Look Left – The #CamCorker speech, Boris’s record, and the NHS under Hunt

Shamik Das looks back at the week’s politics, including our progressive, regressive and evidence of the week.


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• Under-pressure David Cameron delivered his speech to the Tory Party conference yesterday – a speech light on policy and sprinkled with corkers.

As Left Foot Forward pointed out straight after the speech, his claims on the economy, the NHS budget, waiting lists, Europe, Housing Benefit, poverty, borrowing and more failed to stand up to scrutiny – see the full list here.

Last weekend, Left Foot Forward launched a new website, Cameron’s Corkers – cameronscorkers.org – chronicling the untruths and u-turns of the Tory leader. The tally after this week now stands at 31 u-turns and 27 corkers – though we may have missed some, so tweet #CamCorker if you spot any more…

• The talk of the town in Birmingham was Boris Johnson, greeted like a rock star, swept up on a tide of post-Olympic mop-haired mania – but a closer look at his actual record leaves much to be desired.

On policing, as leader of the Labour group on the London Assembly Len Duvall AM pointed out on Left Foot Forward, he has cut more than 1,700 police officers and 1,800 PCSOs in the past two years. In his speech to the Tory conference, he claimed crime fell 12% between 2008 and 2012 – but in fact it is down 5.6%. For more on Boris’s broken police promises, read London Assembly Green Party leader Jenny Jones AM here, and for more on the reality of Tory police cuts nationally, see our report here.

Also this week on Left Foot Forward, we’ve looked at Boris’s record on housing in the capital – for more read Val Shawcross AM’s article here, and for more on the policy debate around the solutions to the housing crisis, read Tom Muddimer’s report here, and read Kevin Gulliver’s report on the road to a ‘One Nation’ housing policy here

• New health secretary Jeremy Hunt sparked outrage last weekend with his views on abortion, telling The Times he wants the time limit halved to 12 weeks.

As Jos Bell wrote on Left Foot Forward, his remarks, his first major comments in the job, fly in the face of evidence, further damaging his reputation in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry and his links to Rupert Murdoch, and add to the impression that this is an arrogant, regressive, anti-women Tory government.

For more on Hunt’s speech to the Tory conference, read Unite’s head of health Rachael Maskell here, and check out Andy Burnham’s PPS and chair of the PLP health committee Debbie Abrahams MP’s analysis of what Hunt has in store for the NHS here. Hunt, lest it never be forgotten, is no friend of the NHS; the book, “Direct Democracy: An Agenda for a New Model Party”, which he co-authored in 2005 (alongside, amongst others, Michael Gove), called for the NHS to be dismantled, claiming it was no longer relevant.

Progressives of the Week:

Northern Ireland first and deputy first ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, who this week outlined plans to employ 230 new graduate teachers and health workers as part of six ‘signature’ projects worth £26million to improve numeracy and literacy, supporting job creation within local communities while tackling dereliction and empty units – demonstrating, against the backdrop of the Tories’ assault on the state, the power of government to create jobs and effect social change. For more read our article here.

Regressive of the Week:

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, who had a bit of a “Mitt Romney moment” this week, saying only 12% of households contribute to the country’s wealth – for more read our article here, and for the latest on the independence referendum – with David Cameron and Alex Salmond set to formally sign an agreement on Monday – see here.

Evidence of the Week:

The International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook (pdf), which this week slashed its growth forecast for the UK, predicting it will shrink 0.4 per cent this year – having three months ago predicted growth of 0.2%. For more, read Will Straw on the IMF’s verdict cuts hurt growth more than expected here, and read Cormac Hollingsworth on how the IMF reassesment is a massive boost for Ed Balls’s 5-point plan for growth here.

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