Extreme and dangerous Tory spending cuts

Disaster-looms-for-NHS_large-e1308062563878-2The Chancellor’s final budget was less than twenty hours old before Liberal Democrat Treasury ministers tried to disown it by presenting an alternative ‘yellow’ budget, before abusing parliamentary privilege to deliver it as a ministerial statement. However, no matter how many budgets the government presents none of them can hide from the fact that the Coalition has failed their own economic test to balance the books within a single parliament and the Tories and Lib Dems will go into the next election having borrowed £200 billion more than planned.

The Chancellor’s broken promise means that instead of delivering a budget announcing the end of austerity, he is now planning cuts to public services which are deeper than any in the last parliament. In the next three years the Tories have promised to cut public services at almost twice the level of the last three years. Continue reading

Meeting our future health challenges

Save our NHS, nurse image by Chris MillettThe NHS will be at the heart and soul of Labour’s General Election campaign. We have lost five years, as the Coalition’s top down reorganisation has left the NHS unprepared to meet the health challenges of the 21st Century.

The current NHS crisis is rooted in the Government’s decisions to make cuts to adult social care, abolish NHS Direct, they have closed almost one in four walk-in centres, and their reckless reorganisation diverted resources away from frontline services. In these circumstances patients have little option but to present at A&E when the government reduce access to and the number of primary care services. The current A&E crisis is a warning that there are failures elsewhere within the health system. Continue reading

Woolf’s enforced resignation exposes Establishment & Home Office stitch-up

WoolfIt’s not often I disagree with my colleague Tom Watson MP, but on the issue of Fiona Woolf being forced out of the chairmanship of the child sex abuse inquiry after a string of damning revelations I think he’s got it wrong. “Labour should not go after May”, he’s reported as saying.

Of course he’s right that what matters now is to find a positive replacement. It has to be someone who (i) has knowledge and experience of child abuse issues, which Woolf did not, (ii) has the forensic skills of a High Court judge, which Woolf also lacked, (iii) is manifestly without any Establishment and Home Office connections, which Woolf manifestly did have, and (iv) commands the confidence of the survivors and victims groups, which again Woolf clearly didn’t. But to ignore the Home Office’s deep and dishonourable collusion in trying to fix the chairmanship of this inquiry in order to cover up the charge of organised abuse by prominent politicians and officials, and to suggest we simply move on, would be a serious mistake.
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Labour must outflank the SNP from the Left

Johann LamontThis article was written prior to the resignation of Johann Lamont and is reposted here because it is a clear political statement by someone who many on the Left in Scotland would like to see as the next leader of Scottish Labour, and covers the same ground as Neil’s speech to the Campaign for Socialism conference at the STUC in Glasgow today.

As Scotland enters the post-referendum era with a new First Minister in waiting and a political landscape still reverberating from the decisive rejection of independence, the Scottish Labour Party now faces a number of challenges.

While the media focuses on the growth in membership of the SNP and the Greens — not without its challenges — or the creation of yet another new left party (what a novel idea that is), Labour has to respond and respond quickly to the new terrain.

For some the answer lies in the further devolution or independence for the party in Scotland or some other bureaucratic or organisational changes. Continue reading

Mother and baby home scandal: rooted in creation of 2 conservative states in Ireland

Mother and Baby vigilFrom the USA to China, from Africa and India to Australia the story of how almost 800 babies and children died in the care of a religious order and the state were buried in a mass grave in Tuam County Galway has captured the media headlines for the last week.

The mother and baby home was run by the Bon Secours Sisters in Tuam, County Galway. It was a state regulated institution, and information uncovered through the diligent efforts of local woman Catherine Corless, revealed that 796 babies and children died there over a period of five decades, from the 1920s to 1961. Continue reading