Sunday, February 28, 2010

Failing Schools – Filthy Hospitals – Fewer Jobs

I thought I would start today's blog with a hard-hitting headline but for many people, it reflects the landscape of the country they now live in after a decade of Labour government.

There was a rumour flying around Westminster at the end of last week that Gordon Brown might go for a snap General Election, tomorrow, Monday, given his sudden increase in popularity in the polls. I'm up at Portcullis House for the AGM of the Conservative Technology Forum, so it will be interesting to see what the result of Labour's weekend in Wales and the Conservative's Spring Forum in Brighton. Will Gordon go to the country or will he wait a little longer?

I'm watching the BBC Politics Show as I type this and it's increasingly evident that whenever the real campaigning starts, the tone is going to be very personal and very nasty indeed; something which I believe will put voters off the political process even further.

I still have a sense that Members of Parliament of all parties still don't fully grasp the damage done to public confidence by the expenses scandal. Presently, I sense that people see themselves caught between 'The Devil and the deep blue sea', worrying over the on-going consequences of the recession on their own lives and jobs and from looking at the polls, increasingly nervous of change, even if the Devil incarnate was running the country. Meanwhile, there is a universal sense that the public are fed-up with government failure, as in my headline, 'Failing schools, filthy hospitals and fewer jobs.' This list is longer than that of course, with an economy in shambles, greater deprivation, broken Britain, a demonstrably failing criminal justice system, a taxation system which is patently unfair and incompetent and everywhere, constant evidence of unaccountable and faceless agencies and quangos that are unfit for purpose or downright inefficient.

The choice facing people in the forthcoming General Election, requires a leap of faith and arguably and act of courage too. Do you vote for change and a new perspective, with its concomitant risk to the public sector and the economy or stay with Gordon and Alasdair and let the likes of Harriet Harman practice unrestricted warfare on the middle classes; apparently now the focus of Trevor Philips efforts at the equalities commission.

My opinion and of course I'm biased, is that a further five years of Labour 'reform' would prove an even greater disaster for our country at one of the weakest moments in its post-war history. The party is increasingly socially divisive and there's a danger of the 'Marxist' element within Gordon Brown's small but happy band of supporters, running amok with another term of office to experiment with.

What worries me most, is the constant denial from within New Labour, that anything may be wrong in our society, in the familiar style of George Orwell's 'Animal Farm.' What I do know is that the political debate has to move away from the primitive 'Class Struggle' ideology which threatens to divide our country even further. Instead government should support the efforts of those hard-working individuals and families who still respect personal standards of behavior, the law and values and social responsibility that our parents would have recognized as being implicit within a modern and civilised society.


Anonymous said...

Strong feelings against the unlawful invasion of Iraq and the futile campaign in Afghanistan attach to Tony Blair.

Gordon Brown's analysis, that the tories would lose ground by failure to engage in detail, is proving correct.

Cameron, upstaged at will by Boris, does not appeal to the instincts of the people who seek a strong leader.

In fact the idea of a leader who would clip useless public servants around the ear is more appealing than a chap who fumbles nervously when Boris blatantly alpha males him off centre stage.

The vote is not likely to go to the most frank politicians this time either.

Public sector cuts. Benefits cuts. Quango cuts. Education cuts to parasitic courses like sociology and drama studies. Tax credit cuts. Public sector pension drastic cuts.

With one third of the employed people funded one way or another by public funds and nine out of ten working families on tax credit ?

The turkeys may not vote for a tory Christmas. Avoiding a quick kill and being served plump on the plate they will opt to starve slowly and inexorably.

Did you see the programme about Wisbech and finding English unemployed jobs ? That sums the country up. In a day on piecework a Pole could earn £127. The English guy in 6 hours made £12 the farmer had to make up to national minimum wage.

Most of the English unemployed phoned in sick and did not make it to even their first shift.

To be honest would Cameron really want to win at this time ? Maybe let things get worse for a tad longer ?

Anonymous said...

Well the TDC conservatives did very well in purchasing the old marks and sparks building in Margate, or do we blame that on the Chief exec Richard

Anonymous said...

As a resident of Broadstairs who has never had a response to any enquiries from their Cons. ward councillors, with a Cons. local council responsible for most of Thanets fiascos and a Cons. county council who are quite happy to back the Turner Centre and allocate school places from East to West. Why would I want to vote conservative?

DrM. said...

I'm not quite sure where the M&S building comes into the discussion?

At the time, there was a good reason, which would have been supported by officers advice but then the economy collapsed, as did property prices and TDC were arguably left holding the baby or should I say building?

Michael Child said...

Funny thing Simon is that the whole thing is completely out of the hands of people like yourself that intend to vote for one party whatever happens and in the hands of the few floating voters in marginal constituencies like myself.

Well I hope we make the right decision come the day.

The question that I would like to ask you though is are you concerned about voting for a party that seems to be against electoral reform, and would you like to be moving towards a situation where your vote actually counted?

It’s just one of the things that I will be considering when I make my totally disproportionate choice and partly I have in my mind that this would be a good time to reform much of the way we are governed.

I do wonder when, as likely to be the case, government have to go to the civil servants and say we can no longer afford your pay and your pensions, what will happen?

Your previous post seems to be saying that central Margate is heading towards being a no go area after dark.

Where to lay the blame for situations like this is open to debate, but historically about every 100 years and usually when aspects of ordinary life become intolerable the British people explode, I am wondering if one of those explosions I just about due and in tern, if in the longer term the party that wins this election may not in fact ultimately be the losers.

DrM. said...

I'm afraid you can blame several small wars and an economy in ruins on the Conservatives 3:12 and there's a big difference between national and local politics in determining your future and that of everyone else.

A council does a great many things right and without doubt a number of things wrong but that's what you get for local democracy on both sides of the political divide and we 'part-time' politicians try our best to do the right thing by everyone.

If your councillor is not answering your enquiries, let me know privately and as a Cabinet Member I will politely draw the matter to his or her attention.

DrM. said...


I'm in favour of both Parliamentary and electoral reform but before we start re-arranging the deckchairs on this Titanic of ours, I'm ore concerned with saving the ship and the passengers aboard it from a cold fate at the bottom of Europe's drowning economies!

I worry about the collective future, ours in Thanet and the nation as a whole like everyone else and the problems that confront us resemble a five dimensional Rubik's Cube!

Anonymous said...

I think it likely that Roger Gale will unfortunatly ffel the wrath of the anti Tory Council feeling in Thanet and get kicked out.

This may back the national trend but it likely to be followed by the Tory Council being well and truely ousted in 2011.

I think the vast majority of Thanet people are sickened by the dreadful actions of the few, and will inflict a Labour Council upon us in revenge!

Anonymous said...

anon again!
History reminder.
Were there not over 5,000,000 unemployed during the past Conservative regime's?
Exquisite NHS Managers who have ruined the co-ordination of running a Hospital hygenically and safely?
Were there not countless strikes and huge Company collapses (ie BL & steel industries).
Tory run Thanet has been able to show me nothing except a strangely ugly Art gallery and a 'dead' High Street.
Should I vote for these things to continue?
I think not.

DrM. said...

I don't think you can blame the recession in Margate High Street purely on the council. A council exists to provide services but the overall health of the economy that powers our High Streets (No more boom and bust) is he responsibility of government.

What you vote for locally and what you vote for nationally are two very different things.

Michael Child said...

Simon I suppose what would be realistic here is to point out what I do blame the council for on my own patch, I don’t understand the rest of Thanet that well, so I won’t endeavour to apportion blame for other places like Margate High Street.

What I am talking about here is council owned buildings and land in Ramsgate, The Maritime Museum (my understanding is that that he council won’t give the museum operators security of tenure so they can get on with running the museum), Westcliffe Hall, The Royal Victoria Pavilion, Albion House and the Pleasurama site.

Now all of these are major and iconic buildings apart from the Pleasurama site, all are council owned and all are in various states of decay.

One would be bad enough two could be seen as a coincidence, five is taking credulity beyond the bounds of reason.

DrM. said...

While I can't comment directly on the specific examples you mention, I do find, from my own experience, that there is normally a valid reason behind council officers' decisions although they should be rightly open to challenge and scrutiny.

Invariably, what seems like a good idea or simple solution to the general public,may not be a practical option for local government for one reason or another.

Michael Child said...

Simon I think my point here is that we want strong local leadership that won’t be fobbed off with officers excuses but that will force through the wishes of local people who they represent.

Take the maritime museum as an example, the way I see it the officers have got it into their heads that if they get an outside company to run the harbour, then that company may wish to have the clock house for their offices.

So no officer wants to make the decision to give them security of tenure in case it backfires on them or their careers, so what do they do?

Keep the plates spinning until they have moved off to another highly paid job in local government elsewhere, they do it by forming endless committees, usually made up of pretty much the same councillors as the previous committee and then recommend passing the decision on to the next committee, i.e. the same people but in a few months time.

Now on the one hand you are saying vote Conservative and we will stop this sort of nonsense, while on the other you are not delivering the strong leadership that we need locally.

The problem about the forthcoming election is that it is ceasing to be about who wins it and becoming much more about who loses it.