Friday, January 9, 2015

Hinchingbrooke Hospital Was Privatised By Burnham

What of Labour’s response to this morning’s news that Circle in Hinchingbrooke, the first privatised NHS hospital, wants to exit their contract. Despite Andy Burnham’s repeated attempts to distance himself from the hospital, he made the decision to put the contract out to tender to private companies when he became Health Secretary in 2009. Circle themselves sayit was clear by the end of 2009 that Hinchingbrooke would be run by a private company”. Hinchingbrooke hospital was privatised by Labour…

That said, Circle’s record at delivering value for taxpayer money has not been bad:

“Since Circle took on Hinchingbrooke in early 2012, the hospital has been transformed. Hinchingbrooke faced closure. It was described as a ‘basket case’.  We invested in the quality of care, in staff and in facilities. Now, it has won a number of awards. It consistently hits the most important outcome measures, including low mortality rates, excellent patient feedback, and meeting all major waiting time targets. In the first two years of the franchise, Circle made financial savings significantly above the NHS average. We have saved the taxpayer approximately £23 million.”

Circle were losing money, that is unsustainable for an enterprise mutual or otherwise. Companies will always fail in free markets, the difference is they foot the bill rather than the taxpayer…

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

RED ON RED: Audio of Murphy v Abbott Mansion Tax Bunfight

Jim Murphy’s mansion tax raid on London to fund nurses in Scotland has descended into an almighty slanging match with Diane Abbott. The Hackney MP couldn’t even remember the Scottish Labour leader’s name on Wato today:

“I am very surprised John Murphy is making these boasts… Jim Murphy can’t surely mean he is going to expropriate money from London to Scotland… he is jumping the gun in an unscrupulous way.”

Murphy hit back:

“It’s hard to take this argument seriously when she can’t even remember my name… I am leader of the Scottish Labour party, not Diane. I don’t have to consult Diane Abbott… I don’t have to clear things with Ed Miliband.”

Shots fired!

Hain: “Labour Needs to Learn to Love Spending Again”

hain

Peter Hain’s article in today’s Guardian reads like loony left bingo. Apparently focusing on the deficit is a “suffocating neoliberal orthodoxy” created by “the Mail, Telegraph and Murdoch stables”, and of course the Tories will take “public spending back to levels not seen since the 1930s when there was no NHS or decent state school system”. Hain insists “the deficit debate is a trap” and argues “Labour needs to learn to love spending again”:

“Labour will prioritise reviving Britain’s failing recovery by scrapping austerity… We urgently need (as some economists argue) £30bn a year for two years of extra capital investment in infrastructure, housebuilding, education, skills and low-carbon industries. This would rapidly expand the economy and cut the budget deficit by boosting tax revenues as people earn and spend more, working hours rise, and fewer families need to look to the state for support. 

Yes, the shock headlines would announce: “Higher Labour borrowing early in the next parliament”. But higher public spending and borrowing on capital investment today means lower borrowing tomorrow with the economy growing and tax revenues rising.”

Best of all, Hain accuses Blairites and Tories of subscribing to “Alice in Wonderland economics”. Says the spending-addicted debt junkie…

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review of 2014: Gordon Brown’s £10,000-a-Week Expenses

The most shared story on the blog this year was Guido’s investigation into the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown. Since leaving Downing Street, Gordon has raised over £3 million to support charitable projects yet has given less than a £1 million to charity. Nearly three-quarters of the money raised has gone on his office and globe-trotting travel expenses that run at over £10,000-a-week. Despite Gordon claiming he does not profit from the arrangement and that all the income goes either directly to charities or to support other charitable public service projects.

The former Prime Mentalist then got very upset when Guido went on the BBC’s Daily Politics to share the story with a wider audience, demanding that the interview be removed from iPlayer. Guido readers can still watch it here:

All that jet-setting meant the people of Kirkcaldy weren’t seeing much of Gordon, so it will hardly have come as a surprise to them when on another foreign junket McMental admitted he saw himself as an “ex-politician”, despite still taking his £67,000-a-year MP salary.

And so, in December, Gordon finally announced he is making his lack of parliamentary attendance official by quitting at the election. With the old media doing their favourite greatest hits, Guido couldn’t resist his own tribute.

So long then Gordon. We shall miss you.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Diane Abbott Pockets £110,000 of Licence Fee Payer Cash

Not only does the taxpayer fork out £67,000 a year to keep Diane Abbott in the style to which she has become accustomed, her salary is also subsidised by the licence fee payer to the tune of £110,000. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun on Sunday, Diane has raked in a six figure sum from Auntie Beeb for her appearance fees since April 2007. Despite the BBC Trust admitting two years ago that Abbott was overpaid. You can see the full breakdown of her BBC cash via the BanTheBBC blog hereThat means Diane has trousered nearly £600,000 from the British public in the last seven years…

Friday, December 19, 2014

Twitter Bitch Fight of the Week: Oborne v Maguire

Today’s Mirror splashes on “heartless” George Osborne giving his SpAd Rupert Harrison, apparently “one of the chief architects” of the “cruel austerity drive”, a 19% pay rise.

The story very much upset Man of the People Mirror Associate Editor Kevin Maguire, who Peter Oborne has the temerity to speculate is on rather more than Rupert:

Kerching!

General Election Campaign Officially Starts Today

vote

Today is the day election spending rules kick in and the campaign for 2015 officially begins. Here are the key dates for your diary:

  • December 19: Long campaign begins. Candidate spending limited to £30,700, plus 9p per voter in county (rural) constituencies, and 6p per voter in borough (urban) constituencies.
  • January 5: House returns from Christmas recess.
  • February 12-23: February recess.
  • March 18: George Osborne delivers the final budget of the parliament. He only has a few working days to get it through before…
  • March 30: Parliament dissolves. Short campaign begins. Spending restrictions tightened to £8,700, plus 9p per voter in county constituencies and 6p per voter in borough constituencies.
  • May 7: Election day.

138 days to go…

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Reckless Crowdfunds Defence Against Tory Legal Action

“It is almost Christmas: a time for caring, reflection, and forgiveness,” Mark Reckless tells UKIP supporters in a mass email this afternoon, before asking for festive donations to fund his defence against the Tories’ “sour grapes” legal action against him:

“The fact that the Tories are bickering over £3,000 when we all know they may have a £78m election war chest put together by their secretive clubs, and dodgy donors shows that this is just another cynical attack on democracy, on UKIP, and on the British people. It’s time for us to stand up and fight back, don’t you think?”

Judging by UKIP’s recent online fundraising success, E-kippers will cover his costs in no time…

UPDATE: A local Tory association source points out: “Given Mark is a trained barrister and this is a small claims case, we rather assumed that, like us, he would be representing himself. We’re surprised he’s lawyering up.”

What the Helic? SpAd Bill Soars to £8.4 Million
+ + + No. 10 Stuffed with 27 Special Advisers to the PM + + +

£8.4 million of taxpayer cash was spent on 103 SpAds in the last year, a 17% rise on the year before.

Chasing headlines in 2010, Cameron made a big deal of cutting the number of SpAds from 82 to 61. He now personally has 27. Twenty-f**king-seven spin doctors, bag carriers and wonky strategists. No. 10 now has almost half the number of SpAds as served the entire government just five years ago.

Nick Clegg now has twenty special advisers. Nearly double the amount that Jesus got by with.

Why does Esther McVey need a Special Adviser beyond a reshuffle consolation prize, and why is she paid more than dozens of others on the list who report to real cabinet ministers?

Why does the Chief Whip have three advisers at a cost of around £150,000? What are they doing – because there’s no real legislation going through the House?

And finally, Guido cannot fathom why, in his new role as Leader of the House, William Hague still needs three SpAds costing us almost £200,000. Bizarrely Arminka Helic is retained as his adviser on £70,000-a-year, despite recently being ennobled and therefore allowed to claim a £300-a-day allowance in the House of Lords.

What a bloody racket.

UPDATE: Hard to disagree with Angela Eagle:

“Another day, another broken promise from David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

“David Cameron promised to get the cost of politics down but under him the number of Special Advisers spirals ever upwards – the public are now picking up bill of over £8m to pay for his appointees.

“This also shows how you can’t trust a word Nick Clegg says. The Lib Dems used to say that Special Advisers shouldn’t be paid for by the public but as soon as he got his feet under the Cabinet table he broke his word. The cost to the public of Lib Dem Special Advisers is over £1.7million – Nick Clegg alone has more advisers working for him than he has female MPs.”

UPDATE II:

Monday, December 15, 2014

Going, Going… Wrong


Seen Elsewhere

Milburn Health Consultancy Worth £2 Million | Scrapbook
Stuart Broad Right, Peston Broadly Wrong | Ryan Bourne
The 38 Seats in England Yet to Select a Tory Candidate | ConHome
Labour and Green Ecofascism | Matthew Walsh
Burnham Shows Why Labour Can’t Be Trusted | Speccie
Why Online Voting is a Crap Idea | Ballot Box
Time We Showed Super Rich Some Love | Alice Thomson
We Need True Popular Capitalism | Maurice Saatchi
Labour’s Winning Hand | Sebastian Shakespeare
We Defend Labour’s Record | John Hutton and Alan Milburn
100 Tories to Rebel on Plain Packs | Telegraph


Rising Stars
Find out more about PLMR AD-MS


Alan Milburn says Labour’s scaremongering campaign for an unreformed NHS will not win election…

“It would be a fatal mistake, in my view, for Labour to go into this election looking as though it is the party that would better resource the National Health Service but not necessarily put its foot to the floor when it comes to reforming. Look, reforms are not easy, but the Labour Party is not a conservative party. It should be about moving things forward not preserving them in aspic. You have got a pale imitation actually of the 1992 general election campaign, and maybe it will have the same outcome. I don’t know.”


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