Tonight I attended the meeting held by the Clinical Commissioning Group (C.C.G.) at the Queen Mary Centre. It was interesting.
From the outset the local LabKipInd (the new name for the generic mish-mash of “not Conservatives” who make up a ragtag “opposition” in the town) did their best to turn the whole thing political. They tried putting propaganda leaflets on every seat. They had bussed in a Labour Councillor from King’s Lynn who also just happened to be a Unison Rep. They had virtually every notable Leftie summoned to take part. Their questions, which repeatedly started with “I’m a local Labour Party member…” and then went on to try and make the whole thing about “Government Cuts” really didn’t work. The public weren’t interested in it at all.
The C.C.G. lady was very good. She presented their situation well, she explained the reasons why services were being considered. And she went to some lengths to suggest that among the options on the table was also an “improved service offering wider treatments.” You’d never know that from the generic “Austerity Is Doom” shouting from the LabKipInd.
The public questions were intelligent, heartfelt and useful. Once you stripped out all the Momentum-style “wholesale privatisation of the NHS” stuff that the Labour, Independent and ‘Kippers seemed to be spouting, it was all really quite useful.
Her presentation done, the C.C.G. lady presided over a well-chaired and wide-spanning discussion. It was a good example of consultation at work, even if it is all a bit late. Better late than never. Now it’s important that we push for an outcome that involves improved health services for local people.
A few points I liked. I enjoyed the fact that the lady pointed out that the C.C.G. decisions are overseen by the County Health Committee, and recognised Cllr. Paul Clapp from his membership of said Committee. He has been making comments about “Government Cuts” when he is the only local Councillor who sits on the relevant Committee able to challenge this stuff first hand, he does not appear to have been doing so AT ALL, and it was high time somebody called him on his slippery avoidance of that.
No matter how many times Momentum people, Marxists and other collective Left-Wingers tried to push the C.C.G. lady to say this was “all about Government cuts” she absolutely refused to agree with them. She made reference to the challenging budgets that they face – an aging population, better life expectancy, more health challenges – but also admitted they have a billion pounds and were not “short of cash” just “overspending”. This is good, since the whole “cuts to the local NHS” mantra has been false from the outset. No budget can be allowed to be a bottomless pit and all organisations have to be sure to get best use of their taxpayer pounds. Value for money isn’t “right wing” it is pure common sense.
Most of all I enjoyed the little debate at the end of the meeting. I don’t know what the collective noun for a bunch of Momentum and Union people is, do you dear reader? How about “a Coercion of Momentum and Union types?” Okay, so a Coercion of Lefties approached, spitting feathers over the fact that I hadn’t given their propaganda leaflet the attention and respect they felt it deserved. (I balled it up. Though this was tame compared to some of the things I saw other people doing with it. To be honest, given how many were left laying around I think I was being conscientious in not leaving the litter for the cleaners.) Since I’ve argued with them about that stupid leaflet since they first started trying to spin with it, I don’t know why they were surprised. But in fierce debate with them, I challenged each of them to admit they were not telling the truth. Each of them in turn attempted to divert the discussion rather than do so. What has happened to local Labour – who appear to be completely in the grip of the Corbynite Momentum movement – is tragic. They used to be completely different to this. In the end, they resorted to name-calling. And then made a plea to avoid name-calling. It was all very muddled. But I think they may have just been a bit grumpy because so many chairs in the now-empty hall were still adorned with their leaflet. Not much “take home” going on there.
Silly local politics aside – the meeting was useful and the public performed well, giving the C.C.G. people much to think about. It rather seemed to me like they were beginning to backtrack and move towards much better outcomes than has previously been suggested. I certainly hope so. Time will tell.