Month: June 2017

So The Deal Is Done

As reported in the Guardian, this week finally saw a coalition deal drawn between the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and The Conservative Party. Unfortunately this deal came at a cost.

The DUP, well known for their controversial views surrounding abortion, have secured £1 billion for Northern Ireland’s economy in return for their support on the Conservative’s Queen’s Speech.

This allocation of funds begs the question why we are selling off and privatising huge NHS organisations, when we clearly have the money available to help fix some of the problem.

Theresa May’s strong and stable leadership is now a thing of the past as she removes much needed funds from our budget, and trades them for a majority vote.

Understandably, this has caused uproar with not only England itself, but Scotland and Wales too.

The deal, just three pages long, confirms the Conservative agreement to meet NATO and spend 2% of GDP on the armed forces, and both parties must adhere to the Armed Forces Covenant. This promises priority care for children of current and ex members of the Armed Forces.

According to the Guardian, Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales, named the agreement outrageous, stating it was “a straight bung to keep a weak Prime Minister and faltering government in office”.

Similarly, Nicola Sturgeon professed:

“In concluding this grubby, shameless deal, The Tories have shown that they will stop at nothing to hold on to power – even sacrificing the very basic principles of devolution”.

Earlier last week, Jeremy Hunt proclaimed he would consider reviewing the pay cap for healthcare staff, only for it to be forgotten in the Queen’s Speech.

Today, Tuesday 27th June, this was met with the start of the Nurse’s “Summer of Protest” that the Royal College of Nursing declared just last month.

On Thursday, Theresa May will be presenting her Queen’s Speech for vote in Parliament. She will require the alliance of all ten DUP MPs to even stand a chance of having it passed, and enabling her party to govern without majority.

Ironically, although ideal for the Conservatives short term, long term the deal may not be sufficient. It has been suggested that in just two years, the DUP will ask for further concessions from the Tories.

Instead of rejoicing for a secured government, many of us are mourning the loss of a nation that once was.


Leaked Document Suggests Havoc To London Healthcare

A 31 page internal NHS document has highlighted a cost saving exercise to help bridge the £183 million funding gap for a number of hospitals in north-central London.

As reported by the Guardian, this document suggests Doctors affected will have less money to spend on medicine, refer less patients to hospital, and slash the support offered to those with severe needs. They are also looking to close some A&E and maternity units.

Ultimately, this will increase time for treatments and operations as the strain will be added elsewhere to already struggling associations, resulting in poor care:

“We recognise that these choices may be difficult for a number of reasons .. Options that impact on quality of care and options that would be difficult to implement.” (The Guardian)

The affected boroughs are reported to be Camden, Islington, Haringey, Barnet, and Enfield, with University College London and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital amongst the hospitals affected.

The leaked document has sparked outrage amongst NHS providers, with Saffron Cordery, Director of policy and strategy emphasising, “Some of the proposals could challenge fundamental expectations shared by NHS staff and the public about what the health service is there to provide. We cannot do that without a full and proper debate.”

Following on from the General Election, Labour are now stating that the cuts are due to the government not allocating the funds needed to do the job effectively.

Although there has been no final decision, the discussions may result in:

Patients waiting longer than 18 weeks for planned operations.
Higher care rationing.
Hospital units being restricted, or shut altogether.
Cuts to financial support currently given to those with long term health problems.
Limitations to treatment for those with musculoskeletal conditions.
Less money being fed into the Better Care Fund (a scheme designed to reduce pressure on hospitals).
Job losses.

Is this really the end of the NHS as we know it?




Hung Parliament: So Where Do We Go From Here?

So, the country spoke. The 2017 General Election resulted in a hung Parliament. No majority vote.

With everyone on tenterhooks as the results rolled in, you couldn’t help but wonder why exactly the nation was going through this again.

Theresa May was secure. She had a majority. The Conservative Party were in power.

Now, Theresa May is in talks with Arlene Foster, leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to form what is being dubbed by many as the ‘coalition of chaos’.

This coalition means Theresa May remains in power, but must have the backing of the DUP party in order to push through laws and bills.

Although nothing is certain, Arlene Foster was reported in the Guardian as saying “talks are positive”. So a Conservative-DUP merge is looking likely.

And then there is Labour.

Jeremy Corbyn was hot on the heels of Theresa May, and although he didn’t secure a majority either, he pulled Labour into a position where they now sit only 56 seats behind the Conservatives.

Following his re-election as MP for Islington North, Mr Corbyn was quoted in the BBC News:

“The Prime Minister called this election because she wanted a mandate. Well the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence. I would have thought that’s enough to go actually, and make way for a government that will be truly representative of all of the people of this country.”

Although Labour have been “preparing for government” (BBC News), with shadow chancellor John McDonnell telling BBC News they’ve “laid the foundations for a minority government, and then eventually a majority government”, Theresa May refused to succumb to Jeremy Corbyn’s calls for her to retire.

So what does she do now?

With Brexit negotiations looming, Mrs May has been keen to reinforce her determination to succeed and maintain “a deep and special partnership” with the EU.

Meeting on Tuesday with the French President, Emmanuel Macron, he was reported in the Guardian as saying that although he respected the decision of British people, “until negotiations come to an end, there is always a chance to reopen the door.”

Will the uncertainty of Britain, and effectively a Britain with no government bring a softer Brexit deal; one The Prime Minister may well welcome? Or is Mr Macron sending her a warning to retreat?

Although we cannot second guess what next weeks negotiations will begin to indicate, it’s imperative Theresa May organises a successful coalition, secures our government, and regains confidence, not only for Brexit, but for the people of the British Isles.

General Election 2017

49 days ago the Prime Minister, Theresa May, called a snap General Election she’d always insisted she would never call.

Tomorrow, Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, goes head to head with Jeremy Corbyn (Labour), Tim Farron (Liberal Democrats), Paul Nuttall (UKIP), Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley (Green Party) and Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), whilst the UK votes for what could be the end of Britain as we know it.

Although originally calling the General Election to allow Britain the chance to choose who takes us through Brexit negotiations, Theresa May has found herself under serious pressure and scrutiny.

She has had to defend her decisions to not attend key conferences, and more recently has led the country through two terrorist attacks, one of which found Britain raising to a critical terror alert.

According to the Telegraph, the latest polls show Labour is still closing the gap behind the Conservatives, with YouGov stating a 4 point gap, and ICM stating 11 points. Despite the gap in the polls, when the election was called, the Tories lead by 17.8 points.

Far from the landslide victory the Conservatives expected, YouGov have predicted the gap will continue to close and suggested we are heading towards a hung Parliament. This occurs when no single party wins a majority vote.

If this was the case, Theresa May would remain in power, but begin discussions with the second party (most likely Labour), to decide whether they can form a coalition. This was the case in 2010 when David Cameron (the Conservatives) became Prime Minister, with Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats) as his deputy.

Although each party promotes a very different manifesto, the common theme of each is the NHS. With 91% of nurses recently voting in favour of industrial action (ballot organised by RCN), the healthcare industry is definitely calling for change and crying for a lift on the pay cap nurses and doctors currently experience.

It has been no secret that the NHS is at crisis point struggling with money, staff, and with the Brexit vote, a potential nightmare regarding our nurses and doctors coming from the EU.

With Labour “over promising”, and the Conservatives planning to continue with seemingly little change, are there any parties that really have what it takes to put confidence back amongst the nation?

This Election is probably one of the most pivotal the country has ever held. With so much at stake for the nation, and with no party obliged to see their manifesto through, who will you have confidence in to lead the country out of crisis and into a bright future?