Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Claire Ward is Debasing Politics


Claire Ward has been Labour MP for Watford since 1997. She clearly thinks her position is in danger. Otherwise, why would she issue a leaflet designed to scare the voters of Watford into thinking that a Tory government would shut the local hospital. The only trouble is, it is complete and utter rubbish, as THIS story in the Watford local paper from last December makes clear.

And Sir David Nicholson, chief exec of the NHS said “This Government is committed to it and Andrew Lansley who visited the other week said a new Conservative government, if there is one, is committed to it as well.”

I used to think it was only the Liberal Democrats that indulged in disgusting campaigns like this - designed to frighten and scare. It now appears Labour MPs do too.

I do not think it is over the top to call Claire Ward a liar. Hopefully she will get her comeuppance in a few weeks and will lose her seat.

UPDATE: Former Labour MPJane Griffiths has a none too charitable view of Claire Ward, judging by THIS blogpost today.

38 comments:

David Cox said...

Former Conservative PPC Ian Oakely didn’t exactly do a lot for ethical political campaigning in Watford.

tory boys never grow up said...

Rather than just taking your feed from CCHQ on this perhaps you should do a little research of your own.

But nevermind I've spent the 5 minutes necessary and here is the link to the quote from the Tory MP from Hemel who started this debate. Perhaps Clare Ward just responded to this as a good constituency MP should - and lo and behold the Tory leadership have now come round to supporting her position.



http://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/localnews/4685399.MP___Is_Watford_best_location_for_health_campus__/

As for who is debasing politics I'll leave that to others to decide.

Elby the Beserk said...

Lying, it would seem, is, one might say, in Labour's DNA. Very nasty, and utterly predictable

Paul Halsall said...

She may or may not be wrong on the issues here, but how is this "debasing" politics.

Is she pushing a leaflet with a picture of David Cameron as Hitler?

Ronald said...

The nasty Tories will destroy the NHS has always been a labour election strategy.

trevorsden said...

"I used to think it was only the Liberal Democrats that indulged in disgusting campaigns like this - designed to frighten and scare. It now appears Labour MPs do too."

You're at it AGAIN!

Labour MPs are always up to tricks like this! Look at the spin put on Browns appalling behaviour to his staff.

Dear Mr Dale please tell us you finally accept that there are no decent Labour OR LibDem MPs. There cannot be - their creed is bankrupt - the ONLY way they can justify it is to lie.

trevorsden said...

Mr Halsall --- you are confusing politics with art

tory boys never grow up said...

For those interested in the truth rather than smears perhaps they should read the extract from last October's Watford Observer below - hardly amounts to a vote in favour of Watford General from the Tory health shadow does it?


The future of Watford's £1billion Health campus could be in doubt, after an MP called for a full review of hospital services.

Mike Penning MP, a shadow health minister, told the Watford Observer yesterday (Thursday) that if the Conservatives won the next general election, he would ask for a independent review of acute services across the country.

And he said he would reopen the debate about the best location for a new flagship hospital serving west Hertfordshire, after claiming Watford General Hospital “is not working”.

As planning permission to completely rebuild the Vicarage Road hospital nears approval, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust has invested more than £40million into the site in the past three years.

A new acute admissions unit opened earlier this year, while A&E, the children's emergency department and the intensive care unit have all been centralised in Watford.

The trust has also invested £7million in Hemel Hempstead General Hospital, where services now include outpatients' clinics, diagnostics, an urgent care centre and out of hours GP service.

But Mr Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead, believes the closure of its A&E department has destroyed the hospital.

He said: “It's not working for Watford. It's manic most of the time. It's not good for the people of Dacorum or St Albans [to have central services in Watford].

“Let's be honest and have a debate about what could happen from a clinical review. I will campaign until my dying day to save my hospital.

“If we start from scratch for a hospital looking after three big areas, it wouldn't be in the middle of either Watford, Hemel or St Albans. It needs to look after all three of these areas.

“It's stuck next to a football club. It's not the right place for a large acute hospital that will look after everybody. They have taken our hospital away from us.”

The Conservative MP also questioned why the only two acute hospitals left in Hertfordshire, in Watford and Stevenage, are also the only two constituencies with Labour MPs.

He said: “If anyone can tell me these are the best sites for acute hospitals, I will debate that from now until kingdom come.

“My constituents have had their hospital destroyed and now they're supposed to be happy? We need a sensible debate.”

Watford MP Claire Ward, however, has angrily slammed Mr Penning's plans, which she said would push healthcare in the area back ten years.

She said: "I am appalled. You just can't trust the Tories with our NHS.

"There has been massive investment in health by Labour at Hemel, Watford and St Albans and that money should not be wasted. The people of West Herts have been through this debate years ago and we are now settled on the plans for a new hospital on the Watford site. We don't need the Tories to take us back ten years and lose all we have worked so hard for as a community.

"This clearly shows that the future of the Watford Health Campus will be at risk from a Tory Government. The message is clear: vote Labour and our hospital stays open, gets bigger and better, or vote Conservative and they'll axe it - it's as simple as that."

Meanwhile, Richard Harrington, the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Watford, said he would continue to support the Watford Health Campus.

He said: “As David Cameron has made clear, the NHS is safe in Conservative hands. If elected MP for Watford, I would make sure that our health campus is a top priority for those at the centre of a Conservative government. For too long Watford has been sidelined under this Labour administration as no-one in government has had a voice big enough for the constituency."

Siberian Tory said...

Well it seems she's going to have a bit of time yet to muck fling:

http://www.labourlist.org/blunkett-massive-two-month-online-fundraising-drive

May election it is then...

Also, why isn't Kerry McCarthy heading this?!? I wonder...

Right Hon. said...

This blog always makes me smile... I love the schoolgirl shrieking faux-indignation at Labour's (or Lib-Dem's) latest 'outrage'. Politician bends the truth, how very shocking!

Jim_Watford said...

The local Limp Dumps have been saying the same, things may get a little dirty around here.

Urban Cowboy said...

Seeing as the post by the liebore blogdrone is the usual fact-free drivel, let's dive into the comments made by the Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning.

Mr Penning complains that services have been centralised, closing services to local people and moving them further away from citizens.

Mr Penning also makes the quite valid point that services where the incumbent MP is a Labour Party member have been expanded, whereas in his constituency they have been shrunk. Coincidence? Based on the track record of this Government, you decide.

Finally, let's actually deal with the question the blogdrone doesn't want to confront. Would a Conservative MP close Watford Hospital? No. Would they push for a complete review of the services in the area to try and improve healthcare to all? Yes.

All this sorry saga illustrates is that Labour - the so-called protectors of the NHS (what a fatuous lie that is) - use healthcare for political gain and nothing more. Far from delivering care to people this Government has merely thrown money at buildings and processes, treating people as statistics.

After Thirteen years of a Labour Government this country's health programme consists of some very rich architects and a lot of very dead people. Shame on this Government for their truly wicked manipulation of the sick, and shame on Claire Ward for her lying.

Species 8472 said...

You have done more damage to politics tahn anyone single other person Dale.

C_ris said...

Richard Harrington, Conservative PPC for Watford, has made hiss position very clear:

“It is inconceivable that Watford General would close under a Conservative Government. If I am elected as MP for Watford I will fight at the highest level in the interests of Hospital and will back it unreservedly. I fully support the hospital and will work to bring the positive changes that are needed to ensure it work’s at its best.

This week I will be completing a 12 hour night shift at the Hospital, shadowing junior doctors and nurses. For me it is very important to gain firsthand experience so I can better understand the needs of staff and patients.”

http://www.richardforwatford.com/2010/02/conservatives-support-watford-general/

Sara said...

However much the Conservatives try to make this go away, the truth is that their representatives in West Hertfordshire are not committed to Watford General Hospital.

From the Watford Observer of 19th October 2009:
“Mike Penning MP, a shadow health minister, told the Watford Observer yesterday (Thursday) that if the Conservatives won the next general election, he would ask for an independent review of acute services across the country. And he said he would reopen the debate about the best location for a new flagship hospital serving west Hertfordshire, after claiming Watford General Hospital “is not working”.

And the following month, also from the Watford Observer:
Councillors clashed last night (Wednesday) over the future of the proposed health campus as the town’s Conservatives warned they could not guarantee the scheme if their party wins next year’s general election.

At a tempestuous Town Hall meeting last night, Watford Borough Council agreed a motion “deploring” the apparent threat posed by Mr Penning and a future Conservative government to the project. Councillor Iain Sharpe (Liberal Democrat) warned Mr Penning’s suggestion would be a “disaster for the town” and called for a “clear repudiation” from Conservative group leader Councillor Andrew Mortimer.

Councillor Mortimer, however, warned his party could give no guarantees until they had fully examined the state of the Government’s finances – something it would only be able to do if and when it won the general election, likely to be held in June. He said: “A Conservative government can’t guarantee anything being spent on very large projects until after the election. I can’t give a commitment to the health campus until we know if funding is available.”

In contrast, both elected Mayor Dorothy Thornhill and the LibDems parliamentary candidate Sal Brinton have worked for years to ensure this hospital continues to grow and prosper, to the benefit of local people.

Jim_Watford said...

I wonder if her Communications Allowance is being used to fund this nonsense? it wouldn't be the first time she's wrongly used it.

tory boys never grow up said...

Leaving aside Urban Cowboys asinine suggestions that I was lying and providing drivel by quoting Penning in the local paper. Perhaps all those Tories present who are close to Conservative thinking on the matter could shed some light as to which functions at Watford General would fall within the scope of their proposed review - and whether or not such a review will contemplate either total or partial reduction of those functions? Even if they don't want to tell me - surely the good people of Watford have the right to know?

On the other had you could just carry on throwing around gratuitous abuse if you think it furthers your cause.

Jimmy said...

How dare she debase politics by talking about hospitals instead of hurling personal abuse.

Any more of those funny Hitler pictures?


The Conservative Party: Giving hypocrites a bad name since 1834.

Jez said...

Agreed, it is in Labour's DNA. Pathological hypocrisy plus a sense of entitlement to power due to exaggerated feelings of moral superiority allow them to justify any kind of lying, cheating, distortion of reality and misrepresentation of facts. Labour and their cheerleaders are busy setting up straw men for their opponents as they have no other ground left on which to campaign. A glance at the trolling that goes on here is enough to confirm this. You have to wonder why Labour apologists spend so much of their time shrieking, wailing and gnashing their teeth in the comments pages of an outwardly Tory leaning blog if their own politics were anything other than a soiled reeking heap of failure- sadly it appears they have nowhere else left to go.

Unsworth said...

@ tory boys

Perhaps some of us do not regard the Watford Observer as the Fount Of All Knowledge.

And if you really want answers to these questions have you actually put them to the local Conservatives?

IvorBiggun said...

Debasing herself and politics isn't new to Ms. Ward - in the late 90s an MP acquaintance of mine told me about a lot of enthusiastic polling undertaken by Ms. Ward on a fact-finding trip to Bosnia, with the help of a British Army officer. She's become more of a political heavyweight since then though.

tory boys never grow up said...

Jez

It's a little thing called democracy where people of differing views discuss their disagreements and defend people with similar views from baseless attacks. You may wish to demean it by calling it trolling and prefer to only hear views that agree with your own - but that is your privilege.

Unsworth

That is what I thought I had done - I just thought everyone here followingthe debate might wish to follow the answers. My guess is that someone from the Watford Tories fed this line to Mr Dale either directly or through CCHQ - so I'm sure they will probably be aware of the question by now.

The Watford Observer may not be the fount of all knowledge but it shed rather more light on this debate that Mr Dale who went straight to rather wild accusations. There was clearly some fire underneath all the smoke if anyone bothered to look.

Mike Law said...

Blimey Iain,

Welcome to the real world!

you should see and hear some of the rubbish that is stated about local Tories by Newham Labour members (in blogs and on the doorstep). In a recent local bye election, BME residents were told that, if a Tory councillor was voted in, they would be put on coaches and moved out of the area.

The Laughable thing is that Newham is a very safe seat for Labour.

Doctor Why said...

"Trevorsden: Dear Mr Dale please tell us you finally accept that there are no decent Labour OR LibDem MPs. There cannot be - their creed is bankrupt - the ONLY way they can justify it is to lie."

Duly seconded.

Response please, Mr Dale.

Urban Cowboy said...

@tbngu - let's take a look at Mr Penning's comments, seeing as you are so blinkered in your undying support for Claire Ward and all things spun:

“It's not working for Watford. It's manic most of the time. It's not good for the people of Dacorum or St Albans [to have central services in Watford].

Mr Penning points out the bleeding obvious; centralising services does not work for the citizen but for the system. Sadly, you continue to live under this socialist fantasy that big is better and that a single hospital in one location is a benefit. To who, exactly? The patients who have to travel? The reduction of local patient care is a benefit?

“Let's be honest and have a debate about what could happen from a clinical review. I will campaign until my dying day to save my hospital."

You somehow seem to ignore that an MP is not happy about the closure of a hospital - despite this grand claim by the Government about the NHS being safe in their hands. Possibly because it's a Conservative MP making the point?

“If we start from scratch for a hospital looking after three big areas, it wouldn't be in the middle of either Watford, Hemel or St Albans. It needs to look after all three of these areas.

Now, try reading that again, carefully this time. Note the use of the word 'if'. Note also that Mr Penning says quite clearly that such a centralised centre should NOT be in the middle of the towns but convenient for ALL locations. Do you understand the premis or is that perhaps too radical for you?

Setting aside the deliberate lies within the tractor stats trotted out for the Liebore faithful to gleefully swallow without question, this Government has presided over the closure of countless hospitals and reduction of services and wards. The key point to remember here is that they really prefer it doesn't happen in Labour constituencies, at least not after David Locke was kicked out of Wyre Forest in 2001 for his volte-face over NHS services after being elected. Indeed, Andy Burnham only acted to look into* halting the closure of the RNOH in Harrow when it was announced that Professor Tim Briggs was to stand in the coming GE on the issue. Odd how this was announced days after the news broke about the election challenge. Who is the MP for Harrow East again? Ah, step forward Labour's Tony McNulty! No link there of course. Wouldn't dream of mentioning it.

It is truly appalling to see that one or two posters seem so eager to accept the Government line without spending just a moment to think about the impact on patient care. Big is NOT better, despite the clearly delusional and desperate Ms Ward's proclamation.

* in other words, as much as possible to delay the decision until after the GE.

tory boys never grow up said...

Urban Cowboy

So what exactly is the Tory policy with regard to Watford General? The MP for Hemel and the PPC for Watford appear to be talking at cross purposes. What exactly is within the scope of the proposed review and what is outside the review? If you think that Penning's remarks rule out a closure of some or all of the functions at Watford General you have a rather different view of the English language from most people.

You are absolutely right that there should be a sensible debate about hospital provision - but if you think the Tory candidates are being clear about what their policy actually is, or that smaearing Claire Ward is the appropriate response to hide their confusion you are sadly mistaken

Jimmy said...

"you should see and hear some of the rubbish that is stated about local Tories by Newham Labour members"

That they exist?

scotch said...

Iain, I don't recall you being at all bothered when Anne Milton (C. Guildford), instead of 'Conservative' on the ballot paper, ran under 'Save Our Local Hospital', thereby renaging on a local cross-party agreement. Any comment on that?

Unsworth said...

@ Tory boys

So, what did you ask, who did you ask, and what were the answers?

richard.blogger said...

Iain, do you ever read Conservative policy documents?

Lansley's plan is to create a new "healthcare market" with "new providers". This is to be bolstered by an "any willing provider" policy, where patients can choose to have their treatment at a private hospital. David Cameron's "ring fence" simply protects the amount of money to be spent on healthcare, it does not protect the income of any NHS hospital, in fact, the "any willing provider" policy will lead to an actual cut in most NHS hospitals' income as more patients use the new private providers that Lansley will encourage.

The result, inevitably, will be that there will be too many NHS hospitals, and some will have to close. Those hospitals in cities (where there will be most competition from private providers) will be most vulnerable.

So Claire Ward is right on the general principle that, under a Conservative government, some NHS hospitals will close. Whether Watford is one of those is moot as far as I am concerned, because we should be campaigning to make sure that *no* NHS hospital is closed.

If you actually read the Conservative policy documents you may have had a better chance of getting selected as a PPC.

Urban Cowboy said...

@tbngu - let's try again.

The Conservative PPC, Richard Harrington, stated that the hospital would not close, which was echoed by the CEO of the NHS, Sir David Nicholson. As much as you may hate it being stated so clearly, but Mike Penning does not call for it to be closed either. Go and look for yourself. Show us all where he says "I want to close WGH", or perhaps be an adult and concede the point that no-one says that WGH would be closed.

Mike Penning says he would wish to see an independent review of acute services across the country. Does he say he wishes to see WGH closed? Nope. Does he want to stop the closure of services at HHGH for the good of the local community? yep - as I recall part of the Conservative manifesto clearly states that the forced closures of A&E departments across the country would stop. Now, where (apart from perhaps in your own mind) is the so-called "cross purposes"?

As you seem to keen to ask questions, perhaps you could answer some as well, namely:
1. Why does Claire Ward lie in stating that a Conservative Government would close WGH when this is not the case?
2. Why were NHS acute service reduced to Labour-held consitiencies in the area?
3. Why do you believe that any review of services means closure at WGH, as you continually infer?
4. Why does this Labour Government claim they are the guardians of the NHS when they have presided over 13 years of closures to departments and hospitals across the country?

There is only one party that refuses to have a reasoned debate about the NHS. The Labour Party. Just like their historical screams about racism whenever anyone attempted to debate immigration they have to resort to hurling malicious falshoods at anyone who wants to expose uncomfortable truths about their wasteful handling of the NHS. And that includes the lying, smearing "our NHS" Claire Ward.

Jim_Watford said...

The Lib Dems in Watford have been caught out again, Clair Ward is an angel in comparison. http://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/5024194.Lib_Dems__very_sorry__for_misleading_quote/

tory boys never grow up said...

Urban Cowboy asks

3. Why do you believe that any review of services means closure at WGH, as you continually infer?


Perhaps one reason is because no one from the Tory Party is able to shed any light on the question I asked earlier regarding the review which the Tory health shadow has pretty clearly indicated that he wants i.e "Perhaps all those Tories present who are close to Conservative thinking on the matter could shed some light as to which functions at Watford General would fall within the scope of their proposed review - and whether or not such a review will contemplate either total or partial reduction of those functions?"

I'm afraid if anyone calls for a review without making clear what is within the scope of the review and what isn't - it is pretty normal for opposing politicians (of whatever hue) to explain the worst. The following comment from richard.blogger from a Tory perspective would also support the view that the Watford Health Campus is not outside the scope of the Tory review.

"So Claire Ward is right on the general principle that, under a Conservative government, some NHS hospitals will close. Whether Watford is one of those is moot as far as I am concerned, because we should be campaigning to make sure that *no* NHS hospital is closed."

Jim_Watford said...

I mentioned earlier that she has abused her Communications Allowance, I thought it better back that claim up.

This came through our door a while back.

The front here clearly shows a party political message.

http://img114.imageshack.us/img114/3214/cwfrjg0.jpg

On the back it states down the bottom that it was funded by allowance...

http://img45.imageshack.us/img45/9494/cwbkjr6.jpg

This is a close up....

http://img45.imageshack.us/img45/6708/cwspft3.jpg

Images are quite large and some browsers may resize them, sorry about the photos, scanner didn't work at the time.

King Athelstan said...

Judging by whats happened at My local hospital, if I was in any way associated with the party of "government" I would shut my big, crass, stupid, ignorant, pie hole.

PammyAnny said...

I would just like to point out that Claire Ward fought desperately for Watford General Hospital - to be closed and services to be moved to Paddington, which is almost inaccessible by public transport from Watford and local area, and would probably provide no, or limited, car parking facilities. Care for local consituents? Hah! Like most Labour MPs, her main concern appears to be for herself and her career, rather than the wishes of her constituents.

PammyAnny said...

It's not many years since Claire Ward campaigned vigorously for Watford General Hospital - to be closed, with services transferred to Paddington, which is extremely difficult to access by public transport from the Watford area, and almost as bad by car. There have been times when it has taken me 4 hours to get to, or from, Hammersmith by road. I'm afraid this woman is concerned only for the advancement of her own career by toeing the party line, not for the quality of services provided to her constituents. Her views are not worthy of any consideration or discussion.

PammyAnny said...

My apologies for posting twice. I thought the first one hadn't gone through.