Tuesday News Review

Where have I heard that before?

The Prime Minister’s “five guarantees” on the NHS will prove as worthless as his “cast-iron guarantee” on Europe. He went back on the promise of a referendum and David Cameron’s already broken, by our count, three of his health promises. The PM’s come up with a handful of guarantees because he needs a short-term fix to a problem called Andrew Lansley. We haven’t forgotten his enthusiastic, 100% backing for the Health Secretary’s scheme to turn the NHS into a giant market. Mr Cameron’s five guarantees are as worthless as that discarded referendum pledge. – Daily Mirror

Making a passionate case for reform, the Prime Minister will reassure people that the NHS is safe in his Government’s hands – and he will claim the proposals are gaining support. He will offer to be “personally accountable” for five “guarantees” – that the NHS will remain universal, that “efficient and integrated care” will be improved, not broken up, that the Government will keep waiting times low and funding will increase, not fall. A survey by PoliticsHome.com and YouGov today finds widespread backing from voters, including Labour supporters, for the reforms – but 59 per cent agree that “deep down, Conservatives want to fully privatise the NHS”. – Daily Express

The Prime Minister is fighting to rescue the Coalition’s Health Bill and will use a major speech to try to convince his critics that he wants the best for the NHS. He will point to reports showing that the standard of care in some hospitals is severely lacking, reports which show “elderly patients left unfed and unwashed”. Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, dismissed Mr Cameron’s five pledges. He said: “David Cameron is the first Prime Minister in history to be forced to set out five pledges to protect the NHS from his own policies. Yet, he has already broken two of those pledges. The number of people waiting 18 weeks for treatment has gone up and he has not protected the health service budget. – Daily Telegraph

Salmond’s double independence blow

Alex Salmond’s hopes of a smooth transfer of powers to an independentScotland have been dealt a blow after a cabinet minister said a second referendum would be needed on independence. Michael Moore, the Scottish secretary, said there was a “strong likelihood” that if the nationalists won the first referendum, then the British government would have to hold a further plebiscite to allow Scotland the chance to vote on the precise terms of any independence deal agreed by both countries. His remarks deeply irritated Salmond, the first minister, who has repeatedly insisted there is no legal requirement for a second referendum, since the first vote – likely to be in 2015 – would be based on a detailed proposal from the Scottish government. – the Guardian

Unions have held a mini-summit over their fears for the Scottish ship building industry being undermined by the threat of Scottish independence. Representatives of GMB, Unite and Ucatt – the unions that represent thousands of workers on the Clyde and Rosyth – yesterday warned MPs that even the possibility of independence could see contracts awarded to yards in England. The issue is set to be raised today when Defence Secretary Liam Fox answers questions from the Scottish affairs select committee. Under EU rules, defence contracts do not have to go out to open tender, which means governments usually award them to home yards. – the Scotsman

The GMB flexes its muscles

The Business Secretary was heckled, booed and jeered by angry delegates at the GMB conference in Brighton. One unfurled a banner saying: “Vince Cable not welcome – stop attacking workers’ rights.” The LibDem Cabinet minister’s comments were branded inflammatory. And one union boss warned that the grass-roots reaction to his threats would be: “Bring it on.” Paul Kenny, general secretary of the 700,000-member GMB, accused him of showing “a remarkable lack of understanding” about the impact of the cuts on ordinary people. He described Dr Cable’s remarks about strike laws as “ill-judged” – and claimed his speech may even have increased the chance of widespread disruption. He said: “The GMB and other unions are still in negotiation. My view is that his speech has been very unhelpful. And I think people’s reaction on the ground is going to be, ‘if you’re going to threaten us, bring it on’.” – Daily Mirror

Vince Cable was licking his wounds last night after a miscalculated speech ended in union activists subjecting him to a torrent of heckles and catcalls. The Business Secretary intended to deliver a friendly warning to the GMB conference that a summer of industrial militancy could play into the hands of right-wing Tories agitating for fresh anti-strike legislation. Instead, to the dismay of senior Liberal Democrats, he was cast in the role of union-bashing hard man telling them to act responsibly or rue the consequences. Union leaders accused him of threatening human rights and protested that his intervention had soured the atmosphere ahead of talks with ministers over resolving a dispute over cuts to public-sector pensions. It was the fourth time in a fortnight that ill-considered words by the Business Secretary have angered colleagues. – the Independent

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One Response to “Tuesday News Review”

  1. True Blue says:

    Typical uncut biased news review

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