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Last minute reshuffle @DHGOVUK announced…

By Editor
March 27th, 2015 at 2:15 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in Uncategorized

HAT TIP: Simon Clark

Following on from Wednesday’s post, we were nudged to read an excellent and revealing post over at Simon Clark’s Taking Liberties blog.

the subject of the blog is this tweet…

dedicated DH team

For those of you who don’t know the faces in this picture. From left to right they are …

Andrew Black (civil servant) tobacco programme manager at the Department of Health

Deborah Arnott from ASH

Jane Ellison MP (Conservative) and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health

Paul Burstow MP (Lib Dem)

Really? When did that re-shuffle happen? Does David Cameron know? Was Jeremy Hunt informed? If we randomly turn up, do we stand a chance of getting a job?

Seriously though….. Surely it is now time for Eric Pickles to sit down with William Shawcross to sort out “charities” that are indivisible from Government departments? Having “charities” that escape all the scrutiny of Government, but are part of the “dedicated team” is surely intolerable?  But that, according to Jane Ellison (current Health Minister), is precisely what we have.

Ps. Not sure when Paul Burstow got promoted to the Department of Health – someone should update his wikipedia entry.

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Ill-judged sideshow has little public support

By Angela Harbutt
February 12th, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Comments Off on Ill-judged sideshow has little public support | Posted in Uncategorized

hoopsWith Parliament formally dissolving on March 30th, the outgoing parliament will not be able to complete all of its work, resulting inevitably in many Government plans falling by the wayside. Of course, some will say this is a good thing – the less Government does the better!

But what, do you think, voters believe the priorities of the Government should be in the remaining days?

No need to wonder. Forest has commissioned an exclusive poll asking voters this very question.

Respected research company Populus asked more than 2,000 members of the public, on a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 = not important at all and 10 = very important, the level of importance they attach to completing outstanding pieces of legislation facing the remainder of this parliament.

Those ranking highest included: “controlling the UK’s borders and reducing immigration”; “tougher counter-terrorism and security laws”; “stopping human trafficking”; “improving access to affordable housing”; “making it easier for employers to take on apprentices”.

“Introducing plain packaging for cigarettes” was the lowest of any of the variables tested, with a mean importance rating of just 3.51. The closest variable, “regulating the future of the fracking sector”, scored 6.10.

It does make you wonder no Davewhat on earth possessed the Government to determine in the dying days of parliament to force in a vote on plain packaging, particularly as evidence from Australia shows the policy hasn’t worked, with teen smoking rates increasing by 36% from 2010 to 2013?

Of course the answer is “politics dear boy”. As Simon Clark, Director of Forest says

“Plain packaging legislation is an ill-judged sideshow and a distraction from the real challenges the government faces before the end of this parliament.”

I have written to my local MP, Jane Ellison, again, asking her to vote no at the upcoming vote. But given that she is the minister who has forced this bill into parliament I am not terribly optimistic that she has any intention to listening tlast chance saloono me or any other voter in this constituency. Indeed, given that the Government’s 2012 “public” consultation on plain packaging delivered a resounding NO!  to the whole idea – what are the chances that she will listen now? Here is hoping that voters will show Ellison and her ilk the same contempt that they have quite clearly shown the public come May 7th, and that some elected politicians will think twice before voting “aye” to this cynical and ill-conceived piece of politics.

Want to find out more?

For survey results and more from Forest click here.

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The answers I want from my Tory candidate in Battersea

By Mark Littlewood
September 25th, 2009 at 11:07 pm | 3 Comments | Posted in UK Politics

jane-ellisonJane Ellison is my Conservative PPC in the uber-marginal seat of Battersea (Labour majority 164)

If the Tories don’t win here, Gordon Brown will have been re-elected – probably with an increased Parliamentary majority.

So, I read Ms. Ellison’s “Reporting Back” leaflet with interest.

In some ways, it’s a great mimick of LibDemmery.

There’s all sorts of pictures of Jane at all sorts of civic functions.

She helpfully tells us that the leaflet was paid for and distributed by Tory volunteers (is Michael Ashcroft a volunteer?)

Painfully, there’s a list of helplines on the inside front panel of the leaflet. Covering everything from a graffiti hotline to advice on influenza. They even tell you the telephone number for National Rail Enquiries  (it’s 08457 48 49 50  just in case you haven’t mastered google yet)

Balancing the books doesn’t seem to figure though. So, Ive dropped her a line.

Well, I tried to.

But unfortunately is down at the moment, and so my email bounced. I had to send it to

Here’s what I wrote:

Dear Jane,

Thanks for your August/September newsletter, which I’ve now read in its entirety.

I am most concerned – given the country is hurtling towards a debt of £1.4 trillion – that there wasn’t very much information about the cuts you will be advocating if you’re successful as the local Conservative candidate and/or the Conservatives form the next government.

You seem to have a number of spending pledges in your pamphlet, for example:

1. Improved maternity provision

2. Return of health services to Bolingbroke Hospital

3. Requiring all new health centres to offer longer, flexible hours and walk-in services

4. Extension of the tube network into east Battersea

5. Forcing rail companies to provide longer trains and extended platforms

You also mention one tax issue – the rise in business rates (which you oppose).

I assume you can deliver all of the above spending commitments by raising other taxes?

From what I can ascertain, it seems you support less tax and more government spending at a time when the United Kingdom is practically bankrupt.

I was wondering if you could give me an indication of what cuts you would like to see in public expenditure?

Which current expenditure projects would you like to see axed?

I was also a bit bemused to see a list of telephone numbers on the inside panel of your leaflet – all from quangos dealing with everything from influenza to graffiti.

I’d understood that the Conservatives were going to slice back on quangos.

Which of the quangos listed in your leaflet do you think should be abolished?

I look forward to your early reply.

With all best wishes,


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