1p on income tax for the NHS and that’s just the start

This is the new Royal Hospital which should have been opened two years ago and may be open next year. It’s procurement and designed were all started under Labour’s disastrous privatison schemes which will labour the NHS with debts for decades

The NHS needs more money. No-one should be any doubt about that. The NHS cannot operate without staff from ward orderlies to Consultants. It needs huge numbers of supplies from drugs to loo rolls; from blankets to bed pans; from food to effective IT systems. It hasn’t got enough which means, in particular, that the NHS staff are grossly overworked and over stressed. There is a huge burn out and drop out amongst staff. That all creates more burnout and drop out!

Liberal Democrats have made absolutely clear that the shortfall must and will be met but it cannot be met by promises or accountancy malpractices such as the PFI deals negotiated by the last Labour Government. The only place that we can find the cash unless we privatise the NHS which Lib Dems will never do is from the taxpayer. That is why we are proposing to put 1p on income tax which will bring in £8 billion. We believe that lie us you will feel this is the right thing to do.

Amazingly, many people have no idea how the NHS works some let me give them some inconvenient facts.

The most privatisation which has been carried out in the NHS was undertaken by the Labour Governments of Blair and Brown which saddled the NHS with huge PFI debts for years to come including the Royal Liverpool Hospital debacle which was signed off by the 2010 Government but had already been through the procurement process with a recommendation to appoint Carillion when Andy Burnham was the Secretary of State for Health.

80%+ of all the interventions that we have with the NHS are already with privatised parts of it. 95% of all GPs, pharmacists, opticians and dentists are private companies, sole traders or partnerships working to NHS contracts which regulate their practices and professionalism.

Policies from successive Governments over decades has been extremely wasteful in that they seek to cure illness rather than prevent it.

10%+ of our hospital beds are occupied by people with problems caused by obesity. The vast majority of this is preventable.

10%+ of our hospital beds are occupied with people with alcohol or drug problems. The vast majority of these are preventable.

10%+ hospital beds are occupied by people who have no clinical or medical need to be in them but there is no support mechanisms to treat them in their own home or community. Better and cheaper solutions exist for most of them.

80%+ of A & E cases in some hospitals on a Friday and Saturday night are from people who in one way or another are suffering from alcohol related problems.

Not tackling these problems at an early stage wastes money and lives. We could actually be closing hospital wards IF we stopped people becoming ill. If you are obese from the age of 5 the likelihood is that you will have a poor and unhealthy lifestyle until you die. This is a waste of good living and it’s a waste of cash.

But it’s not only cash that is needed but, in some cases, legislation. Drugs problems are partly caused because we won’t change our legal system. Lib Dems believe that we should treat narcotic drugs like other drugs we tolerate such as tobacco, alcohol and gambling. We believe that if you legalise and control use of drugs you can stop crime but crucially in health terms recognise and deal with addiction.

Similarly, with the use of sugar and fizzy drinks. The major cause of obesity is over consumption of salt, sugar and fats. Fizzy, sugary drink is especially toxic in this regard AND is the cause of 95%+ of the 43,000 cases of total extraction of all major dental surgery required by children under the age of 16 every year. We don’t want to criminalise sugar but we do want legislation to reduce the use of it by food and drink manufacturers.

So, my first personal priority is to reverse the cuts in public health budgets which have taken place since 2015. If we could then use that money, we could reverse the problems caused by drugs, alcohol, tobacco and sugar which create the vast majority of preventable health problems.

My second personal priority would be to deal with the huge gap between the provisions for mental health and physical health problems. Many of these are closely interrelated. People who have poor mental health can often find themselves becoming physically ill. People who are physically ill often develop mental ill health. Society has words which apply to mental health which add to the prejudice which mentally ill people face. They are nutters; demented; round the twist; crackpots; lunatics.

Yet those descriptions could be applied to 25% of us at some time in our lives because that is the odds for us developing, for at least a time, a mental illness. It is the discrimination which stops people coming forward. You can be publicly be brave about a broken leg but not about a broken mind. All of us have to work to stop this so that mental illnesses as well as physical ones can be dealt with early before they take charge.

My third would be for us all not to talk about health solely in terms of the NHS. Health is about homes; and transport; and decent food and poverty and clean air and education. In fact, the whole of the way we live affects our own and the nation’s health.

You can find out more about Lib Dem policies and mine on the Health Service at https://twitter.com/i/status/1194210475011182593

The latest recommendations from the professionals in the NHS published in September will slowly begin slowly to deal with the above issues but the appalling problems of Social Care. The Government is now three years late with producing a Green (discussion) Paper on Adult Social Care. Instead it regularly gives a bit more cash to councils to add to an already inadequate budget and insists that more money is raised through council tax which is a very unfair tax.

So, there are serious debates about the NHS that need to be had and which would best take place in a situation where professionals and politicians came together to seek a long-term consensus for the NHS rather than a political point scoring free for all. Lib Dems do not believe in further privatisation of the NHS but we do see the needs for reform.

Posted in General Election 2019 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Climate Change – An Existential Crisis

Environmentalism is one of the key reasons that I joined the Liberal Democrats. It is inexorably linked to the EU as we cannot tackle the problem by ourselves but can as part of the much larger EU bloc

Clearly the first priority for the Lib Dems at this General Election is to fight to stay in the EU. Our second priority is to fight climate change. In fact, the two priorities are inexorably linked. One of our key reasons for wanting to remain in the EU is that as a big bloc of 28 states we can do far more for the planet by sensible laws and sensible research than any one Country making it up as it goes along.

People keep asking me, “should kids come out of school to protest about the environment”. My answer is always, “Yes”. Firstly, understanding and participating in actions about the long-term future of the planet should be a vital part of any school curriculum. I have been heartened by the number of young people who have been prepared to make such a commitment to action to raise awareness of this issue.

Secondly, they have a right to protest because it will be them who face the problems which current politicians and others in power are refusing to tackle. In a selfish way this planet will see me out but it won’t see my grandchildren out.

So, the views of the Liberal Democrats are very clear:

1. The UK should be leading the world on tackling the environment crisis

Our planet is on the brink of being irreparably damaged and we are responsible for that damage. The climate emergency is real and our planet is heating to unsustainable levels we are witnessing a catastrophic loss of biodiversity, the air we breathe is toxic, and our oceans are full of plastics. There is no planet B. We are facing a climate catastrophe which will create huge global inequalities. We have a moral duty to act. 

2.  Doing the right things for the environment will create jobs

Creating the right infrastructure for the creation of more power plants from wind, water and solar sources will actually create jobs in manufacturing and construction. Harnessing the intellectual power of our world-leading universities to this issue will create investment opportunities globally for British businesses.

3. The Tories are failing to take the crisis seriously

The Tories don’t get it, given the crises we’re facing there is no room for complacency or delay. Yet this is what they’re giving us, they’re way off target for our climate change commitments, they pay lip service to the environment, they’re failing to protect our farmers and they’re focused on simply grabbing headlines rather than meaningfully helping our planet. 

4. Labour’s policies will distract from meaningful action on the environment

The Labour Party wants to renationalise industries from the electricity grid, the water industry and the railways – all this will distract from the environment crises. The plans to spend billions on renationalising industries is a poor use of time and money. We do not have time to tinker with our utilities and we cannot afford to waste money that could be spent reversing the damage we’re doing to our planet on ideological projects.

Here in Liverpool things have got off to a very slow start. We declared a climate change emergency in July and did not hold the first meeting of the climate change select committee until early November. We talk about air pollution and then talk up schemes that will put more cars through our city and dissuade people from using public transport. Our recycling record is dreadful; we have failed to use Government money to plant more trees; we have seen some of our Parks threatened with development at a time when we need to preserve and enhance of green spaces.

I use these local examples because we need to move away from the warm words and platitudes and move on to positive agendas for action and involvement. Apparently, we all want to tackle climate change but some seem to want to do so a lot more quickly and at a higher level than others.

5.  Liberal Democrats will place climate change at the heart of government

If we think it is a key priority, we must mean that it is a key priority for every department and every policy and every relevant law. The UK led the world by passing the Climate Change Act in 2008 and it must become a global leader again. Actions must take the place of pious hopes.

As an example, Parliament has changed the law to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 but the Tories have put forward no plan for how to achieve it. 

Liberal Democrats do have a plan, we will achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the very latest. We will cut emissions by 75% by 2030 and 93% by 2040 but we need to act now, we cannot wait around until 2045. We must do as much as we can immediately. 

When our manifesto is produced in a few days you will see proposals within it for:

  • Investment in sustainable transport
  • Investment on sustainable energy production
  • The empowerment of councils to set emissions targets for themselves and in their own areas.
  • Setting up a new Green Investment Bank
  • An immediate ban on fracking
  • A home insulation programme which recognises that our homes are huge wasters of energy
  • Reform agriculture subsidies to support farmers in cutting their greenhouse gas emissions while still producing food
  • Regulation of financial services to encourage green investments, including requiring all companies to disclose their level of climate risk and to set new targets in line with the Paris Climate Change Agreement
  • Increase UK forest cover by planting an additional 60 million trees a year
  • A Nature Act, modelled on the Climate Change Act, setting targets for the restoration of nature, improving biodiversity, reducing air pollution and cleaning up our rivers 

All these and so much more. These and our other policies will be underpinned by the creation of a Citizen’s Climate Assembly to improve public engagement with the climate emergency and making recommendations to government.

I believe that the Liberal Democrats are the only party dedicated to building a brighter future by tackling the environmental crises.  We are the only party with a radical, credible and detailed plan to tackle the climate emergency as soon as possible, to transform our government to place the environment at its heart and to reverse the damage we’re doing to our planet. The Liberal Democrats would make Britain the world leader it should and deserves to be.

Finally, you can find out more about my personal views and priorities for climate change by watching this short video filmed on my wife Erica’s allotment in South Liverpool https://twitter.com/i/status/1193217987597213696.

If you believe that climate change and Brexit are key issues then I am confident in calling for your support in Wavertree on 12th December as the only candidate from a Party with credible policies on both.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Unite to Remain – Labour Missing InAction

Jeremy Corbyn has been in opposition all his life, even when the Labour Party were in Government..It’s easier to oppose than govern, perhaps that’s why he has failed to give leadership on the vital issue of Brexit

Today has been a very significant day in the course of this election. A partnership of Lib Dems, Greens and Plaid Cymru has come together to ensure that only one Remain candidate will present themselves to the electorate in 60 constituencies. Well done Heidi Allen who has been at the helm of the initiative since she quit the Tory Party earlier this year.

In addition, Lib Dems will be standing down against 3 Independents who are similarly pro Remain. Brexit is the defining issue at this election and it is absolutely right that Parties and individuals who have a common belief on this issue should come together. There will be some things that will divide us but I believe that we are united in many policies by more than the EU issue.

Last night I shared a platform at a Liverpool for Europe meeting with the local Green Leader, Tom Crone. On top of Brexit we both made clear our other priorities. My priorities and his were often very similar. I for example believe that climate change is, after Brexit, the most important policy that we need to deal with. We both linked this to the EU issue and made clear that we believed that anything that the UK does to fight climate change is best done with and supported by the legislation and actions of the other 27 EU Countries.

Of the 60 constituencies more than 50 are seats where we are taking on the Tories. In a handful of seats, we have come together to fight a Labour opponent who is firmly supportive of leaving the EU. That must be right given the appalling problems that will arise in our Country should we leave. Every other policy will be affected by the loss of money that will arise from a reduced Gross Domestic Product.

So, we have a right to ask Labour, “If you are so keen on getting rid of the Tories why didn’t you Unite to Remain as well?”  There are about 60 constituencies in England and Wales where a third (or lower) placed Labour vote is less than the majority which could see a PC, Lib Dem or Green person candidate elected. Given our appalling electoral system this is the best and may be the only way to stop a Tory majority.

Of course, given a better electoral system none of this would matter. Lib Dems have campaigned for decades to change our voting system to a fairer proportional one. That would mean that alliances between Parties would be unnecessary. But we have a first past the post system which both Tory and Labour Parties have sought to [perpetuate on the basis that it gives solid working majorities and a stable Government. Not for the last three elections it hasn’t!

By now though we should be used to the Labour Party being Missing InAction! On 17 occasions there have been opportunities to get a people’s vote on a remain versus a withdrawal option of either May or Johnson. Labour failed to support any of them. Only two weeks ago we could have revoked the Article 50 call but Labour would not support us. There were enough in Parliament had Labour been prepared to act but they weren’t

Corbyn has not once addressed a People’s Vote Rally. Indeed, on the day of the last one on so-called Super Saturday he scuttled up to Liverpool to have a meeting with his cronies instead. This failure by Corbyn to lead is a major cause of the exodus from the Labour Party of some of their brightest and most committed members. In Liverpool two Labour MPs Luciana Berger and Louise Ellman have quit. Brexit is only one of the reasons for this but it was an important one.

Almost a quarter of Lib Dem members in Liverpool are former Labour members or voters. They have left because of the total lack of leadership on this key issue. I read in the Daily Mirror today that two former Labour MPs have said they will be voting Tory to keep Corbyn out.

The Jewish Labour Movement, one of Labour’s oldest affiliates, has said that they cannot campaign for Labour because of the danger of Corbyn being elected. This is an important decision in Liverpool where the Jewish community has tended to vote Labour in General Elections especially for Luciana and Louise.

Corbyn was one of the first to call for Article 50 to be enacted after the referendum. The Labour Party as a whole is a remain Party but the Momentum cult puts Corbyn before Country.

I don’t think that Labour’s prevarication on either Unite to Remain or Brexit as a whole will work. I recall the Richmond by-election where the Labour candidate got less votes than the membership of the Party in that constituency.

Corbyn could have given leadership to his voters – instead I suspect that the leadership will come from them as they decided constituency by constituency how to keep the UK in the EU.

Just in case you are not sure where I stand on Brexit you can find out here https://youtu.be/AySWhnDrrbQ

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If you’re a Remain voter then it must be a Lib Dem vote in Liverpool Wavertree

I’m hoping to join my old friend Sir Ed Davey our Deputy Leader so I can fight for Wavertree. Above all I want to fight to stay in the EU top prevent the devastation of our economy that Brexit would cause

Are you fed up with Brexit? I certainly am. It’s dominated our political discourse for 3+ years and has meant that we have had no debate on things that I think are important such as the NHS, climate change, education and social care and the reform of Government.

During the course of the election I will be both writing blogs and screening videos about all the subjects above. I have started with Brexit for two reasons:

  1. It’s the reason we are having a third election in 5 years when we are only supposed to have them every 5 years.
  • If we leave the EU there will be much less money to spend on the things that I hold dear and where more money needs to be spent in addition to reforming the priorities within the system.

Unless we revoke Article 50 then Brexit will be with us with its current domination of discussions for years ahead. If we leave there are literally hundreds of laws and treaties and regulations that will need to be changed. That will once again clog up the parliamentary system and will stifle relevant debate and discussion in Parliament.

You can see more about my views on this on this video. https://youtu.be/AySWhnDrrbQ. You can also find out more about the views of my Labour opponent. As soon as she was selected, I contacted her to challenge her to a public debate on Brexit. I have repeated that suggestion twice. I have not had the courtesy of a reply from her.

She doesn’t want you to know that her position is even more extreme than the shilly-shallying of the Labour Leader. She actually believes that Brexit would be good for the Country. The fact that Brexit would allow a Tory Government now or in the future to throw away the rights of working people, rip up climate change agreements and reduce the amount that we can spend on public services seem to have passed her by.

I know many Labour members and voters in the Wavertree Constituency follow both my blog and Twitter account so I hope the many Remainers amongst them will urge her to come out of hiding and engage in a debate with me.

I am not going to repeat here the case for remaining in the EU. You can go back through my recent blogs and see those cogent arguments. I do, however, want to remind you of the political realities of Liverpool as a whole and Wavertree Constituency in particular.

Only the Labour candidate or I can win in Wavertree. Since 1973 Liverpool has a been a two-Party City where people mostly vote either Lib Dem or Labour.

Wavertree voted to Remain by about 70% to 30% wanting to leave. Only the Labour Party and Lib Dems have councillors in Wavertree. Tories and Greens have no chance at all of winning.

I repeat that if you are a Remainer you only have one Party to vote for in Wavertree and that is the Liberal Democrats and I am their candidate. This is my very simple and direct pledge about how I will vote if elected:

No Ifs

No Buts

No Hesitation

No Brexit

Revoke Article 50

Published by Cllr Andrew Makinson to promote Cllr Richard Kemp both of 509, Smithdown Road, Liverpool 15

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does politics have to be partisan and aggressive?

My 7 pledges for a clean campaign in Liverpool Wavertree at this election and beyond

I am in London yesterday and today working on LGA business relating, separately, to health and social care issues and local government investment strategies. I have been in a meeting firstly with fellow Lib Dems and then cross-Party meetings with more to follow. These meetings are genuinely cross-Party in that we do not always agree on things but always try to minimise differences. We then try to move forward together because that is in the best interests of the councils and therefore the people we represent.

Coming down on the train I read a newspaper article in which Heidi Allen and a number of other women MPs have quit Parliament because of the abusive nature of politics. They believe that the strain on them and their families is just too great for people who just entered the political system because they wanted to make our Country a better place.

Putting those two things together and I started thinking about the nature of the coming General Election campaign which according to some media outlets is set to be a bruising battle and highly confrontational. My thoughts were, “am I part of the problem?” and, “whether or not I am part of the problem is there anything I can do to improve matters?”

I have been a part of the political system in Liverpool for all but 3 years when I worked abroad, since 1974 and there is no doubt that the politics of Liverpool has always been robust. But apart from two periods it has always been respectful of other viewpoints. Of course, there were always exceptions but most politicians lived with each other’s viewpoints in the recognition that we all give up our time because we want to make Liverpool a better place.

The exceptions were the early 1980s and the current era. The common feature was the takeover of the Labour Party’s democratic socialist mainstream by the hard-left groupings of Militant (then) and Momentum (now). They are both cut from the same cloth.

What links the behaviour of those groups is:

  • A fanatical cult-like obsession with a Leader
  • Very hard left policies
  • An unwillingness to engage with other politicians outside the cult (either inside or outside their Party)
  • A reluctance to deal with facts
  • A belief that if people disagree with them anything they say is a lie.

Let me give two examples of this one personal and one policy.

At our budget debate I gave two facts about the last Labour Government that could be easily checked. Firstly that 80% of the cuts implemented during the first three years of the 2010/15 Government were actually introduced in the last budget of the Brown Government. The second was that the 2010/15 Government actually made less cuts than were contained in the2010 Labour manifesto. These are not my opinion but verifiable facts – or lies as I was told at the time.

In May we highlighted that one Labour Candidate in Liverpool was being investigated by the Party for anti-Semitism. This had been uncovered by both local and national media. We made no allegations ourselves about the facts of the matter itself because we did not know them just reported the fact of the investigation. That councillor was exonerated, although what that means in Corbyn’s anti-Semitic Party is a matter of dispute. That Cllr continually asks me to apologise for lying when of course no lie was uttered by us.

Enough of the past – let me concentrate on the next 6 weeks. Here is how I am going to behave during the course of the General Election.

  1. I will concentrate not on the shortcomings of the Labour Party (remember for those outside the City there are really only two Parties in Liverpool – Labour and Lib Dem) but on the very positive proposals of my Party.
  2. I will attend any hustings meeting called by residents or amenity groups within the Constituency.
  3. I will treat other candidates and their supporters with respect.
  4. I will respond to any request for information from electors within the Wavertree Constituency
  5. I will meet as many electors as I physically can do and listen to them as well as explaining my policies.
  6. J will use social media carefully and responsibly.
  7. If I do say or publish anything that is incorrect – we do all make mistakes – I will correct the error speedily.

I believe that if every candidate and their supporters not only in Wavertree but the rest of the Country adopted my 7 point plan we could have a an election we could all be proud of.

It would be even better if all the Party Leaders adopted it as well so that we turn on the TV and radio without shuddering!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Message to the Voters of Liverpool wavertree

Luciana Berger and I shared some thoughts at the recent Lib Dem Conference. We’re sad to see her leave Liverpool but we understand the reasons she is going. The vilification and anti-Semitism which she suffered from within the Labour Party was an absolute disgrace

So, we’re now getting a General Election. The day after the Labour Party piled in on the Lib Dems for saying that it is now the only way forward and only hours after one of their front bench spokespersons attacked the whole idea Jeremy Corbyn announced Labour’s support for the Lib Dem position.

As the Lib Dem Candidate for this Constituency I want to explain the local and national reasons that I will be standing for election.

Nationally, I am unequivocally a Remainer. As I said at my adoption meeting last Saturday, “no ifs, no buts, no hesitation, no Brexit”. I am not doing this on a whim or as a political tactic but because I believe that leaving the EU will be hugely damaging for Wavertree, Liverpool and our Country. Our national income has already been reduced by £600 billion since 2016 and many well-paid jobs have already left us.

It is already quite clear that I am the only major Party candidate in the Constituency who can make such a pledge. Other candidates either believe in Brexit, without knowing what it means, or a fantasy Lexit which Corbyn promises which will be good for jobs. There is no such Brexit. Every Brexit leads to less investment, less trade and less jobs.

Brexit is the key issue because it will lead to job losses but also to huge losses in investment in the NHS, education, universities, housing, transport and the whole of the public sector. But what we do with the public sector as a whole is vitally important.

The need to tackle climate change urgently is not a passing fad. Unless we work hard and consistently to deal with it our planet will face a terrible future. This planet and its environment will see me out but I fear for my children and grandchildren who face terrible prospects. We need to encourage greater use of public transport and reduce use of cars. We need to use clean energy from the sun, wind and tides and less energy based on carbon. We need to produce and distribute food more effectively.

I want to destress our teachers and our young people by removing the constant formal testing, league tables and targets. Good teachers know how to assess a student’s process and do it every day without the need for too many damaging tests and exams. Teachers should be given the opportunity to teach and students should be encouraged to want to learn rather than them both operating in the forced factories of our current education process.

I want to reduce the power of Westminster and Whitehall. Too many decisions are taken in London by people who have no idea of the opportunities and weaknesses, the needs and possibilities of our City. I want to bring decision making back much nearer home where everyone can monitor the effectiveness of our elected representatives and chuck them out if they don’t deliver.

I want to rebalance the economy of cities like Liverpool by encouraging local banking and credit systems and creating sustainable jobs in which local people and local businesses work to deliver the goods and services that local people need.

I want to reform the planning system to give the opinions of local communities an equal weight with the views of developers. I want to introduce laws which would make it illegal for the public sector to sell off parks like Calderstones Park or the green spaces which act as lungs for our community.

These ideas and policies are not only my views but the views of my Party. With us you don’t have to work out which faction we are in to determine how we might vote in the House of Commons.

Clearly there are also local reasons which I want you to think about. The person who I hope to succeed, Luciana Berger, has joined our Party for a number of reasons. Brexit was a clear one but the condition of the Labour Party in our City is another. Within this Constituency one Labour Cllr had to quite because of racism, one has been suspended because of sexism and another quit after just 16 months as a councillor because of internal bullying. The Wavertree Labour Party is controlled by Momentum supporters the 2010s version of the Militant of the 80s which did so much harm to our City. Under their control the Labour Party locally has become deeply anti-Semitic as under Corbyn’s control nationally has the Labour Party.

Since 1973 there have only been two effective choices of political Party either Labour or the Liberal Democrats. When we ran the City, we ran it well. We now want to do the same for our Country.

By the end of polling day either I or a Momentum supported candidate will be the MP for Liverpool Wavertree. I have spent 37 years as a Councillor in the City, have been the Leader of the Lib Dem Cllrs nationally, have represented the United Kingdom on the World body for local government and have done many, many other things.

I believe that I have the experience that is needed in these troubled times. Our Parliament has been both a joke and a disgrace with petty politicking rather than the statesmanlike behaviour that is needed. For 37 years I have watched the back of the people of Liverpool. I hope that you will support me at the General Election to carry on doing the same in a new role on your behalf.

Published by Cllr Andrew Makinson on behalf of Cllr Richard Kemp both of 509, Smithdown Road, Liverpool 15

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Some facts about the NHS and the amendment on the Queens Speech

This ward at the Royal Liverpool Hospital should have been open 2 years ago. It was one of many poorly thought out PFI schemes introduced by the last Labour Government who privatised more of the NHS than even the Tories did.

Over the last few hours I have seen a load of twaddle talked about the NHS and the Labour amendment on the Queens Speech largely by people who seem to know little about how the NHS or Parliament works.

Let’s deal with the Queens Speech first. This is a fantasy Queens Speech which was introduced by Johnson as part of what he hoped would be a very early General Election.

He calls for a General Election then drags her Majesty to Parliament to propose a Queens Speech which could not even begin to be implemented over the few days which remain in a Parliament. That in essence is what a Queens Speech is. It is the Government setting out the Bills it wants to introduce over the course of an annual or longer Parliamentary session.

The fact that it will never be implemented was condemned by Corbyn, Johnson and all political parties outside the Tory Party. Lib Dems then took the absolutely logical decision that they would not legitimise the illegitimate Queens Speech by moving amendments and voting on them. I think they are right. The Parliamentary Lib Dems will make clear when a real Queens Speech comes along how they will vote on the Bills proposed within it. They should not take part in something which is clearly a charade.

Incidentally, the Labour amendment which could actually have not enacted anything but if carried through to real legislation would deeply damage the NHS. They proposed effectively the repeal of the 2012 reforms without putting anything in their place. The result would have been chaos at a time when there seems to be all-Party support for the new proposals recommended not by politicians but by the NHS in September.

Amazingly many people have no idea how the NHS works some let me give them some inconvenient facts.

The most privatisation which has been carried out in the NHS was undertaken by the Labour Governments of Blair and Brown which saddled the NHS with huge PFI debts for years to come., Incidentally the Royal Liverpool Hospital debacle which was signed off by the 2010 Government had already been through the procurement process with a recommendation to appoint Carillion when Andy Burnham was the Secretary of State for Health.

80%+ of all the interventions that we have with the NHS are already with privatised parts of it. 95%+ of all GPs, pharmacists, opticians and dentists are private companies, sole traders or partnerships working to NHS contracts which regulate their practices and professionalism.

Policies from successive Governments over decades has been extremely wasteful in that they seek to cure illness rather than prevent it.

10%+ of our hospital beds are occupied by people with problems caused by obesity. The vast majority of this is preventable.

10%+ of our hospital beds are occupied with people with alcohol or drug problems. The vast majority of these are preventable.

10%+ hospital beds are occupied by people who have no clinical or medical need to be in them but there is no support mechanisms to treat them in their own home or community. Better and cheaper solutions exist for most of them.

80%+ of A & E cases in some hospitals on a Friday and Saturday night are from people who in one way or another are suffering from alcohol related problems.

Not tackling these problems at an early stage wastes money and lives. We could actually be closing hospital wards IF we stopped people becoming ill. If you are obese from the age of 5 the likelihood is that you will have a poor and unhealthy lifestyle until you die. This is a waste of good living and it’s a waste of cash.

The latest NHS recommendations will begin slowly to deal with the above issues. The Government is now three years late with producing a Green (discussion) Paper on Adult Social Care. Instead it regularly gives a bit more cash to councils to add to an already inadequate budget and insists that more money is raised through council tax which is a very unfair tax.

Since 2015 the Government has taken more than £800 million out of the Public Health grant to local councils. This is the money we use on programmes to keep people healthy. It announced at the start of the month a real terms growth in the Public Health Grant of 1% or £85 million for next year. This is exactly the money it took out this year. BUT it then says it will take £80 million of that back to pay for staff increases within public health which it had previously paid for. So, our increase in real terms for the whole of England will be a mind blowing £5 million.

So, there are serious debates about the NHS that need to be had and which would best take place in a situation where professionals and politicians came together to seek a long-term consensus for the NHS rather than a political points scoring free for all. Lib Dems do not believe in further privatisation of the NHS but we do see the needs for reform. That is why our MPs did not vote for an ill thought out amendment in a fantasy Queens Speech. Our NHS is far more important to Lib Dems for us to join with others in using it as a political football.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments