3 Apr 2010

An Exercise in Labour Spin

Labour has published a list of 50 things they've achieved in the last 13 years.

1.A rising National Minimum Wage - the annual uprating benefits around 1 million people a year.
I'm sorry? Wasn't the National Minimum Wage a requirement of being a member of the European Union? Therefore no matter which government was in power National Minimum Wage would have been put in place.

2.The shortest waiting times since NHS records began.
This is primarily because of the introduction of bureaucracy. If you have a medical complaint, you now “see” the consultants for five minutes within 30 days of diagnosis. You then have to wait an additional six months before anyone examines you. This means the target box is ticked but you are not getting the treatment any quicker.

3.Three million more operations carried out each year than in 1997, with more than double the number of heart operations.
With 3 million more people In the UK, 3 million more operations is rather frightening. The first thing you can ask is how many of those operations were necessary? For example, surely more thn double the number of heart operations indicates our health service is failing earlier on to result in such an increase. Or take the number of gastric and surgery is performed on the NHS, to which the patient has to lose weight prior to surgery which implies they did lose the weight without the surgery at all.

4.Over 44,000 more doctors.
According to National statistics, 44,000 doctors is an increase of less than 0.8%. Given that the population in the UK has increased by 1% since 1997, We do not have more doctors, and in fact we have less doctors respective to the increase of people in the UK.

5.Over 89,000 more nurses
However, in order to qualify as a nurse you now require a degree. Those degrees are funded by the NHS. Therefore what we have an awful lot of nurses in training, that training is funded entirely by money that should be going towards healthcare and the training could be covered by apprenticeships.

6.Over three quarters of GP practices now offer extended opening hours for at least one evening or weekend session a week.
Well at least this means that with all of the sensationalism in the Daily Mail, all of the “epidemics” that we may be suffering from, which in fact turn out to be minor ailments that wasted our Gp's time, People can actively wasted Gp's time outside their working hours.

7.All prescriptions are now free for people being treated for cancer or the effects of cancer, and teenage girls are offered a vaccination against cervical cancer.
However, the vaccination against cervical cancer only resolve cervical cancer in 60 to 70% of cases, so it is in fact a vaccination for HPV and not in fact a vaccination against cervical cancer. This in turn has led to a decrease use a condoms and is likely to see a rise in other sexually transmitted infections in the next generation.

8.The NHS can now guarantee that you will see a cancer specialist within two weeks if your GP suspects you may have cancer. Whatever your condition, you will not have to wait more than 18 weeks from GP referral to the start of hospital treatment – and most waits are much shorter than this.

9.Over a 100 new hospital building schemes completed.
100 new hospitals is not enough given a 1% increase in population in the last 13 years. Certainly in my own area we have seen departments across the County close, from A&E to cancer treatment and a least three proposed hospital plans being cancelled. That's one county. That means that we could work it out as 144 proposed hospital plans being cancelled and only 100 being built. Incidentally, how many of these hospitals where NHS?

10.12 million pensioners benefiting from increased Winter Fuel Payments.
While 12 million pensioners may benefit from increased winter fuel payments, An average of 32,000 pensioners die from the cold a year. In addition to this 40% of pensioners live below the poverty line. This government has concluded that there was no need to raise the basic state pension in spite of this information.

11.900,000 pensioners lifted out of poverty.
See above. In spite of this, 40% of pensioners still live below the poverty line.

12.500,000 children lifted out of relative poverty and measures already being put in place will lift around a further 500,000 children out of poverty.
I'm sorry? They have only managed to lift 500,000 children of relative poverty in 13 years? One third of children were living in relative poverty in 1997. There has been an average of 3.4 million children in the UK every year since Labour came to power. 500,000 children doesn't look that great now does it?

13.Free TV licences for over-75s.
And yet those who are blind, disabled, or live in care homes below the age of 75, still have to contribute 50% towards Jonathan Ross's outlandish salary

14.The New Deal has helped over 2.2 million people into work.
And yet employment has fallen to 72.2%. So while the New Deal has helped 33% of people get in to work, and there is still 38% out of work.

15.Over 4.8 million Child Trust Funds have been started.
While 40% of pensioners live in poverty, just under 3 million children live in poverty and there are no jobs, Labour is giving children £250 each. Where is the justification in that?

16.3,500 Sure Start Children’s Centres opened, reaching 2 million children and their families.
From this you can estimate the Sure Start is only reaching half of children in the UK.

17.Over 42,000 more teachers and 212,000 more support staff, including 123,000 more teaching assistants, than in 1997.
This is mainly because there are 50% of people under 30 with a degree and there are no jobs for them other than teaching. In spite of this, more children are leaving school illiterate and innumerate

18.There have been around 3,700 rebuilt and significantly refurbished schools; including new and improved classrooms, laboratories and kitchens.
There are around 21,000 schools in the UK, this implies that 16,300 require refurbishment. Or 83%.

19.A free nursery place for every 3 and 4 year old - extended to 15 hours per week this year and we are beginning to provide 10 hours a week to the most deprived 2 year olds.
15 hours a week of nursery care is simply horrific in this unequal society where parents may want to work but cannot because of the resources that are not available to them.

20.Doubled the number of registered childcare places to more than 1.3 million, one for every four children under eight years old.
And double the amount of bureaucracy by introducing “registered childcare” which have to be monitored by local councils and education partnerships.

21.More young people attending university than ever before.
And significantly, there are no jobs for them to go to. There is a number of “futile” degrees which do not aid people, and there is a lack of industry in the UK for these people to go into when they do graduate.

22.More than doubled the number of apprenticeships starts, with figures for 2008/9 showing 240,000 started an apprenticeship this year compared to 75,000 in 1997.
And in spite of this there is over 9% Not in Education, Employment, or Training (NEETs). When you add into the mix that out of 16 to 17-year-olds, 29% are not employed, this figure looks very weak.

23.In 1997 more than half of all schools saw less that 30 per cent of their pupils fail to get 5 good GCSEs including English and Maths. Now only 247 schools – less than one in twelve - fail this benchmark and we are guaranteeing that no school should fail this mark after 2011.
And in spite of this target, 90% of GCSE students in public schools achieve 11 or more A grade GCSEs. Therefore in direct comparison, the government run education systems in the UK are dire in comparison to those that are paid for and it is indicative of a high social divide.

24.We have increased school funding to support the delivery of higher standards. Between 1997-98 and 2009-10, total funding per pupil has more than doubled from £3,030 in 1997-98 to £6,350 in 2009-10 in real terms, an increase of 110 per cent.
Again this is due to the severe increase in bureaucracy. While the Every Child Matters policy has good intentions, it is also created a smorgasbord of agencies that work with schoolchildren, from Education Support Workers, Home Visitors and Learning Support Assistants.

25.The Northern Ireland peace process.
The failure to reach a decision on devolution has dominated the news that the last three months. The necessity for the Prime Minister to leave the country to attend Stormont peace talks this year is not what I would consider a success.

26.The car scrappage scheme, where owners scrapping an old car receive £2,000 off the price of a new car, has assisted with over 380,000 orders being placed, keeping the automotive industry and its supply chain on its feet
And targeted people who had a nearly new car did not help get the rust buckets of street nor did it help people without cars purchased one.

27.The UK is now smokefree, with no smoking in most enclosed public places.
That would be another European Union enforcement then wouldn't it. Give yourself a pat on the back for that one Labour.

28.The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are now 21 per cent below 1990 levels, beating our Kyoto target.
The National Average of carbon emissions is 6000-9000 kg. Tony Blair, the Labour Prime minister 10 years, emits an average of 700 times this amount.

29.Over £20 billion invested in bringing social housing to decent standards.
But there is still not enough social housing. With one in 12 people on a list from an average of two years, perhaps more money needs to be invested still.

30.Rough sleeping has dropped by two thirds and homelessness is at its lowest level since the early 1980s.
And the definition of Homelessness has been redefined in order to meet government targets.

31.Free off-peak travel on buses anywhere in England for over-60s and disabled people.
its leaves are aExcept, in order to qualify as a disabled person travelling on public transport, you need to have the highest level of mobility under the DLA which means you have to have a carer travel with you. That carer is entitled to NO discounts.

32.Since 1997 overall crime is down 36 per cent; domestic burglary is down 54 per cent; vehicle related crime is down 57 per cent; and violent crime is down 41 per cent.
Now this, I will let you have as a triumph. In despite of tabloid newspapers proclaiming that crime is on the increase, There has been a significant drop in crime. And this is in spite of the Labour Government creating an additional 3000 offences in 13 years.

33.A new flexible Australian-style points-based system for immigration to ensure only those economic migrants who have the skills our economy needs can come to work in the UK.
The key word here is “flexible”.

34.Police numbers up by almost 17,000 since 1997, alongside more than 16,000 Police Community Support Officers.
There are 145,000 police officers in the UK. An increase of 17,000 Is an increase of merely 11%. And yet fear of crime is at an all-time high. Despite spending 20% of Police budget on public affairs.

35.Every community now has its own dedicated neighbourhood police team, easily contactable by the people who live in that community and working with them to agree local priorities and deal with people’s concerns.
Define community. In Ashford in Kent we have a population of 58,936. Our Neighbourhood Police Community Safety Unit is staffed by 5 officers and 9 PCSOs. Four-team police staff does not seem like a lot of people to deal with nearly 59,000 people.

36.Equalised the age of consent and repealed Section 28.
Yet failing to tackle homophobia within faith institutions.

37.Through the introduction of civil partnerships, Labour has for the first time given legal recognition to same-sex partners. Gay couples now have the same inheritance, pension and next-of-kin rights as married couples.
But not the same rights as married couples, identifying a severe inequality.

38.Tripled Britain’s overseas aid budget. UK aid helps lift an estimated 3 million people out of poverty every year.
While this International aid budget has been increased, 40% of pensioners live below the poverty line. In addition to this Brown “claws back taxes” In other departments. Therefore the budget has not been increased but simply offset.

39.Cancelled up to 100 per cent of debt for the world’s poorest countries.
But not with the 40% of pensioners living below the poverty line.

40.Britain now has more offshore wind capacity than any country in the world. Wind last year provided enough electricity to power 2 million homes.
Only 66 million homes to go then.

41.Embarked on the biggest program of council house building for twenty years.
Which isn't really saying much is it?

42.Launched the Swimming Challenge Fund to support free swimming for over 60s and under 16s.
Which is good, given that one third of under 16s live in poverty and so do 40% of pensioners, the least they can go swimming

43.Banned fox hunting.
Because that's an effective and well crafted piece of legislation isn't it?

44.Led the campaign to win the 2012 Olympics for London. Today the programme remains on time and on budget with over 40 per cent of the construction programme completed and all major venues under construction.
Including a budget allocated to ludicrous building designs that will have no impact on Britain's Sporting Achievement whatsoever. Meanwhile, did I mention that 40% of pensioners living below the poverty line? Or how about the 2.2 million people unemployed?

45.Free admission to our national museums and galleries.
Yet across the country, museums are closing Becausethe councils can no longer afford to budget to keep them open for free.

46.Devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, an elected Mayor and Assembly for London and directly-elected mayors for those cities that want them.
How exactly would a city go about getting a directly elected mayor? They would need to have a party or the council that supported directly elected mayor in which case the mayor would be representative of the party running the council. There does appear to be far more important things at the Labour Government could have tackled.

47.Created a new right of pedestrian access to the English coast, so that every family has the opportunity to enjoy the length and breadth of our coastline.
Which will allow every family the opportunity to enjoy the breadth of the litter on British beaches.

48.In Europe we signed the Social Chapter and introduced measures including: four weeks’ paid holiday; a right to parental leave; extended maternity leave; a new right to request flexible working; and the same protection for part-time workers as full-time workers.
We may also have signed the Social Charter. Another triumph of the European union I think, not for Labour.

49.Led efforts to agree a new international convention banning all cluster munitions and made Britain one of the first countries to ratify a convention to ban anti-personnel landmines
While this is superb, we cannot afford the right equipment for our soldiers on the battlefield.

50.Introduced the first ever British Armed Forces and Veterans Day to honour the achievements of our Armed Forces – both past and present.
This is presumably to stop the disaster last year when Britain failed to organise attendance of the veterans day.

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