The Thick of It


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Is anybody listening?

David Cameron still has some way to go before he has total control of his party. Today's outbursts by Douglas "clean my moat" Hogg and Sir Patrick Cormack that MPs deserve even more pay, following the expenses scandal, shows a party still very much out of step with the national mood.

The Daily Telegraph was simplistic to suggest that many MPs don't need a second home when they have to work late in Parliament. However, to suggest that MPs' pay should be doubled is so far off the scale as to be simply stupid.

Once MPs stop having second jobs and focusing on the job they were elected to do we'll be in a better position to start sorting the mess out. If MPs themselves actually agreed to the many sensible reforms of Parliament that have been suggested on a number of occasions we might start to make progress. If Parliament met at reasonable office hours, not at night, we might have progress. It might also allow MPs to spend more time with ordinary people and less time in the Westminster bubble. That really would be progress.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Proud of the NHS?

Is the NHS safe in Tory hands? It certainly wasn't in the 1980s and 1990s when I grew up. On the evidence of today's comments by Tory MEP Daniel Hannan, attacking our proudest achievement, I am led to suspect the answer to be no.

I've not been surprised at the American reaction to Obama's plans to expand state health care provision. I have been a little surprised though that ordinary Americans might be against extending their rights to better health.

Hannan's view of the NHS is not one I share. Waiting lists are no longer an issue like he says. As a member of the Tory party perhaps he should remember the closed wards and patients left to die on trolleys every winter as was usual when his party was last in power?

Hannan's Tory party is one of a small state, cuts and always putting the individual first. This is what lurks behind Cameron's compassionate conservatism. I suspect this to be revealed after the next election.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who are the progressives?

Osborne claims the Tories are. He claims that Labour does not want to reform public services. Are these the same public services that were in disarray in the mid 1990s? Where every winter people died on trolleys in our hospitals because the NHS didn't have the capacity to treat them? This doesn't happen any more. In 1997 the dominant association with the NHS was of waiting lists. These have all but been eradicated.

Labour has reformed public services by making them more effective. Re-building hospitals, slashing waiting lists and rebuilding every school in the country is an impressive record of Labour reform.