…It’s claimed that Davey got Hayes sacked…

“Climate change sceptic Mr Hayes had asked the head of power giants E.on to warn of blackouts unless the Coalition watered down its green crusade and made a U-turn on the closure of coal-fired generators. But Mr Hayes’s boss, Energy Secretary Ed Davey, hit the roof when he found out about the ‘treachery’ – and demanded he was sacked.
Two weeks later, Mr Hayes was dismissed and given a minor backroom role in No 10, advising David Cameron on links with Tory MPs.” – Mail on Sunday

Immigration becoming yet another elephant in the room

Unashamedly lifted from the Conservative Home website, as I could not have put it any better myself.

Immigration comment
“The Coalition has declared its intention to get net immigration down from last year’s level of nearly 250,000 to the tens of thousands. But even that will not be good enough. In order to avoid the population reaching that 70 million, we have to get immigration down to 40,000 a year or less.” – Nicholas Soames and Frank Field in The Telegraph
“To put the matter brutally, neither David Cameron nor Theresa May has to live in Southall, Bradford or Tower Hamlets. They do not experience at first-hand the bitterness of traditional English people, who see their communities overtaken, their culture pushed aside, by people who force a path into Britain without the smallest desire, or even willingness, to embrace our ways or share our values.” – Max Hastings in the Daily Mail
“Ministers in the Home Office, from the Home Secretary downwards, should be under absolutely no illusion that failing to achieve the modest target set for them well before the next election will have a consequence: the public outcry they have faced these past few days will be as nothing to the wrath that unfolds.” – Express leader

Police or community? Why not both?

As MPs go through the motions in Parliament today, I hope at least a few of them, including those on the Tory benches, take the opportunity to ask David Cameron how, given the events of that last 7 days, he intends to put his Big Society vision in to practice.

Surely, the recent horrifying and depressing events across England, are a confirmation of what David Cameron has been saying since he became Party leader. His biggest problem now, is being seen as all talk and no action. Can he really expect all those people who turned out on the streets of London, armed with brooms and bin bags, to keep on being so community spirited, without something more than words of encouragement from his government? If he does, then his vision is doomed already.

Just like a train needs a track to run on, Big Society needs the right sort of infrastructure to support it. People are demanding no more cuts in police budgets, so that more officers can be put on the streets – that’s one solution. However, the heavy hand of authority is the way regimes such Syria, Lybia and Zimbabwe control their populations. I don’t think any right minded citizen would wish to see the UK go down this route, if only because it fails completely to address the underlying issues. Policing is the answer, but not neccesaraily high police numbers. Policing focussed on and based in the community, in other words, a return to a form of the good old village bobby.

If David Cameron believes that the Big Society can work, he could do worse than start by reintroducing genuine local policing. This could be in the form of a proper community based police officer, complete with office and house – sound familiar? Or, as works in other European countries such as Holland, community wardens living and working in their communities. Recent events in Japan also highlighted their system of community based officials. I also understand that it is common practice to see mini-police offices on many street corners in Japan, providing genuine community based policing. The key to this approach is ensuring that there are enough boots on the ground, as they say in the military – over to you Dave.

I’m having a colour crisis!

There’s an advertisement running in cinemas at the moment, for Orange mobile phones, that has relevance to the way I’m seeing my politics at the moment.  The advert has an animated parrot in it that starts off blue and is then turned orange by the off screen voice that’s controlling things.

My emerging association with this piece of imagery comes about because of statements from ‘call me Dave’, about how he’s going to revolutionise local government (for revolutionise read, kick the guts out of it) and the words of caution from Nick Clegg in today’s Daily Telegraph.

In other words, my Tory blue, whilst not quite turning into LibDem orange, is definitely feeling a bit on the pale side at the moment.  Nick Clegg has gone on the record today, saying about Dave’s latest idea for privatised policing, “Replacing a public monopoly with a private monopoly achieves nothing but reduced accountability” – I wish I’d said that.  All that education hasn’t been wasted after all.  Seriously and somewhat annoyingly, I find myself in agreement with Nick Clegg’s views on this, hence my colour clash.

It may seem somewhat simplistic on my part, but I still cannot see how a shift from an organisation that only has one goal – delivering services, to one that has making a profit by delivering public services, is a sound way forward.  As Gordon Brown once said, I agree with Nick!

Health reforms – quality measurement?

As a recent cancer suffer myself, I’ve been listening to the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley on Radio 4 this week, with great interest.  Unfortunately, I’m a hopeless patient and consistently fail to remember most of the details regarding my treatment, so I make no claim to any expertise on the subject of the NHS, apart from the fact that they appear to have helped me to live a bit longer!

The reason for my self confessed poorly informed comment today, is to do with Mr Lansley’s repeated use of the words ‘quality’ and ‘outcomes’.  This is in relation to the scrapping of the previous government’s target driven performance indicators and the new government’s belief that it should be all about the two words previous mentioned – quality and outcomes.

The problem I have with this approach, as somebody who has more than a passing interest in both, is what happens when they don’t hit these targets?  Also, what does it actually mean when the targets are not met?  The merit of measuring the numbers of patients seen within a particular time frame, was that the patient was seen by an expert within a certain deadline (unfortunate inclusion of the word dead there!) and could then hopefully start treatment post haste if required.  However, now that we are going to measure ‘quality’ and ‘outcomes’, it would seem that we are going from one end of the telescope to the other.   Whereas before the target was hit by getting you to see the right doctor as quickly as possible, that no longer matters.  Now you will have to survive long enough to get to the doctor, before they start to measure the quality and outcome of your treatment.

If you don’t measure things until the end of the process, as opposed to at the beginning, does that mean that if you drop off the perch before you actually get in to the new health care system, it isn’t actually a quality failure?  And, from their point of view at least, it might not even be a bad outcome!

If I have a quality failure at work, somebody gets their a**e kicked and the job gets redone.  If I have a quality failure in my health care, it may well kill me, or at least cause me to die sooner than I might of.  Which then of course will indeed give Mr Lansley a poor outcome to measure.

As I said, I’m no expert in these things, but measuring quality and outcomes in health care, in the same way you inspect widgets in a factory, doesn’t seem like a step in the right direction to me!  Trouble is, if I’m right (and I am very occasionally) I probably won’t be around to say I told you so!

Coalition here to stay?

I suppose today’s revelation that a very senior Tory, close to Dave, thinks that coalition is the way forward and that the next election should be fought on that basis.  Common sense in the new political climate, or political expediency, based on a megalomaniac’s view that, it doesn’t matter how you stay in power, just as long as you make sure you do?

I could say a lot more about the issue of a coalition with the LibDems, but then I thought I would Google the following question, ‘What colour do you get if you mix blue and orange?

One of the answers that came back says it all really.
‘Nothing.  Blue is a primary colour. Orange is a mixture of Red and Yellow. Any pigment you add to orange will likely result in a brownish mess.’  Come to think of it, isn’t that the problem the last lot had?