No Retraction From Burnham of NHS Twitter Smear

https://twitter.com/andyburnhammp/status/223685632659165184

Despite the New Statesman’s story about NHS privatisation turning out to be a steaming pile of wishful thinking, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham is continuing to peddle the smear.

Probably time to retract that one, eh Andy?

Guido is Thrashing Rentoul and Rawnsley

Year-on-year newspaper sales for the Sundays have been released this afternoon and Guido is pleased to report good news for the Daily Star Sunday. Guido’s Sunday rivals have all taken a battering over the last 12 months: Sunday Times 870,000 (-8.3%),  Sunday Telegraph 439,000 (-3.8%), Observer 244,000 (-10%),  Independent on Sunday 67,000 (-5%),  Sun on Sunday 2.19 m (n/a), Mail on Sunday 1.82 m (-5.4%), Sunday Mirror 1.09 m (+0.1%),  Sunday Express 513,000 (-4.9%), Sunday People: 450,000 (-5.2%). Ouch.

Meanwhile the Daily Star Sunday has recorded a huge 54.7% increase in readers year-on-year, selling 473,000 papers on an average Sunday in the last month. That achievement is an absolute success despite the launch of the Sun on Sunday. The replacement for the News of the World hit the circulation of the Mail on SundaySunday Mirror,  Sunday Express and Sunday People hard, only the Star held on to substantial gains.

Guido’s Sunday column readership is almost twice that of  Rentoul and Rawnsley combined…

Tax Funded Union Research Backs Tax Funding of Unions

On the day that the consultation into union-leeches is launched, Unison have put out a report about facilities time. In a complete shock the union-funded research has found that unions taking money off  the taxpayer can only be a good thing. Needless to say it’s full of holes, but nice of them to show their hand…

Dave Prentis’ cronies are arguing that union bods in the workplace save money. This is fundamentally dishonest as it only takes into account one side of the picture. For every full-time pilgrim teacher, nurse or back-room pen-pusher that takes time off, the taxpayer has to pick up the tab twice by paying someone else to cover for them. For full-time pilgrims, the state ends up paying double the staffing costs.

This is not factored in to Unison’s hearsay case-study puff piece.

The consultation does not seek to end union officials being given time off, but the real question that needs to be addressed is why they should be paid out of public money when they are not on the job? Union members pay membership fees, the cost of pilgrims should be met from that.

It’s very simple.

UPDATE: It seems it is pilgrim day today. Cabinet Office sources are making all sorts of new information available this afternoon:

  • In one Whitehall department a staggering 2,660 Civil Servants were doing trade union work during their paid hours, including 563 trade union representatives working on Health & Safety, and another 387 on Skills and Learning.
  • A prison service official who worked 100% on trade union work was “promoted twice whilst in their trade union role, up to Grade 7 level” which can confer a salary of up to £61,038.
  • In contrast another 100% trade union representative in a different department earned less than £20,000.
  • In one department TU officials make up 4% of the overall workforce or 1 in 25 people.
  • One department admitted that “no formal allocations [had been] made or central records kept” of the amount of time spent by representatives on some union activity, while another confessed that “no central monitoring takes place”.
  • Only one department reported that they asked each representative “to apply to, and get the sign off from, the line manager in advance for the time they require” to take off – insisting that “reasonable notice (usually min 10 days)” must be given.
  • Several departments reported that they held “no central record” of the numbers of representatives working on Health & Safety or Skills & Learning.

Overall there are a staggering 10,000 civil servants doing trade union work during paid hours, that’s 1 in 40 of the total civil service workforce. Unbelievable… 

UPDATE II:

Friday Caption Contest (Egg and Soldiers Edition)

Shambles at Staggers Towers

The New Statesman has been left with egg on its face this morning.

Read all about it over on MediaGuido

Staggers Shambles as NHS Remains State Run

The New Statesman site descended into a shambles this morning after they ran a story on an apparent hushed-up plan to privatise the NHS that turned out to be complete and utter rubbish. It sounded too good to be true…

George Eaton reported that Andrew Lansley was sneakily set to announce that the 49% cap on private work done by NHS trusts would be abolished:

“When the government unveils a policy change on a Friday it’s a sure sign that it doesn’t want you to notice. Today, Andrew Lansley will announce that the 49% cap on private work done by NHS hospitals, which his bill introduced, will be abolished. In other words, the Health Secretary has just opened the door to the full-scale privatisation of the NHS, with hospitals able to raise 100% of their income from private healthcare.”

The left exploded in uproar, even Labour MPs got involved:

https://twitter.com/marycreagh_mp/status/223707457296408576

Unfortunately for the Staggers, the whole story turned out to be entirely untrue. They updated their post with a statement from the Department of Health, leaving Eaton and co with egg on their faces: “The Department of Health has been in touch to say that the cap is not being removed, rather that the planned 49% limit will be introduced from 1 October 2012″. Guido is disappointed that it was just rumour of an NHS privatisation, but a little Staggers schadenfreude provides some consolation…

UPDATE: The New Statesman are now trying to blame the cock-up on some sloppy churnalism from the FT, but the LibDems are in no doubt as to where the blame lies:

Eddie Mair’s Newsnight Heebie-Jeebies

Lots of confusion last night as Newsnight viewers tuned in to find Eddie Mair from Radio 4 in Paxo’s chair. And he did rather well, if he was a little gloomy:

With a fresh face around, many are wondering if Paxo is too old. Often his heart doesn’t seem to be in the questioning, and new evidence has emerged to suggest he’s getting on a bit:

News of Paxman’s demise has been greatly exaggerated though- he’s on holiday apparently.

Read: Pilgrim Consultation Document

“We are seeking to review and rebalance the amount of paid time off provided to undertake trade union duties, and to review the level, frequency and cost of providing paid time off for trade union activities. This consultation covers all types of trade union representatives but does not seek to change the statutory basis for these duties and activities. We also wish to review the use of  facilities by trade union representatives e.g. telephones, photocopying and use of office  accommodation, to ensure it is appropriate and represents value for money for the taxpayer.”

Rebalance? Repayment of the £36m unions siphoned from Whitehall budgets this year would be more appropriate. Either way it looks like the full time Pilgrims are doomed…

James Curran at Leveson:

To be brutally frank the Independent and the Guardian have tiny circulations“.[…]

+ READ MORE +

+ + + Cabinet Office Pilgrim Consultation Launches Now + + +

Mad Frankie Maude’s long-awaited consultation into the absurd degree in which the taxpayer funds union agitators in Whitehall is set to go live any minute. Developing…

UPDATE: For background on Guido’s 18-month campaign to get to this stage, see  a […]

+ READ MORE +

MPs’ Banking Inquiry Intrigue

ITV’s Lucy Manning has the surprisingly tame line-up for the Tyrie Banking Inquiry:

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Simon Jenkins is uneasy about Quantitative Easing…

“The Bank of England quarterly bulletin is full of QE theology. Its report on a recent conference on the subject is pure angels on pinheads.”[…]

+ READ MORE +



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