If you were to glance at the front pages today, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a bit of a slow news day in England, dominated as they are by stories about the class action suit against VW and the shocking story that we might experience some snow this January. To glance at the papers today would lead you to believe that everything was ticking along nicely in Tory England.
The truth is, England is disintegrating.
London is crippled by rail strikes, with commuters reporting 5 hour journeys to work. Clapham Junction became so dangerously overcrowded staff were forced to evacuate the station.
Sadiq Kahn, the supposedly Labour mayor of London – who made the fact his father was a bus driver a key part of his mayoral bid – has posted, at time of writing, ten tweets calling the strike “unnecessary.” With the mayor being so unsupportive of the unions fighting for public safety, it seems likely that the dispute will continue for some time.
The travel chaos and associated lost revenue to the capital should be a top news story in its own right, but it isn’t even close to being the most alarming thing happening in England today.
While mainstream news outlets report on the expected snowfall, the Queen attending church and the VW case, they are ignoring the fact that the NHS in England is on life support, in a crowded corridor and one severely overworked junior doctor to tend to it.
You may have missed the story a few weeks ago that every single paediatric intensive care bed in the country was full. Paediatric cardiologists were cancelling operations for babies in tears, because they had no means to care for them post-surgery. Neither Theresa May nor health Secretary Jeremy Hunt felt that was important enough to warrant comment.
Far from this being a much needed wake up call, Number 10 have allowed the crisis to deepen still further. In wake of reports of vulnerable patients being discharged at 3am with no care plan in place, no food in their cupboards and no social safety net, a patient reportedly dying on a trolley in an A&E corridor after a 35hour wait, and A&E departments being forced to close their doors to patients 140 times in December alone, the red cross were drafted in to help ease the pressure of what they called a “humanitarian crisis.”
The Department for Health left it to NHS England to comment, who played down the crisis by saying that “on an international scale” the NHS is not yet at the point of humanitarian crisis. Labour’s shadow health minister Justin Madders responded:
“For the Health Secretary to remain silent as this crisis unfolds represents either a complete denial of reality or utter embarrassment that this has happened on his watch.
Jeremy Hunt cannot say that he wasn’t warned that this crisis was coming. Every major health organisation has been warning for months that the NHS was heading for disaster unless it got more funding.
He has decided to ignore those warnings and we are now seeing a meltdown in our NHS that he is refusing to acknowledge. Patients, the staff and the public deserve better.
Jeremy Hunt should urgently come up with a plan and resources to match to end the crisis.”
Theresa May’s response was quite extraordinary. Rather than address the concerns of the NHS staff, the Red Cross and patients who are crying out for her to address the funding gap that has caused this unprecedented crisis, she chose instead to give a speech rehashing Cameron’s “big society,” rebranding it the “shared society.”
As we have reported, millions of people are reliant on food banks to eat in austerity England.
With no social care provision, our vulnerable elderly are left to fend for themselves.
Charities are propping up our NHS.
There are no beds available for critically ill babies.
Mental health provision is woefully inadeqte.
The UN has called austerity a breach of human rights legislation.
Prisons are in unprecedented crisis, with overcrowding and staff cuts causing officers to lose control in Bedford, Hull and Birmingham in the last few weeks.
It’s clear that to the Tories, a shared society is about sharing our assets out with their friends while we share the burden of trying to fix what they have wilfully, cheerfully broken.
Main stream media outlets seem determined to paint Theresa May as a safe pair of hands, and concentrate on her “brexit means a red, white and blue brexit” nonsense while England disintegrates. Meanwhile, in the real world, people are dying.
This isn’t governance. This is Mayhem.
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