Saturday, 9 June 2007

Blogpower Awards- Vote Early and Often!!

I will be out of town from Sat 9 June until Wed 12 June and will be writing posts if (hopefully when) I have any free time. We are still doing well in the Blogpower Awards but need your votes to pull ahead of the current leaders! Thanks for all your support and keep voting! You can vote once per day and the link to the polls can be found HERE

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

NHS has over £500m Surplus But At What Price?

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt had put her job on the line over getting the health service out of the red. Hewitt now claims success as on paper the NHS has a 510m surplus. The question is how is that possible when only a year ago they had a deficit in excess of 500m?

Are you suspicious yet? Well you have every right to be. This "surplus" came at a heavy price. Over 17,000 jobs have been lost in the last 12 months according to the NHS Information Centre and in the final months of the 2006-07 financial year, operations were delayed by NHS trusts so that they would not appear on the balance sheet. A perfect example of politics taking precedence over health care. What did they tell the people who had most likely been waiting months if not years for their operations? "I'm sorry ma'am but Hewitt has her job on the line therefore we need to reschedule until the next financial year."

The British Medical Association has accused the government of "decimating hospitals". I'm sure Hewitt thinks this is a minor price to pay if it means saving her job.

The above cuts alone however were not enough to rid the NHS of debt.
With the agreement of ministers, NHS chiefs began to build up reserves to cover any shortfall and create a safety net. Approximately ten percent was shaved off the £3.7bn training budget (I guess Hewiit figured the trainees would figure it out on their own eventually) and cuts were also made to public health spending. This gave the health bosses a contingency fund of £450m.
Additionally 1/3 of the extra £5.4bn the NHS was due in 2006-o7 was held back.

Then, in the last weeks of the financial year, millions of pounds were put back into the NHS, helping to create the surplus. Yes Hewitt has created a surplus but at the cost of thousands of jobs, postponed operations, less training for employees, and withholding money which prevented the expansion of services.

Hewitt has done nothing more than fiddle the books. Even with this surplus nearly a fifth of hospitals and PCTs, which are the parts of the health service responsible for care, finished the year in the red.

The government says the public should not be worried about this as the NHS is still getting the money. Tell that to the people who had operations delayed so they wouldn't appear on the 06-07 balance sheet.

Blogpower Awards- Vote Early and Often!!

The voting has begun in the Blogpower Awards and UK News and Politics needs your votes!! Thanks to your support we have been nominated in several categories. Here is the list of categories. If you click on the category it links to each poll. Thank you again to each and every person that nominated UK News and Politics. Now comes the real challenge.

Categories you can Vote for UK News and Politics in :

1 Best Britblog or Column

5 Best Ranter

6 Best Political Blog or Column

10 Best Little Blogger [i.e. under 100 uniques a day]

12 Most Under-rated Blog or Column

20 Most Unintentionally Humorous post

We are very grateful to have been nominated in so many categories but to stay in the running we need your votes!! Thanks again and happy voting :)

Blair and Labour Party Waste Another £750,000

If Blair's £1m farewell tour wasn't enough money wasted, according to Scotland Yard the police probe into the cash-for-honours affair has cost more than £750,000 so far it emerged today. And we wonder why there is a constant lack of funding for schools and health care.

If Blair, Levy etc are found guilty they should be made to foot the bill for the investigation. I don't see why it should come out of taxpayers pockets.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Last Day of Nominations!!

Today is the last day of nominations for the blog awards so don't forget to stop by the Blogpower Awards and nominate UK News and Politics! Thank you for your support we can't do it without you. We are doing well in the nominations for best british blog , best political blog, best little blogger, most under rated and surprisingly we have been nominated for our absurd news of the week post as well as best ranter. All looks good but to UK News and Politics a Place in the competitions we still need your nominations.

One laste note : Central News has been very supportive of our blog and does a great service to the blogging community. I have nominated Central News for Best Blogpower blog (it is where I found out about Blogpower) and the services to blogging award. I encourage everyone who is very kindly taking the time to nominate UK News and Politics to add nominations for Central News fo Blogpower blog and services to blogging.

Thanks again for all of your support. We are doing really well! Dont forget to visit the Blogpower Awards and nominate!

"Further Inquiries" Demanded in Cash for Honours Scandal

Despite receiving a 216 page file from Scotland Yard, the Crown Prosecution Service has demanded additional evidence from the police and that they "undertake further inquiries" before deciding whether there should be criminal charges in the cash for honours investigation. It appears Prime Minister Blair may be interviewed by the police for a third time. This time however, it is highly possible that he will be interviewed under caution as detectives were ordered to again question the key players .

Although thus far Blair has only been interviewed as a witness, he was the first Prime Minister ever to be questioned by the police as part of a continuing criminal investigation. Once he leaves Downing Street at the end of the June if he is interviewed it could take place under caution, technically making him a suspect.

There were 2 comments left last week in the Herald relating to Cash for Honours which I posted previously. If you didn't get a chance to read them you may find them interesting. Whether they are accurate or not I don't know but in light of the CPS demanding further investigation it makes you think. Click HERE for the post and to read the comments.

Monday, 4 June 2007

£1m To Be Spent Training Muslim Imams at University

A new report by Academic Ataullah Siddiqui says teaching of Islam in English universities is based on "out-of-date and irrelevant issues". It concludes that more emphasis should be placed on Islam in a modern context.

Ministers will now label Islamic studies a "strategic subject" because of its role "in preventing extremism". Education Secretary Alan Johnson is expected to announce a £1m cash injection later to plug gaps highlighted by Dr Siddiqui's report.

I find it absurd that Blair seems to find money to "update" Islamic Studies and train foreign Imams, provide exercise facilities to prisoners, install all kinds of spy toys and spend a million pounds on his "farewell tour" (only to name a few unnecessary expenses) and yet can not find the funds that our schools and the NHS desperately need. I would love to know how Blair justifies spending a million pounds on updating Islamic studies instead of spending it on our children's education. Is it really more important to teach Islamic studies at university than it is to teach maths and reading to our children?

One more note on the report:
The report also concludes that Islamic studies syllabuses should focus on aspects of Islam "relevant to contemporary practice of faith". Students should be able to learn parts of the syllabus from Islamic scholars, it adds. It calls for more recognition of the importance of campus Islamic societies and more prayer facilities.

Somehow I don't think adding additional Islamic Societies and prayer facilities will miraculously enlighten potential terrorists and convince them to change their ways.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Brown Pledges To Protect Our Civil Liberties ... By Giving Police Powers to Hold Suspects Without Charge for Over 28 days

Gordon Brown has said he will not to put civil liberties at risk over plans to introduce new anti-terror laws. He says this despite the fact that he wants to give police more powers, including holding suspects without charge for more than 28 days, when he takes over as prime minister on the 27 June.

Mr Brown also wants to allow police to continue questioning suspects after they have been charged. But of course as he said, he would make sure that "at no point will our British traditions of supporting and defending civil liberties be put at risk. " The most terrifying part is that he was not joking when he made that statement.

Does Brown realise that twenty-eight days is already the longest period to hold a person without charge in the free world? But no, holding them for longer is definitely not jeopardizing our civil liberties.

Blair unsuccessfully attempted to introduce 90-day detention without charges in 2005 and was opposed by Tories, Liberal Democrats and some Labour backbenchers. Conservative sources say there is no new evidence to suggest that police need more than 28 days.

I have said it before and this goes to prove my point, Brown is Blair in different wrapping.

One last question, since our prisons are already over capacity where exactly are they holding these people who may or may not be charged at some point in the future?