Friday, August 22, 2008
My view is that this whole area needs some legislative focus. The most recent Criminal Justice bill adds large financial penalties for negligent data handling, but the process of implementation will take until the middle of next year. Right now there are no meaningful penalties beyond bad publicity for an organisation that is incompetent as opposed to criminal in the way it handles personal data. This has to change if we want to stamp these sorts of blunders out.
This latest screwup also begs a question; would you trust this government to run a National Identity database?
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Only one in five councils are using charging to the full potential. Not just to cover costs but to shape their area.because it would help in
reducing congestion, improving levels of health and exercise, encouraging the use of local shops...This is idiotic on a number of levels. Firstly, 90% of the built environment that will exist in the next 50 years is already here. Development takes many years. Today's cities, towns and villages are not laid out with a range of local shops within easy walking distance of everyone and so many people would just have to pay the charges because they had no alternative. Secondly, even if there were local shops it is inconceivable that every village or similar area could have the entire range of retail outlets that people need and so many people would just have to pay the charges because they had no alternative. Thirdly, people with limited mobility need their cars or else they do not go anywhere and so many people would just have to pay the charges because they had no alternative. Fourthly, even if you are able-bodied sometimes you just have too much to carry, like the weekly shop for a large family, and so many people would just have to pay the charges because they had no alternative.
Basically, people would have to pay up and, of course, flat charges that do not take income into account hit the poorest the hardest.
What Labour also fails to take into account is the fact that many car parks are not Council-owned, most supermarkets and many large shopping centres have free parking for example. So, what are they suggesting, that Council's kill the trade in the town centres where they typically do have car parks and leave the out-of-town shopping centres to benefit?
This is a silly and ill-thought out suggestion and we won't be doing anything like it in Basildon. What is it about the Labour Party that they are so addicted to taxing people so much?
Monday, August 18, 2008
Well, the Conservatives have a different approach. We want sport for all, and that means elite sport just as much as casual lesiure usage. So, we are progressively renewing our sporting infrastructure, will relaid all-weather pitches. New competition standard netball courts, an Athletic track brought up to AAA standard, and, of course, a brand new sporting village with a 50m, Olympic-size, pool. To be fair to the Labour Party today, they have shed their virulent hatred of excellence, though they still display occasional grumpiness with the whole sporting agenda. It's a pity that we lost a generation of potential elite sportsmen and women before they got with the program.
Maybe it could have been a Basildon boy or girl standing there with gold around their neck...?
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Ley: Are you worried that this collection of economic statistics we've seen today, including obviously the rising unemployment figures, will further destabilise the prime minister's leadership ?
Plaskitt: I'm not commenting on that issue as I made clear at the outset. It's not about that.
Ley: But you're -
Press officer: We're only talking about today's employment figures.
Ley: Sure, but you're a minister, you're a member of his government.
Plaskitt: Well, the answer's no.
Ley: You don't think it will?
Absolutely incredible that a government press officer would cut into an interview this way. All credit to the BBC for broadcasting it, and that is interesting in itself. Shaun Ley offers up an explanation of what went on in his blog, but does anyone think that the Labour-supporting BBC of old would have hesitated in cutting out the press officer's intervention? It wasn't live so they could have done so easily. These are the people who didn't broadcast Neil Kinnock making a fool of himself before the 1992 election for no reason that has ever been adequately explained and the people who ran biased media against the Conservatives for decades. Could it be that the realisation that Labour may not be in power for much longer has emboldened them? Could it be that emerging debate on the future of the BBC has made them realise that systematic political bias is not a long-term survival strategy? In that at least I think that the damage has already been done.
With the growing numbers of wounded personnel repatriated to the UK and with continued growth in medically discharged personnel since the Falklands war to current conflicts and operations, our service men & women and veterans of previous operational service are owed the best medical care possible. The existing facilities are falling short and the NHS are not meeting the needs of veterans who still need treatment for their service related conditions. A dedicated Military & Veterans Hospital will greatly help resolve this National scandal since the complete closure of our military hospitals that has proved to be total folly.
We used to have many such dedicated hospitals, but in acts of short-sighted folly they were all closed. Right now our wounded get one ward of one NHS hospital. It is pitiful and it is not enough.
Sign the petition here.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Meanwhile, David Cameron has been saying exactly what the government should have been saying if they hadn’t outsourced our foreign policy to the EU. The Georgians may have made a terrible misjudgement, but the Russian reaction has gone well beyond being reasonable, with widespread air attack and ground action that is less designed to protect their people in South Ossetia and more designed to cripple Georgia as a nation. This is the point when Labour’s dithering and incompetence stops being funny. Our foreign policy should not be paralysed by a Prime Minister who can’t make a decision and a Foreign Secretary whose sole focus is getting the Prime Minister’s job. Can we really afford another two years of this?
Monday, August 11, 2008
The blunders of this government keep coming. This is not a Labour/Tory thing; this is increasingly an idiot/competent thing. You couldn't imagine this happening with Tony Blair, and I never thought I would ever write something like that.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Figures obtained by John Baron MP through Freedom of Information requests show that co-payments (or ‘top-ups’) were available in the NHS as recently as last year – before being stopped by guidance issued by the Department of Health. John has been campaigning against the ban on co-payments following the sad case of a constituent (Mrs Linda O’Boyle) who was refused funding for a cancer drug and then sought to pay privately. Under current arrangements, patients who go private for a drug not available on the NHS risk losing their entitlements to basic NHS care. Opponents of co-payments argue that topping-up would create a two-tier health service and undermine founding principles of the NHS. However, these new figures prove that co-payments were available in the past without any difficulties. A trust in Cornwall allowed 20 patients to co-pay for drugs which the NHS refused to fund before the ban was introduced.
Commenting, John said:
“The new figures show that co-payments were available in the NHS until last year without undermining its founding principles. Therefore, opponents of co-payments are wrong to argue they would mean the end of the NHS as we know it.”
“We always knew the present ban on top-ups is inhumane as it can result in NHS care being withdrawn from patients wishing to pay for drugs not available on the NHS. But these FOI figures also confirm the ban is illogical because it has been ignored in the past.”
“The latest NICE decision regarding the Bowel Cancer drugs shows just how far behind we are other European countries when it comes to patients accessing the latest treatments. This issue is not going away.”
From personal experience I know that the current situation regarding cancer drugs is perverse. NICE initially rejected the drug that saved my life, Velcade, and that decision almost certainly meant a number of people died in pain. The system couples that with making it impossible for people to pay for lifesaving drugs themselves, which means more early deaths and the attendant family tragedy. What kind of monsters are running our country? Don't they realise that these are real people, or maybe they just don't care.
What else is there to say? Does this woman seriously entertain the idea that this was in any way the way Conservatives are expected or encouraged to operate? If she does then she should lay out her case, and let's face it if she has something then it would be a huge news story. She won't do that of course because she has nothing. I'm an ex-parliamentary candidate, Constituency Chairman and current senior Councillor so I know of what I write. Conservative are expected to meet the highest standards in public life or else they cease to be Conservatives. There is nothing to this but one scumbag in Watford and the dripping pen of a columnist who has clearly been instructed to keep bashing David Cameron while Simon gets sunburnt. Oh, and the Liberal Democrats have jumped on this idea as well.
There's a surprise.