Thursday 30 August 2007

GPs trust Conservatives over Labour to run the NHS

A poll released today has indicated that the Conservative party have opened up a 25% lead over Labour among General Practitioners.

The survey carried out in GP magazine found that out of 301 GPs, 48% intended to vote for the Conservatives at the next General Election, up from 35% in 2005. In comparison, support for Labour has dropped from 31% to 23% while backing for the Liberal Democrats has fallen from 19% to 13%.

Of the same individuals polled, around half of GPs (47%) answered that they considered Labour's performance on the NHS to be either “poor” or “very poor”, with just 17% responding that it had been “good” or “very good”.

When asked on specific policies and what changes they would like to see, 15% said that they wanted to see the creation of an independent NHS, and 7% called for greater GP autonomy. 10% replied that they would like the NHS left as it is.

The poll results are likely to be highlighted by David Cameron as the Conservatives continue the “NH Yes” and “Stop Brown’s Cuts” campaigns. With the future of the NHS already being seen by commentators as a key battleground for an upcoming election campaign, the views of medical professionals could prove decisive on which party is seen as most trustworthy in managing the health service.

Monday 20 August 2007

House Prices up - again

Interesting piece on house prices rising again, reported today on Guido Fawkes’ blog. According to figures provided by the Nationwide Building Society, the average house now costs a whopping SIX TIMES the earnings of the average person (the historical long term figure is three-and-a-half times earnings). In London, this figure is TEN times average earnings

As someone who has been looking to buy his first property (and have been trying to do so for the past two years), these figures make pretty sobering – though not particularly surprising - reading. Anyone who has wandered into an estate agents office in my area of London will know that anything less than a quarter-of-a-million wouldn’t buy you a shoebox.

It seems incredible that at a time when the country is crying out for more affordable housing, Gordon Brown forces through the impractical and unnecessary Home Information Packs (HIPs) – the hairbrainchild of First Lieutenant Ed Balls’ missus, Yvette Cooper – piling even greater expense on the purchaser. Yet as Guido points out, this should hardly come as a surprise from the Chancellor who promised in 1997: "I will not allow house prices to get out of control and put at risk the sustainability of the recovery".

Gordon talks a good game when discussing the distribution of the proceeds of economic growth but given his failure to live up to previous pledges such as the above, how can anyone take seriously his latest proposals? His recent promise to build more affordable housing come as too little, too late for too many people. Let’s just hope that the electorate remembers this come election time, and rewards Gord’s incompetence with a house move of his own.

Tuesday 14 August 2007

When Two (ex) Trots Go to War

Bethnal Green and Bow MP George Galloway has ended weeks of speculation by annoucing that he will contest the neighbouring constituency of Poplar and Limehouse at the next General Election. The seat is currently held by Transport Minister and fellow Glaswegian Jim Fitzpatrick.

Blogmate Red Maria is already licking her lips at “a suitably bitter and filthy election campaign”. She seems to have got her wish already, with the Respect MP comparing himself to Labour founder Keir Hardie, against Fitzpatrick’s Ramsay MacDonald – “the betrayer of everything Labour stands for".

Commenting on his TalkSport radio show, Galloway also accused the former Socialist Workers Party official of presiding over the "shambles" of Heathrow airport.

Let battle commence…

Local Conservatives say: Ban Hizb ut-Tahrir

Congratulations are due to blogmate Justin Hinchcliffe of Tottenham Conservatives and “Hunter and Shooter” fame, following a bizarre decision by bosses at Haringey's Alexandra Palace to loan the venue for a conference held by Islamic extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Commenting in the Haringey Independent, Justin said: "Hizb ut-Tahrir is a fascist-Islamic organisation – jihad (holy war), anti-Semitism, homophobia and misogyny are what it stands for. We don't want these hate-mongers in Haringey."

Having originally considered banning the terrorist sympathiser group two years ago (in line with most other EU countries), Tony Blair decided against the ban after being briefed by police officials that this would merely drive the group underground.

However, such toleration appears to have simply emboldened Hizb ut-Tahrir into making further attacks on women, gays and Jewish people. As Conservative Leader David Cameron argued at Prime Ministers Questions last month: "People simply won't understand why an organisation urging people to kill all Jews hasn't been banned."

And so say all of us.

Hats off to Hunter for voicing the concerns of the majority of Haringey residents - the sherberts are definitely on me next time we're out.

Wednesday 1 August 2007

Political hara kiri

Former councillor, two-time PPC Ali Miraj yesterday signed his own parliamentary death warrant. Frustrated at a flatlining political career, which has included two parliamentary defeats, reports from CCO suggest that Mr Miraj demanded to be nominated by David Cameron for a peerage. When he was unsurprisingly rebuffed, the some-time policy group contributor fired off an incoherent rant on, accusing the Conservative leader of “gimmickry”, an “obsession with PR” and of lacking experience, before going on to attack Communication Director Andy Coulson.

As if the timing of Mr Miraj’s attack – arriving in the week of admittedly more considered questions raised by Edward Leigh MP – and the nature of his allegations were not sufficient to justify CCO's censure, this is not the first time Miraj has prodded the political tiger. In early 2006, Mr Miraj appeared to suggest that his search for a parliamentary seat equal to his own sense of stature was due to racism, publicly questioning whether Witham and other local Conservative Associations were guilty of prejudice in candidate selection. Incidentally, Witham CA’s decision to adopt Priti Patel as their candidate perhaps offers the most withering of responses to such a cheap and obviously unsubstantiated assertion.

When Mr Miraj has finished putting the toys back in his pram, he may come to regret his own arrogant grandstanding. His A-list status, which offered the best chance of rewarding his efforts at the two previous elections, has now been revoked and neither Labour nor (even) the Dim Lebs are likely to welcome such a trouble-maker into their own ranks. Whilst disagreeing with much of Ali’s political platform, this is a sad end to a promising political career.