Tag Archives: runway

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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Goldsmith quits as MP after May approves third runway at Heathrow

Activists from Reclaim the Power and Plane Stupid block a mock runway on College Green outside the Houses of Parliament [Image: PA].

Activists from Reclaim the Power and Plane Stupid block a mock runway on College Green outside the Houses of Parliament [Image: PA].

This was a decision that could have been taken by David Cameron last year – but he delayed it in order to allow Zac Goldsmith to run as a London mayoral candidate earlier this year.

Mr Goldsmith had said he would not  campaign to be London’s mayor – and would quit as an MP – if a new runway at Heathrow was approved.

Now he has acted on that promise – there will be a by-election for his Richmond Park constituency. Some might say it should have happened last year, considering the Islamophobia that marred his mayoral campaign.

Meanwhile, the pundits and social media chatterboxes have been having a field day. it seems everyone has something to say. Here’s Marcus Chown:

Labour’s Rosena Allin-Khan:

Martha Gill of the Huffington Post put up the letter from Richmond Park Conservative Association, as good as admitting Mr Goldsmith was resigning:

Con_Dem Nation had the response:

No doubt it is continuing as I write this. Let it.

Here’s a note of caution from the Daily Mirror:

Even if MPs vote to give the go-ahead next year, work is unlikely to start before 2020, which realistically means the runway not opening until 2025.

That is before we take into account the expected opposition from environmentalists, possible legal challenges and lengthy delays in the planning process as residents under the flight path and local councils fight the expansion.

Four local councils have indicated that they are ready to fight Heathrow expansion, and others will join them. Also London’s Gatwick and Stansted airports could mount legal challenges to the decision.

With only two runways, air pollution around Heathrow already exceeds European Union limits. A third runway would add 300,000 extra flights and around 25m extra road journeys per year.

Source: Analysis: Will Heathrow’s third runway ever be built? London’s 70-year wait is far from over – Mark Ellis – Mirror Online

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David Cameron won general election with series of lies? Tell us something we DON’T know!

Yvette Cooper is only half-right. Cameron certainly lied to win the election – but Labour failed to beat him because Labour did not effectively answer those lies.

Labour’s five-year-long failure to deny the claim that it had spent too much while in government is the perhaps the most obvious example.

But Cooper has chosen to highlight promises that were made to the people of the UK, which have been broken in the very short time since.

David Cameron won the general election on the basis of a series of lies, Yvette Cooper said on Thursday, as she highlighted a series of broken promises by the Conservatives.

In a sharpening of her rhetoric against the Tories, the Labour leadership contender accused Cameron of ripping up nine pre-election promises. She said he had changed tack on areas ranging from child tax credits to housing and rail electrification.

Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said: “We may have our own leadership election going on, but Labour can’t allow David Cameron to get away with this and carry on like nothing has happened – he is taking the British public for fools. We have to confront him directly on every lie and broken promise – that’s exactly what I plan to do in parliament and across the country.

The nine areas identified by Cooper are:

  • Cuts in child tax credits. Cooper said Cameron denied during the election that he would cut child tax credits. She said Osborne, the chancellor, unveiled £4.5bn of cuts to child tax credits in the budget which would hit women twice as hard as men.
  • Cuts to child benefit after Cameron said during the election there would be no cuts beyond a two-year freeze. Cooper says it will now be subject to a four-year freeze.
  • Cancellation of rail electrification plans.
  • Downgrading of the number of affordable homes due to be built. The Office for Budget Responsibility has said 14,000 fewer homes will be built.
  • Delaying of a decision on a new airport runway in south-east England. Downing Street says it is standing by its commitment to reach a decision by the end of this year.
  • Delay in the introduction of tax-free childcare from 2015 to 2017.
  • Shelving of an election pledge to give public officials three days off work to take part in volunteering.
  • Delay until 2020 in the introduction of the social care cap.
  • Reversal of pledge for greater government transparency after launch of review into freedom of information.

Source: David Cameron won general election with series of lies, says Yvette Cooper | Politics | The Guardian

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