CARRY ON, DICK

ar

Erm, nice scarf.

The hapless Richard Leonard, seemingly always trying to get one over on the SNP, took to Twitter to elicit stories about NHSS.

The NHS crisis dominated today, I would like to hear your stories: good, bad or indifferent of the experience you, or a loved one, had with the NHS over winter.

Good bad or indifferent, he said, but it seemed to me that he was probably looking for bad stories, the better to beat Nicola Sturgeon around the head with.

And he got lots of comments.

But, as they say, one should always be a little careful what one wishes for. Because his very first reply was from Joe Kane:

Replying to 

I’ve a real shocker for you Richard. It’s difficult to imagine such exploitation in a modern health service, but Scottish Labour used the to line the pockets of rich tory shareholders. I’m sure you’ll mention it at the next

ar2
Ewww, er, Matron!

One of the reasons that the health service in our country is short of money is that we are paying for the hideously expensive PFI contracts signed by his predecessors. Joe pointed this out, as did several other people.

Wishaw hospital, for example, would have cost around £100 million bought and paid for, but thanks to Labour’s financing schemes, it will cost £800 million. And who is pocketing the £700 million extra?

These contracts were repeated all over the country, and not just for NHSS facilities. (We know about the PFI schools so badly built that they fell down!)

Richard wasn’t any luckier with his second respondent.

Replying to 

We had a terrible time in A&E in October with my sister’s knee injury, after the initial triage we waited SEVEN hours, although the target is to be seen within 4. She was in a lot of pain, it was awful. This was in Wales. You’re lucky that you live in Scotland.

He must have been salivating as he read the first couple of lines. Then smack! The punchline hit him The guy who was talking about poor treatment was actually from Wales, and he was referring to treatment his sister received at the hands of  NHSW.
Of course, there were good news stories too. 
£1
Replying to 

Virus affected my asthma, got emergency appointment with GP same day. Antibiotics and referral for X-ray. Seen at Wishaw General within 1/2 hour. Back to GP for results the next week. Great service, but hey, that’s not what you’re want to hear, is it Richard?

No, probably not, but he did ask!

Replying to 

Cardiology appt today 11:30am seen immediately and out 15 mins later ,Dr couldn’t have been better

And…

Replying to 

Phoned surgery AM, got appoint AM, seen by Doctor on time, walked to Chemist got my FREE prescription all before 11.30am. Excellent Service, love my Scottish NHS.

And…
Replying to 

Three family experiences in last three weeks. One at A&E. all excellent experiences. I hope you read this out at FMQs.

Replying to 

Vascular ward at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary absolutely first class over winter including Christmas Day. Staff from all over the world contributing. I wish your party would stand up for them or there will be a real crisis.

Or…

Called GP first thing, hurt knee, couldn’t walk. Was collected that afternoon, seen, diagnosed and offered to be taken home, via chemist (for my free prescription). 5⭐️

In the hashtag, as far as I read down, I couldn’t find one critical comment of NHSS.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have its faults and that there won;t be some negative comments as the day goes on. It would be weird if there were not.

Indeed the FM has accepted and apologised for delays.

My own family’s experience this winter has been, as most of you will know, the absolutely first class treatment my mother received at Ninewells in Dundee. Also, another family member had a baby in the same hospital just after Christmas, and again they reported nothing but total satisfaction with the way they were treated at the time and in the aftermath.

The UK’s health services are short of cash and they are short of staff. Scotland’s may be less so than the others, but it is a UK wide issue.

As well as the massive repayments of PFI debt that Mr Leonard’s party left us with, as a union we spend a good deal less than we should on health.

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I remember somewhere back in the early part of this century, that Tony Blair promised to bring UK spending on health, as a percentage of GDP, up to the EU average. (I thought it strange, given how superior Britain thinks itself, that it wasn’t the other way round.)

Whilst progress has been made, we still fall behind most other G7 countries and much of the EU.

Brexit, as in so many other areas, must take some responsibility here too. European doctors, nurses and other staff are unsure of their careers in the UK. Recruitment from the 27 is sharply down and some people are returning home as they doubt the stability of their future here. They may be allowed to stay after Brexit, but as aliens, with no rights. People don’t want to do that on a long-term basis, and certainly not as they settle down, buy houses and have children.

An ageing population means that there is more need for hospital treatment, and people may need to stay longer in hospital.  Sad truth is it takes longer for older pople to recover than for younger. This was something which could easily have been planned for. All these older people didn’t suddenly appear out of the blue, after all.

Of course, throughout the UK, this winter has seen a particularly virulent flu virus which has doubled the numbers of people requiring beds.

No one pretends that it’s easy to run a health service. Not here, not in England or Northern Ireland, Wales or indeed anywhere else. But with limited funds, Scotland is doing better than most, and certainly all the other UK health services.

I suspect that Richard Leonard wanted to pick some choice complaints for next week’s First Minister’s Questions and for any interviews he might be able to give to the Press or TV in the meantime. And he may yet get some.

But I trust that any comments he makes in the chamber next Thursday will reflect the stories, good and bad, he is getting about the current situation, along with criticism of the utter waste of money that was and still is, PFI.

Feel free to share your stories, good or bad, with Mr Leonard, or with Munguin.

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CORBYN AND LEONARD NEED A COURSE ON SCOTLAND AND SCOTTISH POWERS

 

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When Mr Corbyn came to Scotland to welcome yet another new incumbent to the leadership of the Scottish Branch of the British Labour Party, both of them talked, frankly, a load of guff about ‘a far away country full of people about whom they apparently knew nothing’ to paraphrase Mr Chamberlain.

The massive clanger, of course, was the demand from Mr Leonard that the Scottish government must take back Scottish Water into public ownership. To do that of course, the Scottish government would first have to sell it off to private enterprise, something that wasn’t done before.

A common theme from Labour is that the Scottish government has done nothing to alleviate the effects of austerity imposed on the poor (but not the rich), by the British Tories [a party of government (in the UK) and opposition (in Scotland) you’d have been excused for thinking that two supposedly left wingers would have been anxious to ridicule, particularly given that they ARE ridiculous].

 

I’ve always excused Corbyn’s ignorance of Scotland (he didn’t for example, know that there was such a thing as Scots Law), because he is a London MP who has always been just that: a back-bencher mainly concerned with his London constituents (and from what a hear, a damned good one too).

On the other hand, although Mr Leonard is an Englishman, he has been resident in Scotland for some time. He has been a member of the Scottish parliament for a couple of years now and he has just become the leader of  Labour’s Scottish branch. It would be reasonable to expect him to know something of what’s going on here.

Perhaps Mr Corbyn and Mr Leonard might like to take a look at what Scotland has done with its limited powers and compare them with what the Welsh LABOUR government has done with their, albeit more limited, powers.

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And remember that the government here had to fight for the power to use money to help the poor. It didn’t just happen.

Justified opposition to government policy is essential, wherever it is from: Labour, Tory or Greens. Carping for the sake of carping is no substitute for it. Corbyn, at least, we know, is better than that. And the public deserves better than the current state of affairs.

Democratic governance works when a government is held to account by oppositions attempting to get the best for the country, rather than trying to score cheap political points, especially with incorrect information and lies.

I’m sure they don’t lie on purpose. They just seem not to know.

aleonardjoke

A course of instruction from someone who does know how things work in this country and is aware of what has been done with the powers we have and what will be done with the powers we are yet to get, might be a good idea, because, at the moment, it looks like the blind are leading the blind and it’s more than a little laughable.

The SNP can’t go on in power forever. No party ever does. But the chronic lack of talent, ability and know how in the current Labour Party leaves us with the horrifying prospect that, when that time comes, it may be the Tories that replace the SNP. A fate to be avoided at any cost.

Lest you should be in any doubt about that, I leave you with this:

ruth£

 

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Richard Leonard For Scottish Labour Leader Campaign

Munguin would like to point out that he doesn’t give a twopenny damn what football team Richard Leonard supports.

Admittedly, if Leonard were Scottish First Minister it might be rather embarrassing for him to attend an international and support the away side, but, let’s be honest, he’s pretty unlikely to ever be in that situation…and he can cross that bridge when (or rather if) he comes to it.

akez

None of us at Munguin Towers can understand why Kezia Dugdale decided to join the   H-list celebrities in the jungle. It seems a really weird thing to do, and she’s likely to make a fool of herself..but it’s a matter for her and the Labour Party to sort out (and they seem to have agreed to do what London said, which was ‘no suspension’).

She’s a list MSP so other people can cover her duties, and as long as she isn’t being paid, I really don’t care, although I’m intrigued to know what would happen to the average public employee who just took time off to play. I imagine that she won’t stand again for parliament or at least she will not be selected for the list. I don’t know what future she has planned for herself, but whatever it is, I hope it will make her happier than she has been as a politician.

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a animals1

At present under EU law, animals are considered to be sentient beings. It is acknowledged that they can feel pain, experience fear, discomfort…and joy.

During the transfer of EU law into the various legal systems in the UK countries, all being overseen by the “capable” hands of Westminster, the clause recognising this fact seems to have been left out.

It appears that there will be no obligation in our new Britain, once we have taken back control, to treat animals as sentient beings. Of course, many people will, but it may not be illegal NOT to.

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I’ve signed this petition to try to get the government to reconsider, but they have little in the way of feelings for other humans, so I’m not holding out much hope. It’s a pity Scotland couldn’t make its own laws on these matters.

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a lion

Robert Mugabe has resigned, at long last. Let’s hope his successor is less inclined to let people shoot all the Zimbabwean wildlife while there still is some!

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Bruce Crawford criticised the tweet. He tweeted back: “This being done for political purposes is beneath you, John – only hope a staffer posted this.”

Lamont later deleted the offending tweet and said that he acknowledged that PoppyScotland was not a political organisation. However, it is interesting that Poppy Scotland’s Chief Exec, who also absolutely denies that he is political, is also a Director of Scotland in Union.

Odd that!

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Late to the party, Aberdeen South MP, Ross Thomson, posted “UK government will be supporting the Lady Haig Poppy Factory with £2.5m which not only makes poppies but provides employment to our veterans. A clear example of Scottish Conservative MPs delivering for Scotland at the heart of government.. and showing how positive and constructive engagement with the UK government gets better results than nationalist grievance.”

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CONGRATULATIONS…

…to Richard Leonard

aal

I really know nothing about him. In fact, I’d never heard of him before this year’s contest.

I read that he is genuinely in the Corbyn Camp (unlike Kezia and Anas, who just said they were when Corbyn was on the up, and said they weren’t when he was on the down). If he takes the party to the left, it will be a new experience for the SNP to have an ally on many of the social justice questions. It will also, of course, create competition for the left vote. That could damage the SNP and it might boost the Tory vote as Blairite voters melt away from a Leonard-led Labour Party.

It will be interesting to see what his view on Europe turns out to be, and how likely he is to want to work with Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon to stop Scotland and Wales being dragged into a disastrous hard Brexit.

aan

The contest was apparently divisive and accusations of cheating and talking “pish” abounded. Of course, people always say that it is all behind them as the loser swears allegiance to the winner… but it never REALLY is behind them, so Leonard will have to watch his back. Jackie Baillie may be a figure of fun, but I suspect she could still be a dangerous enemy. One of his first jobs will be to unite a parliamentary party that may largely have voted for his opponent.

He takes power at a difficult time in any case. At the same time as learning his new job, he will have to manage the fall out from the Alex Rowley business ensuring above all that Mr Rowley gets a fair hearing. We must be mindful that lack of opportunity to clear his name may have contributed to the death of an AM in Wales.

And, it can’t help that one of his MSPs has decided to absent herself for a month or so to take part in reality tv in Australia. People might ask, which other public servants could simply decide to do that all by themselves… teachers, doctors, rent rebate clerks, social workers?

WHAT?

irony

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aruth1

Ruth Davidson says that the dam has broken. It is time for this to stop. Boys’ locker room talk. Objectifying women!

atory

aruth5

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a fluff
Seriously, ya roaster. We’re going to find out in the end.

 

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alab
Do try to keep up, erm, Dick.

 

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atory2
“We socialists”.

 

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aalc2

aalc

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Or is it just Munguin and me?