Two by-elections on 20 October 2016


jdrgjIt’s purported about 1.5 million Muslims have begun the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, unperturbed by 2015 stampeded which killed more than 2,000 people. The good news pilgrims face new safety measures, including tighter security and ID bracelets in a bid to prevent a report of repeat of last year’s disaster. The pilgrimage is among the largest religious gatherings in the world. The last time I went to Hajj was in 1990 and things have moved on since. I understand from friends the place of worship has changed and it’s a more environment friendly and after visiting the place more people still turns up as one set leaves it’s constantly business all the time.

Now we all have learned that David Cameron decided that he can’t take it any longer and will desert the ship before he is force to walk on the plank. It’s comes as no surprise that he threw in the towel and called it a day by resigning his seat in Witney Oxfordshire. What a chicken he is and the lame excuse he does not want to be a distraction for Ice Queen Theresa May.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has warned companies that there will be no hiding place if they exploit their workers.

It’s been alleged that families are being financially crippled by county court judgements they knew nothing about. Banks, utility companies and parking cowboys are obtaining the judgements at an anonymous building in Northampton over debts as small as 1p. Somehow I have a ugly feeling that the 1p debt could be written off and the county courts could use their time to chase those who owes much more money than targeting the less well off. This reminds me of a novel of Charles Dickinson of Oliver Twist and the Victorian times.

Chris Hopson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme that “something has to give” and there should be a debate about which services to sacrifice “rather than pretend the gap doesn’t exist”.

Figures show waiting times and delayed hospital discharges at record levels.

The government says it is giving NHS England the £10bn it asked for.

welfare1Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for a “seven-day NHS” since 2015 after his department concluded that there was a “clear link between poorer outcomes for patients and uneven service provision at the weekend” Introducing a seven-day NHS also formed part of the Conservative Party’s manifesto, and its based on data which suggests that patients are 16% more likely to die if they are admitted on a Sunday compared with a Wednesday.

However, the reasons for this have been contested, and medical professionals agree that people who arrive in hospitals at weekends tend to be sicker than those who do so during the week.

NHS Providers, the organisation that represents hospitals in England, says unless urgent funding is provided it will have to cut staff, bring in charges or introduce “draconian rationing” of treatment, for example, of non-urgent operations.

It highlights that 80% of England’s acute hospitals are in financial deficit, compared with 5% three years ago – while missed A&E waiting time targets have risen from 10% to 90%. Mr Hopson said the NHS was under the “greatest pressure that we’ve been for a generation”.

He added: “Jeremy Hunt and others have made a very strong case for seven-day services, but it seems to us it’s impossible on the current level of staff and the current money we have available.”

Leaders of the cross-party campaign that persuaded the British people to leave the EU have dropped their pre-referendum pledge of a £350m-a-week spending bonanza for the NHS.

Many of those who headed the Vote Leave campaign, including its former chair, Labour MP Gisela Stuart, and Michael Gove, the Tory former justice secretary, are re-forming this weekend, creating a new pressure group called Change for Britain.

Other top names involved in the organisation, which says it is being established to help “deliver the UK’s referendum result in the most effective way”, include former chancellor Nigel (Lord) Lawson, Digby Jones, former head of the CBI, and David (Lord) Owen, the former Labour foreign secretary.

But despite the NHS pledge having been at the heart of their message in the run-up to the 23 June vote, and displayed on the official Vote Leave battlebus, the Change Britain website made no mention of the NHS in its manifesto about how to make a success of Brexit.

Instead Change for Britain said on its “Brexit Means Brexit” page that any savings made as a result of no longer having to pay into the EU budget (assuming the UK leaves the single market) should be spent on guaranteeing “continued funding for farming, science, universities and poorer regions of the UK”. The website was taken down, although cached versions of its pages were still accessible through search engines.

Anna Soubry, the pro-Remain Tory MP and former minister for small business, said it was outrageous that the Leave campaigners had “peddled that lie” during the campaign and were now quietly abandoning it.

The Remain camp argued all along that it was wrong to claim that the UK sent £350m a week to Brussels as this is the gross figure and does not take account of the large sums of money that come back in EU farm and other subsidies, including structural funds and education and research grants. The idea that so much extra money could be guaranteed for the NHS post-Brexit was also challenged as totally unrealistic.

Anna Soubry, a leading light in Open Britain, the successor to the Remain campaign, added: “They should all hang their heads in shame. There were many people, particularly in less wealthy areas, who were convinced by Leave’s claim that if we left the EU we would be able to pour millions more into the NHS. The danger now is these people will become even more disillusioned with all politicians because this lot misled them.”

Last weekend, Prime Minister Theresa May, speaking at the G20 summit in China, said she is unable to guarantee extra money for the health service post brexit came out against the points based immigration system which was the other central plank of the Brexit campaigners’ pitch to voters.

In an open letter, 30 Labour MPs – including former cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw, former shadow Europe minister Pat McFadden and ex-frontbenchers Emma Reynolds and Chuka Umunna call on the Brexit campaigners to admit the NHS pledge was a lie.“ There should be no escaping this pledge for the Leave campaign they cannot walk away from it now, disown it or pretend it never happened. They must either admit it was a lie and apologise to their voters, or justify it.”

On Saturday Downing Street made clear its annoyance with Liam Fox, the international trade secretary responsible for negotiating post-Brexit trade deals, who angered businesspeople by suggesting British executives would rather play golf than export their goods and services

I could not believe what I read in a national paper the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox quoted Britain is “too lazy and fat” with businessmen preferring “golf on a Friday afternoon” to trying to boost the country’s prosperity. Maybe this obnoxious minister should get out more instead of remaining in the Westminster Village bubble. He should get out more and get some exercise instead of targeting the business communities.

I’m sure this will comes as no surprise when I say once a Conservative, always a Conservative. A Libdem peer re-joins the Tory party Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne has returned to the Conservative party 21 years after she defected to the Fibdems. She is quoted she will re-join the party next week “with tremendous pleasure”. Her energies were dedicated to fighting for our new PM and her policies.

Hate to say this again. A lack of resources in Whitehall threatens UK’s successful exit from the exit from the EU, the head of the senior civil servants union has warned. Brexit will mean a cut in public spending unless funding is increased.

Two by-elections have been called and will take place on 20 October 2016 in the constituencies of Batley and Spen (Jo Cox) and the other in Witney (David Cameron). This is a calling notice for all Labour activists across the U.K. to descend in full force in both constituencies to help out in both regions by contacting the Regional Office for further details. I hope to see meet up with all Labour Activists in both constituencies to turn it to a Labour area.

 

 

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