Saturday, 12 January 2008

Peter Hain's donations

Undoubtedly there is an enormous amount of comment about Peter Hain's undiscolsed donations to his Labour Party Deputy Leadership campaign.

The part of the story that confuses and concerns me most is what on earth he found to spend over £180,000 on.

To put this in context, in the last year we have written over 40,000 letters, printed and delivered over 280,000 pieces of literature and sent tens of thousands of e-mails. All of this campaigning, which has been enhanced with canvassing, setting up street stalls and attending meetings, has been carried out with a budget of less than £20,000.

Addmitedly there are clearly very many more members of the Labour party than there are residents of Mid Dorset and North Poole, however I can't imagine that there are more than nine times that number.

Mr Hain has numerous questions to answer, not least how he managed to expend so much money on an internal party election.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Seasonal Drunkenness

I read today that, astonishingly, there were a number of churches who held their midnight mass at 6pm on Christmas Eve.

The reason?

Because of the fear of disruption from drunken people.

This fact was used in the context on a commentary about 24 hour licensing policy.

Undoubtedly the introduction of extended licensing hours has played its part in the increasing problem of drink related anti social behaviour and disruption. However, I do wonder how many of those who attend church on Christmas Eve inebriated have at the very least begun their drinking at home, if not completed it there too.

Until we control the sale of cheap alcohol through supermarkets and off licenses we will be unable to control the problems associated with excess alcohol consumption.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Nostalgia for Hartland

I watched part of Sense and Sensibility on BBC1 on New Year's Day. Good, but not as good as the film version on first viewing. That's actually an unfair comment probably, the tv version clearly has neither the budget of the film, nor of course the sublime Emma Thompson.
I thought I recognized the cottage to which the family move and indeed my recollection proved correct with this article in the Daily Telegraph today.
I spent my teenage years living on this part of the North Devon coast. It's near Hartland and made me feel very nostalgic for Summers spent in Westward Ho!, Hartland and Bucks Mills.

Health Inequalities

David Cameron's comments about the National Health Service today have been heartening to say the least.

They've served to highlight another issue however.  The inequality between the services provided by the NHS in each of the Home Countries.   Dr Gill Morgan, who is the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, is reported to have said that devolution has caused even more of a 'post code lottery' in health care.  

The Daily Telegraph reports the situation here.

She suggests that there is unlikely to be any 'health migration' within the UK.  That comment misses the point to my mind. The fact that there are inequalities in the service provided in each of the home countries is bad enough.  What is worse is that the situation remains where MPs from the three nations with devolved powers continue to decide on the health policies of the nation that has no devolved government.

It's time that English MPs voted on English matters.  Only then can the health priorities of England be truly, democratically addressed.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Happy New Year

A Happy New Year to everyone.

Here's hoping 2008 is a more prosperous, healthy and happy year for us all.