Saturday, September 29, 2007

Vital Therapy Centre For Soldiers - Appeal

This is a disgrace.

The head of the army Sir Richard Dannatt is having to appeal for funds for Headley Court rehabilitation centre near Ashtead, Surrey.

What do they need this money for.
Just simple facilities that should be available to our returning wounded soldiers.

The Help for Heroes appeal is to build a full-size rehabilitation pool and re-equip the antiquated gym at the centre, where currently 180 servicemen and women are being treated as in-patients.

At present, severely disabled service personnel, many of them amputees, endure a two-and a half-hour round trip to a public pool for vital cardiovascular exercise.

Once there, they must swim alongside the paying public in what is often a very private form of therapy.

The public should not have to be asked to fund this sort of centre, it should be adequately funded by the government as part of their Covenant to our Armed Services. It is their duty to support the armed forces particularly when they have been injured during the course of their service.

Only last week I blogged on another appeal by Sir Richard for the people of this country and in particular the government to get behind our soldiers.

It is time this government accepted it responsibility and Honoured the Covenant.

To make a donation, visit You can also email info@helpforheroes., or call 0845 673 1760.

Army chief launches £5m appeal to fund vital therapy centre for injured troops | the Daily Mail

The Tory of Kirkcaldy

Tim Luckhurst professor of journalism and former editor of the Scotsman points out that if Gordon Brown had been born in Kent rather than Kirkcaldy he would must likely have been a Tory.

In the article he points out that

Gordon's family were very much part of Kirkcaldy's aristocracy something his father's job would have guaranteed if Mrs Brown had not been the privately educated beneficiary of modest legacies. The family had a lot more than their neighbours.
He also had access to the network of connections that link the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Labour party. There are parts of Scotland where the established church's influence on the establishment party is more important than the C of E's cameo as the Tory party at prayer. The difference is that Scotland's establishment party is Labour and it privileges its own to undeniable effect. The reputation for nepotism that damaged it in last May's contest with the SNP is no invention.
Tim also explains why the Gordon may appeal so much the the Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre
Brown was about as fortunate as a politically ambitious young Scot could be. Forget Eton and Oxford. He had the right family, the right school, the right university and, of course, the left opinions. It is easy to understand why he appeals so powerfully to that brilliant interpreter of English middle-class prejudices, Paul Dacre. The Daily Mail chief perceives in the prime minister commitment to the values his newspaper cherishes most dearly - the values of an establishment rooted in middle-class conservatism.

This might explain why a Labour Prime Minister is stealing all the Tories policies rather than making some up for themselves.

Tim Luckhurst: The Tory of Kirkcaldy | Special Reports | Guardian Unlimited Politics

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

This song has haunted me for over 25 years since I first heard it song by the writer Eric Bogle a Scot living in Australia.
Listen in some peace and quiet and reflect

YouTube - Eric Bogle - The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Lancet condemns Brown's deep-clean proposals.

I see the Lancet has dissed Labour's deep clean proposals and a new "dress" code as yet more examples of their pandering to populism rather than listening to evidence.

Gordon Brown announced new plans to "deep clean" hospitals in his speech to the conference on Monday. Last week, the health secretary, Alan Johnson, said a new dress code would advise doctors against wearing long-sleeved coats and ties.

The Lancet, in a highly critical editorial,says that government-sponsored research had found little evidence to support wearing short sleeves.

"Disinfection of high-touch surfaces is what is needed, more so than removing visible dirt,"
it said.

"The public wants clean wards and crisp uniforms, but politicians must stop pandering to populism about hospital cleanliness and listen to the evidence.

"Brown also plans to double the number of hospital matrons, to check on ward cleaning and accost doctors wearing long sleeves. They would be better employed making sure doctors, nurses and visitors wash their hands properly, the proven way to stop hospital-acquired infections."

Another piece of Brown's Conference speech has been exposed as spin rather than fact.

Gordon Brown a "Conviction" Politician!

Lancet condemns hospital deep-clean proposals | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

Alex Salmond to Unseat Gordon Brown?

Brown shows what he would like to do with Alex Salmond's testicles

I see Mr Dale is suggesting that there are serious discussions ongoing within the SNP about putting Alex Salmond against the Clunker in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath if a general election is called soon.

Whilst I can see Iain's point about it being not a good idea for Alex as it would demean his role as Scotland's First Minister I think it would definitely be fun to watch this one play out.

With the best will in the world it is unlikely that Alex could overturn Gordon's majority of over 18,000 but if he did it would present Labour with a bigger problem than when they voted in Michael Foot.

Nothing is certain in Politics and there is in my opinion a strong swing in Scotland against the Labour Party and Gordon Brown in particular.

Iain Dale's Diary: Alex Salmond to Unseat Gordon Brown?


Just finished watching the second part of this series on The Royal Marines training. Well worth viewing.

ITV describes it as follows

In Commando: On the front line, director Chris Terrill provides an insight into the making of a Royal Marine Commando and, for the first time, follows the recruits onto the front line in Afghanistan
I was lucky enough to visit the RM training base at Lympstone last year along with my kids whilst they were filming some of this series.

You can also catch up with the series here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Labour MPs in Scotland want to keep their Jobs

Despite all the predictions about a general election in October or maybe November or maybe not, it seems that Labour MP's in Scotland do not want to have their trotters removed from the Westminster trough.

They have been polled and are against an election this year by margin of 2-to-1 despite the polls that show Labour doing well after Clunkers speech in Bournemouth.

Their worries, as told to the BBC, appear to be to be with the weather rather than any thought they might lose their seats, of course the fact they just got beaten in Scotland by the SNP has nothing to do with it.

Apparently Jim Devine was one of those against the election saying

"I remember the last October election in 1974. It is cold, it is dark, we are liable to have a foot of snow from Aberdeen to Aberystwyth. This is not the time for an election. What's the rush? We only had an election two years ago. I think he should wait at least until next May."
My arse, in Scotland at least, I am in no doubt Labour would get the kicking they deserve losing seats to all parties.

This may well be one of the major reasons that Gordon is having to think hard about the possible election.

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Scots MPs 'against snap election'

Austin Mitchell's WeBLOG :: Conference: Beta-Gamma

Austin Mitchell's WeBLOG, as he calls it, is normally good fun and tends to poke New Labour in the eye, this morning's entry is especially fun as it pokes fun at the Conference. Despite this Austin thinks the speech by Gordon was very good. A quick extract from today give a flavour of what you can expect.

The unions supinely gave up their power. They didn’t trouble the leader with votes. Conference was castrated. No bookshop. No ideas. Everything passed to the Policy Forum. Which is useless. Ruthless management of the old Stalinist style without the Blair charm.
Irrelevant The election was an elephant in the room. No minister talked about it. Everyone wanted it. Whatever Gordon decrees they’ll agree with . He’s deeply cautious. But with a strong streak of political cunning. So the song should be “Things can only get worse”. “I let my golden chances pass me by” will be the grumbling refrain if he fluffs this.
Another extract for your amusement.
When is a Constitution not a constitution? When it`s a European Constitution. Then it`s Speak no Constitution. See no Constitution. Hear no Constitution. Even though it`s more like a Constitution than, say, elephant droppings.

David Millipede says it`s elephant droppings. No need to vote on them. Just sniff.

Balls. Elephant Balls. Other governments are saying this is the essence of the Giscard Constitution. The Commission has got all it wanted. Read the proposals and see that the “Reform Treaty” is 90% of the Monster Treaty. They`re trying to fool us. Again. We promised a referendum. Let`s have it. Otherwise we`re locked in the Euro-Jail.
Of course I should like him as he represents Great Grimsby where I was born many years ago, fortunately I escaped very shortly afterwards to a better and greater place.

Austin Mitchell's WeBLOG :: Conference: Beta-Gamma

Middle class 'should choose worst schools' - Telegraph

According to Jim Knight, Minister of State (Schools and Learners) , Middle Class parents should send their kids to the worst school in the neighbourhood as the children's "privileged" and "supportive" background mean that they could succeed whatever school they go to.

What utter crap. So decent parents who bother to get off their backsides and work to provide for their families should then do the opposite of what common sense tells them and enroll their children in a school that will not give them the start they require in life.

It's like saying let's go to the market and pick the rotten food and allow someone else to get the nice food just in case they can't afford the crap.

According to Mr Knight

"I believe children from backgrounds like mine, within reason, stand a reasonable chance in whatever school."
So that's OK then they have a "reasonable" chance. I'm sorry, but for my kids, I want better than a reasonable chance. Schooling should not be a lottery.

Of course I'm sure that the rest of his mates in the Labour Government will fall into line with his thinking. Tony (where are you now) Blair obviously having picked a mediocrce school rather than sending his children to the local comprehensive.

Middle class 'should choose worst schools' - Telegraph

Gordon Brown and his ‘rehash’ speech - Times Online

Why anyone should be surprised that Brown has rehashed something as simple as a speech is beyond me. He had consistently rehashed announcements of Funding Increases as new money when it has already been announced previously.

Chris Grayling commenting on the story said:

“We all know Gordon Brown’s announcements are reheated, and now his language seems reheated too. This destroys the myth that we are seeing a Prime Minister who has given up spin. Far from being the genuine article, he is just a copycat prime minister rehashing old material from US politicians.”
Gordon Brown and his ‘rehash’ speech - Times Online

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Brown's booty

Brown Grasps Invisible woman

Interesting to see that Yvonne Roberts in the Guardian's Comment is Free has a go at women who see Gordon Brown as their Messiah and are apparently rushing to vote for him.

As she says

Women voters are said not to like "confrontational politics" but this kind of cross-party camaraderie, cosying up to very strange bedfellows, makes for a creepy kind of osmosis that seems the opposite of democracy. A brief trip to Bournemouth felt like attending a sales convention for moderately successful piece of kitchen equipment whose chief attraction is that anyone can use it.

Well said. His appeal is based on drivel dressed up as policies, mostly stolen from others and dressed up as new. Indeed many of the items he spoke about in his speech were mere pipe dreams with no policy or money to back them up.

Brown called himself a "conviction" Politician, all I can say he is he should be convicted for complicity in the Iraq War, for stealing our Pension Money and for funding his Publicity Machine from Public Money amongst a raft of other charges.

As a final point Yvonne says
Perhaps, if a general election is called, Brown will produce the miracle cure for all these ills that he's been storing at the back of his Downing Street cupboard for precisely this, his special moment. Somehow I doubt it. He's a man committed to redistribution - but of the timid kind. So what precisely are these "traditional values" to which Mr Brown appeals? And why are some women so easily conned?
Some good questions that need answering and some food for thought for us all.

Brown's booty

3000 Troops Home By Christmas - Or Maybe Not

(Image courtesy of Rogue Gunner)

According to "informed defence" sources the Herald reports that 3,000 troops will be coming home from Iraq before Christmas.

I wonder if they have spoken to the opposing forces in Basra who now appear to be starting on all out war in the city and the surrounding areas. According to the Independent

A surge in violence in Basra has raised the prospect of British troops having to go back into the city if the security situation deteriorates further.
British forces, who withdrew from their last remaining base in Basra City earlier this month, remain officially in charge of security in the area and UK commanders have said that they are ready to step back in if necessary with a battlegroup, the Royal Welsh with Challenger tanks, on standby for such an eventuality.
Perhaps the withdrawal of troops from Iraq is more to do with saving money at the MOD who are being forced by the government to give troops a £140 rebate on their Council tax bills for a six month tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.

By withdrawing early they might be able to save some of this. This rebate by the government of £140 was of course announced by them as if it was NEW money but as often occurs with Labour it is in fact OLD money just being redirected.

The money for this rebate will have to be taken from the MOD budget which is already in short supply supplying our troops with the essentials like ammunition, helicopters, clothing, armour and the likes along with other sundry items like decent housing.

Of course if you actually look at the troops who are based in Iraq and Afghanistan you'll find that few will actually get the rebate as they don't pay council tax, as such, as they don't own/rent property in the UK.

All in all another piece of Labour Spin to cover up their inadequacies.

3000 Troops Could Start Coming Home From Iraq By Christmas (from The Herald )

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Effective consultation

Currently The Cabinet Office is reviewing the Government’s consultation policy. The Cabinet Office is seeking views from the widest possible range of organisations and individuals on how the Government can improve its consultation processes and would be grateful for your responses.
This consultation is just coming to the end of it's 12 week consultation period and judging by the comments available is getting a bit of panning. Not surprising considering some of the recent consultations.

It seems that consultations are not exactly what is happening. Those that do happen are poorly advertised and communicated and the results of the consultations appear to be ignored if they don't agree with what is being consulted on. Typical of some of the comments is the one below.

What is the point of stakeholder consultation? The HSE engaged consultants last year (at enormous expense) to conduct a review of gas safety. Numerous stakeholders were invited to attend and almost every recommendation has been ignored to date. Rather than implement the changes necessary and reduce regulatory burdens as it promised, it has decided to try and implement competition for CORGI instead. So unfortunately stakeholder participation only works when they you have identical views to those conducting it, otherwise your opinion (and the consultants views) will be ignored.
Recent controversial consultations have included

Planned Closure of District General Hospitals.

Nuclear Consultation: Here and here

Effective consultation: asking the right questions, asking the right people, listening to the answers : Department of Health - Consultations

Monday, September 24, 2007

Darling - Heads should Roll

I assume that since he seems to think that if Leaders of a Company should be sacked for poor performance then the same could be said of Cabinet Ministers who aren't capable of doing their jobs.

According to Reuters

Both key measures of Britain's public finances swung into deficit in August, recording their worst readings for that month since records began as corporation tax receipts fell sharply.

The Office for National Statistics said the public sector posted a net cash requirement of more than 5 billion pounds last month. That exceeded forecasts for a reading of 3.4 billion and was the biggest August deficit since monthly records began in 1984.

The government's preferred accruals-based measure of borrowing -- which is less volatile than the cash measure -- was more than 9 billion pounds. This exceeded forecasts for a reading of 6.0 billion pounds and was the highest for a month of August since records for that measure began in 1993.

Or perhaps he expects his predecessor to carry the can for this?

Labour's crass Hypocrisy at its best.

Darling hints that heads should roll over banking crisis - Independent Online Edition > UK Politics

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Consultation Brown Style

Brown explains Consultation

This is taken straight from the blog of Barry Monk who is trying to save Bedford Hospital.

Update: looks like the source of this is Dr Rays Focal Spot. More details and comments on it there.

If it is true it is just yet another example of the control freak that is Gordon Brown. I shudder to think what his next subject for his Citizens Juries will be. We have already seen the farce of the Nuclear Power "Consultation" which has had the likes of Greenpeace up in arms.

Remember it is the NHS that Gordon Brown wants to make a key part of his Election Plans (October 25th?)

A medical friend has just sent me this:

Yesterday evening I had an insight into the workings of Nulabours "consultation" process on the planned closure of NHS District General Hospitals and replacement with dumbed down polyclinics.

A few weeks ago invitations to attend a public consultation were sent to consultants at our Trust. We were only given one day to reply for the meeting a few days later even though we have to give 6 weeks notice of leave because of "choose and book".

Obviously this meant that most of us could not attend but one consultant did take up the invitation.

The location of the meeting was kept secret until three days before the event and when this consultant was eventually told the location and turned up in Birmingham it turned out that medical staff were outnumbered 2:1 by laypeople specifically chosen by an agency to attend the event. The media were present and had obviously been invited to publicise the event.

The delegates were split up into groups and each allocated an electronic voting device. A "minder" was allocated to each group.

Then the stars of the show arrived: Gordon Brown, Alan Johnson and Ara Darzi.

There followed a rapid succession of questions from the podium on which the delegates were asked to vote. The minder was available to suggest the best answer if there was any doubt.

Strangely, almost all the votes were 2:1 in favour of Nulabour's policy. Even the question: "Would you prefer gynaecological surgery to be carried out in your GP practice even if it meant the closure of your DGH facility?" was answered with 2:1 in favour.

Following the "consultation" the medical delegates were told to leave but the other 2/3 of the audience were kept back and each given an envelope. My colleague was intrigued by this and managed to catch one of the "chosen ones" and ask about the contents. Each envelope contained £75 in cash!

So now the consultation is over and the results indicate there is overwhelming public and doctor support for closing down the DGHs. I can only say that the way the voting was done makes the "Blue Peter" voting fraud seem like, well, "Blue Peter".

So now you know how it works

Save Bedford Hospital