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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Exposing the contradictions at the heart of the Welsh Tories

Betsan Powys started it off with her gentle reminder that the Conservative Spokesperson on Health might be out of line with the previous commitments of his Assembly Group Leader. By the time that this same spokesperson had arrived in the BBC Good Evening Wales radio studio last night his fate was sealed.

As one comment on Betsan's blog stated "Thought Felicity (R.Wales) gave Jonathan ample chance to explain himself as a caring, sharing Tory, now tacking rightwards (look out David Davis!)...and then let him hang himself over the lack (of) any logic in his position. Firmly and Politely. He sounded VERY flustered. Tough on fluster etc."

In short, the Assembly Health Minister announced yesterday that, contrary to the position over the border, failed asylum seekers will be entitled to health care in Wales. She described her position as a humanitarian approach and I agree. The Tories however, were not so sure:

Conservative health spokesman Jonathan Morgan said the NHS should be there in emergency cases, and primary care should also be available "to a point where someone falls ill". But he said Tories were "firmly against the policy of allowing 'health tourism' to flourish." He added: "Those who are not supposed to be in this country should not be entitled to the benefits that citizenship of Great Britain affords, including elective treatment and surgery."

This position seemed to contradict the actions of the Welsh Conservative Leader in April 2007. Then all four party leaders signed up to support the 'We'll keep a welcome" campaign. Pledge number 3 stated that in Government the parties would 'provide fair and equal access to services.' The background briefing included the line: "In signing our pledge cards, candidates commit to giving asylum seekers whose claims have been refused exemption from charges for treatment by the National Health Service Trusts." Oops!

Felicity Evans on Good Evening Wales tied Jonathan Evans up in knots as to whether he was contradicting this pledge or not. Opposition for opposition's sake is all very well but you do have to get your story straight.
While the British tax payer shells out taxes to pay for health care of those, admittedly in need of such health care, who are resident illegally in the UK – British people are denied such accommodations in corresponding countries. For example, Americans in the UK get access to the NHS, but Brits legally resident in the USA don’t get such access. Shouldn’t the UK negotiate a reciprocal accommodation with the USA?
Most people I talk to think we should look after our own first; this clearly isn't being done.

My dear old mum broke her hip in July last year, and although she did have some support from the reablement team we haven't had any help since. Apparently she doesn't qualify for attendance allowance although food shopping and laundry has to be done for her, and she walks with a zimmer frame, this is a woman who has served King and Country. Nothing from Social Services either.

I find myself asking the questions how much is this healthcare for failed asylum seekers going to cost? Have WAG got their priorities right?

The latest cock-up by WAG was announced today; a giant tinplate portrait of Maggie Thatcher, why not also have a portrait of Genghis Cairn, or Adolf Hitler or even George W Bush – what are they thinking of?

I was interested to read that Gwenda Thomas has announced Children in the Care of Local Authorities in Wales will get will get £50 to £100 pounds to put into a Children’s Trust Fund. So WAG is putting in a massive £50,000 into this in the financial year 2008/09.

Well over a year ago, I submitted my “evidence” to the WAG consultation on payments for foster parents; unfortunately I haven’t heard anything from this Mickey Mouse organisation since. There are a few simple facts that readers of Peter’s blog should consider:

Around 90% of prison inmates have been in the Care system - £50 will buy them some snout.

It cost £35,000 per year to keep someone in jail.

Foster parents are paid around £120 per child per week, this equates to around 70 pence per hour for doing this very difficult job.

There are quite a number of Foster parents in Wales who have to claim Income Support.

Good foster parents, who are well motivated and supported can make all the difference to a child – that difference can be the difference between that child growing up to be a valued member of society, who pay their taxes and contributes to society and someone who cost the taxpayer £35,000 per year each time they go to jail.

Again has WAG got its priorities right?
"Most people I talk to think we should look after our own first" - I'm sorry Anonymous but I just don't agree. People are people - where we are born, or our legal status in this country, shouldn't dictate the level of health services we receive or the price we have to pay for them. Failed asylum seekers aren't exactly here for a laugh - whether or not their application for asylum is granted you can be sure that they've had, and continue to have, a much harder time than anyone reading this blog's likely to experience - the least we can do is to treat them humanely.
"the least we can do is to treat them humanely"

Indeed! And it is very welcoming that medical support will be forthcoming.

But wouldn't it be better if we didn't think we had to divide people into citizens and non-citizens depending on where they happened to be born?
Quite interesting comments above; regards looking after our own I'd like to make the following comment:

In the 2004 LA Elections, one of the NPT Ratepayer candidates put out a leaflet saying Illegal Immigrants have more rights to access the NHS than UK citizens, I was quite amazed to see that this guy had around 250 votes a significant minority of votes compaired to the size of the ward.

I notice that they haven't bothered commenting about the plight of LAC (looked after children) or foster parents - or don't they care about this group in our society??????????
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