Jim and Severin 194


Like star-crossed lovers hugging as they plunge into an abyss, Severin Carrell whispers sweet nothings to Jim Murphy. The Guardian has given up all pretence of balance in not just its commentary but also its news coverage of Scotland. Carrell’s puff piece is the seventeenth Guardian article on how Jim Murphy will save Scottish Labour, and is based on nothing but an advance copy of a Murphy speech.

Carrell fails to ask any of the obvious questions. Murphy claims Labour are to contact 190,000 Labour voters, mostly elderly male and Glaswegian, who voted Yes. They will do this by “personal letters” and phone calls. This begs the question of how they identify these voters, and who will do the work. The Labour membership in Scotland is now tiny. My source in a Labour MSP’s office tells me the paid up individual political membership – excluding social clubs – stands just shy of 8,500. I find that believable. Largely thanks to Carrell that figure is similar to Guardian sales in Scotland. It is also interesting that a significant proportion of those dwindling Labour members are there because, one way or another, they are on the payroll. Councillors, council officials in “hidden” political posts, MPs and MSPs and their staff, HQ staff, union officials etc.

Labour were far from a full canvass in the referendum campaign. The ballot was (hopefully) secret. They simply cannot identify those hundreds of thousands of ex-Labour SNP supporters. Are these “personal” letters and phone calls just going to anyone who seems mature, male and Glaswegian? The entire claim of a targeted Murphy “campaign” is plainly a simple nonsense. It stands not a moment’s journalistic analysis. Only a brain-dead Labour acolyte like Carrell could promote it.


194 thoughts on “Jim and Severin

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  • glenn

    @Habbabkuk 6/1/15, 23:44 : So “winning friends and influencing people” doesn’t come into it. In any case, there are others who read my posts besides Mary and your good self.

    Indeed, and continual jibes of “troll”, being referred to in the third person in a derogatory fashion and so on, do not have to be responded to either. Everyone else reading here sees what’s going on.

    *

    Back to the point – it does appear that the target driven appointment system of GPs, together with their intransigence about seeing patients (customers) outside office hours, has driven many people (including the health secretary) to seek services elsewhere. The A&E department bears the brunt of this.

    At the same time, we might wonder why A&E is buckling under the pressure now, even though fewer people are visiting that did in the Summer. Fewer people – it’s not that word has got around, and everyone makes A&E their first stop:

    People attending major A&E depts: (Weekends) :
    – 21.12.14 =​ 289,530​;
    – 28.12.14 =​ 262,879​

    – 22.6.14 = 298,955;
    – 20.7.14 = 298,711

    http://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/ae-waiting-times-and-activity/

    What has happened that makes A&E liable to fail? More complicated cases in Winter, more respiratory problems? I don’t know – but the gutter-press has not been screaming about foreign death-flu so far, so we might be looking at some deeper malaise. What is causing hospitals to be less capable of meeting the needs of patients?

    I would welcome your own suggestions, because this is a quite interesting discussion. Regardless of negative feedback you might receive, your more expansive posts just recently were quite interesting. As you say, others read these posts, including many who (for good reason!) might not want to comment.

  • glenn

    @John (7/1/15, 01:02) : Your concerns are well placed on electronic voting. Machine tabulation is more than bad enough, electronic voting is the work of the devil. You’ll always find some damned fool that can wheeled out to rail against people preventing “progress”, Luddites, and so on. You might be familiar with this fellow Tom Scott (I was not), but I have listened to the American Brad Freeman for years about the ludicrous faith put into voting machines:

    http://bradblog.com/?p=10991

    *
    By the way, John, you are no doubt aware of how Luddites have been maligned and demonised over the years? To the point, that you can always get some fool to say “I’m not a Luddite!” without the slightest clue about what they were or stood for. I imagine you personally are too well aware of the labour movement through the years, to ever consider “Luddite” to be an offensive term.

  • glenn

    @Habbabkuk, 6/1/15, 23:33 :

    The services available rather depends on luck, how agreeable an area you happen to live in, and the vagaries of a particular practice. There are some walk-in GP surgeries, and my personal experience is that is quite possible even while residing away from your registered home. (Full disclosure: the last time I did that was under the last government, and I rarely visit a GP more than once every year or so, so my experience is limited.)

    Most GP practices appear able to see you that day, iff* you are able to see them at any specified time. This might not work well with fixed-hours working, for all those hard-working families. Of course – those layabouts who are normally blamed for clogging up the country’s systems should have no problem making appointments. But if “hard working families” are experiencing the problem, then – yikes!!

    The continental practices you mention, of booking for subsequent days should the current one already be fully booked, would be a black mark under UK NHS targets. You can’t make people wait. You pretend they are not waiting, and are instead a brand new customer/patient tomorrow, with a brand new problem.

    As to the specialist GPs, yes – they are to be found in the larger settings. Only extremely rural places would expect to have such exceedingly general practices, that all would be done in one place. Actually, one is referred to such a specialist more often that not, even if one does show up at a GP. But for female health services in particular, etc., a client might well wish to bypass GP services altogether and go directly to the specialist clinics. They appear to be either walk-in on certain days, or by appointment, as desired.

    Perhaps this gets us on to the partial, encroaching profitisation of the NHS – one might well be referred to a profitised unit, even if the GP was completely capable of dealing with the problem at that moment. They _have_ to refer you to a supposed privatised specialist, regardless.

    (*iff = if and only if)

  • Habbahoax

    Now that the Auschwitz concentration camp 4m jews gassed figure has been officially reduced to 1m, and the plaque changed accordingly, can the holocaust 6m figure be revised down to 3m? Perhaps habba,resdis,kempe and anon can tell us of a hitherto unknown butlins camp that did the dirty on the 3m arithmetical shortfall. And please no anti-semantics, its just an arithmetical conundrum that needs logical resolution, over to you team habba.

  • Mochyn69

    re: Randy Andy, Paedo Epstein, Pervy Prof Dirtyvitch,other powerful men, Ghislaine daughter of Ján Ludvík Hyman Binyamin Hoch, Virginia Roberts.

    Looks like the Palace is digging in ..

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/06/palace-prince-andrew-links-jeffrey-epstein

    Two thoughts, first, no wonder the Butler-Sloss/ Dame Fiona Woolf / who’s going to be offered the poisoned chalice next? “Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse” is thrashing about without a chair person, and second, I thought we were all supposed to be “listening to the children” about sexual abuse now, or does that only apply if the alleged perpetrators are grubby, northern DJs, or in the case of Savile, ex grubby, northern DJs!?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Iain Orr

    “..but most of us have some personal or family/friends experience of good and bad aspects of care within the NHS.”
    ______________

    Exactly; which is why I hoped to receive some coherent, informed responses. In counterpoint, so to speak, to the usual wails about “creeping privatisation”.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Who but a fearing-fat-cat-media Brown-led government would ever have agreed to the last GPs contract?”
    _______________

    I suspect that you have touched on a major nub of the problem. More money for less work.

    *****************

    PS – Glad your personal experience was positive.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Iain Orr

    Sorry, I forgot this:

    “I’m not sure that a blog like this is the best place for detailed answers to the questions Habbabkuk has been putting repeatedly. Most of us are not expert in the details of institutional changes to the NHS or in medical economics;”
    ______________

    But the equally great if not greater lack of expertise on foreign and military policy enjoyed by most of the commenters on here does not stop them from posting at great length and with great vehemence on those issues, does it….

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Herbie

    You must not allow your desire to kick public figures and what I believe is a salacious interest in this case to lead you into verbal sleight of hand.

    You write (by quoting):

    “Court documents show Mr Clinton was one of many high-profile friends of Epstein to visit his private island and fly on his jet, and that Epstein’s phone directory showed he had 21 phone numbers for Mr Clinton or his aides.”

    Those court documents do not SHOW that Clinton visited Epstein’s private island – they are merely documents SUBMITTED TO the court by the Florida attorneys bringing the case which ALLEGE that Clinton visited the island.

    Can you understand the difference?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Glenn_UK

    Thanks for that. I hope to be able to come back with a couple of ponts later today; real life calls! 🙂

  • Mary

    Some facts. Dr Eoin Clarke writes. The evidence links can be found below.

    100 Biggest Failures of David Cameron’s Government 2010-2015
    NHS Nos 25 – 42

    25.In 2012, David Cameron forced through a Top-Down reorganisation of the NHS that accelerated Privatisation (evidence)
    26.The Tories have presided over the Closing or downgrading of 33% of NHS Walk Ins, 66% A&E/Maternity Wards and 16% of A&Es (all types) (evidence & evidence)
    27.There are 477 fewer GP Surgeries, and a 4 fold increase in unfilled GP vacancies since 2010, partly caused by the £987m real terms funding cut in GP funding (evidence & evidence)
    28.The Tories have invited Private Firms to bid for £18bn of NHS Contracts. Of contracts decided upon, private health have won 33%, 56% or 70% of those contracts depending on which statistic you place most stock in (evidence, evidence & evidence).
    29.According to the UK Statistics Authority the Tories broke page 45 of their 2010 Manifesto to increase NHS Spending in real terms every year. According to the IFS, NHS Spending is falling 9.1% per patient from 2010 until 2018. The King’s Fund says the NHS is facing its tightest budget squeeze since 1979. And the Nuffield Trust say that NHS spending is falling steeply as a proportion of UK GDP (evidence, evidence, evidence and evidence)
    30.Despite inheriting an NHS that enjoyed record satisfaction ratings, the Tories by 2012 had delivered the largest every fall in patient satisfaction with the NHS. To be fair to them, it has since stabilised a little but is still below its 2012 Tory NHS Act peak (evidence & evidence)
    31.The Tories have overseen the worst A&E crisis in 11 years. Not since January 2004 have breaches of the A&E 4 hour target been as bad (evidence & evidence)
    32.The Tories have failed Ambulance Services. Ambulance Response Times for Category A (8 minute) calls has dropped from 75% to 69% in just 3 years (evidence). Ambulance Trusts have made large cuts to their staff and fleet since April 2010. For example, EMAS has cut staff by 13% and its fleet size by 100 (evidence).
    33.The Tories have oversaeen the axing of 60+ stations (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here & here). Expenditure on Private Ambulances for use in the NHS has doubled in 3 years an investigation revealed (evidence)
    34.The Tories have wasted £11 billion of taxpayers’ cash on NHS Agency
    Staff & NHS Redundancies, despite then rehiring ¼ of the staff made redundant (evidence, evidence, evidence)
    35.The Tories shut down a highly efficient NHS Direct and replaced by a for-profit NHS111 service that botched its initial launch (evidence). 78% of the NHS111 staff who process 111 calls have no clinical expertise. This has caused all sorts of pressures, including additional admissions at A&E (evidence). It has been reported that there have been 22 deaths or serious injuries which were caused by failures in the launch of NHS 111 (evidence).
    36.S75 regs, TTIP, and forced closures of A&Es take power away from the people and place it in the hands of unelected corporations. The Tories have insisted that healthcare will not be exempt from TTIP. They have passed clauses to allow Jeremy Hunt to force NHS closures against the say of the local public, and diminish the court’s role in holding him accountable. He has also passed regulations to push commercial competition in the NHS much more forcefully. All of this is anti-democratic (evidence, evidence & evidence)
    37.¼ of NHS Trusts are now in deficit. 44 new trusts moved into deficit in 2013-14. The total deficit for NHS Trust more than doubled from £297m to £743m in 2013-4 (evidence p.6)
    38.England’s GP to Patient ratio has worsened by 3-4% as population increases (evidence). Of 27 EU Countries, the UK is ranked 24th for the number of working doctors it has per head of population (just 2.71 per 1,000 people) (evidence & evidence).
    39.3.2million people are now on NHS waiting lists awaiting operations. This figure is at a 6 year high (evidence). The average patient now waits 1 week longer for treatment after referral (evidence).
    40.The Tories have cut 1,876 Mental Health NHS Beds. Up to 4,000 Psychiatric Nurses have lost their job, and overall mental health provision has been cut by 25% (evidence)
    41.9,746 Hospital Beds have been axed under the Tories. The UK now has one of the worst hospital bed to patient ratios in the world (evidence).
    42.Up to 20 treatments are now being rationed on the NHS, and denied to patients in 60+ parts of England. This shows that an NHS free at the point of use, is under threat (NAO, Dr Foster, and Labour Check)

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/251758378/100-Biggest-Failures-of-David-Cameron-s-Government-By-Eoin-Clarke-PhD

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I think we should add to that melancholy assessment (Mary) the ongoing cost of PFI contracts, which have in fact cost the taxpayer more, and will continue to do so, than directly-funded hospital build/maintenance/service provision. That was Labour, of course, but the Tories have happily bought into the disaster. The guidelines on #111 referral have been revised (Tory) to lower the bar on A&E admissions, (although the latest move is to deprioritise stroke victims among others). Lack of beds, or even trolleys, ensures that at peak hours, patients have to be held in the ambulances that brought them, delaying response to new calls.
    And aggressive pissheads are a huge factor – they always have been, of course, but they are now embedded in the culture – in wasting the time and sapping the morale of frontline staff.

  • nevermind

    The N%NUH was build and then finished in 2001, costing some 200 million plus, we will be paying some 742 million back to banks,’bad value for money’ as the audit committee calls this.

    Btw. why Habby is here. Apparently he could not cut it intellectually, or behave himself on another blog, so now he can say what he wants on here, poor soul, I always had him down as a duffer, but he was chucked for being his dull abusive self.

    To all newcomers, please persist with posting, do not be bullied by harsh responses or the ideals of others, as Craig said cut and thrust is the game and you, as anybody else, have every right to post here.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    You don’t have to be psychic, or even to disable Habbabreak, to read between the lines here. Possibly the only interesting thing about Rubbaduck is its choice of threads to disrupt. Both on this thread, which is only peripherally about the NHS, and on the next, which is about a 19th century adventurer in Afghanistan, it’s evidently niggling about the NHS. Could it be that it is incompetently attempting to neutralise discussion of the very real impression most people have that the Tories are intentionally, but stealthily, destroying the NHS altogether?

    http://socialinvestigations.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/over-60-mps-connected-to-companies.html

    Purely coincidental, of course.

  • nevermind

    Hmm, you could have a point there, Ba’al. I have been trying to insert the much greater number of 206 MP’s with 80% of them being Tories on the local rags comments, but they are already heavily censoring the news.

    I reckon that they are dealing with these important issues first so they can then travail into more trivia, such as icecream shortages in the house of commons, due to failing fridges….;)

    206 Parliamentarians have vested interest in keeping the NHS at breaking point, making it fail, as to then come in riding the white charger of reform and privatisation, creaming off more and more of taxes, these people are shameless self serving gutter snipes and pirates.

    making money on the bones of the poor, vote for the established political parties, they love to deceive!

  • Macky

    Ba’al; “You don’t have to be psychic”

    When I was much younger I used to think that people who had had the opportunity of going to University, would all be ultra smart, etc, however I was quickly dispelled of that ironic delusion after meeting a few degree & Phd decorated fools. Rarely did they have any commonsense, were often very blinkered, utterly clueless & woefully lacked many even quite basic social skills, such as reading people & other such everyday perceptions. Now after experiencing this Blog over this last few years, I have come to the realization that many of these same people, who often went onto Government careers, ended up even more clueless, as the environment Government bubble group-think was effectively just a continuation of the commonsense robbing University experience . How else does one explain Iain Orr’s off the wall compliments direct to Habbabkuk , who is yet another who keeps banging on about his university education ?

    What about our Host himself ? Notwithstanding his whistleblowing, judging by some of his more bizarre posts, POVs, and often just as strange interactions on these threads, it’s clear that he is also a double victim as described above.

    Nevermind; “Apparently he could not cut it intellectually, or behave himself on another blog”

    Do tell us more !

  • Iain Orr

    Macky @ 10.53 am – If you read my comments to or about Habbabkuk as “off the wall compliments”, that suggests you – just as much as I do – might be, as you eloquently expressed it, “woefully lack[ing] many even quite basic social skills, such as reading people..” But then quite a few people appear to be cloth-eared to 50 Tones of Irony.

  • OldMark

    Glenn @2.44am & 3.07am- excellent points.

    Of course GPs ‘intransigence about seeing patients (customers) outside office hours’ became set in stone when Blair/Brown ‘negotiated’ the new standard NHS GP contract nearly a decade ago, which removed the obligation on GPs to see patients ‘out of hours’, and instead replaced it with the ‘opt-in’ principle. Unsurprisingly, the take up from GPs to establish out of hours practices has been poor- with the consequent pressures instead falling on A&E departments.

  • Macky

    OldMark; “The possible wider ramifications of the Epstein/Prince Andrew affair are discussed in some detail here”

    Thanks for that link; reading the comments, it semms that somebody else has picked up on that 15K being hush money; nothing rings right about that suspect “loan” !

  • Herbie

    Habby

    You’re wrong.

    The difference is actually this:

    That’s why I say it above:

    “There are many other news media accounts saying the same thing, that Clinton flew to Epstein’s private island. Presumably there’s a destination in the flight logs.”
    They may not be accurate. Dunno.

    It’s not absolutely clear whether these flight records just show that Clinton flew in Epstein’s plane or that they specifically show that Clinton flew to Epstein’s private island. Presumably there’s a destination in the flight logs.”

    What you’re saying however is bollocks.

    The flight logs will either show that Clinton visited the private island or they will not show that.

    There’ll be no alleging about it.

    Leaving aside that habby reading problem.

    It is interesting that Dershowitz in this instance refers not to flight logs but Secret Service records.

    He’s saying that the claimant is a serial liar and to show that he claims that Secret Service records will show that Clinton didn’t visit the island. It’s strange that he doesn’t refer to the flight logs submitted.

    Anyway, Noam Chomsky calls Dershowitz “a remarkable liar and slanderer”

    http://www.chomsky.info/letters/20060817.htm

    Now the lawyers for the claimant are suing Dershowitz for defamation.

    It’ll certainly be interesting to see how this turns out.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Interesting comment, Macky. I’m afraid that academia does over-select for people without social skills*, and having got them, doesn’t do anything to introduce them to the world at large during their studies. It isn’t sufficiently realised, either, that just about anyone who can read and write can get a first degree at 2.2 in something. It’s no biggie. The danger with PhD’s is perhaps more insidious: having specialised in a narrow field, and being required to produce something competent and original, this becomes the dominant feature of their lives, and, often, a near-pathological, all-exclusive obsession. Added to this hazard, for post-docs, is the tendency to grossly exaggerate their own importance. Which grows with each promotion. So, yes, some ‘educated’ people are ‘cloth-eared’ (Orr) to the impression they are giving. OTOH, Rubbaduck does it intentionally, out of sheer malice, and without the need for anything beyond basic literacy.

    Our Host? Maybe he would care to examine this ditty?

    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/pulp/commonpeople.html

    Ok, maybe not.

    *like me, admittedly.

  • nevermind

    Macky, sorry, I do not want to spread/involve the good name of a blog when its not necessary. It does not matter one way or the other, best pity the poor sod, he has a home here now and we must look after the vulnerable in society…..

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Baal Zevul

    “You don’t have to be psychic, or even to disable Habbabreak, to read between the lines here. Possibly the only interesting thing about Rubbaduck is its choice of threads to disrupt. Both on this thread, which is only peripherally about the NHS, and on the next, which is about a 19th century adventurer in Afghanistan, it’s evidently niggling about the NHS. Could it be that it is incompetently attempting to neutralise discussion of the very real impression most people have that the Tories are intentionally, but stealthily, destroying the NHS altogether?”
    __________________

    You appear to be rather intolerant of people who think differently from you, Baal Zevul. To the point of accusing them of targeted “disruption” rather than just ignoring them of, better, refuting their comments (example above) and using silly little devices like referring to them as “it”.

    But let me help you understand better. The reason for posting about OUR NHS is the alleged present crisis in a number of hospitals (especially in A & E), which is attracting a lot of press coverage. It is, if you like, “l’actualité” or, as some of you like to put it, “breaking news”.

    Keep analysing the threads on which I post a lot, a little or not at all – it won’t get you very far, but I guess you’ve got lots of time to spare?…..

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    OldMark

    “Of course GPs ‘intransigence about seeing patients (customers) outside office hours’ became set in stone when Blair/Brown ‘negotiated’ the new standard NHS GP contract nearly a decade ago, which removed the obligation on GPs to see patients ‘out of hours’, and instead replaced it with the ‘opt-in’ principle. Unsurprisingly, the take up from GPs to establish out of hours practices has been poor- with the consequent pressures instead falling on A&E departments.”
    _________________

    I think I’d agree with you there.

    But why on earth was that new standard contract negotiated? Pressure from the GPs themselves (it is human, I suppose, for people to want more for doing less- even the noble white knights of OUR NHS)? NuLabour looking for votes from GPs, most of whom I guess would normally vote Conservative.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Herbie

    “The flight logs will either show that Clinton visited the private island or they will not show that.

    There’ll be no alleging about it.”
    _____________

    I quite agree.

    Pity you didn’t give more emphasis to that, preferring instead to emphasise the “many other news media accounts saying the same thing”.

    Don’t you agree?

  • Macky

    Habbabkuk; “But let me help you understand better”

    Save it for the afflicted who can’t see through you; to paraphrase Lysias, why on earth should anybody ever take you remotely seriously given your track record here ?!!

    (Rhetorical question, so don’t expect an exchange)

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Herbie (cont.)

    “He’s saying that the claimant is a serial liar and to show that he claims that Secret Service records will show that Clinton didn’t visit the island. It’s strange that he doesn’t refer to the flight logs submitted.”
    __________________

    Well, it may be that Dershowitz has, in some way, had access to Secret Service records but not to the flight logs. Who keeps the flight logs by the way?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Anyway, Noam Chomsky calls Dershowitz “a remarkable liar and slanderer””
    ________________

    Your word “anyway” is a bit of a give away, isn’t it; you are plucking at any “argument”.

    Chomsky’s view of Dershowitz might owe something to the fact that he has been bested (in my opinion, at least)by Dershowitz on a couple of occasiojns when engaging in public debate with him before university audiences.

    And, “anyway”, I’m sure Dershowitz – and many others – might have an equally complimentary view of Chomsky….

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Baal Zevul supports Macky:

    “The danger with PhD’s is perhaps more insidious: having specialised in a narrow field, and being required to produce something competent and original, this becomes the dominant feature of their lives, and, often, a near-pathological, all-exclusive obsession.”
    ___________________

    Does this mean you have a PhD, given that you are obsessed with Tony Blair and his travels?

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