The British public feels robbed

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Wednesday 01 February 2023 09:53 GMT
Even our prime minister robs us of the truth by denying the fact that the NHS is currently in crisis
Even our prime minister robs us of the truth by denying the fact that the NHS is currently in crisis (PA Wire)

Once we could rely on prompt ambulances, short NHS queues, accessible GPs, nurses and teachers that felt valued for their invaluable work, rivers and beaches that were fit to swim in, a train service that functioned, civil servants that were promoted rather than sacked for exposing corruption, confidence that billions of pounds of public money couldn’t be siphoned off to personal friends and party donors, and a cabinet that didn’t largely consist of charlatans, bullies, and get-rich-quick merchants.

Understandably, the British public feels robbed.

Even our prime minister robs us of the truth by denying the fact that the NHS is in crisis at a time when the Royal College of Emergency Medicine calculates that up to 500 people are dying each week due to “extreme service delays”.

And what do they plan to do next? In an insane act of vandalism, the Tories now plan to make a bonfire of all EU rules that safeguard standards in everything from deadly pesticides, to motor vehicles, and even children’s toys. 

Is this what people fought Brexit for – the freedom to poison British bees? Tory MPs, please demonstrate that you stand with your constituents, and against those who would so arrogantly and carelessly rob the British public of thousands of safeguards voted into law by your predecessors. 

Anthony Hentschel


Was there nobody in the government concerned about Zahawi’s behavior?

After a period of speculation, Nadhim Zahawi has been sacked as Conservative Party chair.

But how much was speculation and how much was fact? It appears that Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak were almost the last to know about his failures to “declare”.

Yet some details appear to suggest that HMRC’s investigation was widely known before Johnson appointed Zahawi as chancellor. The same, therefore, applies to Truss and Sunak.

Surely if details pertaining to the behavior of any MP being considered for any cabinet post are cause for concern – regardless of source – then these concerns should be examined more thoroughly.

Zahawi may have been “careless” but the true villains of this debacle appear to be the three prime ministers who appointed him to various cabinet positions while on their watch.

It would appear that the course of action taken by the HMRC against Zahawi was at best a clarification of a mistake (which seems unlikely) or at worst, the unearthing of an attempt to defraud the government of legally due taxes.

Did three prime ministers just turn a blind eye?

Did three prime ministers fail to accept warnings provided to them?

Was there nobody in the government concerned about rumours of Zahawi’s behavior?

This looks like serious incompetence at every level, and perhaps changes are needed to minimise the chances of such occurrences in the future.

Peter H Williams


Why do we presume academic achievement and practical ability are opposed?

As a retired nurse teacher, I agree with much of what Louise Dewsbury has to say about the state of contemporary nursing and hospital nursing conditions.

However, I am disappointed she takes a (rather tired) swipe at degree preparation. These objections are never levelled at any other profession within healthcare, and I have never understood the idea that academic achievement and a caring, practical ability cannot reside within the same practitioner.

To manage and influence care practitioners must have degree-level grounding.

What I would say is that since diplomas were introduced in the early 1990s, training courses have not been good at integrating theory with practice.

The reasons for this are manifold, but among them are poor relations between those who run courses in health education, and partners who manage trusts. Another is poor leadership in nursing and (as in many institutions) the appointment of mediocre staff to senior positions.

Dr Anthony Ingleton


For too long, mental health has been viewed as less important by the NHS

The charity Mind is campaigning for an inquiry into systemic abuse of patients in mental health wards. The medical profession and the NHS set the tone for how we view mental health in our society, and for 73 years it has created the narrative that it is far less important than physical health.

This was a narrative reaffirmed by lockdowns, when mental health was put in crisis mode for many but barely acknowledged by Sage. This narrative is born out of paltry funding for treatment and research, along with shortsighted attitudes from the general public.

Richard Whiteside


Teachers are more valuable than the government thinks

All strength to Will Topps for “sticking his head above the parapet” and not only maintaining the right to strike and protest against inequalities within our society, but also for asserting that teaching is not and should never be a values-free zone.

There are those in government who prefer to think of teaching the young as a simple transactional business based on the supply of decontextualized chunks of knowledge. They are misguided.

As well as securing knowledge, teachers are engaged in equipping young people to face the challenges that will face them in the future. When unencumbered by those who came before them, they will be able to right the wrongs engrained within the world that they will have inherited.

Graham Powell


Michael Gove’s admission on Sunday regarding Grenfell is both welcome and refreshingly honest. He accepted that regulatory regimes were weak and ambiguous, and that a failure of the government to adequately police those weak regulations contributed to the disaster.

Such an admission coming from a member of the government should mean that there is now no case for relaxing regulatory regimes, whatever the pretext. Regulations exist to protect us, our interests, and our environment from those who would profit selfishly from disadvantaging or endangering others. The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, and any other attempts to “reduce the regulatory burden” for the sake of it, must therefore be abandoned immediately.

Charles Wood


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