NHS – PFI

The Telegraph reports that PFI hospitals are costing NHS £2bn every year

The NHS is spending more than £3,700 every minute to pay for privately financed hospitals, The Telegraph can disclose. The bill for private finance initiative (PFI) hospital schemes will hit £2  billion for the first time this year – or £3,729 every 60 seconds. The cash is paid to private companies as part of an annual repayment fee for building and operating new hospitals as well as redeveloping old ones.

Bills have grown so large they would pay for the wages of all qualified midwives for two and a half years. The Royal College of Nursing said last night that the new figures showed that PFI deals “were poor value for money” and said that the funds would have been better spent on patient care.

Under the deals, private investors take on the risk of building and operating new hospitals and clinics, and in return they receive repayments spread typically over 25 to 30 years that far exceed the original costs of the project.

Labour

The Independent reports on Jeremy Corbyn: “Labour MPs are plotting a coup against the potential leader if he is elected

Labour MPs are plotting to mount a coup against Jeremy Corbyn before Christmas, if he wins the leadership in September.

The left-wing MP for Islington North has staged a stunning raid on support among constituency labour party (CLP) organisations in the past week, prompting panic among supporters of the three mainstream candidates, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall. Two internal polls also suggested a surge in support for Mr Corbyn, with one even suggesting he could win on 12 September.

Although this result is still seen as a long shot, MPs said in the event of a Corbyn victory they would immediately start gathering the 47 names needed to trigger a coup. One said: “We cannot just allow our party, a credible party of government, to be hijacked in this summer of madness. There would be no problem in getting names. We could do this before Christmas.”

Meanwhile, at the Mail, it reports that distrust over Labour is so deep-rooted it may NEVER win back voters who defected to the Tories, say election directors

Disillusion with Labour is now so deep-seated they may never win back their lost supporters, say two former Labour election directors. Alan Barnard and John Braggins have conducted a series of in-depth interviews with voters who swapped their support from Labour to the Tories this year.  The pair have released their findings in a report that is being sent to all four Labour leadership candidates.

Barnard and Braggins conducted focus-group interviews with people from five key marginal seats, who voted Labour in the 2010 elections but jumped ship this year.  ‘These voters are a hair’s breadth from becoming Conservatives,’ says the report, named Listening to Labour’s Last Voter.  ‘Labour is now at risk of becoming irrelevant even to voters who have been lifelong supporters.

Conservatives

The Mail on Sunday reports that now it’s open war: Furious Boris tells David Cameron to stop Osborne and May plotting to ‘humiliate’ him after he was blocked from using water cannon to control London riots

Tory unity was shattered last night after Boris Johnson told David Cameron to stop George Osborne and Theresa May plotting to wreck his chances of becoming Prime Minister. In an explosive intervention, the London Mayor claimed Mr Osborne and Mrs May, his Conservative leadership rivals, are trying to ‘humiliate’ him to destroy his credibility – and has called on Mr Cameron to ‘rein them in’.

Mr Johnson’s allies claim the Prime Minister has ‘betrayed’ the loyal support he provided during the General Election campaign. The feud erupted after Mrs May, the Home Secretary, blocked Mr Johnson’s bid to allow London police to use water cannon to control riots.

Raheem Kassam of Breitbart has a darker view of the Tories with “Tory HQ has acted like a communist regime for years, now some Tories are realising

The Conservative Party’s Headquarters (CCHQ) have been acting like a North Korean regime for years. Why is the Tory cheerleader website, ConservativeHome, now suddenly surprised that it wants to disclose little to no information pertaining to the selection of its Mayoral candidates?

Well, probably because its after an election and the circular firing squad can now resume. I hear you protest, “yeah well you lot in UKIP got started a bit quicker than them, didn’t you?” We always were more efficient.

I used to be a member of the Conservative Party, and an active one at that. What I saw inside CCHQ, was brutality, ruthlessness, secrecy, an abject refusal to stand for anything, and punishment for those who believed in something. Anything. Apart from gay marriage. That was okay.

Greece

The Guardian has an article “Greece debt crisis: reforms will fail, says ex-finance minister Yanis Varoufakis

Economic reforms imposed on Greece by creditors are going to fail, according to the country’s outspoken former finance minister. Yanis Varoufakis told the BBC that Greece was subject to a programme that will “go down in history as the greatest disaster of macroeconomic management ever”.

His warning came as Greece’s prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, reshuffled his cabinet barely 48 hours after dissidents broke ranks over the bailout deal for the country. International creditors have demanded that the Greek parliament endorse a wave of measures in order to qualify for further financial assistance – including tax hikes that Syriza has argued will only worsen the country’s economic plight.

In a major U-turn, after five months of negotiation, Tsipras agreed to enforce significant pension cuts, VAT increases and an overhaul of collective bargaining rules to secure a third bailout package worth up to €86bn (£60bn) to keep bankruptcy at bay.

(Editor: He must have been listening to Nigel, unlike Tsipras)

Chilcot Inquiry

The Independent says “Sir John Chilcot and members of his Iraq inquiry panel have shared more than £1.5m in fees since 2009

Mounting anger over the sums of money paid to Sir John Chilcot and his committee have prompted calls for the Government to stop any further payments, amid demands by politicians for publication of the Iraq inquiry’s report without further delay.

An analysis by this newspaper of all accounts released by the inquiry reveal that Sir John, his fellow committee members, and their advisers, have shared more than £1.5m in fees since the inquiry began in 2009.

This averages out at £231,308 each. And last year alone £892,400 was spent on the wages of the 11 civil servants and three support staff who comprise the inquiry’s secretariat.

Royal Family and Nazism

The Guardian predictably has an article “Royals told: open archives on family ties to Nazi regime

Buckingham Palace has been urged to disclose documents that would finally reveal the truth about the relationship between the royal family and the Nazi regime of the 1930s. The Sun’s decision to publish footage of the Queen at six or seven years old performing a Nazi salute, held in the royal archives and hitherto unavailable for public viewing, has triggered concerns that the palace has for years sought to suppress the release of damaging material confirming the links between leading royals and the Third Reich.

Unlike the National Archives, the royal archives, which are known to contain large volumes of correspondence between members of the royal family and Nazi politicians and aristocrats, are not compelled to release material on a regular basis. Now, as that relationship becomes the subject of global debate, historians and MPs have called for the archives to be opened up so that the correspondence can be put into context.

“The royal family can’t suppress their own history for ever,” said Karina Urbach of the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London. “This is censorship. Censorship is not a democratic value. They have to face their past. I’m coming from a country, Germany, where we all have to face our past.”

The Express, on the other hand has the “Truth about picture of Queen’s ‘Nazi salute’

Far from being a Hitler Sieg Heil, the gesture she was actually making was a playful royal wave. Stills from the 17-second silent film, made in 1933, show Prince Edward, the Queen Mother, the six-year-old future Queen and her three-year-old sister, Princess Margaret, playing in the gardens at Balmoral.

An expert lip reader has examined the footage and has been able to recount the exact words used, which completely vindicate the Royals. “This film is definitely not about Nazi salutes,” said Jessica Rees. “The Queen Mother and Prince Edward are encouraging the children to wave – the Queen then encourages her sister, Margaret, to wave.”

On the film Princess Margaret says, “Oh la la la la la la,” as she sings and dances around.

Her mother says: “Oh look darlings, there she is!” referring to someone out of shot.

Prince Edward says: “Yes, yes, come on, come on, give her a wave.”

Princess Elizabeth shouts to Princess Margaret: “Wave! Wave! Hellooooo.”

BBC

Janet Daley of the Telegraph talks about the BBC’s ridiculous threat: meddle with the licence fee and Strictly gets it.

That open letter from an army of highly paid celebrities arguing that nothing should be done to “diminish” the BBC has turned out to be somewhat counter-productive. Indeed, it has provided a useful text for those the BBC regards as self-serving conspirators out to destroy it. Not just because this supposedly spontaneous, independent letter turned out to have been orchestrated by the management of the corporation itself, who then solicited signatures from the stars whose names were appended to it. That revelation would have been evidence enough that the BBC was no stranger to self-serving conspiracy. But it was the wording of the letter – the breathtaking conceit of it – that was most informative.

What the celebrities wrote (or, presumably, had written for them) was no less than this: “In our view, a diminished BBC would simply mean a diminished Britain.” Seriously? Is there any other institution in the country, apart from the monarchy, that could make such a claim without blushing at its own self-regarding hyperbole?

Meanwhile, at The Guardian, one of the self-same celeb, Jonathan Dimblely, urges public to rise up in support of embattled BBC

The veteran political broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby has attacked the commercial enemies of the BBC for setting out to destroy it, and has urged audiences to rise up to defend the corporation.

“Even people within the BBC [who are] now beginning to stand up for it, fail to identify those vested interests. The Murdoch press is an enemy of the BBC for commercial reasons,” said Dimbleby, 70, in reaction to the release of the government’s green paper on the future size and remit of the corporation.

Making an unexpected intervention at a recording of Radio 4’s long-running current affairs comment show, Any Questions?, Dimbleby, brother of David and son of the BBC’s first war reporter, the late Richard Dimbleby, said the corporation’s opponents “have to be taken on by the BBC and by those viewers and listeners who own the BBC”. He added: “Go around the world, listen to what people say about the BBC, they think it’s astonishing we are having to think about whether or not it should survive.”

Obesity Disability

The Telegraph also comments with an article “If you can walk, do you need a mobility scooter?

…the BBC screened a documentary aptly titled The Trouble with Mobility Scooters. Did you know that in Britain about 330,000 mobility scooters are whizzing around our roads and pavements? Or that the “scooter bandwagon”, as the programme said, “has quadrupled in just five years”?

We have more scooters than any other country in Europe. They whizz through crowded shopping centres at up to eight miles an hour; they hog thoroughfares and obnoxiously beep their horns. What’s worse, they do not have to be insured, so that, often, when they send pedestrians flying – the elderly and children are vulnerable – scooter owners cannot afford to pay the damages. No testing is required and, incredibly, some drivers can’t even see properly.

…but other users are capable of walking, though they may be overweight, otherwise unhealthy, or what the Scots call “daftees”. They use a scooter because when they walk they get tired and out-of-breath, and they prefer to sit down, open the throttle and feel the breeze in their hair (maybe smoking a fag, like someone in that TV programme).

Islamic Extremism

The Independent reports that the Government is to take firmer stance on Muslims who fail to denounce jihadis

The Government is set to take a firmer stance against Muslims who fail to oppose Islamist extremism. In a speech to be delivered to an audience of Muslim men and women in Birmingham, David Cameron is expected to announce that only those in the Muslim community willing to take a stand against jihadist violence will be supported and those who “walk up to the border of illegality” will be denounced.

A Downing Street source told The Independent on Sunday: “There are people in the Muslim community who walk up to the border of illegality with the aim of radicalising others – they are the equivalent of David Irving denying the Holocaust.

“There are Muslims who say they are not advocating violence,” said the source, but who still deny the Holocaust, question Israel’s right to exist, and whether men and women and Jews and Muslims should mix.

The Express also reports on this with ‘Jihad path will lead you to rape and death

He will say in a keynote speech that girls lured to Syria will be enslaved and raped while boys will be forced into becoming suicide bombers. Children as young as 15 are being targeted for recruitment and the school summer holiday break could provide the perfect opportunity for them to go in search of jihad.

Mr Cameron will warn that anyone tempted to join the barbaric terrorist organisation would find that far from being a “pioneering movement” it is “vicious, brutal and fundamentally abhorrent”. He will say: “You won’t be some valued member of a movement. You are cannon fodder for them. They will use you. If you are a boy, they will brainwash you, strap bombs to your body and blow you up.

Poverty – Food Banks

The Mirror reports that Food banks are stockpiling for summer amid fears free school meals children will go hungry

Food banks have been stockpiling for summer amid fears that thousands of kids who usually have free school dinners will go hungry. Charity workers expect a surge in demand for emergency supplies during the six week break when parents have to buy more food.

Childcare costs, benefit cuts and low wages have all been blamed. And charities say missing free school meals for a week at half term tips some into poverty. The Trussell Trust, a ­foodbank charity, is now set to expand its network of holiday lunch clubs.

Adrian Curtis, the trust’s director, said: “We see an increase in referrals to our food banks during the school holidays because parents obviously struggle to provide that extra meal with the children and pay the bill. Many of our food banks have begun to develop breakfast clubs and work with other organisations who provide meals during the school holidays to address exactly this.”

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