Posted Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 23:16
I’m on the politics show tomorrow, talking about MPs expenses.
Life just gets better every day.
Mine's a statement please
Posted Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 18:40
The poor Minister is sat in the bar, drowning his sorrows following the Governments defeat. He's a lovely man. Who can blame him. His heart cannot have been in it this afternoon.
No one can ever remember when the Government was defeated on an opposition day, and some have been here for a very long time.
My Blackberry has just buzzed to announce that the Government is to make a statement tonight regarding the Ghurkhas.
But where is the Minister?
Oh yes, that’s right. Whoops, this should be interesting J
Posted Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 16:49
The Government and the authority of Gordon Brown has just been dealt a fatal blow, as MPs from all parties filed into the lobby to support the Gurkhas.
Men who risk their lives in combat for this country have a right to live in this country.
Joanna Lumley is an amazing campaigner, who has done much to highlight the dreadful way in which the Government has treated the Gurkhas, prompting her to announce that she was "ashamed of this administration".
It's about what is fair, right, good and decent. None of those values were present in the voting lobby, as Labour whips tried to coerce and force members through the lobby, to support the Prime Minister. A group of twenty or so Labour MPs stood outside the lobbies as whips worked on them, pushing and cajoling into the lobby, which stood for all that was wrong, unfair, indecent and bad .
The Labour whips on the lobby doors panicked and shouted towards the lobby to those whips doing the bullying, "only one minute to go". I moved into the chamber to take my seat just as a loyal Labour MP moved from within his lobby to whip on the door, and said "it's not looking good." I have no idea if those twenty ‘we are trying our hardest to be brave’ MPs made it through the door.
When the result of the vote was announced in the chamber, you could hear a pin drop.
What a victorious day for decency.
The Labour MP who moved to the lobby door and told the whip it's not looking good, epitomises all that is wrong with the government. They have a warped perception of what the country wants and of what is good.
Today is a good day. For every Gurkha and for the very courageous, beautiful, and doughty campaigner, Joanna.
Posted Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 14:03
How the touch of your hand...
Posted Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 12:27
MPs were collecting their cumbersome boxes of receipts from the Vote Office yesterday. They will be published for public consumption in July.
One Labour MP started to flick through his, and within minutes had found four receipts that belonged to Conservative MPs, and one which belonged to another Labour MP.
Looking at the huge boxes, which have taken millions of pounds to collate, one couldn't help wondering: how valid will this process be if all MPs find their boxes contaminated with the receipts of others?
Will they all have to go back and start again?
Sitting in the Pugin Room last night with a visiting constituent, a very senior Labour Minister came over to me, took hold of my hand and said "Can I say sorry on behalf of all those of us who are decent?". He was so lovely, he almost made me cry. He told me his own particular story of when he had been the victim of the same machine and how he had dealt with it.
There is no love for Brown amongst Labour MPs. They are angry at how he has destroyed the Labour party and what he has reduced it to.
Exiting the voting lobby a little later, another Minister motioned for me to follow him around the back of the Speaker's chair.
"Watch yourself love", he said. "You are public enemy No 1. You inflicted a lot of damage on No10 and they are out for revenge. Watch out for the Sunday Mirror, don't talk to them." He then squeezed my hand and left.
Now I really feel like crying!
Mad or Sad?
Posted Tuesday, 28 April 2009 at 13:54
I once wrote a blog entitled Hysteria-ectomy. It is a universal truth that when a man who is inadequate, in a number of areas, meets a woman who achieves, his first line of attack is to describe her as 'mad'. It has ever been thus.
You can bet your life it wasn't a woman who named the operation, which removed that which makes women unique, a Hysterectomy, linking the womb to hysteria. No, that will definitely have been a man.
The left wing Mayor of Bedford frequently refers to me as 'Mad Nad'. Something which I am not and is incorrect.
Now if I were to describe him as overweight, sweaty, unpleasant, shrill and politically opportune, I would be entirely correct; however, I choose not to operate at his level and simply always refer to him as 'Mayor'.
Apparently, Kevin Maguire described me as mad on the Sky paper review last night. During the 80s, Kevin, during his days as the labour (as in work) correspondent for the Telegraph, and mine as a businesswoman, was the very first journalist to interview me. He certainly didn't think I was mad when he frequently telephone-chased me for information to pad out his column.
In my experience, I would say that if you ever see or hear a man calling a woman 'mad', take a closer look.
If his failings are not obvious and external, then I'm afraid there will be only one conclusion to reach.
As an act of kindness, may I suggest you whisper in his ear that there are tablets available for such problems these days, and maybe it's he who needs to visit a doctor.
It's a wrap
Posted Monday, 27 April 2009 at 13:24
Following on from David’s speech yesterday, and, the resulting commentary in the daily papers and media today, it appears that the mood-music for cuts and higher taxes was well and truly set. Also, in that one speech, the ethos of spend less and take more was embedded in the minds of all of those who need to know.
So much so, that one can imagine if a Labour Minister ever spits the dreaded word usually more at home on a film set than in politics, ‘CUT’, at a Tory, the general public will collectively shout ‘yeah, and about time too’.
Yesterday, David exorcised our ghost. We have spent eight years in fear of being labelled as secret ‘cutters’; and Labour have well and truly exploited that fear. They knew well in the past that all they had to do was push a few Ministers onto Newsnight and the Today programme, accuse us of ‘cutting the very vital public services the sick, poor and needy’ depended on, and we would back down right away.
They were good at it. We did back away, whilst all the time knowing that this day would come. The day when the country was in such a desperate economic mess that it would be impossible to balk at the medicine that we needed the country to swallow.
Previous shadow chancellors have always known that today would come.
I remember Oliver Letwin instructing us all at a team meeting, to go away and figure out an analogy that we could persuade the media to show interest in, which would explain the dreadful scenario of the bubble bursting, without using the word bubble.
But the media didn’t want to know. Oliver was talking about the future and the media are only ever interested in today.
Today is here. I'm with Boris on the 50p tax band. I still believe we should cut, not raise taxes and cut public services to the core.
We have a responsibility to keep people well, educated and safe, and the rest should go. At least until the day when the bailiffs bring back the cupboard, and George has had time to stock it up again.
Then, and only then, and only if service provision can be sustained, should we embark upon the luxury of spending to please, rather than spending in order to survive?
A radical seismic shift is required in the psyche of the entire population.
Which public services should a government provide? Would a severe cut back to core services now, enable us to rethink, and refashion, the kind of society in which we live?
For example, instead of government funding being channelled to many of the bizarre quangos and organisations it is spent on at present, maybe we could consider the option, once we had cut back and revenue receipts began to increase, of providing free home nursing care for the elderly; or a reasonable allowance for carers, who wish to look after their own relatives. Thus providing a service far more valuable than a quango; whilst at the same time, reducing the cost to the NHS, which in itself meets the criteria of sustainable spending.
In addition, we could target and focus spending towards voluntary and faith-based organisations, which are prepared to work in some of the more deprived societies, and make a difference in terms of outcomes for some of our poorest children.
I hope David develops and expands his ‘cutting’ rhetoric. If we are dramatic and severe enough in cutting peripheral provision, then we stand a realistic chance of addressing the huge problems, which are slowly destroying society today, at some time in the future.
Maybe when this happens, we will live in a society of which we can be proud. One which cares for its weak, and once again provides world class services, of which to be proud. A Conservative Government, which will have hopefully been in power for some time, will be able to stand back, take a breather, and say 'it's a wrap'.
Posted Monday, 27 April 2009 at 12:12
Blue Eyes..My Cartoons Got?
Posted Monday, 27 April 2009 at 10:21
Guido has posted a very unkind cartoon.
What an idiot! I have blue eyes.
IPDATE; What a nice people :) They have just changes to blue
Im not even going to mention that at first I thought it was Esther Rantzen.
Funny Downfall Vid
Posted Saturday, 25 April 2009 at 21:09
Just For The Record
Posted Saturday, 25 April 2009 at 15:53
I have instructed and proceeded with legal action.
Obviously, I am not going to say anything at all at this stage, other than that.
In The Loop
Posted Friday, 24 April 2009 at 18:53
Is a new film and I think it’s about a spin doctor?
Apparently, according to my phone, which knows everything, Armando Ianucci, one of the stars, has written in tonight’s Evening Standard magazine.
He says that he met me during a broadcasting round, and that I showed him Brown’s letter.
He says that I was bustled away into a flash car by minders and he wondered who was in show business and who was in politics?
Two points to make here, a) I had no idea who he was. I thought he was a very nice man who worked on the set of breakfast TV and b) the flash car bit is such a lot of cobblers!!
Time to slip out of character Mr Ianucci. You were only pretending to be a spin doctor!!
Sing for my supper...
Posted Friday, 24 April 2009 at 13:30
Remember the Harriet Hardwoman story in the press last year?
Maybe the reason Harriet looks so embarrassed when I asked my question at PMQ's is because she has also been ‘done over’ by McBride, Gordon Brown's former political and press adviser and right hand man, and knows what it’s like. Each day, Harriet becomes more likely to become the next leader of the Labour party.The information for the 'hardwoman' story could only have come from deep within the Labour camp.
A busy constituency day with a silver lining!
Someone has asked me to join their table at the Classical Brit Awards at the Royal Albert Hall on May 14th.
Check out the link http://www.classicalbrits.co.uk/
See where the tables are?
How long do you reckon it took me to say yes?
Posted Thursday, 23 April 2009 at 13:36
Here is the link for yesterday's PMQs on BBC Parliament http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8012432.stm
My question is about 20 minutes in after Question 3.
UPDATE; a number of people who have watched this have text me to mention how ashamed Harriet Harman looks. Harriet has always been a staunch advocate of womens rights and would be horrified at what happened. We may be miles apart in our politics, however, I do admire how she sticks to her principles.
Posted Thursday, 23 April 2009 at 11:48
I have been surprised; maybe I shouldn’t have been, at the warmth and kindness shown to me by some Labour MPs and Ministers.
I have received a handwritten letters from MPs and former Ministers and one very high ranking Cabinet Minister came over to me when sat with a group of Conservative MPs to apologise in a way which was obviously heartfelt.
Each Labour MP who has spoken to me has had their own story to tell and some have been a complete revelation.
For example, the story of Robin Cook.
Does anyone remember Robin Cook’s ‘Ethical Foreign Policy’?
A very senior Labour MP told me the story of how No 10 and No 11 were very unhappy with that for two reasons. The first was that it out-shone what the two respective power bases were embarking upon and the second was that they didn’t want Government policy saddled with anything which was ethical.
Fast forward to the story of the day Robin was at the Airport with his wife, about to embark upon a two week holiday. Remember the phone call he received from Alistair Campbell in which he was told that the press knew about his other relationship and that he was to return to number 10, where he would be given full support.
The (very) senior Labour MP who spoke to me told me that before Robin left for the airport he had told No 10 that he was about to take a holiday with his wife to see if they could sort things out.
It was allegedly, apparently, so I was informed, No 10 who informed the press. No 10 who then called Robin back and No 10 who stood by him if he dropped his Ethical Foreign Policy.
I have been told of half a dozen other similar stories. All of which are about trashing rising stars or potential competition for the top spots. All about making sure everyone in the PLP knows their place and doesn’t step out of it.
All about a frightening level of control.
Thank goodness I am a member of a party which appreciates and encourages intellectual debate and discourse; which relishes the opportunity to take an idea apart and which supports its own, as I discovered yesterday as I was lifted to my feet by the cheers of my colleagues.
Posted Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 14:57
My colleagues were wonderful today.
Normally, during PMQs, MPs rise up and down between questions hoping to ‘catch the Speaker's eye’.
The Speaker takes free hits from either side of the house, in rotation.
Today, in order to guarantee that I was called, none of my colleagues rose, and all forfeited their chance of asking a question of the PM. The Speaker had no option but to call my name.
The Speaker certainly wasn’t happy to have been ambushed in this way; however, there was really nothing he could do.
I asked for an apology FOR smeargate, not about, which is what he said before. I got as good as I am ever going to get.
The budget was shocking. No wonder we have had diversionary headlines over the last few days.
£550 million is to be spent investing in off-shore renewable energy.
Well, the wind is in Scotland, as is the off-shore expertise. So that’s a £550 million present to Scotland from the Scottish Chancellor and the Scottish PM.
Nothing to do with shoring up the Scottish vote of course.
More on the budget later.
Posted Tuesday, 21 April 2009 at 21:14
You couldn't make it up
Posted Tuesday, 21 April 2009 at 17:12
If you haven’t yet heard, the Prime Minister announced this morning that he is going to reform MPs' allowances, almost immediately, vote on them next week and have them in place by 1st of July.
Before you say good old Gordon, just take a look between the lines.
Read into the message that Alistair Darling has been trying to send you in all of his briefings.
The decoded message is:
"The state of the economy is nothing to do with me – this was all caused by Gordon – it’s as bad as it gets – make sure you all remember whose fault it was – don’t blame me".
Yesterday, we had an announcement on Hillsborough.
Today it's MPs' expenses.
Read into the message that Gordon Brown is trying to send to you in all of his announcements.
It goes like this:
"Darling is a little **** for trying to put the blame for the economy onto me – I will divert all the attention of the press away from his budget – I will make Darling’s budget look like a non-event in light of all the other headline grabbing initiatives I’m about to announce".
The Prime Minister does not have a genuine bone in his body. The fact that his spin has become so obvious and transparent is more than worrying. We have open warfare between No.10 and No.11. How long can this go on?
Posted Monday, 20 April 2009 at 22:06
The accusations of expense abuse affected us all. The atmosphere here in Parliament before Easter was very unpleasant as the majority of hard working MPs were tarred with the same brush as the few.
Different things affect different people. I was particularly upset at a headline in a red top - it said something like, 'when second home allowance gone - MPs still on £100,000 expenses.
I want to put that one straight.
I receive £100,000 a year as an allowance, not an expense, to employ staff. It’s known as the staffing allowance. (It may have gone up in April, I’m not sure)
The 100k is held in a budget in an office known as 'the fees office'.
When I employ a member of staff I draw up a contract of employment and pay them according to a scale set by the fees office.
The contract is then submitted to the office and out of the budget with my name on my member of staff is paid directly by the fees office, into a bank account.
As an MP, I am self employed. Out of the same budget is deducted E.R.N.I.C
My 100k per year employs three staff.
No money changes hands between the fees office and I, that just isn’t allowed. All MP employees are paid directly by the office, from an allowance, with the MPs name on.
I don't see a penny of the 100k staffing allowance. The nonsense you read in the newspapers about us having hundreds of thousands of pounds of expenses just simply isn’t true.
I am THE VERY FIRST TO SAY that the allowances system with regard to accommodation is archaic and needs to be reformed, IMMEDIATLEY.
David Nettleton, one of my commenters, has made a useful suggestion in the last thread. Whichever method of reform is embarked upon, it will only succeed in the eyes of the public if the media behave in a manner which is mature and responsible. One would hope this means reporting the facts as they are rather than printing as sensational a headline as possible in order to make someone pick up the paper and buy.
The system is wrong, but not totally. Some of the reporting has been correct, but not all. Being an MP is a 24/7 52 weeks a year job and the majority take that very seriously, but not everyone. In comparison to other MPs in other countries and in comparison to other professionals in the UK, we are not well paid. We may get the same holidays as teachers, but we are never actually ‘off’ as my Easter demonstrated.
The press often report on our gold plated pensions. What they don’t report is that they are paid for with a monthly 10% contribution of salary. I pay £497 per month into my pension.
Changes do need to be made. There is no point in appointing an external body to make recommendations and then ignore them, which is what happened last time.
The media have just reported that MPs are having 12 weeks summer holiday. Again, not true. I’m afraid my constituents don’t buy that and although I do have a restful August, September 1st is when everything lifts off again.
For the sake of democracy we need drastic and sensible reform at our end and honest reporting without embellishment from the media.
Sadly, I’m not holding my breath for either.
Back to Reality
Posted Monday, 20 April 2009 at 11:14
I may not always see eye to eye with Bruce Anderson when it comes to his view of female MPs in the Conservative Party.
However, Bruce knows that I have the utmost respect for his experience and intellect. I also have the sneakiest feeling that he was not wholly begrudging of my recent response to some of his comments; and in his own way admires people who will ‘stand up to the plate’ when defending their view and principle.
Bruce’s article in today's Independent, in which he writes about MPs' expenses, is typical of his own brand of pragmatism.
Along with a recent article in the Times by Alice Miles, both are journalists who deal more with the grit and substance of the issue, than a cheap, no effort, quick-fix, sensational headline.
Prior to Smeargate, I was about to write an article in which I was going to attempt to explain fully how the expenses system works in reality; and make a case for the 630+ MPs, who work their socks off on behalf of their constituencies, and have every right, having been scrutinised and elected by their constituents, to serve without the demoralising, depressing accusations which follow us everywhere.
I shall resume that task today.
Smeargate isn’t over. I am reassured that The News of The World knows who the real perpetrators are and will keep on working.
Back to the Commons this morning. My Easter consisted of:
24 lovely hours with my mum – and various journalists, cameramen etc - and a night out with the girls.
Posted Sunday, 19 April 2009 at 19:58
Extended football ruined play.
4-2 to Everton, who would have guessed that?
5 Live and fruit cake
Posted Sunday, 19 April 2009 at 18:47
I was forgiven. Pub lunch, long walk and then home for tea and home made fruit cake.
On 5 Live with John Pienaar at 8pm.
Okay, the cake wasn’t made by me. It was made by my favourite vicar Steve, who popped in for a cup of tea with his wife Carol and dropped it off yesterday.
Totally delicious Steve !
Pub lunch or starve!
Posted Sunday, 19 April 2009 at 12:02
I feel sorry for Robert Halfon, our candidate in Harlow and fantastic advocate of St George’s Day, as noted here on Conservative Home.
He never stops working. As I type this, he and his girlfriend Vanda are on their way up the motorway for a home cooked Sunday lunch at my house.
Trouble is, I am so exhausted after not having had a single day off since I can’t remember when, that I have booked us a table in the local pub. Please, please let them not mind!
Posted Sunday, 19 April 2009 at 09:22
Ray Collins and the Draper email.
Posted Sunday, 19 April 2009 at 00:28
On Thursday, at around the same time Gordon Brown apologised for Smeargate on camera, I received an email from Derek Draper.
I was sat with Margaret Driscoll, from the Sunday Times, although I let Margaret have sight of the email, I decided that if it was going to be in the public domain, it would be done in Bedfordshire.
I have to admit, the email touched me. I found it hard to believe that the sentiment was not genuine. I was torn between believing it was a cynical ploy - that Draper was ‘playing’ me and wanted me to pass it onto the national press thereby giving the impression that it was well intended as he had only made the apology to me and not via the press - or did he really mean it?
My cynicism kicked in upon realising that it arrived at around the same time the PM apologised on camera. It smacked of a desperate attempt to pacify me and draw a line under what was spinning out of their control. To portray a ‘human caring’ face from both of them via different sources in the media. The PM to a camera in Glasgow, Draper via me to the press.
If he was playing me, he got it wrong.
You see, I know, as do others, we will eventually get to the truth; we just have to keep on digging.
Today, on the same day the News Of The World run with the story that Ray Collins, General Secretary of the Labour party chaired the meeting which was called to discuss the setting up of ‘Red Rag’ the web site established to act as the platform for the smear stories – in Charlie Whelan’s office, the Beds On Sunday will print my email from Derek Draper. Read both, one after the other.
Read the Sunday Times and the fact that they have uncovered a connection to Ed Balls, which he denies. The Sunday Times story smells strongly of Ball’s being thrown to the dogs by Gordon Brown. As though the PM is chucking us a bit of raw meat to chew on whilst he finds the next expendable MP to throw us off the scent.
After you read the words of denial from Ray Collins that he ‘knew nothing’, read the email I received last week from Draper.
It appears that deny, deny, deny, may be a tactic. But it won’t work. The media will unravel this a little bit at a time. As they do they will get closer and closer to the centre.
No links available yet.
Posted Saturday, 18 April 2009 at 21:28
Two pints of lager and a media overdose
Posted Saturday, 18 April 2009 at 20:40
Amanda Platell has been very generous in The Daily Mail today,
The Bedfordshire on Sunday has its own little scoop with regard to ‘Smeargate’ in the morning
And finally, the lovely Margaret Driscoll has profiled me in the Sunday Times.
Right now I’m off to pick up Sam Coates. Not the journalist, the speechwriter. He is undergoing TA training and I think he wants to escape. He's obviously never heard of tunneling. Trouble is, since Smeargate, I’m a bit nervous about being seen out with a man I’m not attached to. Even one young enough to be my son. So, I’ve bought two bottles of Lager, a packet of crisps and we can chat in the car. I can ask him if he's eating properly, he can tell me all his problems and then he can sneak back into the base. Maybe I should invest in a big hat?
Posted Saturday, 18 April 2009 at 14:55
In every interview I have given I have made the following points;
Damian McBride sat in the inner office in Downing Street. The desks in that office are arranged next to each other, in a horseshoe.
On the next desk to Damian McBride sat Tom Watson MP. Damian and Tom I believe are both chums of Derek Draper and Charlie Whelan.
According to Labour MPs and the press, Watson, McBride, Whelan and Draper are Gordon Brown's ‘inner circle’ of confidants, his gate keepers. All take instructions directly from the PM and report directly to him.
Derek Draper was photographed this week leaving his home with the hard drive of his computer in a large carrier bag.
Are we really expected to believe that the smear-gate emails only passed between Draper and McBride?
If that's the case, where was Draper disappearing to with his computer and why?
Who else was copied in?
Can you imagine the consequences if the press discover Tom Watson knew after he has already made a statement that he didn't?
If Tom Watson did know, it is almost impossible to imagine that as an MP he would do anything whatsoever without Gordon Brown being aware. Gordon Brown leaves nothing to chance.
Can you imagine the consequences if it transpires that Gordon Brown did know?
Posted Friday, 17 April 2009 at 15:52
Whoops! I think there has been a bit of confusion. My middle daughter has just won a competition over on http://www.torybear.com/
Thing is, she’s not my researcher! However, she is very beautiful and perfect in every way. J
It's a Small World After All
Posted Friday, 17 April 2009 at 13:37
The News Of The World rang to say that the information on Scully’s blog
is wrong and that in fact their front page story HAD been written by one of their own NotW journalists.
This is the bit that is wrong;
Even more weirdly, the story was not written by a NOTW journalist but bylined Gloria De Piero, GMTV's Political Editor. De Piero is a close friend of Derek Draper, a colleague of his wife Kate Garraway, and an ex-flatmate of Damien McBride's then-boss Tom Watson.
What a huge co-incidence that the story wasn’t actually written by the friend of Derek Drapers wife and ex flatmate of Damien McBride the boss of Tom Watson and that she happened to have another story on the front page at the same time.
Small world eh?
I’m sure Scully will remove the blog soon.
Posted Thursday, 16 April 2009 at 21:46
It was only a matter of time before Gordon Brown stood in front of a camera and was asked to say the ‘S’ word.
He did it today on a visit to Glasgow which couldn’t be cancelled. He said it through gritted teeth.
The real story today is that Damian Green has been found not guilty of any wrong doing.
The scandal is that Jacqui Smith presided over an operation to arrest a shadow minister, put him in a cell and traumatise his family. For no other reason than he was doing his job.
The Labour party is made up of MPs who only know politics. They know nothing other than spin and manipulation. The normal qualities of decency and moral values pass them by as they focus on only one thing, staying in power at all cost.
I imagine tonight will be the first peaceful one for Damian in some considerable time. If only Labour put as much energy into reviving the economy as it did into harming opposition MPs and their families.
It’s beginning to feel more like Zimbabwe every day.
Posted Wednesday, 15 April 2009 at 00:15
Took over .... more later :}
Posted Tuesday, 14 April 2009 at 16:57
See, it's easy.
ITN sold a still of my letter to the Evening Standard, so now I’ve let it go.
I didn't want to stoop to Labours level. The Prime Minister wrote 'private' at the top of the letter. Once I knew ITN had sold it I thought letting everyone have a copy was the fairest thing to do. Although, if I had intended to put it in the public domain, I would have done it via a blog!
Frank Field has broken cover. He is the first, others will follow.
The press will move on to Tom Watson tomorrow and turn up the heat in the PMs Office. Until someone tells the truth, it will be like watching a pack of cards fall.
People keep asking me if it's time for this to end. It will end, when someone tells the truth.
We will all know it when we hear it. We will instinctively believe it. The truth will always win out.
On the Sofa
Posted Tuesday, 14 April 2009 at 05:14
I'm off to do another round on the breakfast TV sofas.
It's a good job they are not sofa beds. I was up before the boiler this morning. It's stil snoozing in the airing cupboard, so, lovely cold shower for me.
if anyone is daft enough to be reading this, this morning will be a real test of Iain Dale's loyalty. I'm up against the chipmunk on BBC. :)
Posted Monday, 13 April 2009 at 20:37
For blogging twice in minutes.
It's events and my Samantha like political nose, it won’t stop twitching.
I think the sharks are circling. I think Gordon’s own side are out to get him.
That’s why he has written the letter, that’s why he wants Watson in place. Without him he is totally exposed.
I think smear gate may be the end for Gordon.
See what a handwritten letter does? I’m calling him Gordon now!
News at ten tonight. Sky sunrise at eight in the morning. Various radio, including the wonderful 3CR!
Posted Monday, 13 April 2009 at 18:21
I’m writing this with my hand-written letter of apology from the Prime Minister, in front of me.
I keep reading it.
It arrived with a copy of the letter the PM has written to the Cabinet Minister, Gus O'Donnell, asking him to revise the Code of Conduct for special advisers.
That letter is type written.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with the existing code, however, claiming it was the ‘code’ which allowed the events of the last few days to take place does provide the PM with greater distance. It also provides the loop-hole by which to claim an apology was necessary.
Kind of, “not me gov. If the code had been clearer the special adviser wouldn’t have messed up. It was the code wot did it”.
The more I read the letter the more I realise I’m looking at spin on paper.
This letter is about saving Tom Watson’s skin.
Tonight, John Prescott has called for Draper to be sacked.
The Prime Minister has few people he can trust; Watson is reportedly one of them. Watson is also a great facilitator. The go between people like Draper, McBride and the PM and MPs. All seeing, all hearing.
If Watson went one could assume it would be a huge personal blow to the Prime Minister, as he will have lost his right and left hand men in the space of days.
The Prime Minister can state he didn’t know what was happening and we can choose whether or not to believe him. However, who would believe that the Cabinet Minister, Tom Watson, whose desk was right next door to Damian McBride’s, and who was I have been told, mentioned in the emails, didn’t know?
I think the heat in the kitchen may have been getting a bit hot for Tom Watson. A compulsive blogger and twitterer, he’s not been heard of or seen for days.
Something is afoot. I have no idea what but my female intuition tells me that this is a story which isn’t going to go away and could be running for a few days yet.
Sorry? What was that?
Posted Monday, 13 April 2009 at 16:56
Just when I thought it was time for a sleep...
have just finished PM. The bids are rolling in, but I'm not really sure I sound coherent anymore!
Gordon Brown is sending a letter of apology. He has also written to Gus McDonnel instructing him to revise the code of conduct.
Of course, by saying the code needs to be revised and was faulty in the first place means the Prime Minister has a reason/excuse to apologise. The existing code of conduct is un-ambiguous and fine. it needs to be ahered to, that's all.
Im waiting for the letter. Is there a difference between 'deep regret' and 'sorry'?
Just done C4 down the line. ITN on the way to the constituency. More later..
The Steve Nolan Show
Posted Monday, 13 April 2009 at 16:30
If you want to hear a classic example of how biased some presenters in the BBC are, listen to Steve Nolan interviewing me this morning. He was standing in for Victoria Derbyshire.
I’m not sure I want my taxes to pay for someone unable to leave his own politicsal beliefs at the studio door.
I finally stopped and piled into the local pub for lunch with the girls and boyfriends at 1.15, having only stopped for three hours in what feels like forever. It was the pub or starve. The fridge contained half a dry lemon, a carton of milk and a tomatoe with skin resembling what mine will look like if I don't get some sleep soon!
The food landed on the table, however, I had to leave and go outside to take a phone call from a very important person.
It's good evening Wales next. I was only allowed to leave the pub if I promised that I would use the word 'oh' or 'whats occuring' or describe the M25 as a cruel mistress.
It's time to feed my kids some wholesome food I reckon and reduce the additives!
Posted Monday, 13 April 2009 at 11:45
5 Live called to say they were being leaned on by lawyers with regard to any reference to Tom Watson MP and before I went on, would I just be aware of that.
I asked them what they wanted me to do with that information and were they saying I couldn’t talk about Tom Watson? No said the researcher, we are just under a bit of pressure here, that’s all, just be careful.
BBC Breakfast producer told me they weren’t taking Derek Draper on because they were being leaned on by his lawyers and he had already made ‘legal’ noises against them.
So what’s going on here then?
I’m going to stay in the constituency as I have work to do.
Here is my article for the Independent.
ConservativeHome have posted the Sky interview from my mum’s garden yesterday morning.
What a relaxing Easter!!!
Posted Sunday, 12 April 2009 at 23:31
Over to BBC TV Centre straight after GMTV to appear on BBC Breakfast somewhere between 8 to 8.15.
Easter just hasn’t happened.
Spent most of it feeling sick, anxious and worried that any of my friends or family might think that a single word of what was in the emails was true.
Now I just feel sick because I’m so tired L
4.30 alarm :(
Posted Sunday, 12 April 2009 at 22:58
Posted Sunday, 12 April 2009 at 16:02
The mountain came to Lytham St Annes.
It took a few cameramen only a couple of sentences to charm
my mum into cutting up a chocolate sponge.
All it took was “Ooh,
is that real Lladro”? And “Gosh, I think they are the whitest net curtains I’ve
The neighbours were, it has to be said, less circumspect
than they might have been. Bringing chairs onto the pavement to sit on and
watch was a bit over the top and I’m not sure what Sky thought about being
filmed, being filmed, filming me.
Bottom line though remains as solid as a rock. Damian
McBride took his instructions from the Prime Minister. He sat in the heart of
Downing Street. We are in the midst of an economic crisis. We are at war in
Iraq and Afghanistan and through all of this; the right hand man to the PM is
inventing scurrilous lies about Conservative MPs. This Prime Minister is more
concerned with holding onto power, whatever it takes and whoever he takes out,
by whatever means in the process.
The Mother Says NO
Posted Saturday, 11 April 2009 at 20:51
I am at my mothers. Under no circumstances will she allow me to go anywhere to do any media. "But you are just a back bencher " she reminds me, kindly, "why do they need you?" I don't really want to tell her. If I buy all the newspapers in the local shop early enough in the morning, she will never know.
So, I'm trapped. In Lytham St Annes.With phones without noise filters.
Sky are sending an outside broadcast van all the way from London here in the morning. I'm going to tell them to drive off with me!
News Of The World rang tonight after reading my blog. I never really had them down as a thoughtful bunch but it was a "we know it's untrue, dont worry" call.
Nice NoW :) So nice I'm going to buy every copy in my mothers shop in the morning.
Oh No Media!
Posted Saturday, 11 April 2009 at 16:45
Ive been taking media bids in my car all day, only now I can't remember what I have and havent agreed to!:(
Love the way Downing St are pushing a Labour MP out to say this is a blog spat - er no - it a situation manufactured by the Prime MInister's right hand man. It came from Downing St, the office of the PM, not a blog.
The Demise of McBride
Posted Saturday, 11 April 2009 at 16:26
Really didn’t expect to be charging all over the country today, however, I have been.
I also didn’t expect to be one of the four people that Damian McBride had slandered in the email, but I am.
The email accusations regarding myself are 100% not true. They are slanderous and therefore libellous. Damian McBride is the political and press adviser to Gordon Brown. He is his right hand man and has been since the Treasury days.
He is paid for by the tax payer, Downing St dismissed the emails as a ‘joke’ this morning.
I don’t regard the tax payer’s money as a joke. I also don’t regard the fact that Damian McBride, who takes his instruction from and reports directly to the PM, attempted to destroy my reputation, career and my life as a joke either.
I want an apology from Gordon Brown. I want Damian Mc Bride’s desk cleared. I would also like to know how Gordon Brown would feel if CCHQ wrote such disgusting lies about his wife, Sarah Brown.
How desperate is the PM to hold onto power that the office of Downing St would sink this low.
Have done BBC 6pm News and PM.
Have done all the Sunday papers for tomorrow, except for Sunday Times and The News Of The World. Funny that, they are the two papers which I have been told have the emails. What do you bet my phone starts going at about 5pm?
Posted Friday, 10 April 2009 at 13:48
You Could be Happy..Chasing Cars
Posted Friday, 10 April 2009 at 12:29
Driving so can’t really blog. Even a woman can’t combine those two things together!
I’ve brought with me The Armed Man, Einaudi, and Snow Patrol.
Had a bit of trouble getting them all in though. Told the armed man to leave his gun behind J
I think my choice of music is beginning to irritate my daughter. I sense this by the extent to which she keeps raising the volume on her ipod.
I am part way through writing a ‘Fight Back’ blog with regard to MPs expenses. It will be the basis of the letter I am going to submit to the enquiry. It’s going to take a little while though so the lap top is coming with me.
It will give me an excuse to leave the table every time my mother tries to force feed me another slice of apostle cake. Do hope to have it blogged in a few hours though.
Cassie is walking towards the car from the service station as I type. Smiling at me, blonde hair flying all over the place. Scuttling to get out of the rain. Oblivious to the four young men stood in the car park watching her every step as she glides past. If only I could tell her and make her understand what I now know in order that she can enjoy every second of being seventeen.
She has told me that if I play You Could be Happy or Chasing Cars from Snow Patrol once more, she’s getting out and walking.
Seventeen. I do remember. That's an age when someone else is always the boss. Must remind her not to leave her i pod behind.
Just put Open Your Eyes on replay. Even she can't moan about that, surely?
Speaking in tongues.. or trying to
Posted Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 00:10
Just arrived home after supper with Iain Dale.
The Weber Shandwick event was good but I have to say, Bruce Anderson was bloody rude.
When I arrived at the event, Iain went up to the top table and moved around the name places. When the Chairman asked him what he was doing, Iain said, “she’s not sitting next to him”.
In that blonde way I have it kind of went over my head, until we began to make our presentations
Everyone did their five minute introduction/speech.
Bruce Anderson spent his intro berating Gillian Shepherd, and then went on to state that there was not one single female MP in the Conservative party fit to be in a Conservative cabinet.
I stood to reply, at which point Bruce Anderson began to talk, loudly, to the person sat next to him, and he carried on and he did not stop. It was incredibly off putting.
We then took questions. When I was asked to speak Bruce decided he would interrupt, when he was pulled up for this he then again, talked over me.
Iain lost it at this point and asked him why he didn’t shut the f**k up.
I’ve never spoken on a panel quite like that before.
Misogyny at its most blatant; from a man who mutters incoherently, constantly.
He told me at the end of the evening that everything I had said had been wrong, which is why he had spoken over me.
“Really “said I. “Do you think so? Because do you know what, almost every person here has just come up to me to congratulate me on how I handled myself in the midst of your rudeness and commented on what a complete misogynistic a**e you are. And I have to say, I agree. I would just have slipped the word fat in somewhere”.
I then gave him a kiss on both cheeks and left with Iain, as Bruce Anderson stood with red wine lips and teeth (easy to see as his mouth was wide open) and stared after us.
'Right On' And A Message to Mary
Posted Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 11:12
This has been a bad morning so far. Just played out a scene from Dallas as my knee caught the Dyson at the top of the stairs. It bounced down from the top head first and hit the concrete floor at the bottom. Dead.
I sat on the bottom step and we had a quiet moment together, alone.
I have only really got to know her since I became an MP. I used to have a cleaner called Mary who was with me for many years. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t miss Mary. Well, you wouldn’t would you?
When my youngest was about three years old she spilt something on the floor and I remember looking around the house to find the Dyson. To my shame, I didn’t know where Mary kept it.
Locating the machine in the basement I went into the play room, plugged her into the socket, I could still just remember how it went, at which point my little one jumped on the Dyson and shrieked “you can’t touch that, it’s Mary’s”
From that day on, I knew my place.
Heading back to London. Speaking at an event ' Right On' being held this evening by Weber Shandwick at the City Inn.
Discussion will be about the challenges facing David Cameron and the Conservative party when in power.
Where do I begin?
Message to Mary, I changed your name to spare your blushes! I do miss you!
The Times and Dizzy
Posted Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 10:41
Dizzy has a funny post up this morning regarding an article in The Times today. I blogged on it last night.
The Times very much watered down my reasons for not attending the Innovation and Skills Select Committee. Can’t think why?
Dizzy saw the funny side of this.
There is an error in the chart accessed via a link on Dizzy’s post upon which I sit at the top.
Sadly, the chart is incorrect. It has me down as having attended one meeting of the committee whereas, I haven’t actually attended any.
Posted Tuesday, 7 April 2009 at 21:27
This is sooo good. Pop in the microwave for 5 seconds before eating. Yummy!!
Posted Tuesday, 7 April 2009 at 21:01
Sam Coates of The Times called this morning, regarding my non attendance of the Innovation and Skills Select Committee. I am actually a member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee; however, the old Science and Technology Committee did become Innovation and Skills, following the publication of the abortion report. I have never sat on the Innovation and Skills Select Committee.
I have very strong opinions about select committees. I would do. I’m an advocate of democracy.
Who chairs a select committee is vitally important. The chairman must be of utmost integrity, non-partisan, balanced and fair. Not many of the existing chairmen make the grade; however, I will admit, those that do are excellent.
Of course, I can’t think of anyone in the Conservative or Labour party who would think that there are more than three Liberal Democrat MPs, from the 60+ who would fit the above description.
Those who follow my blog will know exactly how I would feel about committee chairmen who fail to present a balanced report; select witnesses who espouse only one side of the argument; and allows MPs from his/her own party to almost completely rewrite a report at a final meeting, without prior notice to the remainder of the committee. Chairmen who overlook deliberate misinterpretation of evidence, and attempts to block relevant evidence from being heard, or presented.
I believe there is a word for such chairmen.
I have never told the full story about what happened when I complained about a particular enquiry; or how the House authorities closed rank, shut down and protected ‘the process’. It was dropped in my ear that nothing could be done because if my complaint were supported, it would throw a bad light on the proceedings and reports of all select committees. I’ve never mentioned the cosy far too familiar relationship between an MP, a chairman, and a clerk.
One day I will blog about the threat that was made to me by a Labour MP, during the final meeting of a committee, who looked decidedly panicked at what was happening, but knew the outcome would suit the sisterhood of his own party.
But as soon as a General Election is called and Parliament rises, I will do. It’ll be the first thing I do. Along with publishing the letters.
No, I have never sat on the Innovation and Skills Committee, and never will.
If you want monkeys, pay them peanuts
Posted Tuesday, 7 April 2009 at 12:13
The TPA research featured on ConservativeHome yesterday is not good.
Eleven years of New Labour has infected society with the politics of envy. It’s not simply because there is a recession. There appears to have developed an attitude that no one deserves to get on or do well: that it is a crime to work hard and earn money. Aspiration and achievement have almost become dirty words. I have no problem with Town Hall officials earning £100k. I wish I could earn it, however, that’s a different story!
I am aware that GPs, head teachers and deputy head teachers earn in excess of £120k, as do many running their own business, journalists, editors, civil servants and many others in all walks of life.
I’ve no problem with that either. I want to see the brightest and best teaching my children. I expect doctors to train long and hard to earn their salary. Neither could be described as the easiest of jobs. I want there to be a reason for entrepreneurs to take the leap. Students who make the decision to go the extra mile for an MSC or a PHD must know that in the end, the hard work will pay off.
Of course, there is a point at which the line is crossed. Fred Goodwin springs to mind and Andrea Hill, the former Chief Executive of the former Bedfordshire County Council.
Andrea reportedly earned around £250k pa including the extras when she was with us at Bedfordshire. That is also another story and she does appear to be an exception both to the rule of what Local Government Officers are paid, which of course is what she is, and the way she allegedly managed to convince a council to agree to pay such an extortionate salary.
The TPA is an excellent organisation. It should steer clear from research such as this. It knows as well as I do that if Town Halls don’t pay attractive salaries for the best people that the cost of poor management would be greater to the local tax payer. If not least, because the shrewd and able, just the people we want running our councils, will work for individual management consultancies who will charge twice as much and cost us more in the long run.
Posted Monday, 6 April 2009 at 14:39
This week is being spent at my desk. Mainly preparing for a public meeting and catching up on a massive, humongous backlog of paperwork. I won't even begin to enjoy getting away if I don’t nail it this week.
No surprise for many to read that Alistair Darling thinks we may be in a worse mess than he thought.
Is he having a laugh? Everyone knew we were in a worse mess. No one believes a word he and Gordon Brown say any more.
Over the last six months, I have said over and over again, to every audience I have spoken to, that George Osborne will not really know the true extent of how awful it is until he sits down with the civil servants and goes through the red book, just before the next general election.
Gordon Brown can’t bear to face the reality of what he has done to the country. He can not say sorry, it would kill him. I don’t think he is a well man. If I were his wife, I would be worried about him. Can you imagine how hard it must be for Darling?
Brown needs to do himself, his party and everyone else a favour and call an election quickly.
As the economic situation worsens, and as the spin and gloss wear off the no new money G20 meeting, I think he could be in danger of putting himself under so much stress he may become really ill.
There is only so much he can hide from for so long. Gordon will have to face his crunch moment sooner or later. And it won't be pleasant.
A Missile or a Feather Boa?
Posted Sunday, 5 April 2009 at 12:01
I'm going to be a bit mean this morning. Having watched Obama’s speech in the Prague morning sunshine it occurred to me that it was a good job Michelle left the platform before he began to address the crowds.
If she hadn't, that huge Easter Bonnet bow perched on her assets may have distracted the crowd from what was, following the actions of North Korea in the early hours, an important speech.
What is it with women on the left have who appear to struggle with getting dressed in the morning?
Every Wednesday, a spot of a sport breaks out on the Conservative green benches in the few minutes leading up to PMQs.
It’s all to do with spotting the worst fashion faux pas on the other side.
It’s the bright oranges and reds, big brooches and bright scarves, anything to attract attention or hint at an interesting personality.
I was quite mesmerised in my first few weeks when one Labour lady appeared to attend the chamber each day wearing a feather boa.
I never heard her speak, but the feather boa shrieked louder than any speech - ‘I’m here'.
I struggled to contain a sharp intake of breath last week, when one rose to ask the PM a question wearing what appeared to be a pale pink dressing gown.
As she delivered the question she thumped her fists together continuously.
The longer she stood and thumped the more she looked like a distressed patient who had surprisingly found herself in the hospital car park.
In the recent US elections Hilary Clinton lost all hope the minute she delivered a speech wearing a bright orange pant suit.
Who wouldn't question the judgment of someone running for office who thought that was a good thing to do?
And Michelle, who has so far managed to steer away from major disaster, and frankly always looks best in a fitted black dress and pearls, has hinted strongly at it almost every time she steps out of her fashion comfort zone.
There is an exception to the left dress code.
Segolene Royal, runner up to Sarkozy.
But then, she is French.
Someone needs to tell the women on the left that less is very often more.
A rule which has resonance in the world of politics in areas far more important than dress.
A rule Obama articulated in the morning sunshine in Prague, only hours after North Korea flicked its feather boa and reminded us all they were here.
And Mummy Says..
Posted Saturday, 4 April 2009 at 12:01
At a school assembly last week, here are the questions I was asked by a class of four and five year olds who stayed behind to talk to me.
Have you been up Big Ben?
How much money do you get paid?
Is that a lot?
Do you like Co-Co Pops and toast? Yes, but not in the same bowl!
Are they your shoes? The ones I was wearing at the time.
Do you have a Hamster? Affirmative, big brownie point.
What’s its name?
Is it yours? Ten minutes on the ins and outs of Pannatone’s hectic life.
I like your clothes. We were getting desperate now.
And finally, very, very, very slowly and very, very carefully;
Do you think its right that the European Parliament should be able to dictate that Bedfordshire has energy from waste plant and if they can, do you think Rookery Pit is the wrong place for it to go?
It took a lot of guts for a four year old in pig tails with no front teeth to do that. I replied, tell Mummy, no and yes.
She almost fainted with relief.
If anyone is interested, March finished on 153,000 hits. I have no idea what 'unresolved IP addresses' are, if I count in those, it's more.
Ms Angry From Hospital Beds...
Posted Friday, 3 April 2009 at 18:05
Daily Politics moved onto a little ‘media flurry’. Just finished 5 Live. I am incensed when I hear ‘officials’ from various departments and commissions talking in a jargon which has no place in the treatment of sick people.
Over the last ten years a culture has developed which has now become endemic in the NHS. It’s a ‘not me gov’ culture in which almost every responsibility belongs to someone else.
I am afraid the job of eliminating MRSA has nothing to do with money or Quangos.
It’s about nursing staff and doctors taking ownership of the wards once more. It’s about rolling their sleeves up and getting stuck in. Wards have to have their own dedicated cleaners once again. We all need to have a sense of pride in what we achieve in the workplace.
Nurses and doctors need to once again realise how important their role is and to regain respect for who they are and the amazing work they can do and we need the public to realise this too.
No nurse should ever wear her uniform in public and a sense of pride could be re ignited by wearing uniforms that make you proud. Which have a hospital identity.
We need to bin many of the ridiculous targets and return to the realisation that hospitals are full of very sick people who need calm and peace in order to get better. Visiting should become massively restricted from what it is at present.
Interesting to note that the hospital with the lowest MRSA rates has two visiting sessions per day and strictly two at a bed at any one time.
One ward I have just visited had nine people around one bed and two grandchildren, who spent their day at the bedside as a form of childcare!!
This is ridiculous!! Those children (and I’ve seen cleaner), were a source of cross infection to everyone else present. I looked at the poorly lady in the opposite bed and thought that it was almost a form of cruelty that she had to lie there so poorly and listen to the innane chatter of someone else’s nine visitors. Two of whom were wearing iPods with the volume too loud.
Wards used to be a place of respect. People used to whisper. Sister was in charge. Nurses were dedicated. The casual attitude of anything goes has destroyed a culture of care and respect and facilitated cross infection, patients dying needlessly and nurses subjected to violent attacks because respect in a hospital environment no longer exists.
I wonder how proud Gordon Brown is, that after the NHS being sat in his hands for eleven years, desperately ill patient resort to drinking water out of flower vases.
It’s worse than third world. It’s morally vacuous and disgraceful.
Today, a lovely consultant sent a patient home from out patients. She should have been admitted. She lives alone and is 87.
The consultant was worried because her white cell count was low and he was concerned that she would succumb to an infection.
What kind of NHS is this?
The Daily Politics Show
Posted Friday, 3 April 2009 at 11:39
I'm on my way to appear on the Daily Politics Show at 12.15 to talk about the new Quality Care Commission, which came into operation this week; otherwise known as the new 'super regulator' responsible for the monitoring of hygiene levels within our hospitals.
The recently appointed Chair of this organisation is one Cynthia Bower.
Her previous job was as Chair of the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority, responsible for Stafford (Mid Staffs) hospital; where patients are reported to have been left screaming in agony for hours, and were so desperate for water they drank out of flower vases, during her tenure.
The then Healthcare Commission published a damning report on "appalling standards of care at Mid Staffs, which put patients at risk." Between 400 and 1,200 more people died at the trust than would have been expected between April 2005 and March 2008.
Allegedly, when the problem first came to light it appears the priority of the SHA was to undermine and rubbish the source of the information, rather than deal with the very serious and acute problem of patients dying untimely and painful deaths.
When the problem was addressed it was thought appropriate to put in place more administrators to deal with how hospital statistics are reported.
Not nurses to care or doctors to diagnose: administrators.
Now the Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson, has felt it appropriate that the Chair of the SHA who was responsible for the debacle at Stafford should be in the Chair of the new super regulator.
Zero confidence there then for ordinary people like us, who want hospital infections to become a thing of the past; but a great comfort to Alan Johnson who knows that if he needs to appoint more admin staff, or have the source of bad news attacked, he may believe he has just the right woman in the chair.
Handbags in the parlour
Posted Thursday, 2 April 2009 at 09:46
Posted Wednesday, 1 April 2009 at 13:26
I have been so done by April fools, and nearly made one of myself today.
Nothing to do with being sat in a select committee this morning and looking down to discover I was wearing odd boots (good job there’s a matching odd pair in the cloakroom!)
More to do with not quite believing my ears during Prime Ministers Questions when the Speaker called my name.
I didn’t have a prepared question and the few split seconds of paralysing panic which sears through your brain as you stand up is indescribable.
I usually write a question out before hand but as I have done this week after week, month after month, year after year and never been called, I had kind of given up and decided to be content with my constituents being able to see me bob up and down.
I took a breath and asked the following;
Keeping a Hospital clean is not brain surgery. Neither is helping a patient to eat or to drink water out of something other than a vase;
Will the Prime Minister agree with me that Government targets, whist providing substance for spin, have distorted nursing priorities and damaged patient care?
Good patient care depends upon vocation, compassion and cleanliness. All three vital ingredients are missing in many of our wards and hospitals up and down the country.
The most frustrating aspect of the Stafford story is how easy it would have been for someone who had some idea of what they were doing to put things right very quickly.
Restrict visiting to limited hours and two to a bed. Clean properly as in wet washing floors, bed side tables and beds. Allow beds to cool off between patients and clean.
Ensure each patient has a key worker responsible for a limited number. Hold the nurse report/hand over three times a day.
Encourage the House Officer to stay on the ward for as long as possible.
Establish rigid drug round times and assess each patient's pain relief on the round.
Provide a strong leadership team on each ward and bring back ward orderies and auxiliaries. The assistant nurses, who used to help with feeding, carry back messages to the ward office if someone was in pain and it had gone un detected.
But most importantly, they used to replenish water jugs and vases and not get the two mixed up.