Welcome to my day: 6 December 2021 – “Fire The Cannons!”

Good morning, gentle reader!

It’s a murky start in the Gipping Valley this morning, but your day editor is alert and eager for a new week.

So, where to start? As Iain Roberts, once of this parish, noted on Twitter;

It seems that we’re now into Government as angels dancing on the head of a pin, as ministers desperate try to define the word ‘party’ in such a way as to meet regulations that certainly weren’t broken. The fact that such gatherings were banned altogether doesn’t seem to register but, if reminder was ever needed, it does emphasise that rules are apparently for little people, as far as this Government is concerned.

David Raw asked why I’d picked the three events to mark that I did last week. Well, it’s mostly quirky with a hint of personal interest. So, for example, I’m the son of a Scot – my mother is from Keith, the Friendly Town – and whilst I probably wouldn’t have been a Jacobite, there’s a romance to the story which appeals to me.

Apparently, on this day in 1240, the Mongols occupied and destroyed Kiev, which seems slightly disconcerting given the buildup of Russian forces on the borders of Ukraine, whilst today sees the anniversary of the adoption of the Finnish Declaration of Independence in 1917. And, on a festive note, “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” was first aired on TV on this day in 1964.

In terms of today’s content, that’s a bit of a mystery, but we’ll see how things go.

And finally, a comment on comments. Might I politely remind readers that;

  • staying on topic
  • avoiding the temptation to attack other commenters rather than debating their ideas

are both GOOD THINGS and come highly recommended by the Editorial Team. And, just to remind you, it isn’t censorship, it’s being pro-courtesy.

Have a great day, especially those of you on the ground or on the phones in North Shropshire!

* Mark Valladares is the Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers…

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  • Nigel Hunter 6th Dec '21 - 12:43pm

    I do have a beef re the Draconian police bill and its additions to virtually close down ALL ways of protesting and as I note in the Times that ministers are ‘getting’at judges to silence them.All part of a concerted effort to get an Elected Dictatorship.This threatens all our lives where we can protest over NOTHING.

  • It’s not just the word ‘party’; ‘bullying’, ‘levelling-up’, ‘cronyism’, etc., are all being re-defined..

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

  • Mark, I’m afraid you’ve tempted me to remind you that on this day, exactly 105 years ago, H.H. Asquith, Prime Minister and Liberal Member for East Fife, was preparing for his last ever family Dinner in 10, Downing Street. According to his daughter-in-law, Lady Cynthia Asquith, he sat at the head of the table ‘serenely smoking a large cigar’ as if he didn’t have a care in the world. The following day (the rascally ?) Lloyd George formed a government and became Prime Minister.

    In fact, Squiff was far from serene. The feud and mutual animosity with Lloyd George was one of the self-propelled major torpedoes that sank the good ship HMS Liberal Party.

    Today, appropriately in the pantomime season, the current occupant of 10, Downing Street, is dressing up again….. giving a press conference in a quasi police uniform…… something that technically, I believe, is illegal. Let the bells ring out when we finally get rid of the preposterous fellow.

  • Nonconformistradical 6th Dec '21 - 3:51pm

    “ministers are ‘getting’at judges to silence them.All part of a concerted effort to get an Elected Dictatorship.”

    No.10 courts plan would be ‘tyranny’ and end of democracy, says former attorney general

  • Barry Lofty 6th Dec '21 - 4:47pm

    David [email protected] ” Let the bells ring out when we finally get rid off this preposterous fellow” Hear, Hear, to that statement with the hope more of the electorate will begin to realise what is happening to the UK and our way of life, at least I can hope?

  • “Preposterous” is in my view an under statement!

  • Given Mark’s introduction is a general rather than a specific piece, I hope he will allow me to draw everybody’s attention to the BBC Panorama programme on Social Care tonight.

    For the last six years on LDV (as a former Convenor for Social Care) I have been banging on about the shortcomings of the private care system and its association with hedge funds and offshore tax havens.

    This is a subject (like the Alston Report on Poverty and Inequality) that Liberal Democrats should do their homework on and campaign for radical change. Watch Panorama tonight !! I await the official party reaction.

  • Here’s just a taste for starters :

    Daily Mail 20 hours ago How care-crisis homes made Saudis millions
    A company run by millionaire Saudi Olympic showjumper Kamal Bahamdan owns HC-One – which, with 265 facilities and bed capacity of 16,116 in…
    Financial Times five hours ago
    UK’s biggest care home chain paid £4.8m to owners while requesting state aid. .
    HC-One has said it has not paid dividends to its investors since 2017 and that the payout consists of a £3.1m asset management fee to Court…

  • The Panorama documentary is a good investigation of the precarious finances of some of the bigger care home chains. Ed Balls has done a two episode inquiry for the BBC. His mother is in a dementia ward and as part of his documentary he went to live and work in St Cecilia’s, a medium size family run nursing and care home business.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 6th Dec '21 - 9:48pm

    @ David,

    Thank you for raising this. I find myself wondering whether or not we need to think about how social care is provided (and by whom) just as much as how we pay for it. By contracting out so many public services, we privatise the profit, leaving the risk still in the hands of local and central government.

    That’s not to say that you shouldn’t contract out public services, but there has to be a fundamental rebalancing of the risk/reward relationship.

  • I watched the programme and almost choked on my G&T when hearing ‘an investor’ stating that the public sector couldn’t run anything efficiently…
    Despite it’s failings the NHS is reckoned to be among the most cost-effective healthcare systems in the world..The NHS was formed in 1948 to provide care for all “from cradle to grave”. It owes much to it’s founder Aneurin Bevan and, IMO, social care should, like the NHS, be run nationally..In fact I consider social care to be part of the NHS’s contract with the population; the ‘to the grave bit’..
    Like the NHS there should be a minimum standard of care and, again like the NHS. if you prefer ‘private’ care (Boeuf bourguignon instead of Beef Stew) that’s up to you..

  • David Goble 7th Dec '21 - 9:06am

    With regard to the Social Care aspect, I have long felt that the Care Sector should become part of the NHS. Staff should be employed by the NHS and each residential/care home should be a “satellite” of the local hospital. It seems obscene, to say the least, that the illness of the elderly and most dependent in our society should be seen as a “cash cow” and an opportunity for profit for investors.

  • Peter Hirst 7th Dec '21 - 12:35pm

    We mustn’t allow the Conservatives’ attempt to lower the debate to combat their inadequacies prevent us from taking the high moral ground when necessary. The electorate is starting to cry out for change. Change however, that cannot come from Labour, must be for a better way of doing politics not just a different version of incompetence.

  • David Evans 7th Dec '21 - 12:43pm

    Actually David, I fear it is the opposite way round. Social care is not in the NHS so that the government does not have responsibility and so can massively underfund it. This all results in less for most people to have to pay, taxes don’t need to rise, but those who need care suffer, workers get paid a pittance and many leave, businesses can’t get staff and care homes close.

    The only people who profit are the cheapskate Tory party who are happy to have voters who can’t be bothered (until it is too late).

    That is what is really obscene.

  • @ Mark Valladares And thank you for thanking me, Mark.

    It’s interesting to follow the drift of the responses and it’s important to be willing to look again at current practice. As you say, “That’s not to say that you shouldn’t contract out public services, but there has to be a fundamental rebalancing of the risk/reward relationship”. Indeed.

    My personal experience as a (Lib Dem) Convenor (Cabinet Member) for Social Care in Scotland made me very aware of the inadequacy of the present ‘for profit’ system. As someone who has never voted for the SNP I was impressed when the Scottish Government produced a Consultation Document on the Future of Social Care, “A National Care Service for Scotland”.

    I give a link to the consultation document below and ask all Liberal Democrats to give serious consideration to it and to reflect on a possible future path. A kneejerk rejection just won’t do. The present model ain’t working for those needing care or for the workforce (what’s left of them) and its teetering on the edge. The bell will toll for all of us one day. We need viable solutions and we need them now.

    A National Care Service for Scotland: consultation – gov.scothttps://www.gov.scot › publications › national-care-serv…
    9 Aug 2021 — A National Care Service for Scotland: consultation … This consultation sets out our proposals to improve the way we deliver social care in Scotland.

  • Peter Davies 7th Dec '21 - 8:32pm

    There are a very wide variety of care contexts from terminal care for those who can do little for themselves to helping people stay in their own homes. The level of private involvement should also vary. A care home is not just a care provider but a home and there is nothing where personal choice is more valued than the choice of home. That leaves us with a difficult but not insoluble problem of how the state can provide equal access to care without restricting the freedom of those who need it.

  • @ Peter Davies. If a private for profit care home goes down financially it somewhat “restricts the freedom of those who use it. “

  • Nonconformistradical 7th Dec '21 - 10:28pm

    “If a private for profit care home goes down financially it somewhat “restricts the freedom of those who use it.”
    Quite. Like those residents who had to be found new care home places in that Panorama programme.

  • Peter Davies 8th Dec '21 - 7:17am

    That is not inevitable. Tenants are not generally evicted when their landlords fail. I am not arguing for the status quo. Perhaps we need separate contracts for the accommodation element (with the individual or POA holder) and for care (with the state).

  • @ Peter Davies “That is not inevitable. Tenants are not generally evicted when their landlords fail”.

    I’m afraid, in my experience as a Cabinet Member for Social Care, I can assure Peter Davies that I can well remember when it did….. in one case on a Christmas Eve. It was a truly horrible frightening experience for the old people (some with dementia) who had to be evacuated at a few hours notice.

  • Peter Davies 8th Dec '21 - 8:38pm

    Presumably you are talking about care home residents who are not regarded as tenants. As I said, Tenants have some security. Care home residents have none. That is not inevitable.

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