Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


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Listen up Cameron, speaking the truth wins elections

A year ago, most people were looking at George Osborne as the successor to David Cameron, should he unfortunately get run over by a bus. But since the ‘omnishambles‘ of the budget back in March and the fact he can’t make up his mind to be Chancellor or political strategist, his form has taken a downward trajectory. And quite frankly, I never saw Osborne as the next leader of the Conservative Party anyway as he is as vacuous as Cameron and once bitten, the membership would be very shy indeed.

The only true Tories in the Cabinet are Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Gove. IDS has worked tirelessly to fight the civil service tooth and nail to get his welfare reforms through parliament but he is yet to see any of his changes implemented – millions of people are still creaming billions off the state whilst sitting at home all day playing on their Xboxes, which you and I are paying for. For the Universal Benefit to become reality, a computer system probably more complicated than the failed NHS computer will be needed. And IT and Governments go together like oil and water.

But Michael Gove is in a different league. He is a Tory who is actually changing the education system in this country daily. Free schools, Academies and now serious policies to scrap GCSEs and replace them with O-Levels. He hasn’t gone around, unlike Yellow Peril universities secretary Vince Cable, saying it is the nasty, evil universities which are failing young people by not letting them in even if they can’t read and write. No, Michael Gove has laid the blame firmly at the doors of the primary and secondary schools and a culture of “competitive dumbing down” which was created by New Labour during their thirteen years of disastrous rules. Labour introduced “prizes for all”, “nobody can fail”. They introduced league tables which instead of improving schools forced them to dumb down and teach to the test. Schools were ably assisted in their league table ranking by corrupt exam boards who marketed their exam papers as easier than their competitors. They shout “choose us, we’ll ensure our questions are easier.” One question in science GCSE in fact asks: “What do you use to view stars? A telescope or a microscope.” I kid you not. When you see those screaming sixteen year old girls in the newpaper each August showing off their ten A*s and then universities and employers find they can’t string a sentence together or add up you now know why!

Blair and Brown deliberately allowed exams to get easier so they could say their education policies were succeeding. This not only fails employers, it fails the students themselves. If you have passed all your exams and then can’t even mentally calculate the right change for a customer this will hit the young person’s self-esteem very hard.

Blair set the target that 50% of all school-leavers must go to university. This was wrong and I refuse to mince my words like New Labour politicians did for thirteen years which led to a bankrupt nation, economically and intellectually: 50% of all school-leavers are not academically capable of going to university! Frankly, they aren’t clever enough as a result of their genetics – no level of social-engineering will fix that and why should we want to. I do not want to live in a country full of academic lefties. I want a broad spectrum of jobs and vocations for the next generation to go into. We need non-academic people probably MORE than academic people. That doesn’t mean they are inferior to more-academically gifted children. It means they have talents elsewhere – for instance in a trade like electrician or plumber, where they can expect to earn much more than a graduate does now with a devalued degree caused by the ludicrous imposition of the 50% target.

The above point was raised on BBC Question Time last night. Labour’s frontbencher Andy Burham almost agreed the 50% target was wrong. They probably knew it at the time but Labour are so obsessed in their false belief that the Conservative Party deliberately prevented people from certain socio-economic groups from going to university they thought it was right to dumb down the schools and exams systems to shoe-horn non-academic students into university, where the only thing they achieve is £10,000 worth of debt. That’s Labour economic policy all over: debt upon debt upon debt.

Back to Michael Gove. Along with IDS he is speaking the truth. And it grates against the beliefs of the socialist Nick Clegg and his party. Nick Clegg is your classic socialist, who once he had been privately educated, he couldn’t wait to pull the ladder up behind him. Socialists love to keep the masses under control with a sheep dipping, one size fits all education system. Lump everyone together and then no one gets above their station, eh? Well, that is morally wrong. Not every child is the same. We are all unique – that’s something that makes socialists sick. How can they command and control from on high if the plebs start to think for themselves and are encouraged to do so. No, they want to move children through an education system that fits the script and the targets not tailor-learning to the individual through different qualification streams which Michael Gove is proposing we go back to with ‘O’-Levels and CSEs.

This country’s education system is frankly a disgrace. Ever since New Labour got hold of it, we have slipped further down the global league tables of education attainment. These are the league tables which really matter as multi-national corporations look at them when deciding where to set up shop. Hmm, should a global engineering firm go to the UK where sixteen year olds leave school unable to fully read, write and add up or shall we go to Singapore where using calculators for basic arithmetic is unheard of?

Michael Gove gets it. The Conservative activists love it. If David Cameron doesn’t get behind him, it’s not only Clegg’s position he will need to worry about.


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Cameron takes on the nurses (sort of)

I’ve written before about the terrible nursing care in some of our hospitals, graphically described in the Care Quality Commission reports. Elderly people have been worst affected by nurses thinking that the basics like washing a patient, taking them to the toilet, giving them water and managing their pain are beneath them. This is a horrific scandal with the CQC reporting that at some hospitals, including Ipswich Hospital, the standard of nursing care was so bad it was actually illegal – although I haven’t seen anyone up in front of a judge yet!

So it was a welcome intervention from David Cameron yesterday when he outlined an action plan to force nurses to care properly for their patients. Of course, being the blessed public sector, you can’t sack them for leaving an elderly man wallowing in his own faeces, which would be one way of improving nursing standards overnight. Hence why private sector health provision provides higher quality and greater efficiency than the NHS could ever manage, despite receiving billions each year from the taxpayer.
The Prime Minister announced nurses will be told to do regular ward rounds, speak to patients once an hour to see if they need help with drinking and eating or need to be moved to be made more comfortable, and the Government will also allow the public to inspect wards for cleanliness, ensure food is being provided and that patients are being treated with dignity.  Anger is boiling inside me as I write this. Why should the most senior politician in the land have to step in and tell nurses to care first with everything else coming second? The nurses who allowed patients to suffer unnecessarily, as the CQC found during their inspections last year, should be found, sacked and then prosecuted in a court of law. But of course this won’t happen as David Cameron recognises.
Mr Cameron said on Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday: 

“Politicians frankly have done nurses a disservice by not talking about this. Such is our respect for nurses that we have almost hidden away concerns about this.”

The Prime Minister went on to say he had heard some “chilling” stories from his own constituents in Oxfordshire and now was the time to “speak up and act”.

For too long every politician in the land, as I have written before, has gone on about how “wonderful” our nurses and doctors are, as if they were all one step away from Canonisation. Instead, a large number of NHS hospital staff were one step away from being arrested for abuse.

Naturally, Labour, in response to the Government’s initiative, were quick to spout the Left’s rhetoric which has led to our elderly relatives being treated so appallingly when they are most vulnerable. The Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham said:

“If the Prime Minister really wants to help nurses focus on patient care, he should listen to what they are saying and drop his unnecessary Health Bill.”

As with race relations and also with public health, the Left has hijacked the English language. During Labour’s 13 years in power if anyone was ever to criticise our beloved doctors and nurses they would be howled down. This forced David Cameron to prostrate himself in front of the NHS altar when in Opposition. It took a Government quango, the Care Quality Commission, to report what many NHS users and relatives already knew about the health service: apart from being highly bureaucratic and inefficient our hospitals are very dangerous places to be in through a lack of care for patients and infections (caused in part because of a lack of care for cleanliness).

Disappointingly, Mr Cameron’s announcement yesterday was heavily hedged. He knows he can’t go head-on to root out the nurses who think they are above even feeding an elderly lady as the unions and Guardianista would eat him for breakfast. Perhaps a conviction-oriented leader, one not pinned down by the yellow peril, would deal with the impact “our beloved NHS” has on the health of the people? The time for serious surgery is still to come.