Will you really be celebrating Telford’s 50th
Like most people, I am shocked by The Mirror report that up to 1,000 girls have been abused since the 1980’s and that there has also been murders and worse still that the abuse, which I had thought had been brought to a halt by Operation Challis, is ongoing. I have to apologise to Lucy Allan whom I accused of publicity seeking when she questioned the efficacy of the police operation – It would now seem that she has, if anything, understated the gravity of the situation. 1,000 of our woman and girls need individual answers to the question of why their nightmares weren’t listened to or addressed.
I feel strongly that the Council should reconsider their celebration for Telford’s 50th anniversary considering that for the majority of that period despicable acts were being perpetrated upon so many of its vulnerable young; people who I’m sure won’t be celebrating. Yes I am confident there are other guilty parties, administrations and individuals whose roles in this catastrophe will, with effective scrutiny, come to light. But what we do know is that this Labour administration have been part of an investigation that has failed to protect our young, whilst at the same time, reassuring us that they have everything under control. This clearly is not the case and, given that much of the then disregarded intel of this abuse came from youth and community workers who now no longer exist in Austerity Britain what chance is their of existing and future abuse coming to light? Finally, this Council must at the very least, reassure residents that the existing and future jailed perpetrators will never be coming back to Telford to haunt their victims.
Eade, Sandbatch, Dugmore and Pritchard
Our local Tories are officially shitting themselves…..
On starting up our stall in Newport for balloting the Public on whether or not Mark Pritchard MP should resign over his support for Health Austerity in November, who should we spot but Conservative Council leader Andrew Eade petitioning against a quarry development in Newport. Now, the whole idea of our campaign is to get the public angry about their representatives avoiding the blame for their government’s destruction of the NHS so its interesting that a few weeks later we find Pritchard MP, Cllr Eade, Cllr Dugmore and ex PRH executive Sandbach going on a field trip to Northumbria to make sure they have something to say as an excuse for when Future Fit is discovered to be a disaster by the voting public. The press statement came up with ideas that had been looked at 2 year ago and rejected and in any case was clearly irrelevant as the board are in the final stages of getting their preferred option assessed by NHS England. They are clearly scared about being linked to this fiasco, so lets keep going and do precisely that.
We will be balloting in Wellington centre this Saturday (9th December) at 11.00am for a couple of hours. Please reply if you can attend.
A great time was had by all on a anti racism evening held at the Belmont last Saturday with great music, food and people. It was particularly interesting for me to learn about the horrendous journeys that refugees who have ended up in Telford and Shropshire have had to endure sometimes from surprising sources like the racist attitudes that many Lebanese have towards Syrians. However the one bad taste of the evening came with two Communist Party Supporters who gave out the Morning Star to some of the Syrian refugees. My rage only began (sometimes I amaze myself about how slow I am) when I remembered later that I’d had a run in with these two individuals months ago over their ignorant and insensitive views about the Syrian dictator Bashar al- Assad should they believe be supported rather than arrested for war crimes (which they excused as ‘fake news’). The father of the family I have got to know has previously showed me a photograph of his back after Assad’s torturers had finished with him. If there is another event when these two socialist warriors are present with these refugees I will point them out to the refugees and explain their particular view on Assad’s regime. Now that’s a debate I would pay money to see…
Before people accuse me of sectarian sentiments I say that I have many disagreements with other Lefties over issues like Brexit. For instance when they argue that the EU is a construction to benefit the business classes I will concede that this is an argument that is coming from people who want the best for ordinary people but are wrong on the overall consequences from leaving the EU. But my red line is when Lefties argue for an inhumane solution on the ground that it is politically correct (often from a particular reading of a 19th or if you’re lucky 20th Century text) or that their gracious self regard means that ‘The People’ require them to have answers to all the worlds problems to prove the worth of their political theories. Trust me few people are listening, and those who accidentally hear this ignorant drivel, are gobsmacked by its lack of humility and humanity.
They are all fiddling the system pretending that they have this wrong or that wrong with them. “I’d stop their benefits then you’ll see if they are fit for work or not” says the man on his fourth pint of Hobson’s or the middle aged lady in the queue at Tesco. Now I listen to these almost daily complaints about these archetypal villains of society, but I also hear voices of other people giving a completely different version of reality which makes me angry, very angry. Jim (not his real name), who lives in Wellington, had been working continuously since 1971 leaving school when he was 15 doing hard manual work until one day in 2008 when his spine was crushed as he and others were attempting to put the forks back onto a fork lift truck. Since then he has had to endure continuous pain only mildly suppressed with prescription opiates. He cannot sit down for more than 10 minutes or do any manual work that might stress his back. However, desperate to be active and to contribute, he volunteers for three charity groups as well as voluntarily looking after two vulnerable neighbours. He does all this work at his pace and when the pain allows. This you would think would be someone that society would applaud and celebrate as an example to us all, but the JobCentre dictates that he has to commit 35 hours of his week to searching for work (knowing that he is unemployable for either manual or office work) whilst doing all this socially useful work. If, because of the pain he endures he is unable to fulfil his quota of job searches he will be sanctioned (a better term would be punished) and he and his partner will go without food. Now Jim, I believe, is a scapegoat to hide the real villains hiding in the shadows. Compare the recent revelations of tax avoidance and the lack of societal scrutiny of these villains’ activities that are deemed to be victimless. “If they can get away with it good luck to them” I hear our gentleman on his 5th pint now say. This adventure with our tax receipts cost us all between £75 – 180 billions – a sum which would wipe out our annual debt and refurbish our NHS. However it’s Jim who will be demonised for the rest of his life and our aristocrats and business leaders who will be lauded for their contributions to the nation. Angry? No I’m spitting mad.
The DONHS meeting last Saturday, despite the great organisational outcomes, didn’t deal with the issues of campaign tactics or aims and objectives even after the success the Future Fit board has had from turning a 100% rejection by Telford CCG of Future Fit into a unanimous consensus. To plough onwards without any clear aim or objectives does a disservice to the activists and residents who deserve a fighting chance rather than a hope and a prayer.
I think that there is a major flaw and contradiction in the analysis of our campaign’s affect on Future Fit. Talking about successes in mitigating cuts is good for morale but doesn’t necessarily ring true. We all realise that the NHS bureaucrats and CCG clinicians are determining their remodelling programme according to Tory Government budgetary limitations, so surely campaign victories within the STP region will be felt as losses elsewhere – maybe where the political consequences aren’t so great. In other words it is the Future Fit budgetary targets that will shape the final look of our Health provisions. This was acknowledged by the Labour Councillor Arnold England at the Joint CCG meeting where the Clinical Commissioning Group announced that they had arrived at a consensus of supporting the C1 option. As a representative of T&W Council, Arnold advocated that Telford retain its A&E and Woman and Children’s unit almost exclusively on the basis of the saving of £60 million which it represented. In doing so he completely accepted the Conservative argument that we should be focused on cutting costs in a health service that is increasingly struggling with the demands placed on it. The NHS Alliance are by no means saying that campaigns over specific cuts aren’t essential, they are vital in raising awareness and bringing communities together. However, unless we increase the financial inflows into our regions Health economy any victories in halting cuts are only likely to be short lived or will simply be transferred to other areas in order that budgetary targets are met.
It is understanding the objectives inherent in the Sustainability Transformation Plans that has led Alliance activists and now the Trade Union movement of the region to conclude that another front be opened against these Austerity measures, one that can directly pressurise those who are culpable for voting in favour of a Austerity Budget and the 2012 Health and Social Care Act which prefigured Future Fit models throughout the country. At present, because there has been little light shone on their pro-Austerity positions, our Regional MPs are able to argue that they are fully behind their constituents’ local demands against cuts because they are lobbying against cuts in their constituencies. Only today I read about Lucy Allan’s heart felt concerns about a 20% increase in standard car parking charges at the PRH – she claims to worry about the effect on low income families. No one is challenging her record in supporting the Health Austerity cuts that are forcing Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust to commodify public assets in the first place. She and the other Tory MPs must be held to account for their hypocrisy. We intend to make this link and asking the public to adjudicate on their fitness (through a ballot) to represent them. We believe this to be complementary to the DONHS campaign and will influence our local Tory MPs to think again about whether supporting Austerity is worth losing or damaging their electoral chances for the future.
I was one of about 15 people who attended the Telford CCG board on 15th August. Not one Telford Borough Councillor was there. These events are always frustrating because the members of the CCG board will only reply to criticisms that they feel comfortable with answering. So they chose to ignore it when I brought up the inconvenient truth that the public have been consistently mislead about the direction and nature of the Future Fit project. The really big falsehood is their claim that Future Fit is a remodelling process with its singular objective to meet the clinical needs of the various communities within the region. However its primary function has been handed down by the Tory Government, which is to cut the Health service budget as part of a national drive to eradicate £22 billion from the NHS. For our region this means 2000 fewer posts and £135 million worth of budget cuts resulting in fewer beds and reduced services for Shropshire, Telford and Powys. Today we can see the cuts affecting hip and knee replacements, mental health talking therapies, IVF treatment, hearing aids, medicines that are deemed too expensive, aids for the elderly and much much more. The Council’s #PRH4Me is disingenuous as it implies that if the A&E and Woman and Childrens’ Centre remain sited at the PRH we are some how saved from these cuts. It is not true – it will mean a Hospital and Primary Care crisis for all wherever you live. The Cuts will be felt across the region and we need to ignore those that talk about getting the most for their patch as Future Fit is reducing capacity, reducing services and increasing waiting times and queues for all. There will no hiding places! Professor Stephen Hawking in his recent attack on these cuts and the politicians who were their handmaidens, made the point that the end game is remodelling our health service in order to make them attractive for privatisation. The only people who can change this are unfortunately the 5 regional MPs whose Party i.e the Conservative government, are the same Party who are responsible for these Austerity Health measures. So we need to unite across the region and threaten the five sitting MPs so that they know we have ‘GOT IT’ and understand that they and their Party will be held accountable by the people for the mess they have caused our health services.
Respect to Jeremy Corbyn. He played a blinder basically by not playing politics as usual and being able to present himself and manifesto unmediated by an anti-Corbyn press. The problem with the Labour Party both nationally and locally is that they refuse to co-operate with other parties in order to enlarge their intellectual and voting base by engaging in Progressive Alliances. Arrogantly they expect Greens and Lib Dems to forgo the opportunity to get their messages out to the public in deference to the need the Labour Party has to maximise its vote. When asked to stand down themselves in a few Council seats which would not affect their power on the borough Council, to allow other progressive Parties or candidates the chance to gain seats, they argued that the voters need to be given a choice. This does not seem to have upset too many UKIP voters in this recent election who weren’t given the chance to vote for their party in Telford. I’m sure they thought it a positive move not to oppose Brexit supporter Lucy Allan just as our supporters would have preferred not to stand against Kuldip whose Labour Party has recently moved closer to many of the Green Party’s policies.
So why on earth did the Labour Party not negotiate with Telford and Wrekin Green Party? It’s not as if they weren’t given notice of what could happen because, in the 2015 election the Telford and Wrekin Green Party was blamed for Labour losing to Tory Lucy Allan. I think it is inexcusable and shows a total disrespect for the 20,000 voters who thought that their local party would do everything in their powers to make their votes count and kick Lucy Allan out. It’s as if the Labour Party are playing analogue politics in the digital 21st Century when up and down the country Labour rejected co-operative deals where candidates holding progressive views could have got in. In fact Labour could probably have won an overall majority and be in government but because of this blinkered mentality we might have to endure up to five more years of austerity and continuous destruction of our NHS.