Tag Archives: services

Rishi Sunak lies that 18-week waits for NHS services have fallen – or he’s an imbecile

Rishi Sunak: I always thought he looked nervous in this image. He could also be dishonest. Or just plain stupid. Your choice!

How courageous (in the Yes, Minister sense of the word) of Rishi Sunak to come out with an outrageous lie in a newspaper – that is published just hours before a TV news report debunks it, never mind Full Fact.

Here it is in brief:

The Full Fact article says:

The Prime Minister said in a comment piece in the Telegraph that the government had substantially reduced 18-week waits since January 2023. This is not true.

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Waits for non-emergency treatment of more than 18 weeks in the NHS in England have actually risen in that time. Health is devolved so that NHS England is the part of the health service that the UK government controls.

The article came out the same day (January 31) as Channel 4 News came out with this:

Full Fact, in an act of astonishing charity, suggested that Sunak was mistaking 18-week waits with 18-month waits – which have reduced significantly.

This Writer reckons that’s letting the prime minister off lightly.

He’s the one in charge. The buck stops there. And he needs to have the facts at his fingertips.

If he doesn’t, who knows what other clangers he’s been dropping left, right and centre?

So either he lied in Parliament, which is a cardinal sin of UK politics, or he’s an imbecile, which should be a cardinal sin of UK politics.

Either way, I don’t want to have him running my country into the dirt for one minute longer than I have to. How about you?


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Labour is planning to betray its supporters by cutting taxes for the rich

Taxes are for poor people: under Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves, it seems this is the Labour Party’s attitude.

At a time when everybody with any sense is screaming for governments to tax the rich equitably, Keir Starmer’s Labour is promising to cut taxes for billionaires.

Look:

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Here’s where you can see Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves confirming the policy:

This is a Labour Party that has lost its way and may never find it again.


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Keir Starmer’s economic growth plan doesn’t allow for contingencies. Awkward…

There are two serious flaws in Keir Starmer’s plan to fund public services by growing the economy.

While you’re watching this clip, have a go at working out what they are:

Firstly, economic growth doesn’t necessarily mean more money for the Treasury.

In order to put new public money into services, a responsible government (that isn’t borrowing) will need to tax a similar amount out of us all – and a responsible Labour government would ensure that such taxation is weighted to put most of the burden onto the rich and profitable businesses.

Has Keir Starmer publicised plans for a new taxation structure for the UK? No. He has been courting businesses because he wants their donations. In turn, this means they’ll want tax breaks from him, or they’ll threaten to remove their financial support.

So it is hard to envision much extra cash making its way into the public purse under Starmer (although we would see more of it than under the Tories, who want to cut both taxes and public services to the bone).

Worse still is this: Keir Starmer has no contingency plan if the economy does not grow.

Three times, in the interview above, he was asked to explain what he would do then – and all three times, his only answer was that he believes the economy will grow.

Faith is a wonderful thing, but you can’t fuel the economy of a developed western nation on hot air and fantasy.


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Privately-run prison’s officers ignored pregnant teenager in labour – so the baby died

Bronzefield prison: the death of baby Aisha happened after at least four other incidents involving pregnancy there.

WARNING: DISTRESSING CONTENT

This is what happens when you let your government put people’s lives in the hands of a private corporation that exists only to make a profit: PEOPLE DIE.

That is exactly what happened at privately-run Bronzefield Prison, on the outskirts of Ashford in Surrey, which is run by Sodexo Justice Services.

An inquest has found that teenage mother Rianna Cleary was found in her cell, covered in blood, her dead baby Aisha cradled in her arms, after she had twice called for help after going into Labour during the night – and both calls were ignored by staff. She had to bite through the umbilical cord.

She should have been monitored five times during the day before the birth but the nurse who had been on duty at the time admitted that this had not happened. A nurse had tried to get Ms Cleary moved to the prison’s healthcare facility but no bed was available.

When she went into Labour, Ms Cleary used the cell’s intercom system to tell an officer she needed a nurse or an ambulance – but the officer on duty did not call for any help. About half an hour later, in what was described as “unbearable” pain, she repeated her request – but the call was disconnected in the guard’s control room. This meant the call bell from her cell was disabled from that point onward.

The senior coroner for Surrey, Richard Travers, said systematic failings at both the prison and the hospital that looked after the mother meant Aisha died; she might have survived if Ms Cleary had been discovered in Labour and transferred to hospital.

These events occurred in September 2019 and the inquest has only just happened – taking a month to be heard.

A glance at the prison’s history shows that this outrage is far from unique: at least four times in the two years to 2019, women gave birth in upsetting and potentially dangerous conditions.

A report by The Guardian in November that year states that in addition to Ms Cleary’s case, “On at least four occasions in this period, women held at the privately run Surrey prison have given birth in distressing and potentially unsafe circumstances, including one woman who gave birth in her cell and another who was left in labour at night-time supported only by another pregnant prisoner.

“In December 2017, one woman suffered a stillbirth and another baby was admitted to neonatal intensive care, in both instances after women were transferred from Bronzefield to hospital at a late stage of labour. In the latter case, it is understood that the woman alerted the prison to concerns two days before she was eventually taken to hospital.

“Board meeting minutes from Ashford and St Peter’s NHS trust, from July 2018, refer to the two incidents, stating: “Adverse outcomes were reported in both cases … significant learning and process change were identified for both hospital and prison teams.”

“The minutes state that Bronzefield, Europe’s largest female prison, intended to review its policy concerning the transfer of pregnant women to hospital and its criteria for risk assessment.

“Sodexo Justice Services, which runs the prison, said that following the December 2017 incidents it had worked with Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital and changed arrangements with its midwives.”

So there can be no excuse for what happened.

But: “The Guardian also heard of a woman who alerted prison staff that she was in labour in July 2018. She was not seen by a midwife and was left in labour during the night, supported only by another pregnant prisoner.

“In March 2019 a woman, understood to have been in the prison on remand, gave birth in her cell with no midwife or doctor present. A nurse reportedly delivered the baby.”

The Ministry of Justice, contacted in November 2019, said that Sodexo had not incurred contractual penalties relating to the levels of care to pregnant women in custody in the previous three years – and declined to comment on then-recent incidents at HMP Bronzefield.

Former prisoners, including one from Bronzefield, said midwife appointments and scans were frequently missed as a result of prison staff shortages.

It all adds up to a failure of service caused by privatisation, in This Writer’s opinion. Private corporations, brought in to run a service like a prison, do so in order to make money and cut corners in order to achieve those profits.

Even when they are found to be at fault, those failings continue to go unremedied, meaning more – and worse – tragedies are likely to happen.

And what is done by the government that hired these – call them what they are – incompetents? It turns a blind eye.

One final point: if you think what happened at this privately-run prison is a traumatically-shocking outrage, ask yourself what will happen to the National Health Service when it is given to private firms like Sodexo.


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Why is it now unattainable utopianism to want what we all had only a few years ago?

David Cameron: he told you you couldn’t afford the services that were once considered the bare minimum required in the UK, while funnelling the money that would have paid for those services to his rich friends. It has been going on for years.

It’s a good question, isn’t it?

Why are people who might broadly be described as socialists routinely ridiculed and patronised for ‘immaturity,’ ‘delusion,’ ‘utopianism,’ ‘naivety,’ ‘dreaming,’ and on and on – just for wanting a fairer society?

Martin Odoni tackles this in a new Critique Archives article, in which he states:

The idea behind this is the little-questioned assumption that being a socialist means believing in Utopia, and that socialists are therefore attempting to achieve the unachievable. The thing is, socialism has never been about making the world a perfect place, but only about making it a fairer place. A better place where no one is placed under unnecessary life pressure. Does that really sound wildly unattainable, or undesirable?

Of course it isn’t.

And the fact is that we had a much fairer society, here in the UK, within This Writer’s lifetime – and I’m not all that old.

The problem is that a succession of neoliberal governments – both Tory and Labour – have eroded that fairness away in the name of greater profit for the richest people in society.

They have privatised public utilities to make their services exclusive to people who can afford to pay higher prices for them, rather than a right that we all deserve. Did you not realise that this is the reason your heating bill was so high over the winter?

They have changed the tax system to ensure that the poorest people pay the largest proportion of their earnings. Rishi Sunak is the richest man in the entire country, and he pays a smaller proportion of his earnings in tax than a nurse.

They have cut average pay for employees while enabling bankers to take home huge undeserved bonuses.

And they have done these things to take money out of the economy and put it into private, tax-free bank accounts where it cannot be used to improve the quality of life of the nation as a whole.

This is the plan.

And while they have done it, they have been telling you that the services you once took for granted are now unaffordable.

It is the biggest, dirtiest lie in UK politics.

It has caused countless deaths – think of all the people who have died because their benefit claims were denied and they were too sick or disabled to defend themselves. Think of everyone who died of Covid-19 because the Tories were busy funnelling money that should have been spent on protective equipment and medical aid into the bank accounts of their friends, in return for nothing.

And they insult you by telling you anybody who thinks these deaths should be stopped is a naive dreamer. How do you feel about that – and what are you going to do?

Source: The lesson about “fanaticism” the Corbyn years should teach everyone ‹ TheCritique Archives ‹ Reader — WordPress.com


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Rishi Sunak caught lying about Tory achievements in local government?

Rishi Sunak in Parliament: he should check his facts before speaking – or was he just sneaking out a lie and hoping we wouldn’t notice?

Conservative prime minister Rishi Sunak seems to have over-emphasized his party’s achievements in local government, as This Writer pointed out in a tweet:

I mentioned Guildford because the situation there was highlighted on Twitter recently, as follows:

So in this local government area, the Tories have increased council tax to the limit and have been cutting services – the exact opposite of the claim in Prime Minister’s Questions.

What’s the situation in your local government area?


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Can we trust Jeremy Hunt to fix the UK economy? [VIDEO]

UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said “eye-watering” decisions on tax increases and public service cuts will be made in his Budget on Thursday. But can we trust him to make the right choices?

Labour’s Chris Bryant doesn’t think so. On the BBC’s Politics Live, he pointed out just a few of the financial disasters inflicted on the UK by a Conservative government and raised fears that Hunt will demand more from the people who have the least.

Watch out for the party political nitpicking from Conservative Siobhan Baillie, who doesn’t have a leg to stand on but still tries to undermine the solid points Bryant makes.

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Pre-teen children are being groomed to deal drugs. Are Tory service cuts to blame?

This report from Sky News might not be shocking if you know a few teenagers living near you:

Kids are being used to deal drugs. And some of them are going to be harmed or even killed because of it.

Whether the measures outlined in the report can help prevent this from happening, This Writer cannot predict.

But the fact that funding for children’s services has been cut by 75 per cent since the Conservatives came to power in 2010 is an indictment against Tory government.

Could this situation have been prevented if the Tories had not cut the funding?

Were the Tories told that this was a possible outcome of them doing so?

We already know (from Covid and from their attitude to state benefits) that it’s too much to hope that they would care.

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U-turn on public spending is the latest in a long line for Liz Truss

Ditherer: Liz Truss.

Liz Truss’s new Chancellor – old Health Secretary Germy C- er, Jeremy Hunt – announced in his very first media interview that he will be imposing further austerity on the UK in order to balance the books after the unforced errors of Kwasi Kwarteng.

Wow.

More austerity, of course, means the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Let’s have some analysis:

We all know this isn’t the first u-turn of the Truss administration.

But do you know the full extent of her dithering?

Here’s a clip that lays out the situation for you:

She has created a huge problem for herself, electorally, with this.

We know that she has thrown away Boris Johnson’s 2019 manifesto; most of the plans in that document won’t materialise now (and that’s a good thing, by and large).

But by announcing policies on the hoof – and then u-turning on them – Truss is leaving the electorate in limbo.

What does she stand for? Does even she know?

Well, if she doesn’t work it out soon, she’ll self-destruct because the public won’t support a politician with no policies.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Join the call to end the ban on public ownership of buses

Award-winning: Reading Buses regularly invests back into its services and have one of the greenest fleets in the UK.

Greater Manchester has won the right to cap bus fares at £2 for adults and £1 for children after a landmark ruling by the High Court.

The ruling allows the metropolitan authority to regulate bus services there in the public interest.

Liverpool, West Yorkshire and Sheffield plan to do the same.

But the victory has opened up the debate on whether local authorities should continue to be banned from running services for people and not profit.

Even the Tory government seems to have shifted its position on this, believing the ban on municipal ownership is now “ripe for review”.

According to We Own It,

Only 9 municipal bus companies around the UK survived Thatcher’s disastrous deregulation. Because these bus companies don’t have to pay dividends to shareholders, they can invest more into improving local services.

This makes them incredibly popular, with Nottingham City Transport, Reading Buses and Lothian buses all regularly winning awards.

Reading Buses invests an additional £3 million a year into its service and has one of the greenest fleets in the UK.

The power of public ownership has led Reading to have the best passenger numbers outside London, with a 40% jump in just 6 yearsTalk about levelling up.

If the Reading model of public ownership was rolled out across the whole of Great Britain, it would save well over £500 million a year.

And in times of crisis, public ownership can also help insulate the public. In Northern Ireland, the operator Translink, owned and operated by local people, has just frozen fares to protect people from hikes in fuel costs.

Sadly the Tories seem to have lost track of this great idea, amidst all the emergencies they have created over the last year, in order to distract us.

We Own It has launched a petition to raise interest and prompt the Tories to remember the statement they made as part of Bus Back Better, their national bus strategy, launched on March 15 last year.

If you agree that it’s time we all had a bus service that served us, rather than profiting the owners, sign here: End the ban on public ownership of buses now! | We Own It

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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