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Friday, September 15, 2006

Hospitals For Votes - It's All Damned Lies!

Plans to charge for each bit that a doctor fixesThere is absolutely no truth in the scandalous lie in "The Times" that we are offering hospitals for votes. Admittedly we may have been caught with our pants down a bit over the 'jobs for votes' scheme in Scotland, we did also get some unfortunate publicity over 'cash for peerages' and Prescott's 'sex for no votes' affairs haven't done us much good in the opinion polls.

But there is no truth in the outrageous allegation that a secret meeting with top Party officials was called by Hazel to work out ways of closing hospitals in order to address the £500m+ NHS deficit without jeopardising key marginal seats. I can assure you that any e-mails from Patricia Hewitt referring to "heat maps" were merely communications about acupuncture and its role in the NHS and were nothing at all to do with marginal Labour seats where closures or reconfigurations of health services could cost us votes.

Planned hospital closures, mainly in Tory and LibDem constituencies, hahaIn the normal course of events there will always be some towns where hospitals are scheduled for closure and others where new hospitals are planned. Planned closers include Huntington, Enfield Chase Farm, Penzance and Central Middlesex. It is likely that there will also be closures in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, rural Essex and Hertfordshire. The fact that none of these are Labour marginals is completely coincidental.

On the other hand, many new projects have been funded under the massive investment programme that New Labour has brought to the NHS. Nothing has been announced yet, but I can reveal that new hospitals may be planned for Crawley, Harlow, Sittingbourne and Sheppey, Battersea, Stroud, Stourbridge, Islington South and Finsbury, Finchley and Golders Green, Chester City, Oxford East and Watford. The fact that all of these are Labour marginals is equally coincidental.

After this I shall not be reading "The Times" again. Added to the other newspapers on our family banned list, it looks like a choice between "The Independent" and "Hackney Grain Harvest Today" in future.


Edna Gribbins said...

You will be getting my vote, alright. I have been a life-long supporter of the Labour Party. I live at 32a Mortuary Road and if you can arrange for the new hospital to be on the corner where it meets the High Street I would be very obliged.

Andrea said...

"Enfield Chase Farm,....... The fact that none of these are Labour marginals is completely coincidental."

Enfield North is a Labour marginal

Luke Akehurst said...

You are correct and I have made an administrative error in showing the hospital on my map.

I must confess that we still have not found a solution to the problem of how to close down this hospital without shooting ourselves in the foot.

The hospital is, as you point out, located in Joan Ryan's marginal Enfield North constituency. The confusion was due to the fact that David Burrowes of next-door Enfield Southgate has been so visible campaigning against the closure that when we drew up the "hit list" we thought he was the local MP. A minor error as the boundary is not far away, but politically a bit of a major gaff.

Burrowes is, of course, the man who defeated my hero Stephen Twigg (he who forced Portaloo to retire to a life of sitting next to Diane) in last year's General Election.

We are certainly desperate to close down the loss-making hospital and put a stop to the rabble-rousing demonstrators who keep raising the subject of Labour NHS performance and reforms. But of course we don't want to cause problems for Joan. Given the current leadership difficulties, this would not be the best time to upset a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury.

I wrote to Joan the other day suggesting that some of us could go out in a van one night and push the hospital across the border while nobody is watching. Then we could close it down without losing face and give the Tories another kick in the face at the same time.

I have yet to receive a reply.