Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gone Saving - Back Soon

Press to Save
The early shots in the 2015 General Election campaign appear to have started a year early, here in Thanet, with Labour's North Thanet candidate, Frances Rehal out and about delivering letters and raising a petition to "Save the QEQM Hospital."

Like many readers, I didn't know the hospital needed urgent saving, as I thought it had previously been saved and at least twice now, by the personal intervention of Cllr Ian Driver and then Cllr Will Scobie in quick succession. In fact it was a Labour government that first started tinkering with the QEQM and if I hadn't been running this weblog for over a decade now, you might easily have forgotten.

Westgate residents may also recall that Cllr Jodie Hibbert, now Cllr Jodie Scobie, had also worked tirelessly to 'Save' the Minnis Bay Day centre during the last local council elections and had camped outside Westgate library (see photo) to save that too during the County Council elections. Both were of course promptly 'Saved' and that was possibly the last, the good people of Westgate saw of Mrs Scobie this side of 2015. However, there's still time for a further visit before the General Election and an opportunity to "Save" something useful in the town, which needs all the 'Saving' it can get.

Westgate Library 'Saved'
So, Labour's letter concludes, "We can all save the QEQM if we work together," which is nice but clearly, the elephant in the room, Manston airport, is beyond saving or even comment from Mrs Rehal, who appears quite intent on spinning-up a non-story to frighten the vulnerable in my own ward and elsewhere.

It's all over concerns to move emergency surgical services to Canterbury, which is rather different than 'saving' the QEQM as I'm sure you will agree. The hospital trust believes this to be a more efficient way of managing stretched resources but local politicians, have quite justifiable concerns over further centralisation of the more sophisticated services in hub hospitals, like the William Harvey. However, it's not a political decision and pretending otherwise and that a Labour PPC has any influence over the hospital trust's policies, is both cynical and manipulative; much like the last local elections, here in Westgate, where I discovered people were being told that a vote for a Labour councillor, would see a reversal of the Government's benefits cap policies here in Thanet.

An Eco Friendly Solution to the Cargo Flight Problem
So, let's see a little less 'Saving' the un-endangered and rather more substance on policies, jobs, the economy and those small issues of real public interest, such as the future of Manston airport, which of all things locally, needs saving, more than any other at present. This doesn't appear at all for discussion, on the agenda of Thursday's full council meeting, while elsewhere, Thanet North MP, Sir Roger Gale and Tahnet South MP, Laura Sandys are meeting with Anne Gloag today.

Once again, looking back through the ThanetLife archive, I'll remind you of an entry from the recent past: "What the German Luftwaffe failed to do in 1940, Clive Hart's minority Labour administration in Thanet, is well on its way to achieving in 2012."

Much of what happens politically on the island is predictable as you can gather looking back on earlier stories but I find that when the administration and the political leadership, has an opportunity to act in a decisive and intelligent manner, it invariably shoots itself in both feet before the day has passed. This can only lead me to ask whether its really the people of Thanet and its economy, who need urgent saving from the hollow promises of Frances Rehal and William Scobie


John Holyer said...

Trenchant and germane, in my view.

Michael Child said...

Simon am I to take it here that you support moving surgical services to Canterbury? If this is the case I would be interested to hear your reasoning.

Simon Moores said...

Michael.. as expressed here, there are reservations over moving what I understand are 'some', rather than 'all' surgical services to Canterbury. I would much rather have these and the skills that go with them, available locally but I equally recognise that the hospital trust makes the operational decisions and not the local councillors and I don't pretend otherwise.

Derek Smith said...

In a recent radio interview the head of the East Kent Hospital Trust gave one of the reasons for moving the surgical services to Canterbury as being the difficulty in recruiting suitably qualified staff willing to work and live in Thanet. It appears that even given the higher cost of living in Canterbury and its environs it is still preferable than the Isle. This, I think, should be a cause for concern for local politicians of all persuasions.

Simon Moores said...

It's the same problem all around.. particularly with finding council officers at a senior level who will come and work here.

Richard Eastcliff said...

I hear that the staff turnaround at the QEQM is shocking, with qualified medical people arriving, then leaving in weeks. It's partly to do with the area, but also partly to do with terrible management. Or so I've heard.

Don Wood said...

I have nothing but praise for the QEQM hospital the staff and service are excellent as form the A&E service I would question peoples mentality to sit for housrs with a toe ache or some other minor ailment is the great British public unable to make sensible decisions about their health and welfare. The reason for the problems in A&E are the people thinking it is a social club.

Michael Child said...

I guess the great public sector problem, which is almost a universal it that the type of people who tend to get to the top of the management structure tend to be those who are best at climbing the ladder and protecting their position. This unfortunately isn’t necessarily the people who are actually best at running councils and NHS trusts etc. In the private sector this problem is very much mitigated by large companies being dependent on both making a profit and pleasing their shareholders. Not sure whether there is anyone much in terms of elected representatives overseeing the management of NHS trusts. With the councils I guess it is the elected councillors who are supposed to do this, however our councillors seem to be most interested in what the members of the other political parties did wrong 2, 5, 10 or even 40 years ago. Today I have spoken to several Thanet councillors about different issues, one Labour councillor seemed to be most focused on the errors of the previous Conservative administration and one Conservative councillor seemed to be most focused on one Tory deserter who had lost them the balance of power near the beginning of the current administration, the fact the there were now 26L to 23C meaning that Labour would hold the balance of power by no anyway did nothing much dissipate this resentment.

John Holyer said...


According to your theory the people at the top are useless by virtue of their having risen to the top. Whereas the people below are automatically the good guys because they have not climbed to the top, except for those that subsequently rise to the top and then then become useless. We could of course just lop the heads off those at the top to expose the good beneath, but then they would now be at the top and assume the mantle of the useless ones. There is no virtue in not wishing to command, but maybe there is fear. Come the revolution we shall all be at the top, especially those that actually are.

John Holyer said...


You are shown up by your palpable ignorance of how the public sector works.

Michael Child said...

John difficult to know what to say to you when what I said is printed above what you said and either you didn’t read it or didn’t understand it. However here in Thanet we do have some leading officer competence issues and the question of why our elected members of both main parties are not addressing these issues is moving beyond begging.

Duncan Smithson said...

"Save something" is a big technique that is being used by both parties in North Thanet. Sometimes it needs saving, sometimes it can be saved but it is an emotive term that wins votes - especially if it is a public treasure. As for Michaels point re: council structure, I think most would agree that there are concerns. When councillors use history as their only argument, it makes you wonder what hope we have for the present, yet alone the future. And can we try to remember the old adage of "argue against the issue, not the person"

Simon Moores said...

Duncan .. I have to disagree with you as Saving is a well worn instrument of Labour campaigning. Conservatives normally focus on improving or regeneration

Bemused of Birchington said...

Not long ago a certain Prime Minister claimed to have saved the world, so nothing else needs saving, does it?

Duncan Smithson said...

Totally agree BUT we do seem to have some MP's who are trying to save Manston at the moment. Admittedly - not a normal Tory ploy

Bemused of Birchington said...

So what should the Tory ploy on Manston be then Duncan?

Manston should remain as an airfield, even if only as a diversionary or emergency field. It is in a strategic position defence wise which probably explains why it was bombed more than any other airfield in WWII.

Nice to see the USAF putting in an appearance yesterday. If Manston returned to military use it would be a lot noisier than any civilian airfield.

John Holyer said...


I apologise if I misunderstood you. I was mislead by your opening statement in which you said,

"I guess the great public sector problem, which is almost a universal it that the type of people who tend to get to the top of the management structure tend to be those who are best at climbing the ladder and protecting their position."

I inferred that this was nothing more than an insult bearing in mind I know for a fact, from my conversations with you, that you have an intense dislike of Civil Servants.

But then you may tell me I've got you wrong, and that you were merely advocating turning over management of the NHS to a private sector which you so much admire.

Maybe I am making too much of all this. But the fact remains I know you have an almost irrational dislike of Civil Servants which frequently influences your decisions. This lets you down.

William Epps said...

Michael, if your comment about a Tory blaming the present situation at TDC simply on a defection is aimed at me, you are taking a reply I made to you out of context. In response to your suggestion that Ramsgate is the key to power at TDC, I pointed out that in 2011, Labour took Ramsgate, but the Conservatives still polled more votes Thanet wide by a 10% margin although that only equated to a one seat majority. At that time then, the one defection was critical in the balance of power,

The present make up of the council is not a reflection of an island wide poll, but more a result of by-elections and further defections from Conservative to UKIP. The latter is not the choice of the people.

We will only know the views of that proportion of the electorate who bother to turn out when we go back to the polls in 2015.

On topic, I am inclined to agree with the thrust of this thread that 'Save' campaigns do seem to be a more Labour thing in elections. I also support Don's comments about QEQM.

Currently under the care of consultants at Kent & Canterbury, I nonetheless have most of my consultations with them at QEQM and likewise with my outpatient treatment. I only go to K & C for the more radical stuff. It works and I have no complaints.

How lucky we are to have two decent hospitals within sixteen miles whereas, in many parts of the country folks nearest hospital can be 25 miles or more away.

John Holyer said...

Don @ 4:50,

I'm with you on this.

Michael Child said...

John my take is and always has been that there are good and bad in both the private and public sector, I certainly have no blanket dislike of civil servants, I have quite a few family members and friends who work fin the public sector. We do however have some local leadership issues with the QEQM this is not medical staff from whom my family and I have always received a very high quality of service. With TDC this is becoming a serious issue at top management level and is impacting on the proper running of the council. I should make it clear here that council officers are not civil servants and I do not have a blanket dislike of council officers either.

John Holyer said...

Thank you Michael however I was already aware that council officers are not civil servants that is do not work for the Crown. I used civil servant as a generic term to describe all public servants.

As a result of our past conversions I got the impression that you had an innate dislike of the public sector in general and of of civil servants in particular. I am delighted to hear that I was wrong in this.

However you did imply that management of the NHS would fair better in the hands of the private sector. Is this still your view?

Whatever the case may be it remains that you did say, “ "I guess the great public sector problem, which is almost a universal it that the type of people who tend to get to the top of the management structure tend to be those who are best at climbing the ladder and protecting their position." In other words 'brown nosing'. If you do not mean what you say then perhaps you should say so.

John Holyer said...

That should read 'conversations' and not 'conversions'.