Health and Social Care Bill risk register

The post below goes some way towards explaining why I haven’t signed the EDM that a few people have been urging me, via Twitter, to sign. It’s EDM 2659 and was only tabled on 30th January so, apart from anything else, I didn’t actually realise it existed. We have a couple of months to go before the end of this parliamentary session, so see what I mean about there being about 3000 EDMs… Here’s the wording, which is supported by some 29 MPs to date (Labour, Lib Dem, SDLP and DUP; no Tories yet).

That this House expects the Government to respect the ruling by the Information Commissioner and to publish the risk register associated with the Health and Social Care Bill reforms in advance of Report Stage in the House of Lords in order to ensure that it informs that debate.

I agree entirely with what the EDM says, and I suppose if I sign up to it then I’m putting that on the public record, and people searching the EDM database can see that. But I have already raised this issue in Parliament, at Health questions on 27th November last year, in an exchange with Health Minister Simon Burns that prompted his now infamous “zombie” remarks.

Strategic Risk Register

Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East, Labour): What assessment he has made of the effects of publishing his Department’s strategic risk register on his restructuring of the NHS?

Simon Burns (Minister of State (Health); Chelmsford, Conservative): Publishing the Department’s risk register would have implications beyond the Department of Health, and we are taking the time granted to us by the Information Commissioner before deciding whether to appeal against his decision requiring its release.

Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East, Labour): I think I thank the Minister for that response, which at least gives some indication of where the Government are coming from. But, given the widespread concern among the public about the risks posed by the Health and Social Care Bill, and given that the Information Commission has ruled that the register should be published, does the Minister not think that it should be published before Report stage in the House of Lords, so that at the very least the findings can be used to inform the amendments being tabled to rescue the Bill even at this late stage?

Simon Burns (Minister of State (Health); Chelmsford, Conservative): No, I do not think that the register should be published before then, in so far as we are still considering whether or how to move forward within the time scale that the Information Commissioner has given us—[ Interruption. ] Before the hon. Lady gets too pious, I must tell her—I do not say “remind her”, because in the previous Government she will have been too busy tweeting, as the tweeting tsar, to know what the Department of Health was doing—that in September 2009 Andy Burnham similarly blocked release of the Department of Health’s strategic risk register, using the non-disclosure provisions under section 36 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and that his predecessor, Alan Johnson, did the same on two occasions in 2008.

John Bercow (Speaker): Order. It seems that the subject matter for an Adjournment debate is being provided.

Duncan Hames (Chippenham, Liberal Democrat): Two, or even three, wrongs do not make a right. Regarding an exemplary risk register, does the Minister consider that the mitigation plans for any risks identified there may serve to reassure Members of the other House, if it were to be published in advance of the conclusion of the Committee stage there?

Simon Burns (Minister of State (Health); Chelmsford, Conservative): If the hon. Gentleman had read it, he would know that the important aspect—[ Interruption. ] He says that he cannot read it, but if he listens for a minute, he will hear that the important parts that are relevant to the Health and Social Care Bill were published in January and September this year in the impact assessment for the Bill.

Andy Burnham (Leigh, Labour): May I first commend the Health Secretary on his ingenious new approach to cutting delayed discharges? If his appearance on continuous loop on hospital TV does not cut length of stay, I do not know what will. One area where he has been noticeably less forthcoming is on the recent ruling by the Information Commissioner, which could not be clearer: Parliament and the public have the right to know what extra risks and threats his Department expects the NHS to face as a result of this top-down reorganisation. Let us give him one more chance to give us a clear commitment: will he live up to the Prime Minister’s words on transparency and openness and publish the report in full without delay?

Simon Burns (Minister of State (Health); Chelmsford, Conservative): The right hon. Gentleman may not have been listening to the response I gave to his hon. Friend, which was that the relevant aspects of the risk assessment have been incorporated into the impact assessments published in January and September. [ Interruption. ] Before he, too, gets too pious, may I remind him that it was he himself who, in September 2009, blocked the publication of his Department’s risk assessment?

Andy Burnham (Leigh, Labour): I would happily have paid £5 to opt out of that particular pre-scripted loop message. Unlike the Minister and his fellow Front Benchers, I was not subject to a ruling from the Information Commissioner. People watching this today will be left wondering what he and the Secretary of State are so desperate to hide. He can hide the report, but he cannot hide the growing warning signs we are seeing in our NHS: waiting lists
up, delayed discharges up, and nurses made redundant. The truth is that he has placed the NHS in the danger zone, with a destabilising and demoralising reorganisation when it most needed stability. He says he wants feedback, so why does he not listen to patients and staff, put the NHS first and drop his dangerous Bill?

Simon Burns (Minister of State (Health); Chelmsford, Conservative): It is marvellous how the right hon. Gentleman repeats his soundbite every time he discusses the NHS. I have to tell him that he is wrong. He knows that the NHS has to evolve. He knows that we have to improve and enhance patient care. I think he does himself a disservice by simply joining the ranks of organisations such as 38 Degrees, which is frightening people and getting them, almost zombie-like, to send in e-mails.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • Steve Kelly  On February 6, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    This is not good enough. If you are not prepared to sign this EDM then I have lost faith in you as a Labour MP and any belief you hold that the NHS is save in your hands never mind Andrew Lansley’s.

    Sorry for being so harsh but if you don’tsign the motion then you are automatically agreeing that the Risk Register is of no consequnec.

    Shame on you.

    • kerrymccarthy  On February 6, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      That is just silly… have you actually read my post? Why is signing an EDM any more important than asking the Minister a direct question? It’s not; it’s insignificant by comparison. Shadow Cabinet members don’t sign any EDMs – except in very special circumstances – does that mean Andy Burnham doesn’t care about this? This is why I tend towards agreeing EDMs should be abolished. They give people a false sense that they achieve something. Do you think Lansley and Burns are paying any attention to this EDM at all?

      • Ezekiel Madron (@dark_wasp)  On February 6, 2012 at 10:34 pm

        I don’t care whther you sign or not, but – particularly as you say you agree with the EDM – you don’t really give a logical reason as to why you won’t sign.

        Even if you think EDMs should be abolished, they haven’t been. They exist. This one exists.

        And seemingly you agree with it.

        Unless having asked a question on the same subject somehow precludes you from signing it, what would stop you?

        So, as it’s currently stated, your position simply doesn’t make sense. Just say why you won’t sign. It surely can’t be beause you’ve already raised the issue. That would be all the more reason to sign, wouldn’t it??

        So what’s the truth?

  • Chris Wallace  On February 6, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Please reconsider, I appreciate that you have spoken out on this issue in the past, but I can’t imagine that signing the motion will take as much of your time as writing this post explaining why you haven’t.

    Every ounce of pressure that can be exerted on the government over this bill has to be for the better, and the release of the risk register is one of the few things which could feasibly lead to the dropping of the Health and Social Care bill.

    This EDM might not be the thing that leads to its release, but it certainly can’t hurt.

    • kerrymccarthy  On February 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      I think tabling more Qs, and bringing Ministers to the House to answer will be more effective. I didn’t actually say I wouldn’t sign, I didn’t even know about the EDM till last night, but as a rule frontbenchers don’t tend to sign them and I don’t think they’re very effective. Andy Burnham hasn’t signed, has he? And yet no-one would accuse him of not being 100% dedicated to stopping this Bill. I really think we can stop it. It’s the first time I’ve felt this way since Second Reading.

  • Richard Blogger (@richardblogger)  On February 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Kerry, perhaps I don’t understand Parliamentary procedure. You say that you agree with the EDM and you say that you have already called for the register to be released through a parliamentary question. So I don’t understand why you cannot sign the EDM. If you sign it, will it somehow invalidate your question? Or perhaps if you sign the EDM it will show that you are, perhaps, over-keen? What is the problem?

  • David Hough  On February 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Hello Kerry, I have read your blog, and understand the reasons you’ve given, and yes asking a question of the minister (even if it is only Simon Burns) is important. However, you do say that frontbenchers don’t sign them accept under special circumstances (the next door MP Bob Russell is famous for signing them, which is what gives them a bad name), and I do think this one qualifies. It isn’t party political in intent, and a number of Liberal Democrats have signed up. Therefore, the Labour frontbench can show this is about what is in the interests of patients, and not one party or the other. Your example could set a precedent for others to join you. I hope you can reconsider, all the best


  • Steve Kelly  On February 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    I do not agree. You’ve asked questions and got nowhere. Forcing this sham Government to do what has been asked to do by the Information Commissioners will once and for all settle this matter and hopefully kill the bill. If you think asking questions will simply make Lansley say Oh all right then , then I fear that you make an appalling representative for your constituents.

    This bill as you well know has got nothing whatsoever in trying to reform the NHS but to kill it and patients like me with diabetes along with it.

    I say again, if you do not support this and if the leadership do not then shame on you. The fact that a fellow Labour MP thinks it;’s a valid move to make, is sufficent for me. Your non answer by the way which you said you was your answer is disgraceful. You didn’t say why.. In retort to me re-read your own article. And I am not alone in that view. I’m the only one it seems that so far has had the courage to confront you. And you aren’t even my MP. Others are too polite. The time to be polite over the NHS is over. It is too important.

    You said in your last post you haven’t decided not to sign it. There is absolutely nothing stopping you then is there?. As for not knowing about the EDM till last night. That’s irrelevant. You know about it now.

    As for Andy Burnham who I think has worked very hard since talking over from John Healey should also sign it. Not to do so is to my mind a betrayal of the people of this country. If you don’t then I feel the same about you

  • Dr Éoin Clarke  On February 6, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Dear Kerry,

    I think petitions can be quite the waste of time. I do not normally sign them. But I signed the Drop the Bill petition.

    Why? Because I would walk over hot coals, or sweat blood to stop this cruel dismantling of a national institution #NHS.

    I beg of you to reassure all your readers, and many admirers (among which I include myself) that you will sign this EDM.

    If every MP signed it (on the red team) BBC/Sky News would take notice. It’s worth a try surely?

    Warmest regards,

    Dr Éoin Clarke

    • ddom2006  On February 8, 2012 at 3:49 am

      When exactly was the last time an EDM made mainstream news Eoin? I’m sure you’ve a box of statistics lying around that highlights just how infrequent that is.

      I personally find your accusation Kerry isn’t walking over hot coals or sweating blood to defend the NHS purely based on her not signing an EDM she only recently discovered existed quite insulting. It’s a cheap & deliberately disingenuous attack; You should know better.

      To really crush the NHS Bill you have to lobby hard to get the ‘yellow team’ and the ‘blue team’ to start signing these EDMs as well. At this point one more Labour MP signing another EDM is unlikely to make an iota of difference and your article on this on your website & this comment stinks of you trying to make self political gain at Kerry’s expense.

  • Steve Kelly  On February 7, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Kerry. I apologise if I have upset you, but you have forgotten one very important point. You are an MP and are supposed to representing your constituents. They do not (like me an ordinary member of the Labour Party) understand the minutiae of the House of Commons procedures and the rather strange protocols.

    I have heard that EDMs have no force, so there is effectively no point to them. However your constituents don’t know that. I didn’t know that till very recently, but no matter it is symbolic. And as a graduate psychologist I can assure you that symbols matter enormously because they send a signal. Not to sign this is demonstrating that you couldn’t care less about the Risk Register irrespective of how many times you ask Lansley questions.

    So, on that basis I ask you to sign the EDM to show your support.

    You have after all signed lots before. But the NHS Bill is the most important issue facing this country other than the economy.

    Even though you are not my MP, you are a Labour MP. As such any Labour MP who doesn’t sign the EDM has lost any respect I would have for them. They don’t deserve their position.

  • Beth Carss  On February 7, 2012 at 12:40 am

    What harm would there be in signing an EDM to release the risk register. You may feel / know it will have no effect but I would suggest to your constituents it may look like you don’t give a toss about the NHS.

    If you really are opposed to the bill you could really make a name for yourself and advise us how to petition the Queen. OUR NHS is being changed now before any legislation has gone through.

    Right, off to email my friends in Bristol.

  • John Jackson  On February 7, 2012 at 12:53 am

    You state that: ” Shadow Cabinet members don’t sign any EDMs – except in very special circumstances”.
    Given the very grave threat posed to the future of the NHS by Lansley’s proposed reforms, these ARE: “VERY SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES” !

  • Anonymous  On February 7, 2012 at 1:09 am

    You are a Labour MP, sign the EDM! It’s time to support the Labour voters in your constituency and do everything in your power to defeat this extremely destructive bill. This bill will ruin many the lives of many people if passed. Are you a Tory, or a Blairite? That’s what they will ask if you don’t sign this EDM.

  • Iain  On February 7, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Just to ask the people who are whining about Kerry not signing EDM 2659 but not saying a word about the other 231 Labour MPs who haven’t signed it. EDMs are simply an expensive waste of money wish do nothing to change government policy. Forcing Ministers to answer questions in the House and using opposition day debates is a much better tactic.

    • Steve Kelly  On February 7, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      Hi Iain. While I admire you for coming to Kerry’s defense the fact remains she has signed 185 EDMs I believe so far. How come she is refusing to sign this one which is perhaps the most important of all?

      If, as you say EDMs are a total waste of money and time then why are so many created.

      No one is suggesting an either or approach. Kerry can continue asking questions, but this EDM is extra necessary pressure. Not to support her colleagues who have worked hard to get it off the ground is in my view a complete dereliction of Kerry’s duty as a Labour MP. As for the other 231 Labour MPs, the same applies. There is no reason whatsoever not to sign it unless of course there is some ulterior motive to protect their political careers. If that is so, then shame on them all.

      MPs are sent to parliament to represent us the people, but they appear to be more concerned about themselves. I am not suggesting for one minute Kerry McCarthy is one of those, but I can’t fathom out any good reason why she is refusing to sign the NHS EDM given her history in this area.

  • Black Guardian  On February 7, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Just sign the damn thing.

  • John  On February 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I certainly think you should sign. EDMs can sometimes be effective in raising or maintaining awareness of particular issues, I think the number of Liberal Democrats that have signed will gain attention. It’s obvious this reform is hugely, almost unprecedentedly controversial and there are suspicions about what it’s actually trying to achieve. Given that fact, and the information commissioner’s judgement, there seems a very strong case for publishing the risk register.

    Not to mention, that you’ll appease Steve Kelly!

    • Steve Kelly  On February 7, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      Just a quick comment to say that I hope you do sign it. Andy Burnham is no expecting all Labour MPs to do so.

      “And finally…. if only people on the left spent as much time training their fire on our real opponents, we might get somewhere – that, incidentally, is why I call my blog .”

      I am not an MP. I am just an ordinary person who just happens also to be a member of The Labour Party. This isn’t about the left or right. It’s about doing the correct thing by the electorate who voted you as their MP.

      Finally, it is not my job to oppose the Government – it’s yours.

      I am sorry that this discussion has become so acrimonious, but I am fed up (particularly with Labour MPs) who forget why they are in the House of Commons.

      I will not comment on the rest of your reply Kerry because I do not think it either relevant or appropriate for me to do so. My anger is about the mealy mouthed opposition the Labour Party has so far offered this deadful NHS Bill. And since you were seemingly prevaricating over the EDM (even if you say you weren’t) that was just the final straw.

      We need total unity on this issue. Any less is a betrayal to the great mass of British people.

      • kerrymccarthy  On February 7, 2012 at 10:39 pm

        I really don’t think you can have read anything I’ve written about EDMs, or that you can have been paying much attention to what Andy Burnham and his team have been doing. We want to defeat this Bill as much as you do, but it won’t be done by an EDM and people should stop kidding themselves and others that it will be. The absolute crucial thing right now is mobilising the opposition from the medical profession, and increasing public awareness of what the changes would mean – it’s a battle to be fought in the public domain, not in obscure parliamentary procedures that 99.9% of the population don’t even realise exist. I, sadly, have had more emails from constituents about forests than about the Health Bill – and I don’t think signing an EDM will suddenly alert the rest of my constituents to the fact that this Bill is something they ought to be very worried about indeed. Going out there and talking to the professionals, the service users, the public who might need the NHS one day even if they don’t need it now, as I have been doing for the past year or more, is far more important – so please don’t tell me about “doing the correct thing by the electorate”.

  • kerrymccarthy  On February 7, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    OK… big sigh… here we go…

    a) I didn’t say I wouldn’t sign it – I said I hadn’t signed it yet, and was trying to explain to people why EDMs aren’t the silver bullets people think they are – I was trying to have an intelligent debate about how parliament works. I’ve voted against the bill at every opportunity, I’ve had a series of meeting with local health care professionals, I’ve tabled questions, I’ve written letters. To suggest as someone does above that there could be some careerist reason for not signing an EDM that is 100% in line with Labour policy and is what I’ve already been saying in parliament is, quite frankly, a baffling accusation.

    b) As a rule shadow frontbenchers don’t sign EDMs – this is enforced in some teams more strongly than others – I have become increasingly restricted in what I can and can’t sign and have been coming to the view that it is therefore easier not to sign any – and also, as I have explained, I don’t think EDMs achieve very much and I think they give people the misleading impression that they do, which doesn’t make for honest politics. Someone on Twitter last night used the phrase “fetishising EDMs” which is very apt.

    c) If other shadow frontbenchers – eg the entire shadow health team – sign the EDM, then this would obviously override point b) – it sometimes happens, when the team wants to send out a signal on an issue – but even if every single member of the Parliamentary Labour Party signs it, it won’t cause palpitations in the Dept of Health – if 50 Tories/ Lib Dems sign it, well then you might have given them something to worry about – (not the usual suspects from the Lib Dems who have signed so far).

    d) I told IFAW the other day that I couldn’t sign their anti-whaling EDM; that doesn’t mean I want to go out harpooning whales – and yet I’m now getting tweets suggesting I’m in favour of health privatisation, which is insulting to say the least….

    e) And the reason people are accusing me of that is because they’ve read a highly misleading blogpost by Dr Eoin Clarke – starting “traumatic news” for god’s sake – talk about an overreaction! Eoin, you can say all you like on here about being an admirer or whatever – the fact is, you’ve done a very successful job in getting a whole bunch of people to demonise a Labour MP who is absolutely, fundamentally opposed to this dreadful Bill – and let a whole load of other MPs off the hook. Nice work.

    And finally…. if only people on the left spent as much time training their fire on our real opponents, we might get somewhere – that, incidentally, is why I call my blog “Shot by Both Sides”!

  • Steve Kelly  On February 8, 2012 at 12:20 am

    “I really don’t think you can have read anything I’ve written about EDMs, or that you can have been paying much attention to what Andy Burnham and his team have been doing.”

    You can attack my lack of knowledge about House of Commons procedures and what the Labour party is supposedly doing to oppose this torrid Bill as much as you like Kerry. but I am not an MP, you are and as a Labour MP, I expect you to oppose this Bill by all necessary means.

    Until Andy Burnham took over, the opposition to the NHS Bill was woeful to say the least. The only people that have led the opposition has been the medical profession which my wife is a part of. You don’t seem to realise that people like my wife stand to lose her job again next year because the Bill is already being enacted even though it hasn’t passed through parliament. Why hasn’t this basic fact been brought to the attention of Lansley et al. I know about it, my wife knows about, and so does everyone else, but this has never been actively pursued. Why?

    Monitor the so called regulator has already been set up. How can this have happened? Is that what you call opposition, because quite frankly I don’t.

    I was always under the impression that institutions such as Monitor could not be erected until a Bill was passed into law, and after the Royal Assent. It seems I and every other citizen this country has been duped.

    “We want to defeat this Bill as much as you do,”

    I have only your word for that so have to accept it. But you are missing the whole point of this debate Kerry – whether EDMs are toothless wonders is irrelevant. By signing it along with all the other Labour MPs you are making a symbolic stance. I repeat a symbolic stance. What was the point of the MP who created it in the first place if he didn’t thing it was useful. What was the point of the Lib Dem MPs signing it if they didn’t think it was useful. What was the point of all the 185 EDMs you signed if they were totally useless,

    But what I can’t fathom is why now all of a sudden the NHS Bill EDM is suddenly not worth signing. I rather think the NHS is more important than whaling. Or am I wrong.

    I am now exasperated at how you are continually trying to justify your position on this EDM. Either sign the thing and get on with doing what you are paid to do or tell everyone you are not going to and let others judge by your actions.

    As I said I am just an ordinary bloke, and not a politician. But if this is the standard of opposition by the Labour Party then it deserves to go down the pan.

    The ball is in your court now Kerry. I hope you make the right choice. As has been pointed out you yourself started this by writing your original article. Did you really expect anyone not to be effronted?

    • kerrymccarthy  On February 8, 2012 at 3:44 am

      Of course I appreciate people are losing their jobs – I’ve met many people affected, by cuts, by PCTs beinng wound down, by funding being stopped for things previously commissioned by PCTS, etc, etc. But my blogpost was about the value of EDMs (and I think I explained, if you read it, why MPs, including myself, have signed EDMs in the past, even if they have doubts about the value of doing so, and why MPs table EDMs – as you will see if you read the link to Monday night’s debate, some MPs like them, some don’t). I am not blogging about my position on this EDM, I’m blogging about EDMs as a concept, as a parliamentary procedure… I really don’t see why you can’t understand that.

      I accept you’re incredibly angry and upset about the bill – but we are opposing it, and all the signs are that we are getting somewhere, with Lansley on the ropes and concessions being talked about… (although of course we want to see the bill scrapped in its entirety, not concessions, but the talk is a sign of the government losing its nerve). But surely voting against the bill in parliament is far more important than what you call a ‘symbolic stance’? And calling on the minister in public, in the House of Commons chamber, to publish the register… Does that count for nothing? As I said right at the start, EDMs mislead people into thinking things happen as a result… you’re fixating on the least important part of an MP’s weaponry that there is. It doesn’t make sense, and that’s why I continue to argue on this point. I will sign the EDM if frontbenchers do, but that doesn’t alter my views as expressed here, not one iota!

      I suggest we call it a day on this conversation. It’s not going anywhere, and like you say, I ought to be getting on with ‘the things I’m paid to do’. You might want to talk to a few Lib Dems and Tories instead?

      • Steve Kelly  On February 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm

        Thanks again for replying. First off, while I respect your view that you don’t need to sign every EDM and I understand that EDMs have no value, that’s for another discussion. Personally I think they should be strengthened not abolished as you feel they should be.

        However the fact that EDMs are signed shows to me that MPs value them as an extra means to put pressure on any Government. What I fail to fathom is why you feel some EDMs are worth signing but you are dithering over the NHS one.

        As for the original blog, I write blogs everyday for a living (not politics). As such, I as a writer have to make sure that the angle I choose to focus on is clear and unambiguous. Unfortunately, your original article was not clear and unambiguous, which is why others posted it before I even heard about it. When I read it I felt exactly the same way as others that you were refusing to sign the NHS EDM as opposed to explaining what EDMs were and why they are useless. There was no proper explanation. If there was I obviously missed it. But I don’t think so.

        As I said in my last post, if they were that useless why are any still created?

        I agree that asking pointed questions is highly important, but reliance on such things is foolhardy in my view. A range of opposition methods is required. Or are parliaments rules so arcane they affect the way any opposition can oppose effectively.

        “You might want to talk to a few Lib Dems and Tories instead?”

        Why? I have no political influence. You are the individual that decided to be elected to represent your constituents. The question surely is are you talking Lib Dems and Tories? I can only hope you are,

        I am incredibly angry over what is potentially happening to the NHS, but it seems to me that the Labour Party in general has just suddenly woken up and panicking now. While Ed Miliband gave a good performance today, he never once referred to the Risk Register. Why?

  • Jeff Banks  On February 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    So, you won’t discuss it on Twitter and seem prety reluctant to engage here. You have a position of influence on the Front Bench and a simple statement saying you’ll sign the EDM would be a tremendous boost to all us Labour supporters fighting (with you) to defend the NHS. Why not follow the superb Andy Burnham and simply say ‘Yes, you support the EDM?!? Better still, sign it?

    • kerrymccarthy  On February 8, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      Jeff… If you can’t conclude from my blogpost that I support the EDM when I called on the Minister in public, in parliament, to do exactly what the EDM is also calling for, well, I despair! You also criticse my reluctance to engage on here… where do you get that from? It’s nonsense. And as ive already exokained here, I have done a hell of a lot more on the health bill than you are prepared to give me credit for. But you persist in ignoring everything I say and just keep banging on and on about the EDM. Incidentally, they don’t have EDMs in the Lords – does that mean our Labour peers who voted down the Government today on the health bill haven’t done enough to oppose it either?! And when I say ‘”Twitter bullying” – how many of the other MPs who haven’t side the EDM – from ALL parties – have you bombarded with aggressive tweets? How many times have you tweeted my boss in the shadow Foreign Affairs team? Or anyone else from the Shadow Cabinet? You’re basically targeting me because I chose to try to explain to people how parliament works, and, by extension, how best to achieve political change on issues they care deeply about. You’re focusing on me because you think I’m an easy target, and because someone wrote a rather stupid blog post about me. Why not someone whose signature would really cause headlines?

      Do you even realise there’s a judicial hearing in a few weeks on Lansley’s failure to publish the risk register? That’s what will force publication, not an EDM.

  • Jeff Banks  On February 8, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    So, Kerry, you say an EDM can be an “effective tool in mobilising public support; i.e. we can get people writing to their MP asking them to sign an EDM and thus nail their colours to the mast”. But when, as a lifelong Labour supporter, try to get you to nail your colours to the mast, you accuse me of bullying.
    I’m afraid, like other contributors here, I’m seriously worried about your priorities.
    You’ve upset a lot of natural supporters.
    Not good enough.

  • Steve Kelly  On February 8, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Hi Kerry.

    A very quick question. If EDMs are useless as you have stated then why are they created and why have you signed 185? Just asking, not meant as a criticism.

  • kerrymccarthy  On February 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    That’s in my blogpost too… not this one, the one just before it. The answer could best be summed up as “to show willing” – and to avoid having to explain in great detail why I won’t! As from the new parliamentary session, starting in May, when the current EDMs fall, I won’t be signing any at all.

    Finally, by way of info, there will be an Opposition Day debate on the NHS Risk Register on February 22nd – which, by contrast, is a very effective way of drawing attention to the issue. We need to get Lib Dems and Tories to support the Labour motion – there will be a vote.

    Actually this reminds me of another point – check out Stephen Williams (MP for Bristol West) support for an EDM calling for a retail diversity scheme to preserve the character of local shopping areas – and then check out whether he voted for Labour’s amendment to the Localism Bill, which called for exactly that – he didn’t. So what’s more important? Him signing (I think he may even have been the main sponsor) an EDM calling for it? Or him voting against it? It’s the votes that count, not the warm words.

  • Judy Matupi  On February 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Have never commented or tweeted in my life online. However, I am so moved and disturbed by what this right-wing un-elected bunch of people are intent on doing that I have been searching for information about the proposed bill and ways in which I can make my views known. Seems to me that a small group of very wealthy folk buy up everything that the rest of us need to survive. They sell it back to us at an inflated price. I’m thinking transport, gas,electricity,telephone,water. These people are already so wealthy but continue to put up prices to make shareholders richer. Are we really going to stand by and let that happen to the NHS? Are we? Do people really believe the trite rubbish that we will all benefit by introducing competition so that we have more choice? It is random the circumstances that we are born into, some of us so fortunate, loving homes and our needs met. Others, not so lucky.Everyone should have the right to not have to worry about health care provision, regardless of their financial situation. Surely, those of us who end up in positions of privilege and power should then use that power to enhance the lives of those not so fortunate.
    I am truly astounded that it is thought okay to interfere with our NHS and use it to increase the pockets of those who already have so much. Really not understanding the argument that money won’t be paid to shareholders but will go back into the NHS. So why would a private company get involved? Where are they going to make their profit? It’s either directly out of our pockets or indirectly through our taxes. Maybe they are just kind and are not interested in profit.
    Why are the Labour party not making more effort to get the message through to people what these changes actually mean in practical terms? It is their job to do so and they are failing. Many people have no clue what these changes actually mean, the bill in fact is written in such obscure language that most of us would not have the time to sit down and decipher it.
    The poll tax had to be dropped because of the sheer weight of public opinion. If people really understood that this unedifying Health and Social Care bill means the beginning of the end of a public service which has a statutory responsibility to look after the sick they would stand up, they would stand up and march on Downing Street and they would face up to Cameron and say ‘ shame on you, you have the power to uplift and encourage and help instead ,worse than doing nothing ,you aim to bring further struggle and anxiety and hopelessness’.
    We are not going to let this bill go through are we? I am not sure when I last felt so helpless.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: