The Prime Minister’s Public Health Speech – Reaction by Daniel H Robinson

I always assumed that if I waited long enough, the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, would, ultimately, discover something with which to impress me, and I believe that this speech relating to public health, and particularly obesity and smoking, has finally done it.


Notwithstanding the lack of originality regarding many of the ideas conveyed in this speech, it cannot be argued that these comments do not deserve a warm welcome, as the nation is certainly in dire need of such initiatives, considering that obesity levels, for example, are in danger of spiraling out of control.

Furthermore, it was nice to hear a speech from a politician regarding public health that did not promise increased, and likely ineffective, spending on the NHS, and an inevitable tax rise following it. Indeed, the prospect of a state that will seek to influence, rather than dominate, the lives of her people is likewise good to hear. It demonstrates a move away from quick fix solutions to major, long-term problems such as the smoking ban, which will never greatly decrease the number of smokers, in favour of lasting long term solutions, which, history has taught us, as the PM illustrates, can only be achieved through education.

Unfortunately, the speech is somewhat thin on actual methods of achieving a decrease in obesity levels, smoking levels, et cetera. In fact, despite the multitude of historical examples listed by the PM, including Bazalgette’s sewers, he fails to announce a single new policy, other than reminding us of the new school dinner regulations coming into force in 2008/9, which weren’t even his government’s idea in the first place, and other, previously announced, initiatives.

What is more, the vast majority of the speech is constructed of largely irrelevant historical examples, many of which are, to say the least, self glorifying, as the PM seems to regard himself as somewhat of a visionary, a modern great engineer, perhaps, despite the fact that the public health problems he references have been known of for some years. Much of it is also more than slightly hypocritical, particularly when the PM tries to distance himself from so called ‘nanny state’ politics, which appeared to be his bible for some years.

In conclusion, I can do nothing but commend the Prime Minister’s zealous furthering of this most important issue; however, it is unfortunate that he offers no truly insightful observations, or outlines radical new policies to tackle public health problems in our society, only a vague idea of ‘state empowerment’.

Nevertheless, in my opinion, a public health aware Prime Minister is no bad thing, despite the fact almost every elected leader in this country’s history has promised to deliver an increase in something similar, and often delivered little but higher taxes and more bureaucracy. It is likewise unfortunate (for him) that Mr. Blair will not be in office long enough to personally usher through these improvements, which, this week, at least, he no doubt fancies as his legacy.

Tory Radio talks turkey to Labour supporter

The latest Tory Radio interview features a "two parter" with a Labour supporter.

To mark the launch of the new website we thought it worthwhile to hear what someone who hasn't traditionally voted Tory thinks of the party and the direction it is taking. 

To listen to the first part of this exclusive Tory Radio interview click the links below.

Click to listen or download

Tory Radio scores another scoop – by Andrew Woodman

After Francis Maude’s admission that we won’t we won’t be sending mincing
meterosexuals to fight gritty Northern seats, and Lord Tebbit revealing his
support for David Cameron’s hug a Hoodie speech, Tory Radio scored another
exclusive with the revelation that Ken Clarke is the man who bought the
dreaded speed hump to British roads during his first job as a minister. I
think during his many years in the Cabinet, Ken Clarke more than made up for
this hideous act.

Other interesting points in the interview were Ken Clarke’s trouble with
Health (the ministry, not himself), how to win an argument with Lady
Thatcher and of course Europe and whether he did actually read the
Maastricht treaty.

It will be interesting to see how history views Ken Clarke. The lost leader,
The number one Pro European or one of the great Chancellors, who’s legacy
Gordon Brown has managed to live off for the past ten years. I think it will
be all three to a certain extent, but with the Conservative Party becoming
increasingly Eurosceptic, I suspect the media will keeping coming to Ken
Clarke for pro European quotes, so the Europhile term will continue to
stick.

I think one thing is for sure though, and that’s Ken Clarke still enjoys
politics and I don’t think he’ll be retiring any time soon.

I support the 'A-List' – by Tom Rowley

A short sentence, but one which in certain Tory circles would be shouted down faster than a declaration of admiration for Tony Blair. I am afraid that I simply fail to understand how anyone – other than those belonging to a different Party – could not support it. This is for one simple reason: it will win votes. Not a few votes either; many, many votes – perhaps enough to win us the next election. As a young person, I have lived half my life (and all of the time I have been politically aware) under Labour. My knowledge of previous Conservative administrations comes not from experience but from books. Therefore my longing to see us in power at the next election is not the result of some misty-eyed wish to see the return of the 'good old days' or for everything to be as it was, frozen in time before 1997, the year we'd rather forget. It is merely a desire for something different to this appallingly bad Government and a decision that the Conservatives offer the best alternative. As such, I am able to observe the great 'A list' debate as a relative outsider. Unlike other commentators, my view is not clouded by Party friends whose dreams of Westminster will never come to fruition because of the list. We wonder what all the fuss is about. The aim of a political party is to advance the particular cause it espouses – it cannot do this effectively in opposition. I scarcely need to remind you that we have been in opposition for almost ten years and before recently had become little more than a glorified debating society for the middle aged and middle class. There is no point in that. The aim of the 'A list' is to make the Party more appealing to voters by making candidates more representative of the country we seek to represent. In short: to increase votes. Increasing votes means getting into government and enacting our policies. By this point, I'm sure many of you are screaming at your computers that I've misunderstood your arguments. "Of course we want to get into power. We just want the freedom to select our own candidates on merit, rather than having a list of soap stars and lesbians imposed on us by CCHQ" some of you will be saying. I'm afraid it's my turn to say that you're rather missing the point. These reactions against the 'A list' demonstrate exactly why we need it: local associations have lost touch with the country. The reason they select safe middle class men is that they can debate well, have good communication skills and, as such, would make fantastic MPs, the argument goes. But are those skills what is required to win votes? Maybe in the 1950s, but not now. To connect with the iPod generation of voters, especially young people whom we poll third amongst, we must change our outdated beliefs about the criteria for the best candidate. He or she should be involved in the community and should be able to reach out to all areas, not just traditionally Conservative ones, and connect with people of all age groups. When using these criteria, the average man in a tie seems far less likely to be selected than one of the 'A listers'. It's time for local associations to "get with it", as no doubt one of Mr Cameron's new-found hoodie-wearing friends would say. Either they change or we die.

Andrew Woodman comments on Lord Tebbit's Spectator article

Lord Tebbit speaks controversially to the Spectator (although you heard it here first at Tory Radio) 
 
Lord Tebbit has again voiced his concern about the number of stay at home voters in this weeks Spectator. Listeners to Tory Radio will already know about these concerns, as Lord Tebbit addressed the point in his recent interview on this website. Lord Tebbit pointed to the fact that both the Conservatives and Labour fell below the 10 million voter benchmark in the last election. which he considers to be the real standard. 
 
The Spectator interview may be seen by some as an attack on David Cameron. Others will say that Lord Tebbit is highlighting a potential problem the Conservatives might face in keeping the right on side as the Conservatives move more towards the centre. 
 
There are many who believe the only way to judge the success of the modernising agenda, is how much it upsets Lord Tebbit. They may have been surprised therefore, by the remarks within the interview regarding the much vaunted ‘hug a hoodie’ speech. He stated that circumstances such as family breakdown and lack of discipline have created the problems of antisocial behaviour, and society is failing kids on the streets looking for an ASBO as a badge of honour.. 
 
Though I’m sure all Conservatives will agree with Lord Tebbits supposition within the interview, that Tony Blair is a fantasist who believes everything he says. He even probably believes he’s George Bush’s equal!! 
 
To listen again click the links below:-

LORD TEBBIT INTERVIEW PART 1

LORD TEBBIT INTERVIEW PART 2

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Francis Maude

Francis Maude, Chairman of the Conservative Party

Francis Maude is the current chairman of the Conservative Party.

Goldilocks and the three trains

I thought I would share the comments what someone who works for one of the train operating companies this week. When one passenger politely enquired as to why they couldnt manage to provide enough rolling stock time and time again, he said it was the weather.

"Our trains don't like it when it's too hot or too cold"

I suppose it has to be just right then!

Challenge the Chairman

In conjunction with ConservativeHome, Conservative supporters, members and bloggers took their opportunity to put questions to the Chairman of the Conservative Party, Francis Maude MP.

To listen to the exclusive Tory Radio interview click the link below:

  • Find out what Francis has to say about the Bromley by election
  • What his thoughts of the EPP decision are
  • Whether Guido Fawkes will be allowed to attend Conservative Conference
  • And how its time for the party to "raise our game"

Embattled Blair

Two pieces in the Guardian go some way to highlight what Labour MPs think of their leader at the moment.

In a letter to the editor Peter Kilfoyle, writing on the subject of fundraising , writes…."Is it little wonder that Labour party activists have given up in droves. They expect a higher purpose in their leaders."

And then what about former Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, who writes, "That's why the sooner he goes, the better for the Labour party and the country…."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

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