12 Sep 2011
Green Party conference: Coalition's nasty edge
Caroline Lucas MP's speech highlight's the Coalition's nasty edge that is becoming increasingly clear - how the Lib Dems are keeping the Tories in power - it does seem incredible that the Lib Dems are still there as they are not even getting what they want - read it along with comments on the riots, Cameron selling arms, Labour, the NHS, the first Green controlled council in Brighton, at: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/mediacentre/releases/caroline-lucas-autumn-conference-speech-2011-sheffield.html
Adrian Ramsay, Deputy Green Party leader's speech: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/mediacentre/releases/10-09-2011-conference-adrian-ramsay.html
Click Read More to see excerpt of Adrian Ramsay's conference speech on the NHS and Caroline's special appeal to Lib Dems:
Adrian Ramsay: "Did the Lib Dems really believe the Tories when they promised no
major changes to the NHS? Do they really think they've achieved much
with a fresh consultation and tweaks to the plans?
Make no mistake, the Tory-LibDem proposals threaten the founding
principles of our National Health Service and they do this by shifting
more responsibility and delivery of healthcare out of public hands.
The Secretary of State for Health would no longer have to guarantee
health services are provided across the country - he would only have
to 'promote' universal coverage.
But what does 'promote' actually mean? A government billboard saying
''Tesco dentists, coming here soon; every filling helps''. The
Government's plan is one where private companies provide services
commissioned by GPs, paid for by taxpayers. But the British Medical
Association is clear: most GPs want to focus on treating patients not
commissioning. Most doctors aren't interested in an internal market
competing for sickness contracts, they believe in the NHS as a
co-operative of caring professionals, pulling together.
This spirit was eroded by successive Tory and Labour governments as
hospitals became trusts bidding against one another. Suddenly a clever
way to make a hip operation cheaper became a commercial advantage to
guard, not an innovation to share. As private businesses get involved
cooperation suffers. Fundamentally, businesses care about profit not
people, about wealth and not health.
They'll bid for the services that are easiest to run or squeeze money
from - not expensive care which is hard to deliver. What's left of the
NHS will be starved of the money private companies cream off.
Why don't other parties ever learn that farming things out to the
private sector doesn't save money but does compromise quality?
We saw it when Labour promoted PFI for hospitals and schools, the
Green Party warned that this would compromise quality. We said it
would put us in debt to private companies for decades - and a recent
report by the Treasury Select Committee agreed.
But a few MPs realising is not enough, we need them all to learn the
lessons of past failures: NHS privatisation is a bad deal for the
patient and a bad deal for the taxpayer. It does matter who delivers
your care - not just what it costs.
We have a clear message for the Government: We're proud of the NHS. We
still believe in healthcare free at the point of delivery. We still
believe in healthcare based on clinical need, not ability to pay. We
haven't stopped believing in healthcare to meet the needs of everyone,
and we reject NHS privatisation.
With so many crucial public services being axed across the country,
it's hard to foresee the extent of the devastation, but it's clear who
will suffer most - the elderly, low-income families, carers, refugees,
When David Cameron says we should ‘do more with less?' - does he
really mean we should ‘do less for those with least'?
If we don't stand up for the vulnerable, society as a whole loses out.
Jump ship, Lucas urges Lib Dems
Green Party leader Caroline Lucas has urged disgruntled Liberal
Democrats to jump ship and "join us".
She told supporters of the junior coalition party who were "beginning
to despair of the path their leadership has taken them down" that
their contribution to politics is "more valuable than ever".
Addressing her party's autumn conference, which is being held in
Sheffield, Ms Lucas said she had a "special message" for Lib Dems.
"If you became involved in politics to serve your local community, to
protect the environment, or to challenge inequality, then join us,"
"We are working for the same ends. You'll find many former Lib Dems
among our ranks. And your contribution to politics in our country is
more valuable than ever."
Ms Lucas also criticised the "growing influence of big business" in
Government, claiming Whitehall departments are using secondees from
big business to advise ministers and help manage public services after
axing highly paid consultants.
She added: "There are now so many that the Government has to admit
that it can't count them all.
"It can't say even which companies they come from or what they're doing.
"Now there are very few businesses who will lend their top employees
to Government for nothing.
"No, they expect something in return - influence, access, the inside
track on the next fat contract. How typically Tory. What looks like a
reform turns out to be making the situation even worse."