It is becoming increasingly clear that the model being imposed on the health service is the wrong one. The strategy isn’t working. NHS trust deficits have reached nearly £1bn and hospital treatments are being deliberately postponed for several months to save money. These are just early signs of the effects of the rapidly emerging healthcare market. And as Patricia Hewitt and David Cameron vied last week over who will provide the bigger role for the private sector in the NHS, the Audit Commission has warned that trusts’ financial volatility will continue as the volume of private-sector provision increases and payment by results is applied more widely.
Proponents of civil nuclear power will use any and every opportunity to press their case. Small wonder then, that the Russia-Ukraine gas price dispute should have been so quickly deployed by nuclear power advocates. Brian Wilson, former energy minister and now a power industry consultant, told newspapers that the row highlighted the need for the UK to establish security of supply via “indigenous” sources, namely nuclear. Like many of the arguments used to promote nuclear power, this one doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. The UK does not possess its own uranium deposits and would have to import the fuel, just as it will be importing Russian, Algerian and Norwegian gas.
Born in 1939, Michael Meacher was educated at Berkhamstead School, New College Oxford and the London School of Economics. He joined the Labour Party in 1962 and has been Labour Member of Parliament for Oldham West (now Oldham West and Royton) since 1970. He contested Colchester in 1966 and Oldham West in 1968.