Sunday, 7 March 2010

Conservatives Obviously Want It Both Ways

A report in the Sunday Telegraph deals with the fact that money, promised for respite breaks for carers has been 'misspent' and diverted to plug NHS deficits. Immediately we find Stephen O'Brien, shadow health minister, lambasting the findings as "an absolute scandal" and a betrayal of the most vulnerable.

The fact that this money was not 'ring-fenced' - meaning it could be spent on whatever the recipient wished - should not be cause for concern to Stephen O'Brien as it is also Conservative policy not to 'ring-fence' central government grants, a fact confirmed to me by David Cameron, when I attended a surgery in Chipping Norton on the matter of Supporting People. Therefore for Stephen O'Brien to pontificate about "yet another broken promise" - especially when recalling his own leader's broken promise on a referendum - is a tad disengenuous.

It is also disengenuous of the Telegraph editorial to enter the fray with this offering, which omits any mention that 'unring-fencing' is Conservative policy. The editorial states "We need a politics of honesty rather than chicanery; of integrity, not of gimmicks.......". Hear, Hear - but we also need a standard of journalism, one with honesty, with integrity, rather than the present one of 'parroting' what is fed to them. Interestingly the editorial also states "When the election gets under way, the political parties will bombard voters with promises. It will be difficult to betray all of them as grossly as this one."

Oh, I don't know - the Conservatives seem to be getting in plenty of practice!


subrosa said...

The SNP government stopped much of the ring-fencing here and came to an agreement with councils about what money would be spent where.

Of course some councils have broken their word and used money in other areas but that's politics. I don't think anything would have been much different if money was ring-fenced.

I was just thinking WFW (I do at times!) that if Cameron promised the people a referendum on Europe then he'd be home and dry. Yes I know one wouldn't be legally recognised but if the result was strong enough it would be a bargaining tool. The EU don't want to lose the UK as we give far more than we receive.

Witterings From Witney said...

Re your second para in your comment - beg to differ as it would have made a difference in Oxfordshire re SP and elsewhere.

Re your last para - most definitely and that is most definitely going to cost him.