Tag Archives: long term

Coronavirus: Medical groups unite to condemn bulk ‘Do Not Revive’ plan for sick and disabled people


This should be seen as absolute proof that it has been a policy to deny coronavirus care to people with long-term illnesses and disabilities.

This Writer has noted some scepticism in the responses to yesterday’s article about the GP practice in Wales that wrote to people with ongoing medical conditions, telling them that equipment used to treat coronavirus is being rationed and they were not likely to be treated if they contracted the disease. Instead, the letter asked them to sign a form directing medical staff not to attempt to resuscitate them if they succumbed to the virus.

My own attitude to this is clear: as we have all paid into the National Health Service, throughout our lives, we all deserve the best possible care available from it. I asked: do politicians and royalty get preferential treatment? If so, why?

Also, just because a person has an underlying condition, that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to shrug off the virus, given the same help that is provided to everybody else.

Now the British Medical Association, the Care Provider Alliance, the Care Quality Commission and the Royal College of General Practitioners have released a joint statement, saying more or less the same.

Here’s the statement:

It reads [boldings mine]:

The importance of having a personalised care plan in place, especially for older people, people who are frail or have other serious conditions has never been more important than it is now during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Where a person has capacit, as defined by the Mental Capacity Act, this advance care plan should always be discussed with them directly. Where a person lacks the capacity to engage with this process then it is reasonable to produce such a plan following best interest guidelines with the involvement of family members or other appropriate individuals.

Such advance care plans may result in the consideration and completion of a Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) or ReSPECT form. It remains essential that these decisions are made on an individual basis. The General Practitioner continues to have a central role in the consideration, completion and signing of DNAR forms for people in community settings.

It is unacceptable for advance care plans, with or without DNAR form completion to be applied to groups of people of any description. These decisions must continue to be made on an individual basis according to need.

It’s saying that any policy requiring medical staff to write off any individual – of any age and condition – as untreatable without discussing their situation with them is wrong.

If the government has handed that down to healthcare providers as a requirement, then it is wrong.

If anybody has already died as a result of such a policy, then those responsible must be identified and must pay the appropriate penalty.

This is real. It is important. It could be deadly. Don’t let the Tories get away with it.

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Coronavirus discrimination: surgery asks chronically sick and disabled patients to refuse treatment

People with serious health conditions and disabilities who are registered with a GP surgery in Wales had a nasty surprise in the post.

The surgery sent them a letter saying if they caught the coronavirus, the best thing for them to do would be to reject treatment and wait for death – and it asked them to sign a form confirming it.

Llynfi Surgery, in Llynfi Road, Maesteg, sent the letter to patients with serious health conditions such as incurable cancer, motor neurone disease, and untreatable heart and lung conditions, on March 27.

It comes as further confirmation that people with disabilities will suffer adverse discrimination in the coronavirus crisis – that government guidance is to abandon them.

The letter states that people with these conditions are “unlikely to be offered hospital admission” if they become unwell with coronavirus and “certainly will not be offered a ventilator bed”.

It continued: “We would therefore like to complete a DNACPR form for you which we can share with the OOH [out of hours] GP services and which will mean that in the event of a sudden deterioration in your condition because of a Covid-19 infection or disease progression the emergency services will not be called and resuscitation attempts to restart your heart or breathing will not be attempted.”

Going on, it suggested that the “best option” for patients is to stay at home to be cared for by their family with “ongoing support from ourselves and community nursing services”.

It listed “benefits” to signing the DNACPR form:

  • “Your GP and more importantly your friends and family will know not to call 999”;
  • “Scarce ambulance resources can be targeted to the young and fit who have chance of surviving the infection”, and;
  • “The risk of transmitting the virus to friends, family and emergency responders from CPR (even chest compression alone) is very high. By having a DNACPR form in place you protect your family and emergency responders from this additional risk”.

The final line reads: “We will not abandon you but we need to be frank and realistic about what the next few months holds for all of us.”

Wales Online reported on this scandalous correspondence, saying that the local health board had contacted patients who were upset by the letter, to apologise and “answer any concerns”.

And both the Welsh Assembly member and MP have issued a joint statement saying this was “not a standard letter” and the board is working with the surgery “to offer compassionate and sound advice in the very best traditions of our health service”.

You’ll notice that there isn’t a single line in these comments that contradicts the suggestions in the letter.

If anything, it seems the authorities have simply been embarrassed that it has stated the facts about government guidance on long-term sick and disabled patients who contract the coronavirus in a blunt way.

The affair seems to be confirmation that the government is indeed using the coronavirus to cull “useless eaters”, in line with the eugenics beliefs of Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings, and the Nazi-style persecution of people with long-term health issues that has been carried out by successive Conservative governments over the last decade.

Source: Surgery asks sickest patients to sign ‘do not attempt CPR’ form if they get Covid-19 – Wales Online

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December 3 was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. If you didn’t know, that’s half the problem

As Samuel Miller states below, December 3 was a day of mourning in the United Kingdom.

Tory austerity has killed thousands upon thousands of people with long-term illnesses and disabilities – but they have hit on what they think is a brilliant wheeze, making it seem that the deaths are either the logical conclusion of benefit claimants’ physical condition or their own decision in the case of suicide.

They have deliberately plunged millions of sick and disabled people into appalling poverty. Remember the £30 cut in Employment and Support Allowance for people with long-term illnesses? Tip of the iceberg.

And they love it.

So I agree with Samuel here:

And I agree with Tom Clark here:

If you need any further encouragement, consider this:

Hardly convincing, was she?

Consider this, also:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, has changed its policy to support people who have long-term illnesses and disabilities. Consider:

Some of us have been campaigning for these measures for nearly a decade, since the Conservatives slithered back into office in 2010.

Some of us have been campaigning for much longer.

There is a better way for government to treat people with disabilities. It is a way that grants them the dignity they have been denied by the Conservatives, and that offers them a decent standard of living.

With the Tories facing annihilation in Parliament over their arrogant determination to force a duff Brexit deal down our throats, we may soon have an opportunity to take that better choice.

Let’s seize it.

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Tory promise to stop re-assessing benefit claimants with lifelong illnesses was a LIE

Tim Farron with benefit claimant John Heaton and his carer Kath Dunning [Image: Cumbria Crack].

How could we have expected more from the Party of Liars?

Well-deserved congratulations go to former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron for exposing then-Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green as having lied when he said assessors from private companies would no longer re-assess claimants who have long-term illnesses.

At the time, Mr Green said it was “pointless” and “only adds to their anxiety and difficulties”. So why is the minority Conservative government still doing it?

The answer to that, of course, is in the information provided to Mr Farron:

The Tories could never stop re-assessing people with long-term illnesses because the Department for Work and Pensions simply does not make a note of which claimants have them.

Damian Green must have known this when he made his statement last October.

In fact, it confirms what This Writer suspected when I published this article, at the time – and this article, one month later.

So we knew Mr Green was lying at the time; the Conservative government of the day was criticised for it – and did nothing.

Is it time to pressurise the new, minority Tory government to keep its promise – or sling its hook?

Tim Farron has slammed the Government for lying to local people over plans to stop re-testing benefit claimants who have long-term chronic illnesses such as Huntingdon’s, MS, and Parkinson’s.

Back in October last year, the then Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, Damien Green, said that they would no longer reassess benefits for those who have long-term sickness as it is “pointless” and “only adds to their anxiety and difficulties”.

However, a freedom of information request from Tim Farron has revealed that the DWP never intended to carry out this proposal as they do not even record data which would allow them to pull out the group of claimants who have chronic illnesses.

An example of someone who the Government has broken their promise to is John Heaton. John has a degenerative brain disease and severe obstructive pulmonary disease of which he has a sick note to cover him from his doctors. He is also suffering from a hip injury and extreme weight loss for which his dietician nurse makes home visits.

Kath Dunning, who is John’s carer, said: “I received a letter from the DWP saying that John had missed a medical assessment. I rang the relevant authorities to tell them that I hadn’t received a letter about the assessment.

“They told me to put it in writing which I did. They then replied four weeks later after numerous phone calls from myself to say that they were upholding their decision. This meant that I would have to take it to a tribunal and John would have to apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance.”

Read more: Farron slams DWP over breaking promise to stop re-testing claimants with lifelong illnesses


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Yes, Iain Duncan Smith – Vox Political HAS accused you of ‘outrageous action’. PROVE US WRONG

Iain Duncan Smith can’t prove us wrong. He deliberately refuses to collect the statistics that would confirm his claims – or ours.

Instead, he has claimed that This Blog (and presumably others) has accused him of “outrageous action”, without providing a scrap of evidence against the allegation.

This Writer is delighted that the Gentleman Ranker has tried to defend himself. I am currently working on a book covering this subject and his words may provide an excellent introduction.

The man we like to call RTU (Return To Unit – a Forces description of someone who trained to be an officer but was a washout) was responding to a request for information from Frank Field, chairman of the Commons work and pensions committee.

Mr Field had asked what data the DWP collects on the deaths of benefit claimants, in an attempt to find out whether there is any link between the work capability assessment (WCA) – carried out on claimants of Employment and Support Allowance and the Personal Independent Payment – and suicide, self-harm and mental ill-health.

The issue had been raised in research by Oxford University and Liverpool University entitled First Do No Harm.

This Blog reported on that document’s findings here – and you would be well-advised to refresh your memory of that article before you see the Secretary-in-a-State’s comments.

You should also read Vox Political‘s follow-up article in which a response from the Department for Work and Pensions – attempting to deny the research findings – is comprehensively disproved.

Iain Duncan Smith started writing his letter without a leg to stand on. Here it is – read it for yourself and see if you have any sympathy for his attitude.

Note that he admits the DWP has a “duty of care” to benefit claimants. It has taken years to get him to admit this and it will be very important if – for example – corporate manslaughter charges arise in the future.

Where he says the report’s authors admitted there was no evidence of a “causal link” between the WCA and suicide, he is of course being disingenuous. Iain Duncan Smith would not be satisfied with any evidence other than coroners’ findings that all 590 suicides mentioned by the report were attributed by the perpetrators to the work capability assessment. That was never going to happen.

But the report did examine other causes and eliminated them. While it states there is no direct evidence of a causal link between the WCA and suicide, the deaths certainly aren’t linked to any other cause.

Note also, Duncan Smith’s claim that the lack of a causal link was not reported in the media is not true.

The comment that there is no evidence the people with mental health problems underwent a WCA is covered in This Blog’s follow-up article, but for clarity I’ll repeat it here:

“Jonathan Portes of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) told This Writer that… the DWP’s response ‘reflects a basic misunderstanding of how you do this sort of analysis! Looking at WCA cases would be precisely wrong. You need to be able to control for selection – to do that here, [you] need to look at [the] whole population.

“’Let’s try [an] example. Does Coke make you fat? You can’t just look at people who drink coke & ask if they’re fatter, but if in areas where Coke [is]cheap, [and] people [are] on average fatter, *controlling for everything else*, that does tell you something.’

“So, in order to ensure that the correct cause is ascribed to any particular effect, those who carried out the study had to examine the health of the population as a whole, and eliminate elements that could relate to everybody, rather than just those who took the work capability assessment. They needed to rule out “unobserved confounding” – unseen elements contributing to the results.”

And that is precisely what they did.

Duncan Smith’s assertion that being sent back to work can “promote and protect health, and also reverse the harmful effects of long-term unemployment or prolonged sickness absence” is only accurate if the person doing the work is healthy enough for it – and, by definition, may not be applied to those whose mental ill-health has driven them to suicide.

Inaccurate WCA findings that claimants are “fit for work” or may be “fit for work” within a year of their assessment also mean that many ESA claimants will be sent back into the job market before they are healthy enough. In these cases, there can only be one result: Being sent back to work will make their health worse.

Of course it will; there is a reason they stopped working and claimed ESA in the first place. If that reason still applies, then sending them back to work can only have one result.

Anyone wanting to suggest that a large number of ESA claimants are committing fraud in order to avoid work should remind themselves of the facts: While a TUC survey has shown people think 27 per cent of the ‘welfare’ budget is claimed fraudulently, the government’s own figure is just 0.7 per cent. For ESA claimants it reduces even further, to 0.4 per cent. That’s one person out of 250, rather than roughly one in four – a big difference, especially when one considers the effect on their health of sending an ill person back to work prematurely, as Iain Duncan Smith appears to be advocating.

And then there is this:

160211IDSnote-outrageousaction

The handwriting is appalling so This Writer will try to translate: “NB: There are some out there in the media and social media who have used raw figures to accuse the govt of outrageous [sic] action. I would hope that the committee would not seek to follow suit. I note that having introduced the ESA and the WCA, the Labour Party now seeks to attack it as though they had nothing to do with it. Surely the committee should seek to recognise the good intent of those engaged in this difficult area.”

Those engaged in this area have no good intent whatsoever – let’s get that clear from the start. Their intentions are well-covered in previous articles on This Blog, which I will forward to Frank Field and his committee.

As for “some out there in the media and social media who… accuse the government of outrageous action” – I think he means me.

How nice to have official recognition and how clever of him to describe his own behaviour accurately.

Outrageous action? That’s exactly right.

Iain Duncan Smith’s department practises ‘chequebook euthanasia’ – WCA assessors use psychological ‘nudge’ techniques to push the mentally-ill towards suicide in order to reduce the “burden” on society caused by these “useless eaters”.

Even Frank Field – chairman of the work and pensions committee who contacted Iain Duncan Smith over the Oxford University and Liverpool University allegations – has raised concerns about this behaviour:

zTerminal

It is outrageous.

Even more outrageous is the fact that Iain Duncan Smith is trying to deny it.

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Job centres to overcome mental health barriers to work | Wales – ITV News

What do readers think of this?

This Writer has grave concerns. Is this a programme that tries to brainwash people into thinking that they’re healthy when they’re not – like the DWP’s own work capability assessment?

Your comments are requested.

The ‘Press Pause to Play’ programme was piloted in Swansea towards the end of last year, helping people with anxiety and depression through a combination of psychology, physiology and neuroscience.

Run by a specialist stress and anxiety management company, the programme reportedly saw 50% of participants successfully run to work.

By partnering with the Department for Work and Pensions, the company – ‘Start Smiling Again’ hope to achieve similar results across Wales by rolling the programme out to a number of job centres in South Wales.

Source: Job centres to overcome mental health barriers to work | Wales – ITV News

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The work capability assessment and suicide – a.k.a. ‘chequebook euthanasia’

Too ill to work means too ill to live: Work capability assessors have been asking people with serious illnesses and disabilities why they have not committed suicide.

Too ill to work means too ill to live: Work capability assessors have been asking people with serious illnesses and disabilities why they have not committed suicide.

A new phrase has entered the Vox Political lexicon following yesterday’s article on an Atos work capability assessor who asked a woman suffering with depression why she had not committed suicide: ‘Chequebook euthanasia’.

(That article had itself been prompted by a piece the day before, on the higher possibility of people committing suicide over the Christmas period.)

The article prompted Earl Appleby to tweet, in response: “Little surprise here, alas. The able-bodied driving people with disabilities to suicide is a hoary form of chequebook euthanasia.”

He added: “Binding & Hoche advocated chequebook euthanasia nearly a century ago.”

They certainly did. Professors Karl Binding and Erich Hoche raised the case for chequebook euthanasia in Germany’s Weimar Republic, 80 years ago, in their seminal work The Destruction of Life Devoid of Value.

This article reveals the worst about Binding and Hoche. It states that they considered people with disabilities (and would probably have added those with long-term illnesses) to be “‘useless eaters’ whose ‘ballast lives’ could be tossed overboard to better balance the economic ship of state. In speaking of those with disabilities, and explicitly advocating involuntary euthanasia, Binding and Hoche wrote:

Their life is absolutely pointless, but they do not regard it as being unbearable. They are a terrible, heavy burden upon their relatives and society as a whole. Their death would not create even the smallest gap—except perhaps in the feelings of their mothers or loyal nurses.

“Just like today!

Furthermore, Binding and Hoche drove home the economic argument by calculating the total cost expended in caring for such people. They concluded that this cost was ‘a massive capital in the form of foodstuffs, clothing and heating, which is being subtracted from the national product for entirely unproductive purposes.’

Now look at the case of Abi Fallows, as reported yesterday. This is a person who has asserted that she is unable to work – certainly for the foreseeable future – and has medical evidence to support this. The Atos assessor seized on her admission that she suffered with depression and asked why she had not committed suicide.

Not only was this a device to put the idea in her mind, it also indicates government thinking – one less mouth to feed is considerably less expense on, as Binding and Hoche would have it, “their relatives and society as a whole”.

It should be noted at this time that Ms Fallows’ case is not unique – by any stretch of the imagination. Vox Political has a tiny readership, compared with the size of the UK population, let alone the world (this blog is read in all but a few countries internationally) and yet within 15 minutes of the article’s publication, a commenter named Dominique stated: “They asked me too at my assessment.”

Caroline Hudson told the 4UP Politricks Facebook page: “I got asked that at my assessment. In fact she told me I had been looking for attention and had not meant to kill myself otherwise I would not still be here.”

Fellow blogger Jayne Linney told us: “I was asked the same question by Capita as well as ATOS. I wonder if it’s in the DWP ‘Script’?” [bolding mine]

‘Mary’ added: “I think it’s the system. They are told what questions to ask and what boxes to tick.”

“It’s the system”…

Following up on Earl Appleby’s tweet, Trevor Warner added: “It was Binding & Hoche who laid the groundwork for the ‘Aktion T-4’ program implemented by the Nazis.” T4, according to our old friend Wikipedia, was “a programme of forced euthanasia in wartime Nazi Germany. Under the programme physicians were directed to judge patients ‘incurably sick, by critical medical examination,’ and then administer to these patients a ‘mercy death’.” In this way, 70,273 people were despatched during the programme’s official running time, with a further 200,000+ unofficial deaths attributed to German and Austrian physicians practices who continued its practices until the defeat of the Nazis in 1945.

Technology developed for Aktion T4 went on to be used in the infamous extermination camps.

It could be argued that the Coalition Government doesn’t have any blood on its hands. Nobody goes around the United Kingdom subjecting the sick and disabled to so-called ‘mercy’ killings, after all.

They just subject people – who are already in an unstable frame of mind – to a highly pressurised ‘fitness’ test and then demand to know why, considering their condition, they haven’t killed themselves yet. Then they let those people do all the work themselves.

Perhaps the government ministers who devised this wheeze – or perhaps the shadowy American insurance firm that has been advising them on policy – thought it was an excellent way of clearing the books without anyone ever being able to say they were responsible for the deaths.

Well, you know what?

There is a list including around 70 people who have died since the Coalition government came into office, many of whom committed suicide – after taking the Coalition Government’s work capability assessment.

What’s the law on corporate manslaughter, again?

“An organisation… is guilty of an offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a person’s death; and amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased. An organisation is guilty of an offence only if the way in which its activities are managed or organised by its senior management is a substantial element.”

The noose is beginning to tighten – and not on benefit claimants.

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Give the public a say before selling off the NHS, demands Burnham

torynhsposter

Scheming, lice-ridden vermin: All the airbrushing in the world could not erase the brutal, calculating dishonesty of the Conservative 2010 election poster.

This guy has been impressive from the get-go: Today (Tuesday) Andy Burnham will call on the Coalition to put its plans for further NHS privatisation on hold until there is clear evidence that the public wants the health service to be sold off.

The speech in Manchester is being timed to take place before the Conservative-led government signs a series of new NHS contracts that will – underhandedly – tie the hands of a future government.

Sly little devils, aren’t they?

The British public has never given its consent for far-reaching and forced privatisation of services – and that’s what Mr Burnham will be saying.

He will point out that the forced privatisation of the NHS is entering new territory and becoming harder to reverse: Contracts are being signed that will run throughout the next Parliament and beyond, tying the hands of the next government in a crucial area of public policy.

Not only is this unacceptable to Labour, but it has never been accepted by the public, and Mr Burnham will say that comedy Prime Minister David Cameron needs to be reminded that the NHS does not belong to him but to the British people – and he never received our permission to put it up for sale.

He will remind everybody that Cameron was dishonest about his privatisation plans before the last election. Cameron said there would be “no top-down reorganisation”.

If he wants to continue to force privatisation through, he should seek the consent of the public at the 2015 Election, Mr Burnham will say.

And he will contrast the increasingly fragmented and privatised travesty that Cameron wants to force on you – where service has become a postcode lottery dependent on the cost-effectiveness of providing certain forms of healthcare in your locality – with a public, integrated NHS as Labour intends to re-form it.

It was confirmed last week that NHS spending on private-sector and other providers has exceeded £10 billion for the first time.

“For all its faults, it is a service that is based on people not profits,” Mr Burnham will say. “That principle sets our health service apart and was famously celebrated two years ago at the Opening Ceremony of our Olympic Games.

“When his reorganisation hit trouble and was paused, David Cameron explicitly promised that it would not lead to more forced privatisation of services. But… on his watch, NHS privatisation is being forced through at pace and scale.

“Commissioners have been ordered to put all services out to the market.

“NHS spending on private and other providers has gone through the £10 billion barrier for the first time.

When did the British public ever give their consent for this?

“It is indefensible for the character of the country’s most valued institution to be changed in this way without the public being given a say.”

Among the long-lasting agreements due to be signed by the Coalition in a bid to tie the next government into its privatisation of services are two contracts for cancer care in Staffordshire lasting no less than 10 years and worth a massive £1.2 billion; a five-year contract worth £800 million for the care of older people in Cambridge; and a contract in Oxford and Milton Keynes set to begin a month before the General Election for medical staffing.

The last of these is using a ‘reverse auction’ process where the lowest bidder wins, confirming fears of a ‘race to the bottom’ culture and contradicting claims from the Government of no competition on price in the NHS.

Once again Labour shows us that there is no depth to which the Cameron administration will not stoop. This time they are using the summer Parliamentary recess to sign contracts intended to prevent any future government from restoring our health service and reversing the appalling damage they have done so that they and their friends can profit from the suffering and sickness of the poor.

They could not do more damage if they were a filthy, sickening, scheming plague of lice-ridden vermin; in fact, that is exactly what they resemble.

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If Osborne’s critics are wrong, why did the economy do exactly what we said?

osborne embarrassed

What an embarrassment: George Osborne should be ashamed of the rubbish he spouted in his speech yesterday (Friday).

George Osborne is flailing.

He’s a desperate man, trying vainly to convince us that the current state of the British economy was his plan all along when anybody with half a brain can see it wasn’t.

Yesterday he was in Washington, trying to convince Americans that he knows what he is doing, but US economists are far too canny to accept anything he says at face value.

His principal claim was that critics of what he and the ConDem inner circle still laughably call “the government’s long-term economic plan” have been proved “comprehensively wrong”. Some of us would like to see his proof of that.

Back in 2010, when Osborne took over at the Treasury, trashed a perfectly good Labour-stimulated recovery and sent the economy into freefall, those of us with any sense said the situation would worsen until it hit the point at which the economy would stabilise of its own accord, without any interference from politicians. Then it would start to improve because demand would start to rise again.

We reached the lowest point possible in the British economic cycle; from there, the only way was up. That is why there is a recovery – and a mean, meagre little thing it is, too. We should be 20-25 percentage points above where we are. Instead, we’re 1.4 per cent behind our pre-recession peak and the money is going to the wrong people.

The only question you should be asking is why this Tory illiterate has held us back.

Osborne told America that the British economy was growing faster than any other in the G7 – which means nothing. When an economy has shrunk more than any other, it is easier for it to grow. It doesn’t mean that our economy will be bigger than the others, although that is certainly the impression that Osborne wants to convey.

He said the growth was “despite warnings from some that our determined pursuit of our economic plan made that [economic growth] impossible”. This was a lie.

Osborne knows perfectly well that nobody said growth was impossible. They said Osborne’s policy would delay any recovery, causing misery for millions of medium- and low-waged people and providing a spurious justification for his colleague Iain Duncan Smith’s purges of benefit claimants – actions that have caused many thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Apparently, to quote members of a previous Tory government, that is “a price worth paying”. For what?

He said: “Fiscal consolidation [austerity] and economic recovery go together, and [the economic turnaround in the UK] undermines the pessimistic prognosis that only further fiscal stimulus can drive sustainable growth.” This is not what the data shows. It shows, as already stated, that the British economy hit rock-bottom under Osborne’s guidance and has now started the long climb upward of its own accord. That is not an endorsement of his policy; fiscal stimulus along Keynesian lines would have arrested the decline and boosted the economy back into growth – as evidenced four years ago, when Osborne inherited an economy that had been growing for five consecutive quarters and sent it right back into decline.

Osborne claimed, yet again, that a Keynesian scheme would create more debt – denying the simple economic fact that the boost it would have provided would have put more money into the Treasury and cancelled the debt far more quickly than his cuts.

It’s obvious, really. Any growth is despite austerity, not because of it. If you take money out of a system, it’s harder for anybody to make a profit on which tax can be paid. Economics 101, George. But you studied history, didn’t you? And towel-folding.

We should also remember that in Osborne’s first Budget he promised – promised – a “steady and sustained” economic recovery. Instead, we had three years in which the economy flatlined. Then he brought in ‘Help to Buy’ – a very crude fiscal stimulus scheme that has created a housing price bubble that is hugely damaging for low earners while putting money into the pockets of people who don’t need it. The economy picked up, because housing relies on other industries, but the crash that is to come might create a worse situation than before.

Osborne wants us to believe that wages will start to rise above inflation, even though the experience of the Americans to whom he delivered his speech is that 95 per cent of post-recession growth went to the richest one per cent of the population. He wants us to believe living standards will improve, but there is no evidence for this at all.

It’s all just another big lie.

Just take a look around you and you’ll see the facts. Osborne was charged with keeping the economy on its knees because that is what the Tories needed, in order to suck the cash from the middle-class, working-class and unemployed people of the UK.

Tories need mass unemployment to maintain the UK as a low-wage economy, creating more profit for bosses while keeping the workers under the cosh.

They need stagnation in much of the economy in order to ensure that the deficit does not go away and the national debt rises, thereby making it possible from them to continue selling off the National Health Service and dismantling the welfare state.

They need a housing bubble in places like London, to ensure that it is too expensive for undesirable poor and middle-income people, ship them out to other towns that have suffered the planned decimation of their economic bases (in order to ensure that they could not make a better living there), and make the capital city a playground for the rich.

And they have done it all by manipulating the media into telling you the worst lies about your own well-being – lies like those in George Osborne’s speech yesterday.

The last 40 years of British history represent the worst decline in living standards for the British people in the entire history of our nation. Never before did we have as much as when the Conservatives came to office in 1979; never before did we have so much to lose.

And we gave it away to liars like George Osborne, just because they had honey on their forked tongues.

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Free’s a crowd in Tory-run NHS hospitals

Free's a crowd (as far as your Tory government is concerned): Our hospital wards don't yet look like this (it's a ward in India during a Malaria outbreak) but it's just a matter of time.

Free’s a crowd (as far as your Tory government is concerned): Our hospital wards don’t yet look like this (it’s a ward in India during a Malaria outbreak) but it’s just a matter of time.

Today, yr obdt srvt spent the morning at Breconshire War Memorial Hospital, where Mrs Mike underwent a few tests before being booked in for an operation at the end of the month.

We didn’t wait long to be seen. The surgeon made his checks, asked “When would you like to have the operation?” and booked it for the very first opportunity available.

We get freedom of choice in the Welsh NHS, you see.

I couldn’t help but comment: “NHS Wales is a mess, says Westminster.”

Conversation ensued, with us all (including the nurse) agreeing that the Tories in government don’t have a clue what they’re talking about – and in any case they don’t have a right to complain because they have withdrawn a disproportionate amount of funding from the NHS in Wales. The surgeon actually compared our politicians to a pit of snakes.

The conversation followed on very well from one I had with a friend last night, about those problems the service is known to be experiencing in Accident and Emergency. They aren’t any different from those affecting the health service in England, and have less to do with the quality of care than they have to do with bed-blocking.

Put simply: Wards are full of people with long-term care needs who have nowhere to go, because they have no family or friends who are willing to take them in and look after them. This means people admitted to A&E cannot be moved into the wards, so their places cannot be taken by new admissions – and this means ambulances start backing up outside the hospitals. Then there are no ambulances available for new emergency calls, because they are still carrying the patients they picked up at the last call.

That’s overly simplistic, but hopefully the point is made.

The Conservative-led Coalition government is perfectly content to let this go on because “Free’s a crowd” in the Tory health system.

Back in the 1970s, when my own grandmother started to get too old and infirm to live on her own, my parents took her into our house. They got the benefit of an extra pair of eyes to look after myself and my brother (Beastrabban), and the household was boosted by the addition of her pension (or rather, the part of it that she agreed to pay for her keep).

It was a very good arrangement.

And it begs the question: Are people now so selfish – so determined to avoid the responsibilities incurred by looking after the people who once looked after them – that they are actively trying to avoid the benefits that can be gained from such an arrangement?

Or (to mess up a metaphor) are we a nation so schizoid that we think cutting off our nose will improve our face?

That’s an attitude that started back in the Tory-dominated 1980s, if my memory serves me correctly.

It occurs to me that (and again, I am oversimplifying) the crisis in A&E is the price we all pay for that kind of behaviour.

It won’t be solved with money.

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