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Daily Mail reports that steel tycoon Lord Paul we do mean tax-exile Lord Paul of Caparo....a man who cannot live under Gordon Brown's tax regime but thinks the rest of us should ?

A Non-Domiciled funder of General Elections underwriting Labour's stake at the gaming tables is not exactly what those who avoid UK taxation should be doing.

Lord Paul of Marylebone should get full publicity as a tax-avoiding millionaire paying for British elections

This is good news. As even the Editor has said this is not the time to lurch to the right. David Cameron would look shallow and opportunistic. There's more to be gained by sticking with messages that are authentically Cameron's. The NHS is the right place to begin a fightback.

Healthcare at the heart of the fightback - exactly right, but will anyone out there is listening?
Yes, we've had Tory action days on the NHS but somehow the pubic remains highly sceptical of our message "Stop Brown's health cuts."
The Tories should have been manning the baricades to defend cottage hospitals and A&E units which are threatened by Labour's polices. The time to do that was when the closures were announced. We should have been leading the opposition, showing that we care about communities, at the time they were threatened, instead of issuing a policy when half the nation is on holiday and will therefore remain in ignorance at what we want. to achieve. Another golden opportunity squandered.
Our local MP did mount a robust defence of health facilities in Felixstowe and Aldeburgh which were facing the chop, but the Tory controlled county and district councilsl gave the impression that they accepted closure as a fait accompli. They should have protested long, loud, and often in defence of localaism, but too many Tory councillors are detached from party policy. Where were the petitions to Downing Street? Where were the photos in the local papers of our councillors and activists getting behind the campaigns to save the hospitals?
I fear the Conservative Party is creeping towards oblivion.

The Conservative leader believes that the NHS - to which he has a deep personal commitment because of the way that it has cared for his son, Ivan - is Gordon Brown's Achilles heel.

What a good reason to pump more cash into the NHS - because as we all know, in countries without expensive and cumbersome socialist healthcare systems, no one 'cares', and in particular, the children of extremely wealthy parents couldn't expect any healthcare at all. Err ...

How I wish the Conservative Party would stop all this pathetic pandering to a welfare state that simply doesn't work, however much politicians might wish to pretend otherwise.

Looking forward to seeing DC make the case for cottage hospitals. They provide reassuring local care but have been closed over the last 30 years by efficiency freaks into gigantism and plate glass.

Would also like to see an argument for an increasing element of insurance-based funding like most other countries. Am I asking too much Mr Cameron? I am greatly looking forward to your ideas. They will be the measure of you if this is your main campaign.

Drusilla - Yeah, lets just say we'll dismantle the NHS - sure fire vote winner that!? [rolls eyes].

As it is the NHS is a great issue to start seeking to regain the political iniative and recast the current media narrative (currently "Brown Bounce sweeps all before it") just at the time that they are tiring of it and potentially casting about for a new story.

We've made great progress on reestablishing our credibility on the issue (pre-"bb" at least) - and a concerted and coherent push back sounds like a positive move, much more so than the rather disjointed and frankly scatter-gun impact of some of the policy reviews (which have produced worthy and thought provoking suggestions never the less!).

Would also like to see an argument for an increasing element of insurance-based funding like most other countries.
The National Insurance Fund pays for an increasing proportion of NHS spending. One option is to make this money conditional on it going on only those paying National Insurance based contributions record, or the amount could be cut out of NHS spending and National Insurance accordingly cut which seems the better solution to me.

While its good to see us returning to a big issue and not one that is naturally a Tory one, as Felixstowe fiddler rightly points out, the public is still highly skeptical of our view on the NHS. If we care so much about the NHS, why has our campaigning on this issue died down in recent months? A lot of the edge we had has been taken off because everytime we speak about the NHS, Cameron has to continue refering to the fact his family has a personal connection to it. He needs to stop using his family on the issue as it only deflects media attention from the issue we are trying to highlight.

Unless we can have a sustained campaign on this issue, one which Cameron has indicated will be a key one for the next General Election (though policy isnt particularly distinct in the current political climate), the public is unlikely to see us as anything better than the incumbent government. We must do more. Its not like theres a lack of targets to attack here for Cameron and co.

Good move. Its not going to be easy but why should it be and we have to win over an issue like this to have any chance of gaining public confidence and being a Govt. Lets all get stuck into this and make it work,


Drusilla didn't say let's dismantle the NHS but merely pointed out pumping more money into this inefficient monolith is not addressing the problem.

We do need more social insurance and could do with abolishing all the trusts which manage our hospitals. What's wrong with a general manager in each hospital who everyone knows is accountable for the hospital's performance?

Sure we need to handle the politics carefully but maintaining the status quo is simply putting off the problem.

If he maintains the present system he has two choices open to him. He can either pump in more money or he can reorganise delivery systems. Sadly both have been tried over the last twenty years with a certain lack of success.

Policy development based on personal experience seems a little sentimental to me. Doesn't he realise his status will ensure individual attention no matter his family's difficulties.

The sooner the GE comes the sooner the pain for all of us will be over. Does anyone really believe DC can outbid and outspent Gordon. To borrow a phrase "no change no chance"

I'm interested Tim in what you write about John Redwood. I support everything he has recommended but the timing so close to a likely election is worrying. We need more time to sell policies that Labour can scare people with.

The problem with putting issues like the NHS, state education etc at the heart of the Cameron programme is that since both sides agree on the fundamentals there is virtually nothing to argue about.

Some tinkering here and there of course, plus the dubious pledge that the Tories would do the same thing better. The public aren't convinced and neither, frankly, am I.

When you highlight issues on which there IS (or should be) a difference, such as immigration, EU etc, you not only give the electorate a real choice. You also increase the chance that the Government will move to take a more sane line on both.

As regards the NHS we have a choice of Stalinist monolith run by Tweedledum or Stalinist monolith run by Tweedledee.

As a long time Conservative supporter and member, I am in despair about the attitude of our MPs and front bench. Sure it is right to put the NHS to the forefront, but day by day issues which concern and affect ordinary people come up and we hear nothing from any of them- yesterday we had the problem of under age drinking which made headline news- what the Cheshire Chief Constable said was absolutely right- yet where was any Conservative voice? Why do we not hear anything on knife crime/failure of Primary Schools/the ecnonomy etc etc. It is pathetic- every open goal missed and in some cases not even recognised. Today's press regarding part timers on the front bench only reinforces my view, held by many of the Party loyalists( who support David Cameron as I do) that there is no will whatseover to win or even fight-most of them have safe seats anyway so why bother?This is a gross betrayal of all of us in the constituencies, particularly here where we are in a Labour marginal. Ultimately these representatives are letting done their country which neeeds and deserves far better than the Brown brainwashing roadshow.
How many MPs/Front Bench will return from their holidays to support the leader this weekend?
But who can us ordinary members get through to?- nobody in Central Office wants to listen. Where is Mr Coulson??
I fear that those who were ringing bells after the May elections(only 3 months ago) will soon be ringing their hands at the real prospect of the Parliamentary Party going back to the levels of 1997/2001
I challenge any Conservative MP reading this to reply with reasons why we have heard nothing from them.

I agree with Drusilla it's time to stop throwing money at the NHS and privatise it. It is cumbersome, bureaucratic and totally outdated and we should be moving to encourage people to end their reliance on the welfare state.

Insurance based funding is the only efficient means of running a health care service. Why pander to the Labour Party we should be showing some clear blue water on this issue.

If we do see a “summer offensive” I guess it will be short and sweet, rather like last week’s sunshine!

Formal privatisation is highly unlikely to happen as it would be electoral suicide. As much as some of us regret, the NHS is a sacred cow and to privatise it would be an incredibly risky thing to argue for. I know Cornerstone released a pamphlet arguing for it but I think it would be too much for the public to take in one hit. Using the market instead to lower costs is the best thing. We cant jump from the system now to fully privatised. It would have to be planned carefully and would take a very long time.

The frontbenchers are to busy feathering their own nests with directorships. Why would they worry about the nhs when they go private.

I look forward to David Cameron announcing what the Conservative policy on health care is going to be. Then we will have something to comment on.

I hope it will include the breaking of the state monopoly so that supply can match demand - as is the case in France, Germany and Switzerland for example.

The present rationing of health care is a national disgrace.

Surely any attempt by Lord Paul to bankroll an election would be illegal? The moral and ethical questions that arise are alarming that one man could effectively control democracy in this country.

As regards the NHS, it is long overdue for a root and branch overhaul.
The NHS should provide basic medical services for all. Treatment such as IVF, Sex Changes, Cosmetic Surgery and whatever should be regrded as luxuries and outside of its remit. Users to pay the commercial costs. Equally, those reckless enough to place themselves in A&E should pay, or have insurance to pay. All aliens should be made to pay unless reciprocal arrangements are in force.
It doesn't take radical change to make the NHS a far more effective organisation, and cheaper to run. Dismissing all the administrators and paper pushers would help, allowing money to be spent on kit, fabric and salaries and wages for the staff at the front line.

"Surely any attempt by Lord Paul to bankroll an election would be illegal? The moral and ethical questions that arise are alarming that one man could effectively control democracy in this country."

I agree with you George but ConservativeHomies were falling over each other on last week's thread to thank Ashcroft for bankrolling the Tories.

Surely any attempt by Lord Paul to bankroll an election would be illegal?

I fear not....but it is worth checking. I should think he is "resident, but not ordinarily resident and non-domiciled" yet a British Citizen.

In short he probably has the same arrangements as Sir Ron Cohen and other Bankrollers of Brown or "BOB"

Privatising the NHS would be electoral suicide - thus the conventional wisdom. But would it? In my own most recent encounters with contemporary British healthcare, I have been revolted by the sloppy, filthy, and sometimes chaotic conditions which prevail. I have also been astounded that nobody has started to campaign against them. It is perfectly true that individual nurses and doctors provide an excellent service, but this is entirely beside the point and most dedicated medical staff would understand this. We need a system in which the money follows the need as in the free market. Insurance premiums, if the whole country were obliged to pay them, would fall. Because of the massive cuts in taxation which offloading healthcare would involve, almost everyone could easily afford them. Those who could not would naturally be assisted. This, in rough outline, is the case for undoing the damage done by Atlee's horrible, authoritarian government. Hospitals would then be independent bodies competing to serve the patient. Instead of smoking bans and fitness drives, which makes the doctor into some sort of state registered master of your private life, we would have people justifying their gaspers with raised insurance contributions. They would then be the customer and therefore the master of the doctor. Like a good tailor sorting out the suits of a rough old scamp, he would do his best to sort out the body. Freedom all round. What could be better than that? Or is the British electorate too lazy and thick to embrace freedom? Probably. At any rate, Cameron thinks so and therefore panders to them with nauseating cant about his private life. Is this weakness or cunning?

Isn't Nick Gibb yet another of those Tory MPs who seem to think that the left has all the best tunes and that all that the Tories can hope to do is to tax and spend as much as Labour but to manage things marginally better?

Simon: spot on. Naturally there may be political issues but historically, problems in the NHS were always atributed to 'Tory cuts' - hardly credible after 10 years of mammoth funding increases.

People have witnessed massive cash injections making very little difference to outcomes, whilst management costs have ballooned and the administrative system has mushroomed.

If I walk into a BUPA hospital, there will be clear information telling me who is in charge (manager and matron) and what to do in the event of a complaint.

In your average NHS hospital, would anyone have a clue who to speak to and what to do??

If I walk into a BUPA hospital, there will be clear information telling me who is in charge (manager and matron) and what to do in the event of a complaint.

BUPA doesn't have any hospitals - they sold them all.....and anyway they are tiny

A little uncertainty as to your facts about BUPA, CCTV. Whatever their size or ontological status, they seem to be rather more healthy and agreeable places than the disease ridden slums of the NHS.

CCTV: Pointless nit picking. And actually the sale isn't complete yet so they are still BUPA hospitals for the time being.

And they're tiny? What's your point? That the NHS should operate only large hospitals; that large organisations shouldn't have someone clearly in charge?

They are still exceptionally well managed (and not one case of MRSA in 2006 in any of them).

I echo many of the comments here - what are we to say that is distinctive?

If it is just 'stop Brown's cuts' then we are effectively saying we should spend more and more on the NHS - which plays into Labour and the left's hands - for them it will always be about the money which we have to spend, which they will always have an edge on.

Yet in the short term this may erode Brown's lead, so I can see why tactically this might be a good move. But in the long term I really think we need to offer something distinctive.

Exactly, 1AM. It is madness for any tory to try to out-Brown Brown. He will alienate even more of us, fail utterly to convince them and either way look pretty bloody silly in an interview: So it's a rise in tax, Mr Cameron? Oh, so what services will you cut in order to transfer the funds Mr Cameron? There is no way out but the principled way - privatise the lot.

All aspects of Healthcare are completely devolved to the Scottish Parliament. What has Cameron got to offer Scotland? (I hope he might be able to think of something better than what mistakes that the Scottish Tories have been rolling out over recent weeks)

They are still exceptionally well managed (and not one case of MRSA in 2006 in any of them).

Posted by: Steve | August 15, 2007 at 12:33

Good year 2006 then !

They are not exceptionally well-managed - the Private equity guys are stunned that none of BUPA's management knows how to run hospitals. The management was full of insurance executives

Monday June 18, 08:01 AM
BUPA Sells Hospitals To Private Equity

BUPA has sold off its 25 UK hospitals to European private equity company Cinven for a total of £1.44bn, it has been announced. "

BUPA will use the sale proceeds to pay down debt and to invest in the group. Hospitals accounted for just 11% of its business last year, with three-quarters coming from health insurance and the rest from care homes for the elderly. The company controls 40% of the health insurance market in the UK

"The problem with putting issues like the NHS, state education etc at the heart of the Cameron programme is that since both sides agree on the fundamentals there is virtually nothing to argue about."

This, from TT, just about accurately sums up the problem with Cameron led Tories - they give us no choice. It's either welfare statists, or welfare statists - just the logo on the rosette is slightly different.


Anyway there is no policy of any substance on the NHS, nor can there be. All 'putting at the centre' means is that 'David Cameron's Conservatives' do not wish to be seen talking about immigration and the EU, so it's a kind of smokescreen.

But those are exactly the issues most people want us to address. It may well be that health and education are more immediately important to them personally just as their breakfasts and summer holidays are also more important to them personally, but the public are also concerned about long-term national issues where there is (usually) a real choice on offer.

The electorate did NOT vote out Major because he had strong policies on the EU and immigration, which of course he didn't. They voted him out because of inefficiency, incompetence and sleaze, and those are the three factors which have blighted Tory prospects ever since.

And continue to do so, on the evidence of recent polls.

Ok so Cameron puts the NHS at the heart of a "fightback". How is that going to work then? What on earth do we have to offer on the NHS that, since we won't do restructuring or privatisation or challenge the failed statist status quo, is any different to the other two Social Democratic party's offerings?

Realistically we are just going to end up re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic whilst it sinks beneath the waves of all the issues that the electorate truly care about but that we won't talk about in case Polly Toynbee and the BBC don't like it. Let's also not forget that as soon as we try to make the NHS the main electoral issue the Labour leaning media will turn the debate into one about the "damage" that "Tory cuts" did to it. The voters do not trust us on the NHS, thanks to Labour lies, and it will take a lot more than a bit of spin and some cute soundbites to change that perception.

This is not an election winning strategy unless Cameron has something really radical and appealing up his sleeve on the NHS and on his performance to date that seems sadly to be very unlikely indeed.

NHYes was one of the best campaigns we have done. We need to follow it up with more like it.

The article in the Telegraph recently about super-nurses and cleanliness was spot on, however, I am fed up of contract staff being blamed for lack of cleanliness. Private hospitals have not seen cases of MRSA, etc. and they have private, contract cleaning staff.

Infection is what most people die of - which is why it has to be top priority in any health institution. It's not radical, pioneering or expensive but it could save plenty of lives.

CCTV: Blimey you really know how to split hairs and focus on the irrelevant. I notice you didn't bother to refute the basic theme of my message. BUPA hospitals have clear, transparent management structures and are cleaner and more hygienic than your average NHS hospital. How many MRSA infections were there in the average NHS hospital in 2006??

And I'll say it again since you seem obsessed with trivia. The sale of BUPA's hospitals has been announced BUT NOT YET COMPLETED and so for the time being they remain BUPA Hospitals (and will convert to Spire Healthcare hospitals once the sale is concluded). Check your facts.

The subject of mixed-sex wards needs to be addressed as a priority. My sixteen year old niece was traumatised after being stuck overnight in a ward full of males. In spite of appeals by my sister the hospital were unwilling to move her daughter as hospital staff said that would contravene government guidelines. To force a poorly young girl who had never even slept away from home to share a ward with adult males, some of whom were in for alcohol de-toxification, heaps shame onto Labour's broken NHS policy.

Simon Denis,I don't think you know what you're talking about re BUPA hospitals.The buildings and the food might be good but that's about it.
They are not equipprd to deal either with serious operations or emergencies. You will find that most medical proffessionals will opt to be treated in NHS hospitals every time.
I should know I worked in a BUPA hospital for some years.

Nobody said BUPA hospitals were equipped to deal with serious operations or emergencies!

Merely that they are, on the whole, effectively, transparently managed hospitals that the NHS could learn a lot from.

NHYes was one of the best campaigns we have done.

Is that what it was called? Well I suppose it may have had an impact somewhere. No doubt if you were out there weaing a funny hat and singing the campaign song it felt as if the joint was really jumping.

However, such campaigns are more likely simply to remind the public that the Tories have a reputation - unjustified as it may be - for wanting to rubbish the NHS.

It's rather like THAT speech by Theresa May. No doubt she thought she was telling people that the Tories weren't nasty, but all everybody remembers is that she said they were the Nasty Party.

The message received is not always the one you sought to convey.

I should know I worked in a BUPA hospital for some years.

What as? Bedpan emptier, judging by your recent descent into the language of the toilet.

My apologies to Steve (capitalised 'S') for previously confusing the two of you.

"It's the economy stupid",
If Brown goes early then it's a sure sign that his smoke and mirrors economic miracle is about to go pear shaped very soon. Yet we still don't hear any confident attack on pensions, selling our gold, the tax credits fiasco, council tax or the billions he has frittered away after punitive stealth taxation....

No doubt we'll still be pussy footing around trying to be the nice party, sigh..

BUPA’s hospitals group (“the Group”) is the third largest provider of private medical services in the UK. The Group’s operations include 1.544 acute beds and assets comprise 25 acute care hospitals located throughout the UK, and a treatment centre in Redhill. Employees total approximately 5,800 of which 3,300 are clinical staff. 2007 revenues are forecast to be £457m with normalised EBITDA* of £100.2m

NHS Hospital Trusts 290 organisations administer hospitals, treatment centres and specialist care in about 1,600 NHS hospitals

PCTs oversee 29,000 GPs and 18,000 NHS dentists.

As of March 2005, the NHS has 1.3 million workers,

A bit like comparing Morgan with General Motors........

Why doesn't BUPA do more of this in return for its charitable status ?


Rubbish Steve,they are glorified hotels,that's all. Alright for minor ops and that's it. As I said few members of the medical profession would ever elect to be treated for anything but the most minor condition in a private hospital.
Traditional Tory,I suppose you have a reputation to keep up.That of the biggest prat on this blog.You're doing well today,but don't waste your breathe attacking me, attack the Conservative party,that's what your best at.

steve you're completely missing my point. Why are you harping on about what operations take place in BUPA hospitals and NHS hospitals?!

My original comment was that if I enter a BUPA hospital I can see straight away who is in charge (manager and matron) and there is a clear structure. I've never said they replicate NHS hospitals, merely that they are run effectively and the NHS could learn from them.

Glorified hotels they may be, but with no recorded cases of MRSA in 2006. Speaks for itself doesn't it.

"Traditional Tory,I suppose you have a reputation to keep up.That of the biggest prat on this blog.."

With the strength of your arguments and articulacy 'steve' (with a little 's' - little in more ways than one, no doubt), you're clearly for imminent inclusion on Cameron's 'A-list'.

I see the negative mob are out again trying to cause trouble.

What happens if a minor/routine operation goes wrong and more specialist care is needed?
In the UK when something goes wrong, and the patient requires emergency treatment they are then transferred to an NHS hospital.

In the US though the best emergency treatment is in the private sector who also own all the ambulances, there are laws requiring stabilisation of people picked up who aren't customers before they are handed over to County (ie public sector) hospitals or voluntary hospitals.

Just so I can get this straight, Matt - 'the negative mob' cause trouble (by [cue drum roll, then frightened, 'take the children into the other room Susan', silence] posting things on a blog), and this is B-for-Bad, which you, however, can, however negatively, point out (on, uh, a blog), but, as for, say, the small matter of the Criminally Incompetent Leadership of a Party in opposition in a 3rd term that ought to have a double figures opinion poll lead by now, even if they were going to lose the next election - well, I'm guessing from the overall tenor of your admittedly brief remarks (do pick me up if I'm wrong though), no one, under any any circumstances EVER should point *that* out (least of all [cue hammer Horror blood stains trailing down your computer's screen] on a blog)?

Traditional Tory and Stephen Tolkinghorne said what I would have liked to say if I could have expressed it as well as they did.

In the US though the best emergency treatment is in the private sector who also own all the ambulances,

Poor old John F. Kennedy - he died in Dallas County Hospital....

I would like to add: David Cameron should put Redwood at the heart of his fightback or go immediately.

Matt Wright - I see the negative mob are out again trying to cause trouble

Would the negative mob include those of your own soulmates who see fit to post four-letter obscenities on CH?

but with no recorded cases of MRSA in 2006. Speaks for itself doesn't it.

Posted by: Steve |

What isn't "recorded" doesn't appear, that is very true.

The USA has an awful lot of MRSA



Approximately 10–25 percent of healthy people are colonized with Staphylococcus aureus in the nose and skin, especially in the inguinal area. Depending on the geographical area, between 10–70 percent of S. aureus is MRSA. The highest national rate is reported in Houston, Texas. If colonized, even a minor skin abrasion may lead to a clinical infection. CA-MRSA is spread by physical contact, not typically by airborne transmission.

If you want to reduce MRSA stop using antibiotics after surgery and other immuno-suppressants


Infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have been reported in European hospitals for more than 40 years,

One of the few countries not to have been overwhelmed by MRSA is the Netherlands: an important part of the success of the Dutch strategy may have been to attempt eradication of carriage upon discharge from hospital.[32] However, the number of MRSA infected people in the Netherlands is currently rising, because of numerous infections in pig farms. The MRSA strain is carried from pig to human. Very recently, the Dutch food association has discovered strains of the MRSA bacterium on pork meat. These strains were able to infect humans.

Because cystic fibrosis patients are often treated with multiple antibiotics in hospital settings, they are often colonised with MRSA, potentially increasing the rate of life-threatening MRSA pneumonia in this group. The risk of cross-colonisation has led to increased use of isolation protocols among these patients. In a hospital setting, patients who have received fluoroquinolones are more likely to become colonised with MRSA,[37] this is probably because many circulating strains of MRSA are fluoroquinolone-resistant, which means that MRSA is able to colonise patients whose normal skin flora have been cleared of non-resistant S. aureus by fluoroquinolones.

It is funny how some people can politicise MRSA just as some politicise HIV-AIDS I suppose. I bet noone ever died of Polonium-210 poisoning in a BUPA Hospital either - it is the NHS that gets to do the real medicine.

I think reversing the increases in spend as a percentage of GDP towards what it was before 1948 has to be a priority, First welfare spending and now Health spending, and increasingly Education spending has been put up to absurd levels, whatever level it is in continental Europe, this is the UK and the UK should decide policy on the basis of what is best for the UK, not what most countries in the EU do.

There has been a wave of hypochondria and it is time that the NHS start raising more money commercially and that the NHS is transferred out of the public sector to private charities limited by guarantee who would be funded mainly by charging for services, but providing some cross subsidised services. Low interest loans (up to a limited amount of loan) repayable on a similar basis to Student Loans currently could help pay for essential treatment.

As a doctor, NHS employee and PPC, I do agree the NHS should be high on the agenda. However, we also need to focus on the other areas that are important to people's lives -1. education (focus on dumbing down and worsening outcomes for deprived groups - huge evidence),
2. poverty (showing how Conservative values are actually the way to address this and how Labours statism is failure - IDS/ James Bartholomew/ marriage etc),
3. crime (prevention same issues as in (2)and more prisons, longer sentences, tougher grip on antisocial behaviour, more drug rehab),
4. immigration (even recent immigrants want the drawbridge pulled up - link to his huge house building programme (destoying countryside, risk of flooding) and unemployment in poor British youth rising),
5. transport - failures to tackle issues including crossrail etc,
6. house prices (linked to immigration, flooding and environment)
7. pensions - Brown's theft of these, impending problems need sorting out
8. economy - particularly debt of country and personal debt

As regards NHS - poor management, waste (much money in, little out). AVERAGE waiting times have hardly changed, whilst bureaucracy risen, dumbed down training, poor morale, high chance of getting lethal hospital acquired infections.

In summary, I think we have a very good case.

Focus on business is only a lurch to the right if you happen to be the BBC or Polly Toynbee. Business is part of society - the part where jobs are created, wages are paid, pensions are funded, goods and services are provided and prices are kept competitive, in short where the quality of life agenda starts.

It is all corners of our society that benfits by £14 billion under Redwood's proposals, not only the annual gathering of vererans from the Waffen SS.

It is pointless highlighting the NHS until we have worked out what we want to say. With any radical reform ruled out, this is just going to be better managerialism and that's not very sexy.
The NHS is a mess, which wastes billions. I think public support is no longer as automatic as people think. My own father has just gone to France for hospital tests rather than wait for them in England and I am a doctor.

There is no escaping that the burgeoning difficulties facing the NHS needs a radical overhaul that sees a genuine return of its determination to the British people, so while in caption the "Shifting the Balance of power" document is bold, the realities are that only a small fraction of the aspirations are achievable. However, in the process, large parts of the NHS have been subjected to alienation, de-skilling and further waste by ponderous and inept bureaucrats.

I hope a proposal to re-emphasise, in the modern idiom, the tri-partite compact that underpinned the NHS will be well received and accepted by Tory policy makers; it has the support of the public at large and the medical professions alike.

TT - the people you refer to (whoever they are) are not my "soulmates". The purpose of the site should be constructive debate. Unfortunately there are elements who never engage in any constructive debate and simply post negative comments as frequently as possible. I suppose I could put up with some mild swearing if the post is overall constructive or the poster is usually constructive. The problem is those that are never constructive. Those are the ones, whatever side they are on, who the Editor should be removing in some way.

ACT - I don't expect all posts to be pro-Cameron or uncritical. Indeed I have made detailed suggestions as to how the current party strategy could be improved in various posts on this site but I have done so with contructive ideas. There is a problem though with those that just put out continuous negativity as it de-values the site. It's upto the editor to manage it.

Didn't realise you were such a sensitive soul Traditional Tory. You can dish it out but you can't take it. What a loser!

God this is such a mess. I think we need to conduct a detailed analysis into the functioning of the NHS at present, and we need to enter it without any preconceptions. That means we should not rush in all guns blazing on the HMS Privatisation.

I'm in a real mess on this. Markets work, we know this. But are we really suggesting that if you can't afford healthcare, you shouldn't get it?

I just don't know, this is such a giant problem, and I think it needs careful and considered action. We need to look at what goes wrong, look at how other countries do it, and talk to NHS staff. One of the obvious answers is 'cut bureaucracy!' but that seems increasingly the generic response to NHS reform and it feels like it's just chipping away at the edges.

I don't have a viable answer to this. Does anyone?

The closure of Maternity wards, A&E departments and complete hospitals is an urgent issue and I hope and think this is what the Cameron fightback is about. The argument in this is pretty simple as far as I can see, The government (obviously through their proxies i.e trusts - there is no way a minister or Prime minister is going to take responsibility) have decided in their wisdom that we no longer need the shabby facilities in smaller hospitals so lets close them down (to save money). The problem is that pesky electorate can tell that this might just cost lives. So the government come back and say that these super regional hospitals are much better for you. The problem is that although the super regional hospital is better(and I personally am not convinced) I am never going to make it to it due to the ridiculously over-crowded roads.

Now, the government are not daft and they knew that these hospital closures were not going to be popular so they got the then health secretary Patricia Hewitt, and little evil Dwarf Hazel Blears to draw up heat maps that say if you are in a tory safe seat tough luck, we are more than happy to close your ward/department/hospital.

If I were Cameron I would say we are never going to make judgements about healthcare based on how your constituency votes, and we don't want any more closures as we don't believe that this isn't just a big cost saving exercise that sees people in Safe Conservative and Lib dem seats as Justifiable sacrifices to ten years of Labour's wasteful incompetence.

The Cameron 'honeymoon' is over and the man himself looks increasingly shaky. He can yap about the NHS all he likes. Nobody's listening!

Casting the Tory Party back 50 years to be ruled over by an unrepresentative clique of Old Etonians was not the best idea for a party whose leader proclaims himself and his party to be in touch with the Britain of today. Cameron's claims that the Tory Party is not racist are undermined by the elections of racists and fascists as Tory councillors in May.

The electorate saw through the sham that is Cameron's Conservative Party and gave them the big thumbs down at the Sedgefield and Ealing Southall by-elections where the Tories came... third.

The 16 year old Shadow Chancellor, Toryboy Gideon Osborne, made himself look even more foolish than usual by proclaiming that the Tories would win the Sedgefield by-election... in a seat which is one of the strongest Labour constituencies in the country. Mummy was not there to hold his hand and to tell him what to say, it seems.

As the Tory Party prepares for another bloody round of infighting, I advise you to get the popcorn and ice cream in early so that you miss none of the bloodletting and scandals which invariably accompany Tory internal conflicts.

Watch this space for more exciting news!

"I don't have a viable answer to this. Does anyone?"

Ash, to be fair to the Conservatives, they were finally on the right track with the NHS in the period before 97. Had they backed up their reforms with some hard cash we might be reaping some of the benefits now.

As it happened Labour took power undid all the hard work and then pumped billions into it. We now have the cold hard reality of one party having had the right ideas and no hunger or ability to invest in them at that time. This was followed by a party devoid of any real aim apart from hitting targets like waiting lists while showing visible improvements like shiny new hospitals, it was all about the statistics for that ever important headline.
We have now wasted billions and the cutbacks are happening everywhere as the bills are becoming ever more difficult to pay for. In 10 years there was no real reform, just a cynical attempt to pay for the right results at political convenient times.
Totally and utterly unbelievable to think that if Labour had continued to implement the Conservatives ideas and backed it up with hard cash we might have had a better outcome, not perfect but better than all the waste. I don't know what was worse the underfunding or the opportunities and vast amounts of money squandered?

Plenty of poeple are listening as they did in my seat when we fought the closure of a community hospital and the pitiful funding of the local hospice etc. Alistair seems worried about Conservatives highlighting Labour failures...I wonder why?


Matt, I am sure that he is hoping that Gordon's strategy grid has yet more nasty surprises for us. Gordon Brown will make Blair look like an amateur when it comes to spin, arrogance and negative politics. Cameron needs to *employ* a very ruthless set of Balls who don't blink when put under any serious scrutiny or questioning!

Cameron needs to *employ* a very ruthless set of Balls who don't blink

Well, I've heard of swinging balls and balls hanging low but blinking balls?

Do you know, that makes me feel quite queasy...

CCTV: Why do you persist in being so anal?

Firstly you pointlessly nit pick over who owns BUPA hospitals (anal in the extreme and ultimately wrong); then ignore my repeated point about clear management structures in these hospitals; then focus on MRSA across the world instead of comparing the figures in BUPA and NHS hospitals.

Why the desperate need to try to belittle BUPA hospitals? I'm not claiming they're perfect. Far from it. Simply, that we could learn a lot from them - that has been my only point. You don't seem to think so, which is bizarre. NHS hospitals are perfect are they?

CCTV: Why do you persist in being so anal?

Sorry Steve...do explain...not quite as conversant in playground talk as you appear to be.

Your poor education is self-evident but I simply don't understand your gutter-talk....could you upgrade your discourse ?

CCTV: Love the pomposity. Lol. Great way to attract votes. You must go down a storm in your area.

Once again you fail to answer my point about superior, clearer management standards in BUPA hospitals. You might remember that whilst I have been trying to make serious points about healthcare, you have been nit picking (and hilariously, been proved wrong - if you're going to nit pick, try being accurate!) Hence why you're anal. I can't imagine you're so removed from reality as not to know what this means. If so, get acquainted with real life.

Meanwhile, stick to the topic on the thread.

Steve you are a moron. You are poorly-educated, foul-mouthed and ignorant. You cannot help being limited in your knowledge but you can behave like an adult instead of a loutish yob.

Dear oh dear.

Nurse! Fetch the editor!

Interesting that a ignorant, poorly educated, foul mouthed, loutish, yobbish moron could still get his facts right and seemingly outwit you! Lol. Doesn't say much for your intellect.

Apologies Editor, I appreciate this has dragged on for too long despite my efforts to stay on topic. Some don't want to play ball. Let's move on.

um ,

which NHS are you all talking about ?

As you might have vaguely realised there are now four of them , all different and funded at massively different levels .

Question .

Which is the one which is least well funded on a per capita , per annum basis ?

Further Question .

Why doesn't the Conservative Party mention this glaring discrimination ?

Further Question ( really difficult )

Do you possibly think that the difference in funding might have anything to do with
a. the level and quality of provision

b. the politics of provision

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