding that someone needed to stand up for all the chickens as Cameron was giving them a bad name.

Currently, Mrs Mike is saying that if “Chicken Dave” does turn up for a TV debate, not only will it be a turkey but he’ll get stuffed.

“First you mention chickens then ducks [perhaps he meant turkeys – although it’s true that Cameron is ducking out of the debates], both are apt as he is a Fowl human being,” responded Ian Davies.

John Prescott has suggested that if David Cameron does not turn up for the TV debates, this should be placed on the empty podium.

John Prescott has suggested that if David Cameron does not turn up for the TV debates, this should be placed on the empty podium.

Labour MP Karl Turner revealed that his election agent has dared him to wear a chicken suit at the next Prime Minister’s Questions “and wave at Chicken Dave. Would need a tie with it!”

Carol Gardiner responded: “I’ll sponsor you if you do it! (Not much I’m afraid, I’ve been hit by the Long Term Economic Plan).”

Here’s a last word from Mrs Mike: “Have we ruffled Cameron’s feathers, do you think?”

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