Does our NHS still exist?
When the NHS was founded in 1948 it was the envy of the world, however in the past decade or so, it has changed dramatically. Although it appears to have every service in place, it is only when they are needed that the gaps in the services appear.
It’s true that the emergency services are good (If an ambulance arrives on time) and also end of life care, it’s the bits in between where the problems lie.
I remember jokingly asking a European acquaintance, of a nervous disposition, if his biggest fear was ending up in a NHS hospital, he took a step back, with an ashen face he said, “How did you know.” This was a while back when you only had to wait up to 48 hours to see your own GP. Recently the system has become so remote that it’s even difficult to get through by phone. If successful it’s more likely to be a referral to a practice nurse, a para-medic or a pharmacist.
My recent experience has been one of fear, anxiety and frustration. The system seems to be made up of uncoordinated fragmented services provided by a mixture of NHS, agency staff and charities.
The ambulance service can come from as far away as Brighton. One got lost doing a local pick up, turning a five minute journey into forty minutes. Because many are agency ambulances their insurance doesn’t even allow any overlap in the service, so there is little cooperation between ambulance and hospital staff.
Most aftercare services seem to have been out sourced to a variety of different agencies whose main aim must be profit before patient. The district nurse service will not give the time of day when calling, and has reached a point when even the day is uncertain, and smart phones are used to take pictures of wounds to pass to on information to the other nurses that might visit.
Therapy services are even harder to get. The waiting times can be up to a year and then limited to one day per week, instead of daily, and this can only be achieved by constant prompting.
All of the health care professionals are excellent and are worthy of being clapped, especially those on the front line. In fact most have been apologetic and embarrassed, some have encouraged me to complain. But in reality, is the NHS fit for purpose? Covid 19 has highlighted its failings, with the highest number of deaths in Europe. It’s no wonder, when we allegedly have the lowest number of doctors and nurses in the developed world. We have only six intensive care beds per hundred thousand of the population, France and Italy have double and Germany six times more.
I find myself going into, “It could be worse, thankful for small mercies” mode. It’s true that in other parts of the world, the situation is far worse, where the nearest hospital could be a day’s journey on foot, by camel, boat or horse. But we are a Northern European nation and must aim for the best not compare ourselves with the worst.
Boris Johnson has made a sacred cow of the NHS to the extent that it appears sacrilegious or unpatriotic to be critical.
My fear is the NHS will become like the Hans Christian’s folk tale "The Emperor's New Clothes" where the emperor was walking around naked after being convinced he was wearing the best garments. One day we might wake up to discover it no longer exists!
All we would be left with is the NHS brand name, farming out lucrative contracts to private health care agencies.
The above letter first appeared in the Heathrow Villager.
"Patriotism is the last refuge
of a scoundrel.”
“That kind of patriotism which
consists of hating all other nations.”
With the £2.6m studio based inside Downing Street finally opened,, decorated with Union Jacks, Boris Johnson has a new means of stirring up patriotic fervour.
There is nothing wrong in loving ones country, but Boris with his Churchill like posture is using patriotism as a means of self protection.
He has played the patriotic card so often, that when opposition MPs attack him they appear unpatriotic, especially with Covid and the NHS.
Our leader must not be drawn into Boris’s game. Otherwise he might end up appearing more efficient and less sleazy at implementing Tory policies, more patriotic and less socialist, and ultimately lose his key voters.
Our last manifesto was one of the best ever produced, we shouldn’t be ashamed of it. What the Tories are now doing is implementing Socialist policies, with state support in a crises, albeit not very well.
If we appear to move too far to the right, the ever opportunist, Liberal Democrats, will be forced to appear left of Labour as they did under the Tony Blair government and ultimately take votes from us.
With the Tories continuing in the same extreme right direction, taking us on a downward slope, and without a clear strong opposition, we could end up with Scotland leaving the union, possibly Wales, Northern Ireland and perhaps even Cornwall following them, if that happened we wont have a Union Jack, only an “I’m alright Jack,” for the few!
The above article does not necessarily express the view of the Labour Party
Dear Mr Kwarteng,
As our MP for more than ten years, and a highly intelligent man, I am sure you have a profound knowledge of the Spelthorne constituency which you serve. I would therefore ask your opinion of the proposal to make Spelthorne part of an all Surrey Unitary Authority or equally as bad, broken up into smaller ones. I believe the majority of Spelthorne residents would prefer to become part of Greater London. I have listed below some of the advantages and reasons:
¨ We would automatically become part of zone 6 making rail fares cheaper for commuters going into London. And the use of Oyster cards at our stations.
¨ All over 65s would get a freedom pass which would give them free rail and
underground travel into London.
¨ More money spent on primary and secondary school education.
¨ Dedicated schools grant: Surrey per pupil: £4,943.29;
Hounslow per pupil: £5,773. 11. Kingston per pupil: £5,048.69.
Being part of Greater London would give us more status, as part of a world class city, instead of Surrey’s poor relation.
Quicker emergency service back up times from neighbouring Greater London boroughs, than from across the river in Surrey.
The cheaper fares would also encourage companies to relocate here, bringing more employment to our borough.
Possibly lower council tax, e.g. Spelthorne band D £1,915.51, Kingston band D £1,800.27.
Property and land values would improve, thus protecting us from other boroughs dumping on us, as a cheaper alternative.
Geographically we are the only Surrey borough North of the Thames. All our churches come under a London diocese. Our post code is TW (Twickenham) and Middlesex. 80% of Spelthorne’s working population work within the Greater London area.
You could argue that we voted to become part of Surrey in 1965, but making a wrong decision shouldn’t make it permanent. We recently left the EU after 40 years, and as a Brexiteer you favoured us leaving, although the benefits, are at the very least dubious. By the the same token, would you support leaving Surrey if you could find nothing good in remaining?
It’s true that we have had some gains as well as losses. We have gained a prison and an Eco Park with an incinerator and a number of gravel pits. We have also lost; Brooklands College, an A&E, an Arts Centre, Community Centres and a Fire Station, making us the only borough in Surrey with only one, as well as being the most densely populated.
If you are aware of anything beneficial in remaining part of Surrey, I would be keen to know.
The above letter first appeared in the Heathrow Villager.
Dear Mr Kwarteng,
Thank you for replying so promptly to my email regarding making Spelthorne part of Greater London, instead of becoming a Unitary Authority.
You state in your reply that you do not think it would be a good idea to become part of Greater London. One of the reasons given is that it would require primary legislation, but surely this was the case to get us into Surrey, and will also be, to becomes a Unitary Authority. You say that there is no guarantee that council tax would be lower. I gave you some examples from neighbouring boroughs, but never the less, it is unlikely that they would be higher than in Surrey.
Another reason you gave is that many residents are attracted to Spelthorne, is because it is not part of London. My answer is that recent surveys carried out show that a much larger majority of residents would prefer to be part of Greater London.
It’s nice to know that you are a keen supporter of ‘Spelthorne in the Zone’ campaign. However with Spelthorne being over populated and the enlargement of Bronzfield Prison, this is unlikely to happen, as SWT would lose out financially. The only likely way to get into Zone 6 is to become part of Greater London. The money saved on fares would stimulate the local economy As Secretary of State for Business I am sure aware that for every £10 spent £3.70 is spent locally.
It would be nice to have your support, perhaps you will change your mind. After all, you were originally against us becoming part of Zone 6. You said; “Spelthorne voted to become part of Surrey; you can’t have your cake and eat it.’”
I also asked you if you were aware of anything beneficial since we became part of Surrey, you failed to to give an example.
If this becomes a big political issue in the May elections, your party could find themselves on the wrong side of the argument., and lose votes.
The above letter first appeared in the Heathrow Villager.
WELL DONE LABOUR!
Council estate built
by Labour run Norwich council, wins Riba
Stirling prize for
Norwich's £17m scheme of 105 homes - a mix of 45 one-bedroom flats, 40 two-bedroom houses, three two-bedroom flats and five four-bedroom flats, is the first development of its sort ever to claim the prize.
The innovative £17m project was awarded the highest honour of the Royal Institute of British of Architects, becoming the first development of its sort ever to claim the prize. The homes, owned and managed by Norwich City Council, are rented out to people with a housing need.
Ever since the Tory government of the 1980s prevented councils from reinvesting funds from the sale of their council flats into building new housing, it had lacked the resources to do so. But, like a number of local authorities, Norwich found a way, using a mix of borrowing, funds from its housing revenue account.
They are not homes that fit into the murky class of “affordable”, or the multitude of “intermediate” tenures. This is proper social housing, rented from the council with secure tenancies at fixed rents. Not only that, it is some of the most energy-efficient housing ever built in the UK, meeting the exacting German passivhaus standards – which translates into a 70% reduction in fuel bills for tenants.
By contrast, compare Spelthorne’s Tory run councils feeble attempt to fulfil its “statutory obligations” to house the homeless, by planning to build a 27 bed hostel at the cost of around £6 million, and then handing it over to the Salvation Army to run!
Socialism is part of the 21st century's zeitgeist!
Only Labour can bring in a new Utopia?
Communism failed, neoliberalism, with the crash of the financial sector in 2008 failed. Capitalism in its present form will also fail, due to the fast rate of technical advancement.
In 1926 Henry Ford (Founder of Ford Motor Company) became the first to implement a five-day work week. He discovered that a shorter working week increased productivity, and workers with more leisure time were more likely to buy cars.
In the 1960 s Henry Ford’s grandson gave union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the companies automated factory, he jokingly asked, “Walter how are you going to get those robots to pay your union dues.?” He quickly replies “Henry how are you going to get them to buy your cars?”
How things have moved on since then, we now have driverless cars and chess legend Garry Kasparov was beaten by a computer in 1997, it was the size of a tennis court. Sixteen years later a new computer came on the market, play station 4, a fraction of the price and twice as powerful. The new generation of robots are proxies not only for our muscle power but for our mental capacity, too.
It’s already happening in our high streets, with shops closing because more people are buying on line. Banks are closing on our high streets, due to on line banking and those remaining have fewer staff. In supermarkets more people are checking their own goods out, thus less staff will be needed.
Capitalism, in its effort to reduce labour costs by the use of technology, in order to increase profits, is killing its own markets. Henry Ford discovered that for capitalism to survive it requires people with money in their pockets and enough leisure time to spend it.
It is estimated that 54% of all jobs in Europe will be replaced by machines in the next 20 years.
Although employees have been worrying for the past 200 years, new jobs materialised to take their place. But now in the new century robots have suddenly picked up pace.
Today the new jobs are at supermarkets, fast-food chains, and nursing homes, but for how long will they be safe? As a French economist put it; "that if we continue down our current path we will soon find ourselves back in the rentier society of the Gilded Age. A minority of people who owned capital (stocks, houses, machines) enjoyed a much higher standard of living." More people will be forced into today's version of the Victorian slums, HMOs ( homes of multiple occupancy), with many living in small ensuite rooms, with shared kitchens.
Unless there is a resurgence of strong inclusive growth, high taxation on capital, or World War III, if nothing is done, inequality could reach frightening proportions.
An idea that is gaining traction is for a universal basic income for everyone, a shorter working week, and the eradication of poverty. Finland and Canada have announced large experiments, In the Netherlands twenty municipalities are putting basic income into action. The organization Give Directly is launching a major basic income study in Kenya. It is also catching on in a big way in Silicon Valley, and even the American Democrats are slowly voicing socialist policies.
Only the Labour Party, has the right credentials to make it happen here, and the proposed four day week by Labour is a move in the right direction. It wont happen overnight, but a Utopia where all benefit from technological advancement, and not suffer from it, is urgently needed.
The above article does not necessarily express the view of the Labour Party.
Informed and Inspired by, Utopia For Realists by: Rutiger Bregman.
Under the Tories, close to 1000 Sure Start centres have been closed nationwide.
Nationally, Labour will ensure guaranteed adequate funding for schools, teachers and rescources, to create a world class service. Labour supports ‘Life Long Learning’
“Labour will lobby the council to reopen the Sure Start Centres closed since 2010,ensuring that children are given the best start in life thereby reducing inequalities when they start school” Between 2010 and 2018, overall school funding per pupil has been cut by 8%.
Locally, Spelthorne Labour Party will push for access to
more 6th form provision within the borough.