Tag Archives: National Health Action Party

National interest? Cameron governs in his own – and that of the rich

znationalinterest

We were discussing David Cameron and the respect due to him for his record in government.

You may recall that the phrase used most often when the Coalition was formed (publicly, at least) in May 2010 was “in the national interest“.

This week, his government’s work has included extending the amount of time new claimants will have to wait for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) from three days to seven days. This will be music to the ears of payday lender companies like Conservative Party donor Wonga.com, whose shareholder Adrian Beecroft has given more than £500,000 to the Tories since 2006.

The Coalition also awarded a contract treating NHS patients with brain tumours to the private healthcare company Hospital Corporation of America, a firm that has been accused by the Competition Commission of overcharging for its services by up to £193 million between 2009 and 2011 – but that has also donated at leave £17,000 to the Conservative Party since it came into office.

According to the National Health Action Party, £10 billion worth of NHS contracts have been awarded to private firms since the Health and Social Care Act was passed in 2012. How many of these have donated money to the Conservative Party, and in what quantities?

Meanwhile, a record five million working people are now in low-paid jobs, according to the Resolution Foundation. That’s around one-sixth of the total workforce. This is a direct result of government policies that threaten people on benefits with the loss of their financial support if they do not take any job available to them – at whatever rate of pay is being offered. The insecurity this creates means firms are free to offer the bare minimum, and keep workers on that rate for years at a time, and pocket the profits for themselves – after donating money to the Conservative Party for making it all possible.

There has been no benefit to the national economy from any of these actions; the deficit that Cameron said he would eliminate is currently at £100.7 billion per year and the national debt is almost twice as high as when he first darkened the doors of Number 10. This is because any improvement in the national finances would interfere with his real plan, which is to dismantle all public services (except possibly national security and the judiciary – albeit a court system available only to the rich) and hand the provision of those services to the private sector in return for fat backhanders from the companies involved.

The evidence is beyond question. David Cameron said he would govern in the national interest but has used his time as prime minister to further enrich his already-wealthy business donors, and consequently his own political party, through the impoverishment of working people and those who rely on the State for support.

What sort of respect is due to a man like that?

By custom, here in the UK, the prime minister is given a degree of respect due to his or her position as the head of the government – but respect must be earned and we judge our politicians on their actions.

Cameron has earned nothing from the British people other than our disgust. He is a liar, at the head of a government whose mendaciousness seemingly knows no bounds. And he is a thief; every benefit claimant who has had their payments sanctioned or their claim denied had paid into the system – via direct or indirect taxation – and had a right to expect the support they had funded.

He should be in prison.

Unfortunately, we (the people) do not currently have the wherewithal to put him there. We have to register our opinion in other ways.

This means he gets no respect at all. He is not the prime minister – he is the Downing Street squatter. There is no need to make way for him when he passes – Dean Balboa Farley was right to run into him. There is no need to pay attention to the things he says – if you get a chance to talk to him, just talk over him as though he wasn’t there. He is a pariah; he should be shunned at every opportunity.

He has disrespected and dishonoured the highest public office in the land. He deserves no better.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
leading the debate on the government of the day!

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Meet the pain management nurse who is set to unseat Iain Duncan Smith

Kathryn Anderson

Kathryn Anderson

Gratitude is due to Andrew Sharp for notifying Vox Political of the one major omission in our story about the challenge to leading members of the Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition government by members of the National Health Action Party in next year’s general election.

Iain Duncan Smith will be challenged for his Chingford and Woodford Green constituency – not by a major media figure like, say, Rufus Hound, nor by a leading member of the NHA Party… but by a pain management nurse from North London.

Kathryn Anderson works at Hampstead’s Royal Free Hospital – but wants to make sure the people of Chingford and Woodford Green have a chance  to express their “disgust” at what she calls the work and pensions secretary’s “totally dismissive” attitude towards unwell, disabled or disadvantaged people who need assistance.

Who better to ram that point home than a nurse who spends every day working with people who suffer the chronic pain that is habitually dismissed as non-existent by the man this blog likes to call RTU (Returned To Unit – Army terminology for a failure)?

He might not say it himself but the work capability assessment his Department for Work and Pensions has forced on sick benefit claimants is nothing more than a crude essay in disability denial, written for him by an insurance company that earned a criminal conviction in the USA for using the very same formula to refuse claims on its policies.

“Just because this is considered a safe Tory seat doesn’t mean Iain Duncan Smith shouldn’t be challenged, and challenged fiercely,” the NHA Party candidate told the Chingford Guardian on Monday.

“As the deeply unpopular Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, he has shown just how incredibly cruel and vicious the Tory party can be, introducing the bedroom tax and making horrendous cuts to welfare and in the process, destroying lives. He has been far more interested in supporting the wealthy elite than supporting the vulnerable.

“It is also very clear that Iain Duncan Smith cares little for the NHS. The combination of his support for NHS cuts and privatisation, and his welfare reforms, are leading to an even greater reliance on healthcare support for those most in need.”

If Kathryn Anderson wins the seat, not only will the Monster of the Coalition Government be removed from Parliament, but a critical propaganda victory will be won – simply because she isn’t a political ‘Big Beast’.

She’s a nurse, from a London suburb.

Now, Labour is also fielding a candidate against RTU. Bilal Mahmood isn’t a ‘Big Beast’ either, but in the case of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, this is not an attempt to win a symbolic victory; rather it is a concession that a Labour victory in such a Tory heartland is nigh-on impossible. We should not dismiss Mr Mahmood’s abilities or intentions, but it is incumbent on all of us to admit that he has an uphill struggle ahead of him.

This is something the naysayers – who popped up after Monday’s article – failed to grasp when they claimed the rise of the National Health Action Party showed that Labour had become impotent: The chances of Labour winning in Chingford are tiny. The blue-rinsed brigade would rather chew off their own writing hands than get into bed with a Red.

The NHA Party offers an acceptable alternative. Its members are mainly doctors and other medical professionals who are deeply concerned that a major Conservative Party policy will bring nothing but harm to the nation as a whole – and habitual Conservative voters may sympathise wholeheartedly with that point of view.

Look at Lord Tebbit. He reckons he has been a lifelong user of the NHS and the only member of his family ever to have enjoyed privatised medicine is his dog!

As far as the good of the National Health Service is concerned, the aim of the 2015 General Election must be to remove the Conservative Party from office (and, in the main, from Parliament altogether) and then to remove the private sector asset-strippers from the publicly-funded system. That should come above all party political allegiances.

That is why Vox Political, which supports Labour, is happy to call on all those in Chingford and Woodford Green – and in all the other Tory-held constituencies where an NHA Party challenger has arisen – to support them in their campaigns. In particular, help them overcome media resistance.

Tory-supporting money owns most of the press, and this means dissenting voices that offer an alternative to the Conservatives are likely to gain only a fraction of the Tories’ column-inches or TV exposure. Social media and people power can change all that.

If you live in Chingford or Woodford Green and you want people to know there is a viable alternative to Iain Duncan Smith, then spread the word – not just once, but often, until the message gets through that they don’t have to be the quiescent sheep that Tory High Command wants them to be.

Use the social media. Use newspaper letters pages. Phone in to radio and TV political programmes. Cause a stir.

Of course, if NHA Party candidates unseat RTU, David Cameron and all the rest, it means Labour will be more likely to win the election anyway, so Yr Obdt Srvt will get the desired result. But some readers have expressed misgivings about Labour’s will to go through with the repeal of the Health and Social Care Act.

The presence of NHA Party members in the House of Commons will hold Labour to its word.

If you live in a Tory ‘stronghold’ constituency, this is your best chance to save the NHS.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
supporting the defenders of our National Health Service!

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Support the National Health Action Party in its bid to unseat Hunt and Cameron

Fighting for the NHS: Dr Louise Irvine will challenge Jeremy Hunt for his seat in Parliament.

Fighting for the NHS: Dr Louise Irvine will challenge Jeremy Hunt for his seat in Parliament.

Why is the fight against creeping NHS privatisation no longer gaining national headlines in the mass media? Do editors think it is no longer fashionable, or do they think the job’s done and they don’t have to bother any more?

Thank goodness for the Daily Mirror and its report that Dr Louise Irvine is to stand against Conservative Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt at the 2015 election, as the National Health Action Party candidate for South West Surrey.

She joins Dr Clive Peedell, who will challenge David Cameron for his Witney seat.

Both candidatures were announced at the NHAP’s national conference, which took place over the weekend. You probably didn’t even know it was happening, thanks to the priorities of the mainstream media.

The doctors have a hard challenge ahead of them – Hunt’s majority at the 2010 election was more than 16,000 votes. That’s 16,000+ more than his closest rival. Cameron’s was even higher – nearly 23,000 votes ahead of the pack.

But Dr Irvine told the Mirror she was ready for the fight: “I’ve faced Jeremy Hunt in the courts and beaten him twice. Now I’ll face him at the ballot box.

“He needs to be held to account for what he’s doing to our NHS and the way in which he has bulldozed democracy, changing the law to push through hospital closures when he was beaten in court.”

Of course, Dr Irvine’s pledge to stand against Hunt is a deep embarrassment for the Health Secretary – not only did she lead the successful Save Lewisham Hospital campaign, which won a High Court ruling that Hunt acted outside his powers when he decided to cut the hospital’s emergency and maternity units, but she is also a council member of the British Medical Association, which represents 150,000 doctors.

It is a sign that the medical profession at large is entirely opposed to his money-grubbing, postcode-lottery, health-for-profit policies.

Vox Political calls on voters in South West Surrey and Witney to support their NHAP candidates.

In Conservative stronghold seats like these, it seems realistic to expect voters to respond more to respected medical professionals like Drs Irvine and Peedell; there is also considerable distrust in Labour’s will to reverse NHS privatisation – but this may be alleviated if NHAP candidates are in the House of Commons, holding Labour to account.

The Mirror has been running a poll, asking readers whether they would vote for Dr Irvine against Mr Hunt. At the time of writing, 99 per cent of readers would, while less than one per cent support Hunt.

Other candidates announced at the conference include disability rights campaigner Naveen Judah, who challenges Liberal Democrat leader and Tory enabler Nick Clegg for Sheffield Hallam.

Ex-GP Dr Paul Hobday will take on Tory Sports Minister Helen Grant for her shaky majority in Maidstone.

In Truro, Rik Evans will try to topple Tory Sarah Newton, who has a majority of around 400.

Karen Howell, a popular member of the Support Stafford Hospital campaign, will stand for Stafford.

And Dave Ash, of the Keep of St Helier Hospital campaign, will take on Liberal Democrat former health minister Paul Burstow in Sutton and Cheam.

Kent GP Dr Bob Gill will be against Immigration Minister James Brokenshire in Old Bexley and Sidcup; Brighton University mental health expert Dr Carl Walker is standing in East Worthing and Shoreham and Oxford health journalist Roseanne Edwards will stand in Banbury where Tony Baldry has just announced he will not be seeking re-election.

NHA Party co-leader Dr Richard Taylor is hoping to regain his old seat of Wyre Forest, which he won as an independent in 2001 and held in 2005.

Notably no NHA Party candidate is standing for South Cambridgeshire, the seat Andrew Lansley holds with a majority of nearly 8,000. Perhaps this shows that they consider him a spent force who simply doesn’t matter any more.

This blog considers that it would be a valuable victory to unseat the man who spent seven years working in secret on what became the Health and Social Care Act – the legislation that allowed privatisation of the health service on an unprecedented, and entirely unwanted, scale.

Nobody should forget that the Conservative Party won its 300+ Parliamentary seats with a lie – the pledge, carried on posters of an airbrushed David Cameron, that the NHS would be safe under a Tory government.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
supporting the defenders of our National Health Service!

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Rufus Hound to be candidate for National Health Action Party in the euro elections

rufus

Here’s the press release from the National Health Action Party, announcing that TV comic Rufus Hound will be a candidate for them in this year’s European Parliament elections.

Vox Political reported, late last year, how Rufus spoke passionately and eloquently on the BBC’s News Quiz about his fears for the future of the National Health Service under the Conservative-led Coalition government.

Rufus Hound will exclusively [exclusively? it’s all over the Interweb!] reveal he plans to run as an MEP for the National Health Action Party.

The actor, comedian and TV presenter, who’s currently rehearsing with Robert Lindsay for the upcoming West End play Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, is a well known NHS supporter and in a recent episode of the News Quiz on Radio 4 he launched a blistering attack on the government’s privatisation of the NHS.

Tonight [January 25], he’ll tell Jonathan Ross:

“I think I’m going to run as an MEP (Member of European Parliament). I’m going to run for the NHA (National Health Action Party) because the NHS is being privatised. The NHA is run by doctors and they’re not people who want to be politicians. I don’t want to run as an MEP, I really don’t. I want to dick about with this man (Robert Lindsay) because that’s a lot more fun, but I’m looking around for who is stepping forward and telling people about it and nobody is.”

The National Health Action Party was launched by doctors, health care workers and ordinary people just over a year ago in opposition to the government’s sneaky privatisation of the NHS and amid warnings of the disastrous impact of the government’s NHS reforms.

On Thursday one of our founding members, Dr Louise Irvine, who helped lead the successful campaign against Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to save Lewisham Hospital, announced she was standing to be an MEP for London in May’s euro elections.

Dr Louise Irvine said today:

“I’m absolutely thrilled that Rufus Hound has offered to stand for the NHA in the London euro election. It’s fantastic that he’s prepared to take action to help defend our NHS at a time when it’s in grave danger.  Together we can alert the public to the gravity of the threat to the NHS from this government with its programme of cuts, hospital closures and privatisation and to send a powerful message to politicians in Westminster and Brussels that people will not stand by and let their NHS be destroyed.

“It’s scandalous that most people don’t even realise that the government’s Health Act removed its “duty to provide” healthcare for you and your children.

“We also want to raise awareness of the imminent danger posed to the NHS by the EU/US trade agreement which will allow American companies to carve up the NHS and make the privatisation process irreversible.”

The NHA Party is led by the former independent MP for Wyre Forest, Dr Richard Taylor, who won a seat in two successive general elections over a local hospital issue, and by oncologist and co-chair of the NHS Consultants’ Association, Dr Clive Peedell.

Dr Clive Peedell said today:

“Rufus is so passionate and knowledgeable about the NHS and I’m delighted that he shares our view that the Coalition’s NHS reforms will transform a cost-effective public system of health care into one that will be more expensive, inefficient and unequal, wasting billions of pounds of tax payers’ money to implement while making patient care worse and corroding public trust in the NHS. With Rufus on board, we hope to spread that message far and wide.

“The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats outrageously broke their pre-election pledges that there would be no top down re-organisation of the NHS and no NHS privatisation. Yet this is precisely what their legislation and reforms are doing. There has been a shocking failure of democracy.

“We set up the National Health Action Party because we believe the NHS is under so much threat from commercialisation and privatisation, in which the Labour Party was complicit. We believe that a new political party is needed to defend the NHS and its values.

“None of us want to be politicians, but we have no choice but to engage with the political process to raise awareness of these crucial issues, which affect everyone in this country.

“A strong electoral result will put pressure on the Government to reverse its damaging reforms and exempt the NHS from the catastrophic EU/US Free Trade Agreement. The very survival of the NHS is at stake.”

Local election campaigns begin – but where are the NEW contenders?

Get your votes out: But who will you support, if your local council is holding elections this year? The mid-term vote is always carefully watched, so your vote could sway predictions for the 2015 general election!

Get your votes out: But who will you support, if your local council is holding elections this year? The mid-term poll is always carefully watched, so your vote could sway predictions for the 2015 general election!

Hard though it may be to believe, in the midst of all the ‘Mrs T’ drivel, but life goes on and there are elections on the way.

The Liberal Democrats have launched their bid for seats on 34 councils in England and one in Wales, predictably, with a smear campaign.

Apparently, both their Coalition partners the Conservatives, and Labour, are inefficient and waste money on “vanity projects”.

This will be a hard criticism for the Tories to counter, considering they are about to waste up to £10 million of taxpayers’ – our – money on a ceremonial funeral for Baroness Thatcher that the majority of the people in the UK simply don’t want.

Apparently, MPs can claim £3,750 each, from the taxpayer, because Parliament has been recalled to pay tribute to her. If they all take advantage of it, that alone will cost us £2,437,500!

Praise is due to Labour’s John Mann, who the BBC placed among those calling the debate a waste of money. He said tributes could have been made next week, when Parliament is due to return.

But then, what is the Liberal Democrat plan to increase the Personal Allowance, that we are all allowed to earn before we start paying Income Tax, if it isn’t a vanity project?

Nick Clegg says the Liberal Democrats will spread “the burden of austerity fairly”, but if this policy really has made 24 million families in the UK £600 better-off than they were in 2010, that means the Treasury has received £14,400,000,000 less than it otherwise would have. Nearly 14-and-a-half BILLION pounds!

This is money that could have eased the severity of the benefit cuts on the poorest in society, or the government could have invested it in projects that would have created jobs, increasing the tax take and lessening the burden of debt repayments and benefits for the poor.

Noticeably absent from Mr Clegg’s speech, at the Eden Project in Cornwall, was any mention of what his party would do with any new council seats it picks up. Instead, he went back to the Liberal Democrat ‘message script’ that was thrust upon his party back between Christmas and the New Year. “Only the Liberal Democrats will build a stronger economy and a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life” he droned.

Here in Radnorshire, Wales, people hearing that will be thinking those words are familiar, and asking themselves when they were aired before. Oh yes – it was last week, when our MP Roger Williams and AM Kirsty Williams were talking up the increases in the Personal Allowance.

So there’s no offer from the Liberal Democrats.

At least Labour’s Ed Miliband launched his party’s campaign with a solid commitment – he wants councils to be allowed to prevent payday lenders from operating in their areas, and to stop bookmakers from opening as well.

In hard times, it makes sense for gambling to be curbed – although it is a shame that the last Labour government allowed it to become commonplace before the financial crash hit. And payday lenders must be brought to heel – the huge interest rates they charge mean borrowers – who need the money because they receive such a poor pay packet from their fatcat bosses, don’t forget – fall even further into debt.

But Labour’s recent behaviour in Parliament has created deep mistrust of the party among its core voters. Labour betrayed the poorest workers in the UK, and everybody who is looking for a job, by supporting Iain Duncan Smith’s retroactive law to legalise his illegal sanctions against jobseekers who would not take part in his slave-labour ‘mandatory work activity’ schemes to raise cash for ‘work programme provider’ companies and commercial enterprises that took part.

If Labour wants to win that trust back, it needs to field prospective councillors who genuinely want to represent the interests of the people in their wards, with good Labour values – ensuring they get the best value for their council tax money, rather than turning services over to private enterprises who then make councils pay through the nose for inferior work, for example.

And what about all the new contenders that have sprung up since the Coalition came to power and started reversing all the good work the previous Labour government did, justifying it by saying the new austerity made it necessary (it isn’t)?

The National Health Action Party can be ruled out, I think. That organisation is a single-issue party created solely to attack Coalition members of Parliament, and anyone else who voted in support of the Health and Social Care Act, that allows private, for-profit companies to run NHS services.

What about the ‘No’ Party? This group claims the UK needs a fresh start, and wants to contend the next general election “on a massive scale”. In that case, they should start at local level. Political organisations of any kind won’t be trusted with Parliamentary seats until their members have proved themselves in the local arena and the May elections are a perfect opportunity to get started. Where are the ‘No’ candidates?

What about the People of the British Political and Lawful Rebellion Party, which says it aims “to put the People back into politics”.

This organisation’s Facebook page says: “It is time this country came together and started the mass political and legal upheavel required for a legitimate, lawful, peaceful and successful rebellion. As a newly founded political party, we take one-step at at time while learning to utilise our skills as individuals and collectively.”

Okay, then why not start now – in local councils? Then the ordinary people will be able to find out what they’re all about.

It seems too early for any wide-based, mainstream ‘Party of the Left’, of the kind Ken Loach has been pushing, to come together in time for these elections – which is a shame.

In the light of Labour’s actions on the Jobseekers (Back to the Workhouse) Bill, it is possible that there does need to be another mainstream, national left-wing political organisation – if only to remind Labour of what it ought to be.

One of the most telling comments about the late Baroness Thatcher was that she changed not only the Conservatives, but other political parties, meaning that Labour followed a similar course to the Conservatives when it came to office in 1997.

It’s time Labour remembered that there are other, real and workable alternatives – and started working on them.