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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "NHS"

James Frayne: Voters would welcome a Brexit deal. But it might harm and not help the Conservatives with working class voters.

James Frayne is Director of Public First and author of Meet the People, a guide to moving public opinion.

You can’t credibly poll how people might think or feel in the future. We can’t therefore know what the public will think if Boris Johnson secures a deal that looks vaguely similar to Theresa May’s.

But there’s been enough polling to guess. It’s reasonable to assume – hardcore Remainers aside – most voters will be so relieved it’s nearly over they’ll back a deal regardless of any friendly fire from Eurosceptics or Unionists. The Conservatives’ conference slogan – ‘Get Brexit Done’ – perfectly summed up what most people think about the whole thing. It also seems reasonable to assume most people would be exasperated and angry with those standing in the way of a deal – and there’ll likely be little interest in a betrayal narrative from eurosceptic purists.

The next stage in the electoral cycle writes itself: Boris Johnson’s ratings rise as a Prime Minister that delivers on his word, and the Conservative Party’s ratings rise too; Jeremy Corbyn and Nigel Farage look irrelevant; and the Liberal Democrats’ position as a vehicle for disaffected middle-class Remainers is threatened as the world moves on. What do the Lib Dems stand for at that point? Amid the wreckage, Johnson at some point runs a short campaign securing a workable majority, and the Party goes back to the happy days of 2015 when it looked briefly truly ascendant.

While there’s a clear political logic to all this, delivery of a deal at least raises the prospect that the Conservative Party could become a victim of its own success on Brexit with a big chunk of its coalition. What if delivering Brexit ended up costing it working class votes?

As I’ve been arguing for the last few months here, the Conservatives’ hold on working class voters is extremely precarious. Depending on which polls you look at, the Conservatives are currently on course to secure between a third and a half of the working class vote. And working class voters have been coming over to the Party slowly for the last decade.

But they have come over overwhelmingly because of Brexit and immigration – and the Conservatives’ relative position on these issues compared to Labour. Amongst working class voters, there’s no love for the Party and there’s precious little for Boris Johnson either. The Conservatives are seen as a useful vehicle for their views on Brexit and immigration – as well as taxation and welfare. There’s no cultural affinity to those they see as “posh Tories”.

The fact is that, over the last three years, the Conservatives have talked obsessively about working class voters without doing much for them. The Conservatives’ working class strategy has amounted to little more than people saying they have one. Until Johnson became Prime Minister, the only thing the Party really did in recent times for working class voters was pledge to increase NHS spending. He has transformed the Party’s approach – as yesterday’s Queen’s Speech showed. Under him, it has pledged further funds to the NHS, schools and the police, and promised to end automatic early release of prisoners and paved the way for a points-based immigration system. It has also promised new funds for towns.

This is all progress and should not be under-estimated. But imagine that Brexit was “done”, would these things be enough to keep working class voters onside? Would they actually think that, now Brexit’s done and immigration back under control, that they can return to their natural home in the Labour Party? After all, Labour will be chucking a lot more cash about even than the Conservatives.

We don’t know the answer to this, and we won’t until Brexit is resolved. My sense is that, as long as Jeremy Corbyn is leader of the Labour Party, even a halfway decent campaign on working class priorities will carry a big proportion of the working class vote.

However, my sense is also that the Party has done so little of recent practical benefit to working class voters, that Brexit and immigration done, a change anytime soon in the Labour leader to someone even vaguely moderate and competent would be a disaster for the Conservatives. The announcements that Johnson has made recently have been spot on, but they’ve come so late in the day there’s a chance they won’t filter through in time, and certainly a big chance that nothing will be felt on the ground in working class communities.

There are two implications from all this. The first is that the Party needs to view the Queen’s Speech as being the beginning of a major campaign to create a working class base that currently doesn’t exist. Similar sorts of policy announcements must follow in coming months, and obviously above all during the election campaign.

Just as the saner parts of the Labour Party are obsessing over provincial English towns (although bizarrely they’re still threatening to raise their taxes), so the Conservatives must develop the same obsession. Amongst other things, to do this they must re-form old alliances with the business community in provincial England to help them create a credible supporter base (admittedly a longer-term goal). This will likely be their starting point for the growth of a working class activist base.

The second implication is that the Party needs to look to build bridges with the middle class Remainers that have recently left the Party (or been removed from it). With the working class vote far from assured, the Party needs all the support it can get. The Party should be thinking of policies that appeal directly to middle class professionals – childcare, workplace, personal finance – that don’t risk any interference with their messages to the working class. And there should be a pathway back for MPs like David Gauke.

Time will tell, but it could be that the high watermark of the Conservatives’ attractiveness to working class voters was the autumn of 2019 – when the Party was led by a PM that would apparently do anything to deliver Brexit, amid hostile opposition from all sides. What better rallying call to the working class than to say “vote Conservative and get Brexit done”? The Party needs to do a lot more for working class voters – and very fast – so it can say “vote Conservative because we got Brexit done”.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Matthew Lesh: The radical neoliberal programme which can revitalise the Conservatives

Matthew Lesh is the Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute.

As the flus from last week’s Conservative Party Conference slowly fade, it is worth turning our minds back to a conference that we must never forget.

It was the autumn of 1980. The country was facing economic turmoil. Decades of Keynesianism was taking its toll with high inflation and low growth.  But there was a leader, a radical neoliberal, who refused to accept the status quo or allow the doomsters to take her off course.  “You turn if you want to, the lady’s not for turning,” Margaret Thatcher told Conservative Party Conference.

Thatcher unashamedly spoke not just of policy change but creating “a new independence of spirit and zest for achievement”. She called her administration “one of the truly radical ministries of post-war Britain”.

Boris Johnson’s party conference speech last week has been lauded for its political nous: get Brexit done, and fund the NHS and other public services.

This makes a lot of political sense, particularly for the party’s ‘Go Midlands, Go North’ strategy: the plan to win northern Leave working class areas who traditionally voted Labour Party.

But Johnson’s spending is frustrating to many free marketeers, who have traditionally found their home in the Conservative Party. Boris speaks of a “dynamic enterprise culture” and the Conservative Party’s history in pioneering “free markets and privatisation”. But so far there has been little meat on the bone, while the party is giving up its reputation for fiscal conservatism by committing to big-spending plans.

Politically, this approach undermines support from economic liberals in London and the Southeast. This danger is heightened by the likes of Sam Gyimah’s defection, signalling the acceptability of the Liberal Democrats to Tory economic liberals. With the Lib Dems also winning over the likes of Chuka Umunna there’s a danger the two main parties are seen by voters to leave the centre stage to the Liberal Democrats — and leave governing alone to the scrap heap of history.

To get a strong majority, Boris needs to win both Chelsea and Fulham as well as Stoke-on-Trent. He needs to be able to hold up his economic credentials to win back Remain-voting Conservatives voters – not just give them another reason to abandon the party.

But this balancing act is nothing new. Thatcher, despite some reforms to childcare and housing subsidies, oversaw a huge increase in social spending. She declared that the NHS is “safe with us” and bragged about “enormous increases in the amount spent on social welfare to help the less fortunate”. David Cameron similarly declared that the NHS is “safe in my hands,” while cutting taxes, introducing free schools and reforming welfare.

Thatcher and Cameron balanced public spending with undertaking fundamental free market economic reform to boost the economy. To ensure the Conservative Party remains a broad coalition, it is important that Boris’ free market rhetoric is given meaning. There needs to be some meat on the bone. The Conservative Party will be much weaker if it does not have a serious economic policy offering that creates a clear distinction with Labour.

On the political left, while many may disagree with their approach and ideas, there is undeniably a radical reimagining of policy and a clear agenda: a four day work week, shutting down private schools and nationalising industry.

Some on the Right have chosen to respond to the emboldened Left by adopting parts of their agenda in the hope of placating and preventing the worst. But, as Theresa May’s premiership displays being Labour-lite and adopting policies like the energy price gap, or nanny state policies like the sugar tax, simply does not work.

The Neoliberal Manifesto, a joint project between the Adam Smith Institute and 1828 released last week at the Conservative Party Conference, presents a positive vision for Britain’s future. In the past, the word “neoliberalism” has been twisted by those seeking to manufacture a strawman on which to blame every societal ill.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Neoliberals are champions of freedom. We want government to protect and facilitate your ability to flourish; we believe in the power and ability of each individual; we believe in doing what is most effective; we are optimistic about the future; we support market intervention to address specific issues but reject paternalism; we are cosmopolitan and outward-looking to the world.

The manifesto calls for a liberal, free market approach to trade that encompasses cutting tariffs and pursuing deals based on the principle of mutual recognition. It declares that need to reform Britain’s outdated planning laws to allow for the building of more houses to fix Britain’s housing crisis. The manifesto also calls for a simpler, fairer tax system by getting rid of stamp duty and allowing capital expenditures to be expensed in full immediately.

On migration, it calls for a liberal system that brings the most talented people to our nation. On education, it explains the need for more choice. On innovation and technology, it calls for an optimistic approach defined by permissionless innovation.  It also calls for a liberal approach to drugs and personal choices, a compassionate but cost-effective approach to welfare, and addressing climate change without sinking our economy.

Many of these ideas are radical, and today can be expected to receive a mixed reception. But we think that our politicians should lead from the front, not the back. These policies are not designed with the idea of what may or may not be popular today, but rather setting the agenda for the future.

While not every action she took was immediately popular, Thatcher’s agenda transformed the country for the better and proved a politically successful formula across three general election victories. Cameron similarly won a majority after undertaking difficult decisions.

If the Government does not have an offering for people who want lower taxes and the state to live within its means, they risk unexpected losses.  Johnson can follow in the footsteps of successful leaders with his own liberal, free market agenda.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Boris Johnson: “Let’s get Brexit done. Let’s bring our country together.” Full text of his conference speech.

It’s great to be here in Manchester at the best attended conference for years and I know that some of you may have been mildly peppered with abuse on the way in but are you abashed? Are you downcast?

Of course not. We are conservatives and we get on with serving the people and speaking of service I should begin by paying tribute to my predecessor Theresa, I know the whole of conference remains full of gratitude to you, and to Philip May, for your patience and your forbearance, and yes, we will continue with the work of tackling domestic violence and modern slavery and building on your legacy I have been prime minister for only seventy days but  I have seen so many things that give cause for hope hospitals that are finally getting the investment to match the devotion of the staff schools where standards of reading are rising through the use of synthetic phonics police colleges where idealistic young men and women are enrolling in large numbers to fight crime across the country shipyards in Scotland that are building superb modern type 26 frigates for sale around the world – and every one of those high wage high skill jobs in shipbuilding is a testament to the benefits of belonging to the United Kingdom  the most successful political partnership in history which we will protect and we will defend against those who would wantonly destroy it and I say to Ruth Davidson as well  thank you for everything you did for the cause of Conservatism and unionism in Scotland and Ruth, we will honour your legacy too and I am proud of the role this government is playing in every one of those investments and they are only possible because it was this Conservative government that tackled the debt and the deficit left by the last Labour government.

It was because we cleared up the wreckage they left behind that we now have record employment wages rising the fastest for 10 years and we have record Foreign Direct Investment of £1.3 trillion and so many reasons to be confident about our country and its direction and yet we are like a world class athlete with a pebble in our shoe there is one part of the British system that seems to be on the blink.

If parliament were a laptop, then the screen would be showing the pizza wheel of doom.

If parliament were a school, Ofsted would be shutting it down.

If parliament were a reality TV show the whole lot of us would have been voted out of the jungle by now. But at least we could have watched the speaker being forced to eat a kangaroo testicle.

And the sad truth is that voters have more say over I’m a celebrity than they do over this House of Commons.

Which refuses to deliver Brexit, refuses to do anything constructive and refuses to have an election just at the moment when voters are desperate for us to focus on their priorities we are continuing to chew the supermasticated subject of Brexit when..

What people want…

What leavers want…

What remainers want…

What the whole world wants – is to be calmly and sensibly done with the subject, and to move on and that is why we are coming out of the EU on October 31, come what may Conference:

Let’s get Brexit done.

We can we must and we will even though things have not been made easier by the surrender bill we will work for a deal with our EU friends; but whatever happens we must come out by the end of October let’s get this thing done – and then let’s get ready to make our case to the country against the fratricidal anti-semitic Marxists who were in Brighton last week.

Last week Jeremy Corbyn had a number of damaging and retrograde ideas in his speech he wants a 4 day week – which would slash the wages of people on low incomes.

He wants to ban private schools and expropriate their property. Even though it would cost the taxpayer seven billion to educate the kids.

He wants to stamp out excellence in schools by banning Ofsted the inspectors who ensure that schools are safe for our children.

But he had one good idea. He had a whole paragraph repeating what he has said every week for the last three years. He wants an election now – or that is what he was going to say, poor fellow  the only trouble is that the paragraph was censored by John McDonnell or possibly Keir Starmer so we have the astonishing spectacle of the leader of the opposition being prevented by his colleagues from engaging in his constitutional function which is to try to remove me from office and in this age of creative litigation I am surprised that no one has yet sued him for breach of contract though it now appears that the SNP may yet try to bundle him towards the throne like some Konstantin Chernenko figure. Reluctantly propelled to office in a Kremlin coup so that they get on with their programme for total national discord turning the whole of 2020 – which should be a great year for this country – into the chaos and cacophony of two more referendums:

A second referendum on Scottish independence, even though the people of Scotland were promised that the 2014 vote would be a once in a generation decision and a second referendum on the EU? Can you imagine? QAnother 3 years of this?

But that is the Corbyn agenda – stay in the EU beyond October 31, and paying a billion pounds a month for the privilege, followed by years of uncertainty for business and everyone else.

As for the Lib Dems, their idea of serving the national interest was to write to Jean-Claude Juncker urging him NOT to give this country a better deal.

While the leader has called for a second referendum.

While pledging to campaign against the result.

It’s time to respect the trades descriptions act. And take the word democrat out of the liberal democrats.

My friends I am afraid that after three and a half years people are beginning to feel that they are being taken for foolsThey are beginning to suspect that there are forces in this country that simply don’t want brexit delivered at all and if they turn out to be right in that suspicion then I believe there will be grave consequences for trust in democracy.

Let’s get Brexit done on October 31.

Let’s get it done because of the opportunities that Brexit will bring not just to take back control of our money and our borders and our laws.

To regulate differently and better, and to take our place as a proud and independent global campaigner for free trade.

Let’s get it done because delay is so pointless and expensive.

Let’s get it done because we need to build our positive new partnership with the EU because it cannot be stressed too much that this is not an anti-European party and it is not an anti-European country.

We love Europe.

We are European. But after 45 years of really dramatic constitutional change we must have a new relationship with the EU a positive and confident partnership- and we can do it.

Today in Brussels we are tabling what I believe are constructive and reasonable proposals which provide a compromise for both sides.

We will under no circumstances have checks at or near the border in Northern Ireland.

We will respect the peace process and the Good Friday agreement.

And by a process of renewable democratic consent by the executive and assembly of Northern Ireland we will go further and protect the existing regulatory arrangements for farmers and other businesses on both sides of the border.

And at the same time we will allow the UK – whole and entire – to withdraw from the EU, with control of our own trade policy from the start.

And to protect the union.

And yes this is a compromise by the UK.

And I hope very much that our friends understand that and compromise in their turn.

Because if we fail to get an agreement because of what is essentially a technical discussion of the exact nature of future customs checks.

When that technology is improving the whole time.

Then let us be in no doubt that the alternative is no deal.

That is not an outcome we want.

It is not an outcome we seek at all.

But let me tell you this conference it is an outcome for which we are ready.

Are we ready?

Are we determined to resolve this?

Let’s get Brexit done on October 31 because we must get on and deliver on all the priorities of the people to answer the cry of those 17.4 m who voted for Brexit because it is only by delivering Brexit that we can address that feeling in so many parts of the country  that they were being left behind, ignored and that their towns were not only suffering from a lack of love and investment but their views had somehow become unfashionable or unmentionable.

And let’s get Brexit done for those millions who may have voted remain but are first and foremost democrats. And accept the result of the referendum and when I say that I want us to work together, now, to bring this country together you are entitled to ask yourselves about my core principles and the ideals that drive me and are going to drive me as your prime minister.

I am going to follow the example of my friend Saj.

I am going to quote that supreme authority in my family – my mother (and by the way for keen students of the divisions in my family you might know that I have kept the ace up my sleeve – my mother voted leave) and my mother taught me to believe strongly in the equal importance, the equal dignity, the equal worth of every human being on the planet and that may sound banal but it is not and there is one institution that sums up that idea

The NHS is holy to the people of this country because of the simple beauty of its principle that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from but when you are sick the whole country figuratively gathers at your bedside and does everything it can to make you well again and everybody pays to ensure that you have the best doctors and the best nurses and the most effective treatments known to medical science and after 70 years the results are – on the whole –amazing when I was a kid the word cancer was a death knell and heart attack was a terrifying thought well, we are slowly defeating the legions of disease.

This country has seen the fastest falls in breast cancer in Europe but we have so much more to do.

On Monday I went to the north Manchester general hospital and I saw the incredible work they are doing with reconstructive maxillo-facial surgery on people who only a decade ago would have been permanently disfigured by their traumas and for whom hope and confidence is so important I talked to the patients and every one of them was bursting with praise for the staff and their energy and devotion but conference that fantastic hospital was built in 1876 to serve the workhouse and we were walking down long narrow nightingale wards that were designed by the pioneer of nursing and as one of the managers told me that asking those professionals to work in that environment is like asking a premiership footballer to play on a ploughed field.

And so I was proud to tell them under this government we will totally rebuild that hospital. 

So that we are not only recruiting more doctors and nurses, and training them but in the next 10 years we will build 40 new hospitals in the biggest investment in hospital infrastructure for a generation because after 70 years of the existence of the NHS – 44 of them under a Conservative government – it is time for us to say loud and clear:

We are the party of the NHS and I claim that title because it is our one nation conservatism that has delivered and will deliver the economic growth that makes those investments possible.

And it is we Conservatives who will solve the problem of social care and end the injustice that means people have to sell their home to pay for their old age.

And if you ask me how we are going to do it how we are going to grow the UK economy.

I will tell you that it is by raising the productivity of the whole of the UK not with socialism not with deranged and ruinous plans borrowed from the playbook of Bolivarian revolutionary Venezuela but by creating the economic platform for dynamic free market capitalism.

Yes, you heard it right capitalism – and when did you last hear a Tory leader talk about capitalism.

We are the party of the NHS precisely because we are the party of capitalism not because we shun it, or despise it and we understand the vital symmetry at the heart of the modern British economy between a dynamic enterprise culture and great public services and I have seen this formula in actio.

Now, who comes from London?

Who lives there?

No disgrace in that – I used to be mayor there and it is one of the many astonishing things about our nation’s capital that it is the most productive region in the whole of Europe because in 1863 this country led the world in putting trains in tunnels, among other breakthroughs and yet there are many other regions of the country that are far less productive and that represents not just an injustice but a massive opportunity.

I believe that talent and genius and initiative and chutzpah are evenly distributed across the whole UK but it is also clear that opportunity is not evenly distributed and it is the job of this one nation Conservative Government – to unlock talent in every corner of the UK because that is the right thing to do in itself and because that is the way to release the economic potential of the whole country and the first thing we must do in spreading opportunity is to insist on the equal safety of the public wherever you live to make your streets safer.

And that is why we are recruiting 20,000 new police officers.

And that is why we are committing now to rolling up the evil county lines drugs gangs that predate on young kids and send them to die in the streets to feed the cocaine habits of the bourgeoisie and we will succeed and yes we will be tough on crime we will make sure that the police have the legal powers and the political backing to use stop and search because it may be controversial but believe me that when a young man is going equipped with a bladed weapon there is nothing kinder or more loving or more life-saving you can do than ask him to turn out his pockets.

And yes, when people are found guilty of serious sexual or violent offences, we will make sure that they serve the sentence they should – if only for the protection of the public but we will also do everything we can to stop people becoming criminals with rehabilitation education in prisons so that they are not just academies for crime and we are investing in youth clubs and better FE training to give young people the best possible antidote to the criminal instinct the prospect of a good job and indeed the best way to level up and to expand opportunity is to give every kid in the country a superb education.

So that is why we are levelling up education funding across the country.

So that every child has the chance to express their talents and that’s why we are investing in transport from Northern Powerhouse rail to a huge new agenda of road improvements.

And yes I admit I am a bit of a bus nut. I confess that I like to make and paint inexact models of buses. With happy passengers inside.

But it is not just because i am a bus nut that we want to expand bus transport.

With clean, green buses and contactless payment by card or phone a good bus service can make all the difference to your job. To your life. To your ability to get to the doctor. To the liveability of your town or your village.

And to your ability to stay there and have a family there and start a business there.

And it is for exactly the same reason.

To increase connectivity and liveability that we are putting in gigabit broadband spreading across the country like tendrils of superinformative vermicelli because that is the way to unite the country to spread opportunity to bring the country together and there is another vital effect with the right infrastructure and education and technology you increase the productivity of the whole UK economy.

If the streets are safe, and if the transport links are there, and if there are good broadband connections you enable new housing to go ahead on brownfield sites that were never considered viable before we enable young people to get a foot on the housing ladder and we enable people to live near the good jobs and above all – with safe streets and affordable housing and fantastic wifi – we give business the confidence to invest and to grow that is the virtuous circle that is the balance and the symmetry at the heart of our one nation project and there are so many ways in which we are pulling ahead.

London has overtaken New York as the number one city for investment in fintech firms and that is before we have even delivered Crossrail which was on time and on budget when I left.

And isn’t it time we had a Mayor who is focused on the job – which is why i am backing Shaun Bailey here in Manchester we are seeing an extraordinary growth in genomics, with a flood of inward investment from banking and insurance to IT and that is before we have delivered northern powerhouse rail in the west midlands we are seeing a 21st century industrial revolution in battery technology one in five of the electric cars sold in Europe is now made in the UK and that is before we have begun Andy Street’s vision of a West Midlands Metro.

With infrastructure education and technology we will drive up the productivity of this country and bring it together.

I do not for one moment doubt the patriotism of people on all sides of this Brexit argument but I am fed up with being told that our country can’t do something when I believe passionately that it can thanks to British technology there is a place in Oxfordshire that could soon be the hottest place in the solar system. t

The tokamak fusion reactor in Culham.

And if you go there you will learn that this country has a global lead in fusion research.

And that they are on the verge of creating commercially viable miniature fusion reactors for sale around the world delivering virtually unlimited zero-carbon power.

Now I know they have been on the verge for some time. It is a pretty spacious kind of verge. But remember it was only a few years ago when people were saying that solar power would never work in cloudy old Britain and that wind turbines would not pull the skin off a rice pudding.

Well there are some days when wind and solar are delivering more than half our energy needs.

We can do it.

We can beat the sceptics.

We are already using gene therapy to cure blindness.

This country leads the way in satellite technology and we are building two space ports, one in Sutherland and one in Newquay soon we will be sending missions to the heavens geostationary satellites conference can you think of anyone who could trial the next mission.

Can you think which Communist cosmonaut to coax into the cockpit?

And let’s get Brexit done on October 31st.

Not just because we have such an immense agenda to take this country forward but because Brexit is an opportunity in itself.

We will take back control of our fisheries and the extraordinary marine wealth of Scotland and it is one of the many bizarre features of the SNP that in spite of being called names like Salmond and Sturgeon they are committed to handing back those fish to the control of the EU we want to turbo-charge the Scottish fishing sector; they would allow Brussels to charge for our turbot.

We will be able to allow UK businesses to have bigger tax breaks for investment in capital.

We can do free ports and enterprize zones.

We can ban the shipment of live animals.

And yes, we will have those free trade deals.

We already have some astonishing exports.

Just in the last few months I have seen an Isle of Wight ship-builder that exports vast leisure catamarans to Mexico.

We export Jason Donovan CDs to North Korea.

We exported Nigel Farage to America – though he seems to have come back.

And across the world there are countries that are yearning to engage with us.

Where we have old friendships and burgeoning new partnerships.

And that is the vision for Britain.

A country that is open, outward-looking, global in mindset and insisting on free trade.

A high wage, low tax, high skill, high productivity economy – with incomes rising fastest for those who are lowest paid.

A country where we level up and unify the entire United Kingdom through better education, better infrastructure and technology.

Acountry where provided you obey the law and do no harm to others you can live your life and love whomsoever you choose.

A country that leads the world with clean green technology and in reducing greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

A country that is happy and confident about its future.

That is the vision for the country we love.

And when the opposition finally screw their courage to the sticking point and agree to have an election.

When the chlorinated chickens waddle from the hencoop where they are hiding.

That is the vision of the country that we will put to the people.

And the choice is clear.

We put up wages – with the biggest expansion of the living wage for a generation; Corbyn would put up taxes for everyone.

We back our superb armed forces around the world; Corbyn has said he wants them disbanded.

We want an Australian-style points based system for immigration; Corbyn says he doesn’t even believe in immigration controls.

If Jeremy Corbyn were allowed into Downing Street, he would whack up your taxes, he would foul up the economy, he would rip up the alliance between Britain and the USA, and he would break up the UK.

We cannot allow it to happen.

But it is worse than that.

It has become absolutely clear that he is determined now to frustrate Brexit.

What do we want and need? Do we want more dither and delay.

Do we want to spend another billion pounds a month that could be going on the NHS?

Let’s get Brexit done and let’s finally believe in ourselves and what we can do.

This country has long been a pioneer.

We inaugurated the steam age, the atomic age, the age of the genome.

We led the way in parliamentary democracy, in female emancipation and when the whole world had succumbed to a different fashion, this country and this party pioneered ideas of free markets and privatisation that spread across the planet.

Every one of them was controversial, every one of them was difficult.

But we have always had the courage to be original, to do things differently, and now we are about to take another giant step.

To do something no one thought we could do.

To reboot our politics.

To relaunch ourselves into the world and to dedicate ourselves again to that simple proposition that we are here to serve the democratic will of the British people and if we do that with optimism and confidence then I tell you we will not go wrong.

Let’s get on with sensible moderate one nation but tax-cutting Tory government and figuratively if not literally let us send Jeremy Corbyn into orbit where he belongs.

Let’s get Brexit done.

Let’s bring our country together.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Andrew Gimson’s Conference sketch: Hancock says the chances of leaving on 31st October are 100 per cent

With what eager beaver ebullience Matt Hancock comes to the crease and tonks the ball wherever he thinks we would like to see it tonked.

Within moments, he was rewarded with a ripple of applause. The broadcaster and journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who was asking the questions, bowled him a fast one: “What are the chances of getting Brexit done on 31st October?”

Hancock went on the front foot and swung the bat: “Extremely high. We’ve got to do it.” Applause.

Oakeshott: “Is that 100 per cent then?”

Hancock: “Yes.” More applause. A novice might have said “110 per cent”, but Hancock realised his audience was numerate and would find that painful.

The NHS, he emphasised, is ready for a no deal exit. He had already got it ready for leaving with no deal on 29th March, funding the work from the enormous departmental budget, before knowing whether the Treasury would reimburse the costs.

Oakeshott asked what the chances are of leaving with a deal.

Hancock abandoned percentages, and with fitting caution replied “more likely than not”.

Oakeshott wondered whether he agreed with the tactic, mooted in that morning’s press, of threatening the EU with disruption if we don’t get what we want.

Hancock said it would be better to get there by collaboration, and then went on, bold as brass: “You noticed that I didn’t answer the question [pause], but that was intentional.”

“That was a non-denial, folks,” Oakeshott put in, for here was a game being played above most of our heads.

She wondered how being Health Secretary has changed his perception of the NHS.

“Mmm, great question,” Hancock said with preposterous enthusiasm. He added that there are “good and bad” ways it has done so.

Oakeshott asked for the bad ways first.

“Well, no, we’ll do the good first,” Hancock said. “People come up to you and want to thank the NHS by thanking you… It’s deeply emotional, this job.”

As for the bad: “You would have thought that working in the NHS was brilliant, the best job in the world…and it’s very sad, there is a high level of bullying and harassment in the NHS and it’s totally unacceptable.”

Whistleblowers also feel unsafe: “The solution to this is high-quality leadership.”

Oakeshott pointed out that he has made IT his big thing. Hancock agreed with her, and remarked, somewhat superfluously: “I’m self-confident in my understanding of IT.”

He told us the average length of time it takes to log on in a hospital is 20 minutes. But Hancock is on the case. His priorities are “People, Prevention, Technology”.

One or two pedants may have wondered whether it is possible to have three priorities, but Hancock swept blithely on.

He finished with a short homily about Prevention: “We should see our health as an asset…help people to stay healthy, in mental health as well as physical health… We have a responsibility to ourselves.”

Wise words. Hancock had fulfilled his responsibility to himself.

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Andrew Gimson’s Conference sketch: Williamson promises to beat Germany at technical education

Westlake Legal Group L1050603 Andrew Gimson’s Conference sketch: Williamson promises to beat Germany at technical education ToryDiary technical education NHS Nation and patriotism Matthew Hancock MP Germany Gavin Williamson MP Education Boris Johnson MP

We are going to overtake Germany. Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education, said so this morning. It was the most striking line in his speech.

For he faced, before he spoke, a tricky question. How does one bring new life to a worthy and important subject – inferiority in technical education – which British politicians have been worrying about for well over a century?

Boris Johnson would know how to it. As Mayor of London, the humdrum details of municipal government were transmuted into a drama starring himself as the genius who was inspiring people to build the new sewer and the new bus, and indeed the new airport if only the Treasury and the Department of Transport were not so unimaginative.

Few other ministers know how to impart excitement to such tasks. Williamson decided to do so by stepping forward as the man who would at last remove the inferiority complex from which Britons have suffered since the late 19th century when contemplating the wonders of German technical education.

These pledges have to be finely calibrated. Tell people you will tranform everything by the middle of next week and they will not believe you. But offer them too distant a completion date and they may start to impugn your drive, ambition and fitness for high office.

Williamson steered a middle course, choosing a date when most of those in the hall could hope to be still alive, but one when he himself could hope no longer to be serving as Education Secretary:

“Today I am setting a new ambition over the next decade with an aim to overtake Germany in the opportunities we offer to those studying technical routes by 2029.”

Conscious, perhaps, that these words would not convince everyone, he went on:

“We do not always beat Germany at football but on this we most certainly will.”

And in order to remove any lingering doubt, he added that he will establish “an expert Skills and Productivity Board” which will “provide strategic advice on the skills and qualifications we need”.

Williamson is part of a pattern at this conference: the harnessing of patriotism to the attainment of great national goals by this Conservative government, which can be trusted to cherish great national institutions.

So Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, had declared earlier that “we have a deep and solemn responsibility to steer our beloved country through these troubled times”, and said the single most important thing on the doorstep was to “show and communicate that we love the NHS”.

Worthy social reform cannot always be made entertaining, but it can always be made a cause for national pride.

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WATCH: “We won’t use PFI deals to pay for new hospitals,” says Hancock

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Nick de Bois: Conservatives must not fall into Labour’s trap on the four-day week

Nick de Bois is the former MP for Enfield North. He was a member of the Government’s Serious Crime Task Force until his appointment as Chief of Staff to Dominic Raab at DExEU. He is the author of Confessions of a Recovering MP.

A traditional conservative response to Labours promise to introduce a 4-day week would be to rubbish it as unworkable, and fraught with difficulties, particularly for small business.

In short, essentially a classic left wing intervention to implement unrealistic costs on the enterprise economy in a clumsy attempt to win worker votes. After all, four days’ work for five days’ pay – what’s not to like?

However, before Conservatives rush to dismiss this latest policy announcement as economic madness, it’s worth noting Labour’s pitch is not just an economic one. It is also an appeal to a fast-changing work ethic in employees that employers up and down the country will recognise.

But first, the economic case for the four-day week deserves examining. On one point that both left and right will agree is that UK productivity is woeful, and John McDonnell argues a reduced working week will solve that problem.

Productivity has indeed basically flatlined since 2007, and the UK remains way behind our fellow group of the worlds seven leading economies – the G7. This in part explains why wage growth is poor, despite welcome recent improvements.

It means profitability of ‘UK plc’ is less than it should be, and that our workforce is broadly under-achieving – although this should not be confused with being lazy, as so many political and media commentators imply.

The upside to this grim summary is that by improving productivity we are presented with a win-win for government, business and employees.

For example, according to the 2017 Stoddart Review a one per cent productivity gain would represent, across the economy, an additional £20 billion national output. Translated further, that would represent a reduction in annual deficit of £8 billion (it currently at £17 billion) and add another £250 a year to an average pay packet, whilst companies’ profits could increase by £3.5 billion.

The key question for McDonnell’s approach is: would a widespread, top-down imposition of a four-day working week deliver that increase in productivity? In short, the answer is almost certainly no.

This is because it cannot and will not work on a uniform basis across all businesses and workforces, and the strain on the public sector would be huge. The evidence clearly supports that contention.

Advocates of the reduced week often point to the success of Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand. They manage over £200bn of assets, and the CEO argues that the policy has improved staff wellbeing and dramatically improved productivity.

But at the other end of the scale earlier this year the Wellcome Trust rowed back on its plans to implement a four-day working week, announced to much fanfare in April. They gave the not-unreasonable explanation that it became evident to them that work could have become harder for employees in back-office and support functions, such as IT, finance, and human resources. Two large organisations, two very different responses.

Even less ambitious programs for reducing the number of working hour have met huge difficulties. An example is Gothenburg’s municipal local government, which trialled a six-hour working day (reduced from eight). They did see significant wellbeing advantages in healthcare workers, but recognised employers would struggle to meet the costs of reducing working hours yet maintaining a 24/7 healthcare provision.

“Could we do this for the entire municipality? The answer is no, it will be too expensive,” said Daniel Bernmar, the Left Party councillor responsible for running Gothenburg’s elderly care in 2017. Imagine the financial challenge of introducing a four-day working week into our biggest employer: the NHS.

Labour’s proposal mandating a four-day working week through a complex series of measures simply won’t be right for every business or organisation, as the Wellcome Trust and others have found. It is a recipe either for chaos or for a massive climbdown should the Opposition ever come to power.

What should the Conservative response be? Both business leaders and employees are not stupid and will recognise the sop to employees Labour are making for what it is, an election bribe. But equally, when Labour talk about building a society where we don’t “live to work, but work to live” it will strike a chord with millions of people.

Therein lies the answer as to how Conservatives should respond to today’s Labour announcement: advocate a progressive and light-touch regulatory approach to flexible working that goes way beyond the current focus on maternity and paternity rights.

It may be politically attractive to focus on rights for parents, and we have done some great work from which to build on. Yet it is plainly inadequate to stop championing flexible working there and Conservatives, not Labour, should be filling the policy vacuum on the issue.

Such a move makes both economic and political sense. It is striking, for example, that flexible working is presently pretty much the preserve of white-collar workers.

Conservatives would do well to recognise that the relatively untapped benefits, both for employees and national productivity, of the blue-collar worker being able to enjoy flexible working are substantial and politically attractive. As workforce management consultants Quinx identified in their report “Powering the Power House“:

“If a greater proportion of UK employers took steps to address barriers to the recruitment, retention and productivity of workers in manual and elementary service roles in the as yet relatively conservative Blue Collar workplace, estimates show up to 7.6bn of productivity growth”.

That’s quite a contribution to the productivity gap Britain faces.

Both attitudes and the compotion of the workforce have changed dramatically in the last decade, and whilst some employers have been slow to recognise this political parties have been even slower. It is time for Conservatives to take action.

As Karen Mattison from leading employment specialists Timewise noted after the publication of their 2018 employee survey:

“The fact that flexible working has been seen as a women’s issue has not done women or businesses any favours. Today’s new research shows once and for all, that flexible working is a preferred way of working for both men and women at all stages of their working lives.”

Most strikingly the Timewise employee survey also noted, and many employers will recognise:

“Today’s workforce not only want flexible working they expect it. It’s time for businesses to get smarter and use flexibility as a tool to attract and keep the best people. Those who lag behind in adapting how they hire, will risk losing out on millions of skilled workers.”

Government, take note.

Labour’s crude, authoritarian approach to flexible working, with its focus on a four-day week, may be politically attractive to some. But it runs the risk of introducing a simple left-right divide on that single issue, and we fall into Labour’s trap if our response is to dismiss it out of hand.

A Conservative response can be more nuanced and more practical if we become advocates for progressive, flexible employment practices. There is an audience ready and waiting to respond positively to this message, should we chose to offer it.

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Corbyn’s speech showed his fear of losing his anti-establishment street cred

Michael Foot, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s predecessor as Leader of the Labour Party, was not always a great champion of the judiciary. In 1972, in a speech to Scottish Miners’ Gala in Edinburgh, Foot referred to the National Industrial Relations Court and its President, Sir John Donaldson. Foot asked:

“How long will it be before the cry goes up: ‘Let’s kill all the judges’?”

This afternoon in Brighton, we had a rather different tone from Corbyn. Given his record of honouring terrorists it might stretch credulity to champion the rule of law. But he did his best saying:

“The highest court in the land has found that Boris Johnson broke the law when he tried to shut down democratic accountability at a crucial moment for our public life…There was no reason – “let alone a good reason”, the judges concluded, for the Prime Minister to have shut down parliament. Conference, he thought he could do whatever he liked just as he always does. He thinks he’s above us all. He is part of an elite that disdains democracy. He is not fit to be prime minister. Let me quote the Supreme Court’s conclusion: “Unlawful, null and of no effect and should be quashed” – they’ve got the prime minister down to a tee.”

What is the answer?

“This crisis can only be settled with a general election.”

But not quite yet:

“That election needs to take place as soon as this government’s threat of a disastrous No Deal is taken off the table. That condition is what MPs passed into law before Boris Johnson illegally closed down parliament.”

Of course, Labour was offered the chance of an election before October 31st. I suppose there would be still just about time for one to take place before then. On that schedule surely a Labour Government could have averted “no deal” by seeking an extension or negotiating a deal. The only hitch that occurs to some of is that Labour might have had the nagging doubt that it would have faced defeat.

There wasn’t much about Brexit but Corbyn did make clear that his indecision was final:

“We need to get Brexit sorted and do it in a way that doesn’t leave our economy or our democracy broken. The Tories want to crash out without a deal and the Liberal Democrats want to cancel the country’s largest ever democratic vote with a parliamentary stitch-up.

“Labour will end the Brexit crisis by taking the decision back to the people with the choice of a credible leave deal alongside remain. That’s not complicated Labour is a democratic party that trusts the people. After three and a half years of Tory Brexit failure and division, the only way we can settle this issue and bring people back together is by taking the decision out of the hands of politicians and letting the people decide.”

An important part of Corbyn’s appeal in the 2017 General Election was that he was an anti-establishment champion. In the coming General Election that role looks as though it will be snatched by Johnson. It might seem contradictory in normal times to have an anti establishment Prime Minister. But these are not normal times. There can hardly be any more establishment cause than the European Union. Nor any more anti-establishment cause than honouring a referendum result which politicians have thwarted. Corbyn has spotted the risk and said:

“In a shameless bid to turn reality on its head Boris Johnson’s born-to-rule Tories are now claiming to be the voice of the people. A political party that exists to protect the establishment is pretending to be anti-establishment. Johnson and his wealthy friends are not only on the side of the establishment they are the establishment. They will never be on the side of the people when supporting the people might hit them and their super-rich sponsors where it hurts – in their wallets and offshore bank accounts.”

The tried and trusted class war themes were run through. He would take on the vested interests, the powerful and the wealthy. Themes about taxing the rich – carefully limited to the “richest five per cent” – and renationalising the privatised utilities combine enthusing left wing activists while also enjoying broad support from the general public.

There is an ideological challenge for the Conservatives where a genuine grievance is identified and a socialist remedy is offered. For instance in this passage Corbyn says:

“I met Luis Walker, a wonderful nine-year-old boy. Luis is living with cystic fibrosis. Every day he needs at least four hours of treatment and is often in hospital keeping him from school and his friends. Luis’ life could be very different with the aid of a medicine called Orkambi. But Luis is denied the medicine he needs because its manufacturer refuses to sell the drug to the NHS for an affordable price.

Luis, and tens of thousands of others suffering from illnesses such as cystic fibrosis hepatitis C and breast cancer are being denied life-saving medicines by a system that puts profits for shareholders before people’s lives.

Labour will tackle this. We will redesign the system to serve public health – not private wealth – using compulsory licensing to secure generic versions of patented medicines. We’ll tell the drugs companies that if they want public research funding then they’ll have to make their drugs affordable for all. And we will create a new publicly owned generic drugs manufacturer to supply cheaper medicines to our NHS saving our health service money and saving lives. We are the party that created the NHS. Only Labour can be trusted with its future.”

Tim Worstall had a piece on CapX this week which argued that overpriced drugs was a regulatory rather than a market failure. It is a matter of the patents being applied for the right length of time. “The first pill can cost $1 to $2 billion to get through that process. The second can be made for $1 usually enough. If anyone is allowed to make that second pill as they wish then the $2 billion put in to make the first won’t happen.”  But sometimes mistakes are made – which is why insulin, which has been around for over a century, is much more expensive in the United States than in Europe.

Anyway, that is a shrewd cause for Corbyn to take up. It is the sort of issue that free market Conservatives need to offer alternative solution. Donald Trump is certainly sensitive to it and keen to get costs down in America

But where Labour surely overreached in their socialist ambition is the policy they passed this week not only to abolish independent schools but to confiscate the property of these institutions. Corbyn didn’t mention it in his speech and he might well feel it was indiscreet to make the demand public even if he agrees with it. Also missing from the speech was any mention of Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader.

With Ed Milband there was a dilemma for the Conservatives as to whether to attack him for being weak or extreme. Yet Corbyn is both more extreme and more weak than his Miliband was. The attempts to deselect his opponents and abolish the post of Deputy Leader suggest an extremist ambition to stamp out dissent to his Marxist cabal. Yet for these efforts to be botched indicate weakness. For all the difficult news this morning for the Conservatives from the Supreme Court this has been a bad weak for Labour. Far from the Conference giving them any “bounce” it is one most Labour MPs will be keen to forget.

 

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WATCH: McDonnell – Labour will tackle ‘national scandal’ of social care

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