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Today’s PMQs fails to interrupt the mini-Tory revival

24 April 2013

There has been a distinct shortage of PMQs recently and after today, there’s only one more until June. This will add to Ed Miliband’s disappointment that he didn’t shift the political mood today, nothing happened to interrupt the mini-Tory revival. Though, tomorrow’s GDP figures will be crucial in whether it continues.

Miliband went on the NHS, one of Labour’s strongest subjects, only for David Cameron to counter that if Labour got in again there would be another Mid-Staffs. This was a distinct change of tone from Cameron’s initial response to the Francis Report, when he went out of his way to avoid trying to blame the previous government.

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The questions planted by the Tory whips were, tellingly, nearly all about benefits. The Tories clearly intend to keep focusing on this. Cameron mocked Labour as ‘the welfare party’ in response to a question from one Labour MP. By contrast, the planted Labour questions were nearly all about the cut in the 50p tax rate and whether Cameron would benefit personally. If the Tories think benefits is Labour’s Achilles heel, Labour thinks the Tories is the sense that they are for the rich.

One thing that might rumble on from PMQs is Cameron dodging the question of whether he played any role in blocking Tanni Grey-Thompson as a candidate to head Sport England.

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  • Tim Reed

    “By contrast, the planted Labour questions were nearly all about the cut
    in the 50p tax rate and whether Cameron would benefit personally”

    When will Cameron learn to deal with this effectively!! He simply needs to remind Labour and the nation that the top rate of income tax was lower during almost all of New Labour’s tenure than it is currently under the coalition government. Gordon Brown raised it in the last months of his premiership only as a trap for any incoming Tory government, who he knew would reduce it. Cue cries of “Tax cuts for the rich”…as we heard today from Labour. The cynicism of the Blair/Brown era is still with us.

  • anyfool

    Cameron dodging the question of whether he played any role in blocking Tanni Grey-Thompson as a candidate to head Sport England.

    Why should he avoid denying what is a thoroughly sensible thing to do, what has she ever done to suggest that she is qualified to run a multi million pound business.
    He stated that it was a ministerial decision and that it was a very good decision, fairly clear to anyone he did not think she is up to the job, there has been to many celebrity appointments that are just plain bad, none more so than that cockney cook who masquerades as a chef.

  • John Steed

    It seems odd to be talking about a “revival”.
    On what basis? That they haven’t made too much of a mess of things in the last couple of weeks? That people are saying negative things about Labour?
    Or have they turned round the economy and we haven’t noticed yet?

  • arnoldo87

    The Tories do have a long way to go to convince people that they are sound on the NHS. Anyone who can remember the state of hospitals in 1997 will recall patients on litters in corridors, the long waiting lists, and the generally dilapidated infrastructure. (All this, by the way, during a “golden economic legacy” period, according to some!)

    New Labour definitely improved the infrastructure and cut the longest waiting times to their declared target. They were not perfect, however, and were extravagant in both the G.P. salary settlement, the burgeoning of management bureaucracy, and in allowing the extremely poor PFI deals that were made.

    The Mid Staffs issue, though, is nothing to do with politics directly, since the attitudinal problems displayed there were long standing and were, and are, noticeable at many other hospitals, both before and after New Labour took power. Does David Cameron really think that things had changed after 2010, but before the Francis Inquiry report?
    Having said that, if the present government can effect an attitude and efficiency change before 2015, they will have gone some way towards redemption on the NHS.

    • Russell

      Your New Labour fiddled the stupid targets figures mentality by leaving people in ambulances in car parks so that their time in A & E would be less, plus as I experienced, moving me from my bed in a surgical ward to A & E (ward) to assist target figures, as a nurse explained to me after my midnight move!
      Labour were a disgrace to patients of the NHS.
      Labour refused a public enquiry on Stafford, Johnson denied anything was wrong with the care even after receiving letters from grieving relatives, which he simply said in his reply to them.
      Johnson & Burnham should be in a court facing neglect charges along with the ‘wonderful’ nurses who killed many patients through lack of care.

      • George_Arseborne

        Desperate Dave had no answer to the 3years of dilapidation of NHS under his watch. All the moron could do was to slur on the Mid. Staff. mishap . What a shame.playing politics with horendous stuff.

        • Russell

          You call the killing of over 1200 people a mishap!!!!!!!!
          It is quite obvious you are a brainwashed labourite moron.

          And how many thousands have been killed unnecessarily since labour were thrown out of office?

        • Russell

          No dilapidation of service here in Torquay. First class service from my local GP and Torbay Hospital, Fast efficient service which puts the patients needs first.

        • Paddy

          “All the moron could do was to slur on the Mid Staff. mishap”.

          You see what I mean. Labour scream don’t play politics…..don’t be nasty to us.

          I was so angry watching Miliband at PMQs. How Cameron controls his temper I do not know. I would have been over that dispatch box to punch him on the nose and shove his figures where the sun don’t shine.

          Labour are not safe on the NHS.

      • DWWolds

        There is a report by the excellent Dr Tim Morgan in which he throws some more light on the way figures were distorted under Labour.

        The official ONS figures showed that under Labour’s watch health spending doubled whilst productivity fell by 3.3%. However, for some peculiar reason, an increase in the number of prescriptions counted as an improvement in outputs. That increase was 201%. Strip the figures relating to it out of the productivity measures and there was actually a fall 34%.

        In other words, dishing pills out ad infinitum was deemed to be an improvement in health care.

    • Barakzai

      ‘ . . . and were extravagant in both the G.P. salary settlement, the burgeoning of management bureaucracy, and in allowing the extremely poor PFI deals that were made.’ If that’s merely ‘not perfect’ in your book, perhaps you could define ‘utter ineptitude’ for us?

      • arnoldo87

        If you insist – the period prior to 1997 that created the total NHS mess that New Labour inherited.

        • Barakzai

          Tsk, those perennially ‘evil Tories’ – pre-1997 for you and for the egregious Burnham on ‘Today’ this morning, the post-2010 Tories. Risible.

    • HookesLaw

      New Labour but hospitals but paid no account to the money needed to pay for them or their upkeep., money which put health authorities into deficit. Labour took money away from areas they considered ‘rich’ and put them into their own constituencies.
      A fiddle, they used the NHS as a political football.

  • Russell

    “Miliband went on the NHS, one of Labour’s strongest subjects”

    You really are joking James!

    Labour may say the NHS is safe in their hands, but they are talking about the NHS Union members and managers and jobsworths.

    The Tories should state categorically that NHS PATIENTS are not safe in Labours hands, a start was made today by Cameron, but still quite mildly.

    • Paddy

      Quite agree. Cameron should not let Labour get away with “the NHS is safe in our hands”. I can’t believe Labour have the nerve to bring up the subject. But we know they have no shame.

      In the House today they scream “that’s not fair you are playing party politics”. I despair of them!

      • the viceroy’s gin

        When Dave the Cameroon started yammering about how he was going to “ring fence” the NHS, he gave the game away. Had he prepared the soil, and exposed some of these issues ahead of time, he would have been properly positioned to take advantage of the bird’s nest on the ground, when that report came out, and backed up his previous positions.

        But if you all you have to say is “me too and then some”, you’re a political nothing, like Dave has proven to be. He gets no mileage out of any of this, because he’s incompetent politically, not just policy-wise.

    • tele_machus

      You’re playing a dangerous game
      Patients are falling off trolleys in Casualty
      Patients are lost in Hospitals after being slung out to the wrong beds on the wrong wards
      And all because the Tories tried to bring in a 111 service staffed by college dropouts rather than trained nurses to replace NHS direct

      • Russell

        The labour IQ2’s need to be told phone 111 if you have locked yourself out or cut your finger, phone 999 if you have cut your finger off and blood is pouring out or if your house is on fire!

        • tele_machus

          A caring Tory!

          • Russell

            I have been w.e.f. 1700hrs today another paid up (£30 per year) member of the UKIP party.
            I urge all fed up Tories, LibDems and Labour voters to do likewise.

            • tele_machus

              I love it
              The more of you there are the more certain is Cameron’s demise

    • realfish

      A joke indeed, Russell.

      I listened at length, this morning, to the ‘Today’ programme and the BBC-facilitated attack on casualty waiting times – this after the attack on nurse training yesterday.
      It occurred to me that this was the start of the post-Stafford / Francis fightback.

      And as if by magic, our friend Mr Milibandwagon is on the case at PMQ’s.

      If I didn’t know better; i.e. that the BBC was the ‘world’s most trusted’, impartial broadcaster, I’d have suspected that there was some coordinated skulduggery at work.

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