Regional pay: how to increase the North-South divide and weaken the ConDem coalition?

As anticipated following Chancellor George Osborne’s budget, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has now declared that ‘regional’ pay for health workers is on the agenda.

Needless to say, those in the South-East will earn more under this arrangement than colleagues further North.  This is not however ‘only’ a question of health-care inequity and the salaries of health workers.

The wider issues, such as housing, are pressing and grim.  And the political fracture points for the Conservative-LibDem coalition may soon start to reflect these tensions.

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Government ‘incompetent’? Not when it comes to DE-governance…

Increasingly, we read that the present UK government is ‘incompetent’.   But I’d suggest the Government is ‘only’ incompetent in things it reckons are fundamentally unimportant for the longer-term.

David Cameron may make the occasional attempt to appear cuddly but George Osborne really doesn’t bother.  And why? … because the fundamental intention is to raze all social / public provision and pass it on to someone else, anyone else but the government.

DE-governance is the name of the Tories’ game.  And fast is the way they want to play it.

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Personal politics; when moralising replaces civic responsibility

The big issues in UK politics are how the Government is destroying public services, in favour of provision for which it is absolutely not responsible.  De-governance as quickly as possible is the route our Conservative-dominated political leadership has chosen.

The increasing interference by those same Tories in our private lives – whether it’s direct civil liberties, or our right to determine our own fertility, or whatever – is also diverting attention from de-governance.  And the news from across the Atlantic on, e.g., a woman’s right to choose (abortion) is alarming, with reports of extraordinary demonstrations and even efforts in some states such as Virginia to legislate for ‘medical rape’ – intended to prevent women going through with abortions – and the like.

Already there’s evidence that some anti-progressive UK campaigners are taking note.

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David ‘Two Brains’ Willetts blames women for two-brains families

Well done to the Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, for speaking out on climate change; he emphasises today (The Times, 25 February 2012) that ‘something real is happening’ when the ice cap starts to melt.

But did the man known as ‘Two Brains’ actually wear them both out getting to this pretty obvious conclusion?  Given that in the same Times piece he is reported as saying feminism is ‘partly to blame’ for a widening income gap, one must suppose so.

What appalling hypocrisy, coming from a Minister in a Government which is actively reducing opportunities for ‘ordinary’ women and their children.

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Britain’s railways are the worst in Europe for fares, efficiency and comfort.

Britain’s railways have been judged worst for fares, efficiency and comfort in a study of rail services in Europe.    It is estimated that the social, economic and environmental benefits of achieving a modal shift from road to rail – in terms of reduced congestion, accidents and emissions – could potentially reach £154.8bn by 2050.

But will anyone be listening, as we move into yet another phase of the Welfare Rights debacle?

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Smacking is NEVER the answer; violence begets only violence

David Lammy MP is reported to believe that working class people should be allowed to smack their children within ‘reasonable’ limits.   Whether he also believes that (in the public perception?) banning the physical chastisement of children helped fuel the 2011 Summer riots is immaterial.  On this, if he truly believes any of it, the usually admirable Mr Lammy is plain wrong. Wrong. Extraordinarily wide of the mark and much worse.

David Lammy should be campaigning, not to provide excuse for parents to hurt their offspring, but rather ceaselessly to halt all violence against children, including the horrors of FGM (female genital mutilation), which undoubtedly occurs in his constituency.  That way lies a more secure and enduring community peace.

If you have a Twitter account and would like to draw more attention to this issue, please use the hashtag   #NoFGM  and follow  @NoFGM1.  Thank you. .

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CSA charges: the ConDems punish women and children, and shield men (again)

The ConDem administration doesn’t just disregard women; it evidently wants to put them firmly back under the control, however odious, of men.

How else can we explain the intention as an element of the Welfare Reform Bill that single parents (read: women) should actually pay the Child Support Agency (CSA) to secure money owed by the absent partner (read: men) to feed and clothe their children?

Shamefully, government spokesman Lord de Mauley said the loss of charging would make the scheme unaffordable. Unaffordable, we ask,  for whom?

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