I see that Labour’s Ealing Southall MP, Virendra Sharma has been writing about the health service in the Gazette this week. Papa Virendra tells us we live in “challenging times”. I think we knew that already. We also know who is responsible, one Gordon Brown.
He then makes a reference to the new Labour council being “swingers”. Not very supportive. Perhaps he was referring to “swingeing cuts”, not “swinging cuts”. If you are going to re-cycle tired old rhetoric you might as well spell it right Papa V.
Papa V talks about:
… the coalition government’s determination to press ahead with its ideologically driven plan to eradicate the deficit in four years.
Only today Ed Balls’ old employer, the FT, said:
Mr Osborne looks wise to have taken out the additional insurance of a tighter fiscal stance given the scale of the crisis now engulfing the eurozone. By acting early and decisively, his plans have secured the confidence of markets in a way that those put forward by some of the eurozone periphery have not. Ten-year gilt yields have fallen since June and now stand at 3.31 per cent.
If you find FTspeak a bit obscure let me translate – Osborne saved us from Ireland’s fate. The FT is right for once. Papa V is almost always wrong.
Back to Papa V and he tries to make out that the NHS budget is “actually facing a real terms cut in its budgets in addition to huge extra pressures on services due to demographic changes”. In pointing up the £20 billion gap between what has been provided in the budget, a real terms freeze effectively give or take the odd billion, and what might be ideal Sharma does not answer the question as to where the £20 billion might come from. More cuts to local government? More taxes? No British Army at all? You need to tell us Papa V. £20 billion is still a lot of money.
Sharma calculates that this will be a good issue for him locally. Maybe he is right. Nationally health is a total non-issue and the shadow health spokesman has been invisible, probably because he has no traction whatsoever. Can you name him? I had to look him up. John Healey. The man described by St Jonathan Porritt as ‘just the most deeply disappointing person to work with’.
Meanwhile hard times have not really hit Papa V yet. He spent the long summer recess in the air again. www.theyworkforyou.com has the list:
Destination of visit: Kenya
Date of visit: 29 August-3 September 2010
Amount of donation: £1903 (flights, accommodation, car hire and food).
Destination of visit: India (Mumbai and Delhi)
Date of visit: 6-10 September 2009
Amount of donation: £1075.69 (flights and accommodation)
Destination of visit: India (Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi)
Date of visit: 2-11 October 2010
Amount of donation (or estimate of the probable value): £1,850 (flights, transport, meals and accommodation)