NHS

March to save the NHS

First published on Progress Online for The Last Word

Save our NHS, time to speak truth to power on Copeland, gongs gone wrong and thank Lord for the upper house – Progress director Richard Angell has this week’s Last Word

Tomorrow I, along with thousands of other Labour activists, will be taking to the street to defend our National Health Service. As shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth put it, ‘the NHS is going through the biggest financial squeeze in its history’ – and Saturday is our opportunity to call on the government to do something about it. A national social care crisis has brought social care to its knees, crippling local government, and forcing the Red Cross to describe the situation in Britain’s health service as a ‘humanitarian crisis’.

There are those that would seek to convince you that these pressures were inevitable – that, had Labour won the last election, these issues would have devilled Ed Miliband and Andy Burnham as they do Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt. They are wrong. Britain’s health and social care problems are a direct result of seven years of chronic underfunding – a political choice. Each of us has a duty to hold the Tories to account. However, Labour wanting to defend the NHS with every sinew did not save use in Copeland and it will not save us nationally. Hopefully, our actions can save it.

I hope you will be joining me this weekend. (more…)

Jeremy Corbyn’s shambolic power grab in Copeland would put New Labour to shame

First published on Telegraph Comment

It is amazing how quickly the Jeremy Corbyn project has emulated everything it says it hates. The Labour leader does not have just one senior spin doctor, but three, and is advertising for yet another. Last week they tried to u-turn on Corbyn’s lifelong position on free movement because focus groups and polling tell them they have little option – and then did not quite manage it.

Last night Labour selected its candidate in Copeland. The tactics used by Corbyn’s inner circle – not least the reported involvement of leader’s office staff David Prescott and James Schneider – would make Millbank Tower in the heady days of New Labour blush. Reports have circulated that membership lists were made available to preferred candidates well in advance, that canvassing calls were made from within the leader’s office and that national trade union political officers were picked off and put behind one candidate. (more…)

The wrong Jeremy

First published on Progressonline for ‘the Last Word’

The NHS crisis, progressive alliance ploys and Momentum purges – Progress director Richard Angell has this week’s Last Word

Toby Perkins’ speech to the House of Commons this week on the death of his father was not only a brave personal intervention, but also an important contribution to the debate around the National Health Service. That the story he tells comes from the summer of 2016 shows that the current winter crisis in the NHS is no one-off. It is the result of years of Tory mismanagement, of ill-thought through reorganisation and failure to deliver the funding it needs. (more…)

Crosby’s mimicry is too little, too late

Redbox article 16/04/2015First published on the Times Redbox

The Conservative party’s apparent political cross-dressing has left many people puzzling over why the party is talking about matters traditionally viewed as Labour strengths. In fact, this is classic Lynton Crosby.

Known as the ‘Australian Karl Rove’, and ‘The Wizard of Oz’, Crosby has long been associated with the negative campaigning that became the signature of the 2005 general election.

But he is also a master of mimicry. When things are going well for his opponent, and he cannot easily demolish it or find a way to fold it into the Conservative message, he will go all out and ape it. (more…)

‘It’s restored my faith in politics’

Gordon AikmanFirst published in Progress magazine

Gordon Aikman wants nothing left unsaid | Richard Angell and Adam Harrison

Gordon Aikman has been busy of late. The former Labour party staffer-turned-director of research for the unionist referendum campaign Better Together has met Hillary Clinton, been in and out of No 10, received wide coverage in national newspapers and, most recently, his partner, Joe, proposed after a day visiting the White House and the Oval Office.

In the final weeks of the independence referendum campaign Aikman found out he had motor neurone disease. The condition was recently propelled into the news thanks to the Oscar-winning film The Theory of Everything. Unlike Stephen Hawking, Aikman’s strain of the disease means he has just months to live. ‘I think we could all learn from Philip Gould [the New Labour pollster] and others about making the most of every day. Life is finite.’ ‘With the progressive nature of MND, I know that today is my healthiest day; I am only going to get worse. I’ve been living life and enjoying life as much as I can.’ (more…)

What are the first year challenges for a UK Labour government and how does it over come them?

5.30pm, Saturday 14 February 2015 | Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, SA1 4PE

Owen Smith MP Shadow secretary of state for Wales
Ann Jones AM Chair, children, young people and education committee
Richard Angell 
Director, Progress
Mary Wimbury Parliamentary candidate for Aberconwy
Chair: John Bayliss Chief whip, Swansea council

This May Hurt a Bit

First published on ProgressOnline

This May Hurt  a BitWith a star-studded cast, This May Hurt a Bit at London’s St James’ Theatre is the perfect mix between a party political broadcast from Michael Foot’s Labour party and a Guardian reader’s dinner party.

While the actors were second to none, their script was simplistic and lacked the depth that the debate on our NHS deserves. Glib claims that ‘Nu Labour’ followed seamlessly from Thatcherism and that the coalition government’s pernicious reforms are somehow the realisation of Blair’s vision before them, betray the real truth. It is for someone else to point out the fact that it is this sloppy logic that would also say that all changes and charges in the NHS started with everyone’s favourite Labour government, the very founders of the NHS, as they imposed prescription charges in 1951.

(more…)