Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Woman in clown costume issues ridiculous ultimatum


I don't usually write tabloid style headlines for my articles, but given the extraordinary state of the mainstream media front pages this morning I feel more than justified in making an exception for today.

It's not just the usual offenders spewing right-wing jingoistic nonsense either, because the supposedly left-wing Mirror even got in on this "tough-talking Theresa socking it to the Europeans" gibberish. 

Just take a look at the state of the delusional jingoistic drivel that millions of people will see on newspaper stands all over the country, and all over Europe too.

Theresa May's long-awaited Brexit speech would have been woeful enough under ordinary circumstances, full of dishonestydelusion and blatantly self-contradictory nonsense as it was, but given the fact that it's apparently taken the Tories six months of scheming to come up with this vacuous drivel, it should have been universally lambasted. 

Instead of being pelted with rotten tomatoes Theresa May is actually being lauded by the mainstream media as if her ludicrous posturing represents some kind of triumph for the plucky-Brits, rather than a truly embarrassing moment in the history of British diplomacy and terrifying forewarning of the savagely right-wing, isolationist and grotesquely unequal hard-right dystopia Theresa May and the Tories have been plotting for us all along.

Is the long-awaited Tory negotiating strategy really just to crudely threaten our 27 former European allies into giving us the deal Theresa May and the hard-right fringe of the Tory party want?

Just consider what Theresa May's tax haven threat actually implies. Who will be the people who will suffer the most if Theresa May and Philip Hammond set about turning the UK into a bargain basement corporate tax haven economy where stuff like human rights and the vestiges of the social security system are swept away in a fit of hard-right jingoism?

Will it be the European technocrats that the right-wing press have conditioned a sizable percentage of the UK public into hating? Of course it won't.

The real victims will be the British people who will see their rights, freedoms, public services, wages and living conditions eroded away in order to re-engineer the UK economy to favour the corporations and the super-rich even more than it already does.


Theresa May isn't holding a gun to her own head demanding a cushy deal for her corporate mates from the EU. Of course she isn't. She's holding a gun to the heads of millions of ordinary British plebs. 

"Give us what we want or millions of British plebs will suffer and die" she's shrieking at the EU, and instead of reacting in horror, that after all of these months of waiting, that this ludicrous nonsense is all the Tories have got to show for their supposed negotiating strategy, the mainstream media are actually showering her in praise and making out she's putting up a heroic fight!

Why should the EU technocrats give a damn about the fate of the British public, especially after 37% of us just stuck two fingers up at them in June 2016 in order to entrust our future to the hard-right fringe of the Tory party?

Most alarmingly of all, there will be millions of delirious plebs out there punching the air with delight over all these mainstream media caricatures of a clown-suited Theresa May standing up to the nasty foreigners, that they've completely failed to even understand that the gun is pointing at their temple.

They won't even understand that if the EU don't cave in to Theresa May's ludicrous ultimatum (which they obviously won't), it's going to be them, and their families, and their communities who will end up suffering the appalling consequences of living in a savagely right-wing Tory corporate dystopia, not the EU technocrats.


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Theresa May's partial free trade fantasy


Beside the outright lie about the conduct of the EU referendum debate, the threat to turn the UK into a bargain basement corporate tax haven if she doesn't get her way and the numerous self-contradictory statements, Theresa May's Brexit speech contained something else that the mainstream media chose not to focus much attention on.

After explaining that her radical interpretation of Brexit means that she thinks she's got a mandate to drag the United Kingdom out of the Single Market, Theresa May went on to propose a new free-trade agreement between the UK and the EU. Part of this fantasy deal apparently includes negotiating tariff-free Single Market access for the financial services sector and other major corporations such as the motor industry.

Here's what she said:
"We do not seek membership of the Single Market. Instead we seek the greatest possible access to it through a new Free Trade Agreement.
That Agreement may take in elements of current Single Market arrangements in certain areas - on the export of cars and lorries for example, or the freedom to provide financial services across national borders - as it makes no sense to start again from scratch when Britain and the remaining Member States have adhered to the same rules for so many years."
Essentially what Theresa May is saying is that if the industry has the financial power to either donate vast sums to the Tory party (like the financial services sector) or to hold the UK government to ransom by threatening to up sticks and relocate their factories into the single market zone (the car industry) then Theresa May and her Brexiteers are going to try to negotiate special Single Market access for them. But if, on the other hand, your business doesn't have such financial might (small and medium sized businesses, start ups, independent traders ...) screw you! You're probably going to end up paying tariffs if your business involves importing or exporting goods, materials or services from/to EU countries. 

Even the justification for this haphazard approach is absolutely ridiculous. If Theresa May admits that it makes no sense to tear up the rules for the financial services sector or major corporations like the motor industry, how on earth does it make sense to force Britain's small and medium sized businesses to "start again from scratch"?

The idea of negotiating Single Market access just for powerful corporations with the financial might to either bribe or coerce the Tories into defending their interests, whilst leaving the rest of the economy to suffer the threat of import and export tariffs is utterly appalling. It's yet another example of the Tory party deliberately re-engineering the economy in favour of the largest corporations at the expense of other sectors of the economy.

The idea of Theresa May exempting the bankers and corporate fat cats from the economic self-harm of quitting the Single Market should be appalling to all but the most rabidly right-wing of British people, but it seems unlikely that it will actually ever actually play out that way because the EU are highly unlikely to allow the Tory party to set about picking and choosing which sectors of the British economy get to retain access to the Single Market.

The problem of course is that if the EU say no to this Tory effort to cherry-pick the benefits of Single Market access for favoured sectors of the economy, Theresa May and the Chancellor Philip Hammond have made it pretty damned clear that their alternative plan is to turn the UK into a savagely right-wing corporate tax haven, and point the finger of blame at the "nasty, horrible, evil foreigners at the EU" while they're doing it.

Some of us warned about this kind of outcome all along. As many flaws as the EU has, leaving the exit process in the hands of the fanatical right-wing of the Tory party is absolutely certain to be worse.

Unless something is done to stop Theresa May's madness, the UK is either going to end up as a deeply divided country where only those with sufficient wealth to bribe or coerce the Tory party get to benefit from Single Market access, or even worse, we end up as some kind of isolated and almost universally despised bargain basement tax haven economy intent on stealing the wealth of other countries rather than actually generating our own.


I wonder if this kind of hard-right Tory fanaticism is what most Brexiters had in mind when they decided to vote for Brexit and essentially sign a blank contract with the Tory party to just make it up as they go along?

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Theresa May just told an enormous lie about the EU referendum campaign


Not only was Theresa May's Brexit speech rammed full of inherently contradictory nonsense, she also told a glaring outright lie to the British public.

In an attempt to justify her decision to drag the UK out of the Single Market she made the extraordinary revisionist claim that Brexiters had campaigned on a platform of quitting the single market all along. Here's exactly what she said:
"Both sides in the referendum campaign made it clear that a vote to leave the EU would be a vote to leave the Single Market." [source]
Here are a few reminders of what numerous Brexiters were actually saying before the EU referendum debate in order to hoodwink people into voting Leave.
"Only a madman would actually leave the market" - Owen Paterson, Tory Vote Leave campaigner
"Absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the single market" - Daniel Hannan, Tory Vote Leave campaigner
"There's a free trade zone from Iceland to the Russian border and Britain will still be part of it after we vote leave." - Chris Grayling, Tory Brexit campaigner and current member of Theresa May's own cabinet!
"There is no question about it, Britain will still have access to the single market after we vote leave" - Matthew Elliot, chief executive of the Vote Leave campaign
"Britain will stay in the single market whatever happens" - Pete North, pro-Brexit blogger
Aside from numerous direct Brexiter claims that Britain should remain part of the single market, there were also a load of Brexiter claims that Britain should follow the Norway/Switzerland model, of existing outside the EU but having access to the Single Market. Here are some examples:
"Increasingly, the Norway option looks the best for the UK" - Arron Banks, Leave.EU founder and massive UKIP bankroller
"Wouldn’t it be terrible if we were really like Norway and Switzerland? Really? They’re rich. They’re happy. They’re self-governing" - Nigel Farage, Leave.EU campaigner and UKIP leader at the time
Norway, Switzerland, all of these countries have complete free trade with the EU, and by the way, I can't help noticing that they're doing pretty well." Daniel Hannan, Tory Vote Leave campaigner
Of course there were always Brexit extremists who consistently argued the case that Britain should commit economic self-harm by quitting the Single Market, but Theresa May's attempt to claim that all leave campaigners "made it clear that a vote to leave the EU would be a vote to leave the Single Market" is an absolutely transparent lie.

Still. If anything at all has been proven by Brexit, it's that Brexit supporters are generally more than happy to be repeatedly and egregiously lied to.


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Theresa May and the importance of preparing for every eventuality


Theresa May's long-anticipated January 17th Brexit speech was so rammed full of inherently contradictory nonsense it's difficult to know where to start.

Do we start with the bit where she claimed to be putting the Union "at the heart of everything we do" whilst simultaneously urinating all over Nicola Sturgeon's most important red line by announcing that the Tory party are going to try to drag Scotland out of the Single Market against their will? Surely such a dictatorial move is grounds for a second Scottish independence referendum?

Consider all her guff about how she wants "free trade with European markets""tariff-free trade with Europe""cross-border trade" whilst announcing her intention to drag the UK out of the largest free trade zone on earth, and quit the customs union to boot!

How about the bit where she claimed that she wants the UK to be "a magnet for international talent" whilst announcing her determination to drive countless skilled migrants away from the UK as part of an anti-immigration drive designed to appease Ukippers and the hard-right of the Tory party?

Then there's the bit about wanting to be "a good friend and neighbour to Europe" which was immediately followed up with a load of threats about the UK turning itself into a giant tax haven in order to steal wealth away from Europe if the EU don't give in to her ludicrous demands!

Probably the most ridiculously self-contradictory thing of all though was her assertion that the Tories must set about drawing up plans to turn the UK into a savagely right-wing tax haven economy because "It is right that the Government should prepare for every eventuality".

To assert such a thing in a speech that has taken the Tory party over six months to come up with because they didn't bother to even consider the possibility that David Cameron might actually lose his reckless EU referendum gamble is quite extraordinary.

The only bloody reason she's making this speech so long after the vote to Leave is that the government she was part of (Home Secretary is one of the major offices of state) not only failed to "prepare for every eventuality", but actually completely failed to prepare for one of the outcomes in a binary choice with just two possible outcomes!

And now she's got the absolute brass neck to lecture the public, and the rest of Europe, about the importance of preparing for every eventuality!

If this Tory Brexit shambles wasn't going to have such appalling consequences for millions of people, it really would be laughable.



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Monday, January 16, 2017

Has Philip Hammond given away the Tory Brexit strategy?


Philip Hammond's bizarre comments about Brexit to the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag have been interpreted by many as threats against the EU, but in my view they're actually a bit of a give-away about what the long-anticipated Tory "Brexit strategy" is eventually going to be.

For over six months after the EU referendum result came in Theresa May and the Tories have kept their Brexit strategy carefully hidden behind a wall of meaningless platitudes like "Brexit means Brexit" and "red, white and blue Brexit", but Hammond's comments give a very strong indication of what the actual Tory play is going to be.

The six months of strategic vacuum from the Tories has left people with little choice but to speculate about what kind of negotiating strategy the Tories are going to adopt. Will they press the economic self-destruct button by aiming for "hard Brexit"? Or will they enrage the significant Tory bigot demographic with a "soft Brexit" agreement to keep Freedom of Movement in return for access to the Single Market?

The problem with this hard vs soft debate is the fundamental assumption that the Tories have actually been working on a negotiating strategy with the EU, rather than devising a propaganda narrative to convince the British public to accept a savagely right-wing interpretation of Brexit.

Take this quote from Philip Hammond:
"If we have no access to the European market, if we are closed off, if Britain were to leave the European Union without an agreement on market access, then we could suffer from economic damage at least in the short-term ... “In this case, we could be forced to change our economic model and we will have to change our model to regain competitiveness."
Essentially what he is saying is that if the EU doesn't cave in to the Tories impossible demands to retain access to the Single Market whilst scrapping the right to free movement, then the Tories are going to set about trashing the remaining vestiges of the European social democratic model in the UK (universal healthcare, free education, the social security system, legal aid, workers' rights ...) in order to turn the UK into the world's biggest tax haven.

It's bitterly cynical, but the propaganda narrative the Tories seem to be trying to set is a pretty smart one. The hard-right fringe of the Tory party have always hated the socialist NHS , workers' rights and the idea of providing a social safety net to alleviate poverty and suffering. They want a ruthless right-wing dystopia where the rich are freed from all social and economic constraints whilst the poor and vulnerable are left to fend for themselves or die. They know that they can't push this savagely right-wing agenda as a choice, so they're going to try to dress it up as an unfortunate necessity that has been forced on us by the nasty foreigners.

It looks like the Tories have no honest intention of negotiating with the EU whatever. What they'll do is table an impossible proposition, then attempt to frame the debate so that the EU are the bad guys for dismissing the impossible proposition, rather than the Tories being the bad guys for tabling what they knew to be an impossible proposition with the intention of destroying the negotiations before they even got started.

The likely propaganda narrative will be that the evil EU is going to cruelly "close off" Britain, leaving the brave and defiant Tory party to take "the only possible action" of reducing corporation tax to pretty much zero and wrecking what's left of our public services.

"We don't want to do this" they'll protest as they gleefully trash the post-war legacy "but the evil EU made us do it". And disappointingly millions of people will buy into the story that the UK has to take a massive lurch into fanatical right-wing territory, not because that's what the Tories always actually wanted, but because the nasty, awful, horrible, evil EU made them do it.

The beauty of this propaganda strategy is that it feeds into the self-pitying victim complex mentality that Nigel Farage and the Ukippers have fostered as a national characteristic, and which worked such a treat in convincing people that things like the EU and immigration are to blame for the appalling consequences of four decades of hard-right Thatcherite economic dogma.


If millions of people were gullible enough to buy into the austerity con (that the burden of the economic crisis should fall on poor and ordinary people rather than the super-wealthy bankers who actually caused it with their utterly reckless deregulated gambling), then it seems pretty damned likely that there will be plenty enough idiots to buy into the ridiculous self-pitying idea that Britain has to turn into a fanatically right-wing Tory dystopia of a tax haven economy because the nasty EU made us do it.

The Tories and the right-wing press will frame the whole thing as a story of plucky down-trodden Brits doing what's necessary to stand up to the nasty European bullies, and millions of people will actually celebrate the ruination of what's left of their public services, the annihilation of their workers' rights, the removal of their individual liberties, and the massive reductions in corporation tax and regulation.

They'll actually celebrate it like some kind of magnificent victory for plucky little Britain rather than a deliberate hard-right assault on their wages, public services and standards of living obscured behind a thin veil of self-pity and xenophobia!

It looks an awful lot like the strategy the Tories have been working on isn't one of how to form a post-Brexit co-operation with the rest of the EU, but actually a plan to convince a significant enough portion of the British public that there's no alternative to their wet dream of turning the UK into a savagely right-wing tax haven in order that they don't end up losing their grip on political power in the process of enacting such an atrocious scheme.


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The blank contract con


In order to figure out if you're gullible enough to fall for the blank contract con you first need to imagine that you're dealing with a person with a very shady reputation. A used car salesman, a tabloid journalist or a politician. 

Next imagine that this shady character asks you to put your signature on a blank contract, promising you that they will fill in the terms of the contract later, offering all kinds of spectacular possibilities for the wonderful and beneficial things that they'll fill in on your behalf.

Of course almost everyone would agree that it would take a spectacularly gullible person to put their trust in such a character and stick their signature on an unwritten contract. However the evidence shows that reality is clearly a lot more challenging than this simple thought experiment about dealing with con-men.

In June 2016 17.4 million British people fell for an elaborate version of the blank contract con. During the referendum debate a load of incredibly dodgy and blatantly untrustworthy political chancers (Boris JohnsonMichael GoveNigel FarageIain Duncan SmithNeil "cash for questions" HamiltonGisela StuartJohn RedwoodArron Banksthe disgraced Liam Fox ...) promised all kinds of spectacularly unrealistic inducements to get the British electorate to sign the blank contract of Brexit.

Whatever your political perspective these con-artists had a promise for you: Signing the blank contract meant they could provide £350 million a week to the NHS, send away all the nasty foreigners, save the British steel industry, get rid of tax on domestic fuel bills, combat tax-dodging corporations, put an end to neoliberalism, make fantastical quickfire free trade agreements with the United States and other countries, stay in the single market, quit the single market, put bendy bananas back on the supermarket shelves ...). If the Brexit charlatans thought that there were naive and gullible people out there who could be convinced by it, then they said it, no matter how unrealistic, and no matter how badly it contradicted the other promises being hawked by other Brexit charlatans.

Unlike the Scottish independence referendum there was no white paper, there was no effort to spell out precisely what a leave vote would entail, there was no timetable for withdrawal. The contract was blank and these political snake oil merchants were willing to tell us literally anything to get us to sign it.

"Trust us", they pleaded. "Trust us and we'll give you exactly what you want", and shockingly, 17.4 million people actually trusted the hard right fringe of the Tory party and their UKIP Trojan Horse chums to deliver Brexit!

Within a day of the Brexit vote the con became obvious to anyone paying the remotest attention. The first thing the Brexit charlatans walked away from was the "£350 million a week" for the NHS pledge that was printed on the side of their bus. The rest soon followed.

We've now suffered well over six months of  mind-numbing "Brexit means Brexit" platitudes and secrecy over what the Tories are actually going to write into the pre-signed Brexit contract, and the omens are looking pretty bad. There's obviously no £350 million a week for the NHS, but there are plenty of increasingly fanatical hard-right fantasies that nobody even remotely sane would ever have voted for.

The Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond has threatened to turn the UK into the world's biggest tax haven and scrap the remaining vestiges of the European style social democracy. People signed the blank contract of Brexit for all manner of reasons, but only the tiny barkingly right-wing fringe signed it so that they could see a bonfire of stuff like universal healthcare, free education, the social security system and legal aid in order that Britain could be turned into a vast tax haven economy dedicated to stealing the wealth of other countries instead of producing our own.

Other Tories are salivating at the prospect of scrapping our human rights and replacing them with a set of Tory allowances. Labour rights, the right to privacy, the right to free speech and free assembly, the right to family life, freedom from slavery ... They see the blank Brexit contract as the perfect opportunity to get rid of these pesky impediments to the expansion of their own wealth and power.

The huge problem for the rest of us is that the blank Brexit contract is already signed now, with a bunch of ravingly right-wing Tories free to fill in the details to suit themselves and their dodgy financial backers.

If anyone tries to resist this dangerous Tory lunge to the hard-right then they will simply say that the contract is already signed. If anyone objects to the hard-right lunacy they Tories are going to fill in the pre-signed Brexit contract with, then the Brexit charlatans and the right-wing press will label them "traitors" and shriek about how vital it is that the "democratic mandate" is respected.

The fact that so many British people fell for the Brexit blank contract con means that the Tories now have a terrifying so-called democratic mandate to enact all of their most bonkers hard-right fantasies, and those of us who did our best to warn others that this would happen are left to contemplate the awful consequences.


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Thursday, January 12, 2017

The right-wing hypocrisy over "Fake News"


Whatever your view on the Buzzfeed decision to publish the unverified Watersports-gate Trump dossier, it's pretty difficult to argue that it was "fake news". Buzfeed didn't make up the dossier or its contents. They didn't make up the fact that the US secret services were made aware of its existence before the Presidential election, but chose to sit on it. They didn't make up the fact that both Barack Obama and Donald Trump were briefed about the dossier after the Presidential election. They simply made the decision to publish a leaked document without making sure that the allegations it contained were verifiable first.

The sight of Donald Trump scrawling an ALL CAPS Twitter rant about the leaked dossier being "FAKE NEWS" was one of the most blatant displays of hypocrisy we've yet seen from him.

This is a guy who fuelled conspiracy theories for years over Barack Obama's birth certificate! This is a guy who spread the fake news that the father of his Republican leadership rival Ted Craz was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy! This is a guy who openly lied about having seen Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the September 11th attacks (the only 9/11 celebrations that were ever actually verified were a bunch of deliriously happy Israelis). This is the guy who claimed that climate change is a conspiracy invented by the Chinese!


Donald Trump isn't the only one to have a hysterically hypocritical hissy-fit over the Watersports-gate dossier. Rupert Murdoch's UK propaganda sheet The S*n printed a bizarre editorial slamming Buzzfeed for supposedly "making a mockery of journalism" becuase of their decision to publish the documents, which is quite some allegation from a newspaper with such a history of printing extraordinary front page lies. Consider their disgusting efforts to pin the blame for the Hillsborough disaster onto the victims, their brazen misrepresentation of an opinion poll result in order to spread front page anti-Muslim hatred or their use of an undisclosed source to falsely claim that the Queen backed Brexit.


Not only does the S*n's "making a mockery of journalism" allegation contrast with their own appalling track record of making a mockery of journalism, it was printed on the very same day that the S*n published a fake news story about a supermarket attack in Ourense, Spain.

The sensationalist S*n story claimed that the person who was arrested was a Muslim who was carrying a bag of explosives and shouted "Allahu Akbar" before opening fire in the supermarket.

Both the Spanish police and the Mercadona supermarket chain confirmed that the man was not a Muslim and that he had no terrorist connections. In fact the police stated that he was a Spanish national who had "decreased mental faculties".

Whether you think Buzzfeed's decision to publish the unverified Watersports-gate dossier was justifiable or not, it's clearly nowhere near as unjustifiable and irresponsible as completely making up the details of an apparent mental breakdown in order to make it look like a terrorist attack by an Islamist extremist.

The hysterical reaction to the Buzzfeed Watersports-gate story from right-wingers is yet another demonstration of what a staggeringly hypocritical bunch of special snowflakes they are. They're willing to make up and dish out fake news whenever it suits their interests (which is incredibly often), but as soon as others resort to similar tactics (like publishing unverified content) they start shrieking and crying victim!


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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How would the press react if Jeremy Corbyn behaved anything like Theresa May?


The extreme levels of mainstream media bias against Jeremy Corbyn has been academically proven. Even if you're the kind of person who has "had enough of experts", consider these things.
Given that the mainstream media continually blamed Jeremy Corbyn for Brexit (123 media appearances), how is it possible to explain that Theresa May actually gets repeatedly praised for her lazy self-serving non-campaign during the EU referendum (just 29 media appearances despite holding one of the most important offices of state)?
If Jeremy Corbyn had openly bragged about his willingness to incinerate 100,000 innocent men, women and children in a nuclear fireball like Theresa May did in July 2016, would the mainstream press have painted him as a "strong leader", or would they have used it as evidence that he's some kind of genocidal left-wing tyrant?
If Jeremy Corbyn had actually quoted a bigoted and misogynistic Twitter troll in parliament like Theresa May did in September 2016, would the mainstream press have given him a total free-pass on it like they gave Theresa May?
If, like Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn had a proven track record of attacking the rights and liberties of the British people, undermining the justice system, introducing discriminatory laws and fantasising about scrapping our human rights and replacing them with a set of "allowances" drawn up by him and his mates, would the media continually portray him as a "safe pair of hands" or would they use such an appalling track record as evidence that he's an authoritarian tyrant?
If Jeremy Corbyn decided to sign off on a ludicrous rip-off deal to bribe communist China into building our energy infrastructure for us like Theresa May did, would the mainstream media have just let it pass, or would they have shrieked themselves into hysteria about his extreme-left tendencies?
The obvious answer to all of these questions is that the media would not have given Corbyn the same kind of ridiculously easy ride that they keep giving Theresa May.

The mainstream press prefer Theresa may because she's keen on tax cuts for corporations and the super-rich, which suits the billionaire sociopaths who own most of the newspapers that set the political agenda. They hate Corbyn because he's a genuine anti-establishment outsider who would shake up the political system by giving more power to ordinary people (meaning less for self-entitled politicians, billionaire press barons and lazy mainstream media hacks).



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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Jeremy Hunt's solution to the NHS crisis: Scrap the 4 hour A&E pledge!


More than 2 million people waited more than four hours to be seen at Accident and Emergency departments in 2015/2016 and the number of people waiting more than twelve hours has more than doubled since 2013/14 to 185,017.

After spending the weekend in hiding after the appalling deaths at the Worcestershire Royal A&E Jeremy Hunt told parliament that he wants to condemn millions of patients to indefinite A&E waits by scrapping the 4 hour A&E target for all but the most "urgent" of emergency cases.

One of the main problems with this attempt to row back on one of the most important guarantees of NHS patient care is how the term "urgent" is defined. Anyone with the remotest understanding of the health service will know that the true urgency of cases can't be determined by a quick glance by a receptionist. The whole point of having a 4 hour commitment is so the seriousness of people's injuries/illnesses can be assessed by a qualified doctor in a timely manner.


Jeremy Hunt's solution to the appalling deterioration of the NHS under his watch isn't to abandon the plan to inflict £22 billion in ideologically driven cuts to NHS services. Nor is it to demand that the social care budget is properly funded in order to reduce the problem of NHS hospitals and beds being clogged up with elderly patients with nowhere else to go. His "solution" is to scrap the patient care statistics because they are making him look bad!

Aside from scrapping the waiting time targets Hunt actually tried to blame the NHS crisis on patients turning up at A&E units unnecessarily, which displays a staggering degree of hypocrisy given that in November 2014 he openly admitted that he took his own kids to an A&E department for non-emergency reasons instead of waiting for a GP appointment. To damn other people as "selfish" and "irresponsible" for clogging up A&E departments when he himself did exactly that just a few years ago required an extraordinary amount of brass neck.

This isn't the first time that Jeremy hunt and the Tories have scrapped official targets and statistics behind a smokescreen of blame-deflecting political propaganda. In 2013 there was an alarming 23,400 spike in the official death rate, with most of the additional deaths amongst the over-80s. Instead of launching an official investigation into this significant leap in the death rate Jeremy Hunt and the Tories just decided to scrap the official death rate statistics!

Another example that springs to mind is the Tory attitude to child poverty. In 2015 the Tories decided to scrap the government target to reduce child poverty just before they introduced another round of severe cuts to the Tax Credits that help keep children in working families out of poverty. In 2016 Theresa may went one step further with her decision to scrap the entire child poverty unit!

Just imagine the disgusting self-serving mentality amongst senior Tories that allows them to think that the best way to deal with missed targets and damning data is simply to scrap the targets and abandon the collection of official statistics.

There's no other profession in the UK where such cynical and self-serving attitudes to problematic data would be tolerated. Anyone who has worked in a real job knows that either measures are taken to actually rectify the situation, or resignations/sackings are on the cards. You can't just get away by deleting the problematic data and hoping the problem goes away.

Yet somehow the Tories get away with simply scrapping the targets they're failing to meet and abandoning the collection of data that exposes their failings than turning the rhetoric of blame onto anyone but themselves.


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