Less than 4 weeks to go until Polling Day and the Lib Dems try to reinvent themselves for third time in 12 months
Just 12 months ago the Liberal Democrats were coming out of the first TV debate on a high with Nick Clegg proudly proclaiming that he was heralding a new cleaner more honest politics. Looking back now as the Lib Dems have portrayed themselves firstly on the left and then so far to the right economically that the very idea that John Maynard Keynes was in fact a Liberal seems a cruel joke. Even within the last few months we’ve had senior Lib Dem, Chris Huhne stating that the Govt’s NHS reforms ‘ticked all the Lib Dem boxes’. There was no question that the effective privatisation of the NHS was a cruel and bitter pill that the Lib Dems had to compromise over as junior partners in the coalition, these were proposals the Lib Dems were fully signed up to; they ticked all their boxes. In the Commons debate, not a word of dissent from Lib Dems, nor even in the committee stage.
But now in election mode, the Lib Dems in time honoured tradition make the switch. In the most shamelessly cynical political choreography they send out Nick Clegg’s advisor Norman Lamb to wash their hands of the reforms (or at least until after the election). Why has it taken until now? At least their party members could see that these NHS reforms were a betrayal of everything that the Liberals had ever stood for, but their MPs so taken with their new role as the Govt’s favourite poodles said nowt.
There is no doubt that a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for the catestrophic NHS reforms. We’re already seeing waiting times rise, services cut back and in Trafford the status of our healthcare trust is becoming more and more uncertain. Lib Dems will not whisper a sound for fear of offending their new best neocon friends. I can understand why Tory poster boy Daniel Hannan has been quiet on the NHS since Lansley released his plans. Watch the video below to understand what the Tory Party thinks about the NHS and what they want to replace it with for themselves. Of course it’s Medicare for the rest of us. Daniel Hannan’s pleased… and the Lib Dems said nowt. (until they wanted votes!)
Attended the inaugural Transport for Greater Manchester Committe – the big item on the agenda was the justification from First Bus that their weekly fares were increasing as a consequence of changes to concessionary fares. The changes should not be affecting standard commercial fares as their was no subsidy involved either before or after the changes so it seemed to bare no relation to reality to connect the two changes. The one thing that could be said was that there was unanimity that the members of TfGMC were unimpressed with the rationale.
Elections permitting I’m to be member of the Metrolink and Rail networks sub committee and substitute member of the Capital Projects and Policy sub committee. There will be three permanent sub committees with the remaining committee being Bus and TfGMC services sub committee. A working group on Mobility Scooters on Metrolink will also continue until it finalises its work with the existing members of GMITA. Clearly this is of vital interest to users of Mobility Scooters as the ability to get into town affects employability and social activity. I’ve already been contacted by Mobility Scooter users keen to be allowed back on the trams and I’m keen to support them.
Disappointed that there isn’t more on encouraging active travel across Greater Manchester within our remits. It is a key objective of Transport for London but not Manchester which in my opinion is remiss. With the increasing cost of fuel and public transport there’s clear benefits to taking a much more focused strategic role in supporting cycling and walking. There’s a statement of intent contained in the Local Travel Plan 3 but it hasn’t crossed into the work of the TfGMC.
Chaired the special AGM of the Lostock Residents Association. We’re looking to rotate the chair as we seek a permanent appointment. Ideally it shouldn’t be a councillor as really we want to be answerable to the residents. It would be good to make progress with this.
Canvassing and leafletting
Accounts and Audit Committee – essentially a review of the year and looking forward to the new workplans. I requested that we receive a report on the Carrington Depot Fraud which was tried in court during the year. I’ve been a member of the Accounts and Audit Committee for four years now and that particular episode has never been mentioned. I’d not raised it myself as I suspected it was sub judice but now the case has been tried, I believe we should be concerned with ensuring that the council has acted to avoid a repeat
Friday – Sunday
Despite the glorious weather I’m wearing a coat indoors because I can’t stop shivering. Poorly man-cold