Monday, 17 August 2009

And I mean this most sincerely folks... #welovethenhs

I've been enjoying the sun and touring my beautiful constituency of Witney today. But it goes without saying that just because I and most other politicians are not in Westminster at the moment, politics isn't somehow put on hold.

People still care about the issues they care about, and thanks to the internet they can voice their concerns whenever they want. Just look at all the support which the NHS has received on Twitter over the last couple of days. It is a reminder - if one were needed - of how proud we in Britain are of the NHS.

Millions of people are grateful for the care they have received from the NHS - including my own family. One of the wonderful things about living in this country is that the moment you're injured or fall ill - no matter who you are, where you are from, or how much money you've got - you know that the NHS will look after you.

That's why we as a Party are so committed not just to the principles behind the NHS, but to doing all we can to improve the way it works in practice. So yes, we will spend more on the NHS, but we will also improve it so that it is more efficient and responsive to patients. People working on the frontline will actually be able get on with the job they signed up for, without getting tied up in a web of targets. And we will put more power in the hands of patients by giving them better information about the care they can expect to receive.

Underlying these reforms, and our whole approach to the NHS, will be one big ambition - that future generations will be even prouder of the NHS than we are today.
Comment on David's message on The Blue Blog

OK, I'm a bit slow with this - DC's email from last week. Not so much jumping on the #welovethenhs bandwagon as running frantically after it down the road shouting 'hey, wait for me!' as it accelerates off into the distance.


Cllr Ross Grant said...

Social media makes things more transparent & so trickier for you to spin; as Twitter Tsar thought you might have already got that.

Anyway explain the difference between DC & GoBro (text below to make it easy for you):

Gordon Brown has written an open letter to all those who have participated in the #WeLoveTheNHS campaign:


I want to say a huge thank you to all of you who have supported the #welovethenhs campaign.

I have been profoundly moved by the enormous groundswell of support for the NHS in the last few days.  A genuinely National Health Service – introduced by a Labour government in the teeth of opposition from the Conservatives and the medical establishment – is one of our nation’s finest achievements.

So it is understandable that the Conservative leadership have tried to distance themselves from those in Tory ranks who criticise the NHS.

But the reason why their comments have generated so much anger is that they spoke to a larger truth.

That truth is that there are two Tory faces on the NHS.  Behind all the recent talk of commitment, the party has not truly been reformed.  Despite all their talk of reform, the Conservatives still put special interests before patients’ interests.

The Conservatives say they are committed to the NHS but they would scrap our guarantees for patients – including the guarantee to see a specialist within 2 weeks if your GP suspects you may have cancer.

The Conservatives say they are committed to the NHS but they would scrap our agreement with the GPs that means nearly three quarters of practices now offer extended opening hours.

The Conservatives say they are committed to the NHS but they would let hospitals mortgage their own assets – even though they admit this brings the risk of financial failure.

I will not stand by and see the NHS and its brilliant staff denigrated and undermined, whether that's by the right wing in the United States or by their friends in the British Conservative Party.

This is not just a debate for this week. It is central to everything we believe in and care about. And I am determined to take the fight to the Tories, not just today, but in the weeks and months ahead.

Thank you for backing our NHS.

Gordon Brown

Kerry said...

I've actually just been having this argument over on Twitter with a Central Office hack... In summary: Labour's commitment to the NHS is longstanding, heartfelt and indisputable. We founded the NHS and since 1997 have made it a priority, putting massive amounts of investment in to reverse the years of Tory neglect when the NHS was nearly brought to its knees. Ergo, Labour could never jump on the NHS bandwagon, we've been on it from the start and never fallen off. Labour supporters would have been upset if Gordon hadn't recognised the campaign going on via Twitter and added his support.

As for the Conservatives - how long did it take Cameron to slap down Daniel Hannan? (If you can call it that). And it's simply not enough for Cameron to say he supports the NHS - why should we believe him? Look at the Party's past record, look at what his backbenchers (Philip Bone?) and MEPs and people in the Tory blogosphere are saying, and Michael Gove's endorsement of Hannan. None of that inspires any confidence that the NHS would be safe in Tory hands - and all the Tories seem to be able to say in response is 'Cameron says this, Cameron says that...' Well I'm sorry but I have no faith in the man. He's all spin and no substance.

And tomorrow's NHS spending announcement (as flagged up on Twitter) won't make any difference to my scepticism. It's fairly obvious CCO has been in a blind panic over the past week, with Duncan putting his foot in it (another slap on the wrist from Cameron) and the NHS stuff. This is damage limitation.

Bevanite said...

Is that how Dave addresses all his letters, with a row of kisses?


Alasdair said...

By the way, the link goes through what looks like the Parliamentary remote-login thing.

It's not insecure for you, but it's a bit of a bugger for the rest of us, as it tries to install a load of java stuff and doesn't actually take you to the link unless you strip the stuff out of the URL.

Cllr Ross Grant said...

Isn't your argument weak if it is based on comments come from a minority of MEPs who have no say over or responsibility for the NHS, and a backbencher who by definition has not been given an official opposition role by David Cameron.

Gove made his views about Hannan's opinion of the NHS clear on Sunday on the Marr show, and certainly did not endorse them.

You say that you will not stand by whilst the staff are denigrated. This argument has not been an attack on the staff. It's clearly emotive of you to introduce this element and to portray yourself as a white knight coming to the defence of the staff, but they are not under attack.

Most of the staff I speak to acknowledge the need to reform the system. They welcome the additional funding that has come into the system, but believe much of it has been wasted, they want to see the resources put to better use.

I support the NHS but like all institutions it needs to constantly adapt and change. There will always be areas that can receive constructive criticism and will as a result hopefully improve giving people an even better service. Stifling debate will not serve the NHS well.

Within a party strength comes from having debate over ideas, not slavishly following the views of one or a few in fear of the thought police. That is obviously where there is a difference between Labour and the Conservatives.

As the social media expert for Labour it is going to be difficult to apply the party whip on the thought of all your activists. Good luck with that.

Kerry said...

BTW I meant Peter Bone ... we usually just refer to him as Sven!

Cllr Grant is trying to spin a line - probably agreed in the CCO bunker - that the Labour Party has put a Govt whip in charge of the party's online presence so as to enforce discipline. That is patent nonsense. There is no way the Labour Party could, or would wish to, control online content. If you look at the blogs I link to on here, there's a wide range of views represented - but what absolutely shines through is a passionate commitment to Labour values. There might be policy differences as to means by which you achieve political change, but seen as a whole, the Labour ethos, our core principles are absolutely clear. I just don't see that with the Conservative Party. I see the Central Office line, which is what Cameron spouts, and then I see a bunch of people popping up here, there and everywhere who obviously don't subscribe to it. I also see what looks like a very tight control imposed by Central Office on what their frontbenchers say - e.g. George Osborne makes his 'political cross-dressing' speech but refuses to go on Newsnight to discuss it. And sorry, it's just not good enough to say that Michael Gove distanced himself from Hannan - he obviously had to do so. Unless you are naive enough to believe that everything that comes out of a Conservative frontbencher's mouth is 100% genuine and not in any way affected by the need to present a brand new shiny - and totally phony - Conservative image to the world?