Nurse! Quick!

No sooner did I finish the post below than Jim Murphy is caught doing exactly what I say he is, only this time he has to admit it. It isn’t eggs this time, it’s chickens coming home to roost.

I’ll come to the NHS operations stats but first, my main concern isn’t the numbers or targets, but the staff. To stand outside an identifiable hospital and make inaccurate claims about cancelled operations is an insult to those who work there. You only do that if there is a genuine concern that you can separately verify – as in the staff or unions are up in arms and have asked you to come in for a briefing – and they say it’s ok to use the name of the hospital. Otherwise you are staining the staff, both medical and admin, with allegations, even if your real target is the government.

That your claims are also wrong is pretty dismal and shows an opportunistic hunger to decry public services for political gain.

There is another element in this tawdry story which gives an insight into the Murphy/Better Together mindset. It is this: ‘Somebody made a mistake in interpreting the statistics that we got from a freedom of information request. We don’t get published data although they do in England.’

See? It’s No Jim’s Fault, Right?

It’s the SNP’s fault for not having all the information available for him and then it’s the fault of the researcher who misinterpreted the details. Of course it was…

There would be no justification, would there, for thinking that Murphy just couldn’t resist the temptation to ridicule the NHS when the topline figures appeared? Nothing in his history or of Better Together’s to hint at chicanery to manipulate the media with a skewed message? I’m sure there will be a full explanation in the Record in the morning.

A real leader needs to do better than this. Take responsibility. Go back to the hospital and apologise. Say we all need to make sure we don’t mess with the NHS – the government must publish all the data and Labour must behave responsibly – words to that effect.

It seems to be pretty plain that the medical reasons for cancellations which changes the meaning of the Scottish numbers, were clear in the information and there is no excuse for rushing on to Youtube. Doesn’t he have a health spokesman, or Labour folk in the NHS or a university contact where he could check? I mean, if you’re looking at four times the cancellation rate, it’s spectacular, so you’d want to make sure it was genuine before wetting your pants with excitement. But fact-checking isn’t Jim’s game – dominating the media for visibility is.

I’ve said all along that he is trying too hard because nobody can keep up with every announcement and voters just think he’s hyper and ultimately boring. Now he’s compounded the problem by allowing opponents to say you can’t believe him on health, thus neutralising one of the key election issues (albeit devolved).

The contrast with Sturgeon is startling. Her calm but energetic appearance while guiding a government and impressing across the UK against Murphy’s frenetic, incoherent playground noises to which we now add lack of trust and desperation to talk down the NHS making it a political tool just as he did Scotland in the indyref.

Time for his medication…

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55 thoughts on “Nurse! Quick!

  1. Even more hilarious Frazer Nelson uses Jim Murphy dodgy NHS stats to praise Blair—ha,ha,ha,ha

    Fraser Nelson ‏@FraserNelson · Feb 16

    When in power, Scottish Labour rejected Blair’s NHS reforms. Now rate of cancelled operations in Glasgow is 4x England. So Labour blames SNP

  2. “Doesn’t he have a health spokesman, or Labour folk in the NHS or a university contact where he could check?”

    Where’s Eleanor Bradford when you need her………….

  3. Eleanor is busy with FOI requests this week, So it’s Jim turn to report the big bad SNP this week.

  4. Time Murphy made up his mind whether he is going to be British Labour representative MP or pretendy Scottish Labour MSP leader in Holyrood.
    Sounds like he may have decided that the latter is more likely to save his career because he is beginning to sound and act very like Jackie Baillie.
    Never let the truth get in the way of a good smear.

  5. Hamish Henderson

    My daughter works in the Royal in a senior position and to say that the staff are angry is underestimate that emotion.

  6. Move to monthly A&E stats reporting was announced on 3 Feb, before the Murphy publicity stunt.

  7. Don’t criticise the poor, sad man. He’s doing more for Scottish independence than anybody since Andrew Moray. Just with less honesty and nobility.

  8. Having had Willie Rennie as my MP I came to the conclusion that those who go down to Westminster can be quite useless as they can vanish into the Wallpaper. When there are only 59 Scots MP’s against all the rest, you do not have to do much. I would argue that Jim Murphy regardless of his Ministerial position did not have to do that much either.
    So when they arrive back in Scotland and think they are the bee’s knees they get one hell of a shock.
    I will say what another lady said on Wings this morning, did they think nothing changed when one heck of a lot of Scotland became politicised for the Referendum. Did they think we would not notice their stupidity. Did they think we would not check their facts.
    I have to say the disrespect that Labour are still showing the people of Scotland is breathtaking and worse that they choose some of the most hardworking to do so. They wonder why they are so low in the polls, they should be further down than they are.

    • Bugger (the Panda)

      “Did they think we would not notice their stupidity. Did they think we would not check their facts.

      Yes and Yes

    • Social Media and the internet are now Labour’s Scotland branch office’s mortal enemy. There was a time not that long ago when they could pronounce any old shite that suited them, as the Daily Record and the broadcast media would dutifully repeat it to the masses to ensure that the Word was spread as gospel, ministry of the Kirk and the priesthood of the RC church fulfilled much the same role from the pulpit. Now we check the veracity of these pronouncements on the internet and spread our findings via social media. Murphy and his crew are like generals conducting a campaign with the tactics and equipment that worked last time, only to discover that cavalry charges are obsolete faced with tanks and machine guns. You tell lies you get found out. Politically you perish. Seemples

      • Gordon,
        That the DR and the broadcast media spread SLAB propaganda
        is not in doubt.
        As for the practice of Church of Scotland Ministers doing the same,
        I have no knowledge whatsoever.

        What I do have knowledge of, is that in 50 years and more,
        I have never heard, or heard of, SLAB policies being proclaimed
        in a Catholic church.

        I do not subscribe to mixing politics and religion –
        particularly in Scotland;
        it is a cocktail that very few can consume
        while keeping a clear head.
        I’m sure you will agree with me on that score.

        Might I suggest that Independence will not be achieved
        without sound judgement, based on irrefutable evidence,
        a lot of responsibility,
        together with a unifying common cause.

        It will not be easy, but I am certain that it will be done –
        probably in spite of SLAB, the BBC, and the DR.
        I’m also certain that it will be with the help of the votes
        of not a few Ministers and Priests.

        With best wishes.

      • I reckon if they could they would be abolishing the internet, I think they hardly know how it works and I agree with the analogy of the ~General fighting the Campaign before the last. They thought that the tactics used in 1979 would work this time. Sad!

  9. Steve Asaneilean

    Derek – it appals me that anyone would use a hard-pushed public service as a political football. But there is gulit all round here. As someone who works in the NHS I can assure that for me the SNP’s assertion “don’t worry everything is fine” and the opposition (mainly Murphy’s rag-tag local branch of Labour) assertion that “there is a crisis and the Scottish NHS is shit” are equally demoralising.

    Shame on all their houses for embarking on what can only be described as primary school playground politics when it comes to the NHS.

    • You’re going to show us where the SNP said “Don’t worry, everything’s fine,” right?

    • It seems to me that in the recent exchanges in Holyrood, Nicola was adamant that there was a lot still to do and that although things had improved in recent years (and significantly since the UK Labour Party in Scotland were in power), they still were not good enough. Quite the opposite in fact to the point you are trying to make.


    • Yet week after week at FMQ’s Nicola Sturgeon says there is always more to be done re the NHS. NOT ONE TIME has she said,“don’t worry everything is fine”

    • If your comment is genuine, perhaps you need to take a moment to reflect the obvious difference between these two positions…

      A. A party intent on criticising at every opportunity for political gain.

      B. An organisation trying to do the best they can and to manage and balance a very complex set of diminishing resources.

      To berate both equally, appears somewhat disingenuous, but we’ll put it down to your frustration with the job and organisation.

      • Steve Asaneilean

        Hi Mac – please read my posts – I work front line in the Scottish NHS and I didn’t berate it at all. Indeed I didn’t “berate” anyone. I merely stated that the constant bickering over the NHS is demoralising and in my view no political party is guilt-free. I also pointed out that there are real issues and problems that need to be addressed, that SG could do more and that instead of bickering politicians of all hues need to knock heads together to tackle these problems.
        But I appreciate you perhaps don’t agree with that assessment but that doesn’t mean my view is worthless or invalid.

  10. The most consistent thing about Scottish Labour Derek is their well …consistency.

    They consistently fail to catch the imagination of the Scottish electorate with any of their outlandish claims. Firstly we had the 1000 extra nurses raised from the South of England Mansion tax added to which we get “the Vow” Mark two then there was that wee matter of booze at fitba matches along side their own yes campaign (quickly consigned) to the deleted items on their web page. Their effort today on cancelled operations is yet another example.

    I may be wrong but I feel their “love affair” with the Scottish MSM maybe heading for an inglorious end. Printing/running stories as they do which are so quickly found wanting leaving them in a bad light (their fault entirely not checking source material) will surely result in the well of approbation for Labour drying up sooner or later.

    We’ll see what tomorrow brings…as soap operas go…it takes some beating…

  11. I know this family in Drumchapel and not one of them can stand Jim Murphy. Here’s hoping it’s widespread in all the Labour heartlands.

  12. Steve Asaneilean

    Hi Morag – it’s a general attitude that comes out – just ask anyone on the frontline of the Scottish NHS. There is a real crisis but it’s nothing to do with A&E waiting imes. It’s to do with things like rural health services falling apart because of recruitment and retention issues; it’s about a health and social care integration which hasn’t been thought through and hasn’t been funded properly; it’s about wages falling in real terms as workloads rise (and hence staff morale falling too); it’s about under-staffing and buildings not fit for purpose; it’s about the inability to fill Consultant and GP posts across the country; etc.

    The Scottish Government has seen it’s block grant reduce by something like 7% in the last 4 years. It has tried to protect the NHS by ring fencing money for it but that has meant even bigger cuts in education, transport, etc. It’s not their fault, I know that – they have to cut their cloth. But now they can’t protect the NHS anymore and we are seeing real cuts coming through to services.

    The SNP/Scottish Government needs to be honest – there is not enough money to fund the NHS we want and without substantial tax rises in my view there is never going to be.

    I could write pages on this stuff but this is not the place for it.

    But we need, as a society, to have a real grown up conversation about our NHS and not use it as a political football. That means in current times what services we want to see reduced or lost altogether. All of our politicians need to stop squabbling over it and get together to work a way through.

    • The Scottish Governrment don’t use the SNHS as a “political football”. They defend it against Unionist attacks.

      Please refrain from the insinuation that the SG is acting in anything other than a restrained manner.

      A grown up conversation requires good will from both sides.

      Substantially increased tax collection is what’s required rather than parroting drivel from the UK MSM.


    • Steve –
      All the complaints you list in your first paragraph apply to many other organisations – I work in a university and see all of the same issues. I don’t blame the problems on the Scottish government though as its not responsible for the inept appointments, the use of zero hour contracts, lack of pay rises, etc. – I’m far too conscious of the inexorable rise of dysfunctional administrators to do that.
      In any case, most businesses would be overjoyed if they could hit over 90% of their targets but Jim Murphy – who doesn’t seem to have worked anywhere outside of politics – deems this a crisis. So does the BBC and there’s even less excuse for it to behave so irresponsibly. NHS workers should be allowed to be proud of their work – carried out in PFI hospitals that were deliberately designed to be too small for purpose – thanks, Crash Gordon.

    • A crisis is usually just a problem under poor management.
      Hence the difficulty with
      a. UK PLC, and
      b. The Labour Party

      The SNP, as a rule manage well – until they have to depend
      on Cameron & Osborne for funding and cooperation.

      The solution for Scotland lies in Independence.

      Unfortunately, the rUK is hopelessly bankrupt
      and can’t let Scotland keep it’s own wealth.

      Hence the problem.

  13. Flower of Scotland

    What’s your answer Steve? Privatisation? Unless we return a majority of SNP MPs in MAY the Scottish NHS will only get less and less money! So! There’s your answer! Go out and vote SNP and you will get SNP working to save the Scottish NHS.

    • Steve Asaneilean

      FoS – I do wish folk would actually read what I write. My answer is substantial tax rises – I couldn’t have been clearer.

  14. I think every body is aware we have a problem in the NHS a lot of it caused by Tony Blair’s PFI set up ETC. But when you get vomiting dummies like JIM MURPHY like a teenager on speed who just opens his mouth with out getting his facts right it just makes you wonder how the hell the man got the job in the first place . MURPHY GO AND SIT IN A DARK ROOM AND PLAY WITH YOUR WORRY BEADS

  15. Steve Asaneilean

    Hi bearinorkney – I hope you are not accusing me of “parroting UK MSM drivel”. I am nobody’s parrot 🙂

    You say SG are not using the NHS as a political football. I can accept that but I also believe that they are not being honest enough about the very real problems the NHS in Scotland faces.

    I am appalled by Labour’s behaviour of late. But there are very real and serious issues which no-one is adequately addressing.

    • Eleanor Bradford

      The NHS will always have problems. It is such a vast service to a generally unpredictable audience. I know that ‘as good as it gets’ is too unambitious but it isn’t bad, quite good generally speaking and is working hard to do better. In an ideal/normal world I am sure the SG would say more about the issues but they would get slaughtered by the compliant media.

      • Steve Asaneilean

        I don’t disagree Eleanor -” politics desr boy politics” and all that stuff.

        By the way if you are that Eleanor Bradford I hope you got my message about L2BH.

    • SteveAsAnEilean

      When was the last time you saw a screaming headline about the cuts to the block grant and its affect on funding of the NHS education, councils etc etc?

      For that matter, when was the last time you saw an article about what the Scottish Government is doing at all – unless it is to say “SNP bad”.?

      The Scottish Government is saying this all the time but it is NEVER reported.

      I am an SNP member and I have been at lots and lots of events where these facts have been put out but not once not a single time has the press ever reported that. In fact the usual procedure is to have a stooge who asks an obviously hostile question about something (frequently unrelated to the topic of the meeting) and it is that question and its answer that is the main feature of the report.

      So how does the Scottish public find out.

      • Steve Asaneilean

        Hi bjsalba – I agree! Please don’t hold me responsible for the press.
        I do my bit – I have had stuff published in local and national papers trying to explain the constraints SG work under. I speak at public meetings. I lobby MSPs.
        I even say above that it’s not SG’s fault and they have to cut their cloth, that they have tried to ring fence the NHS budget but that I believe they won’t be able to do that in future.
        Yet according to some on here that makes me an apologist for SLab.
        I trust you know me better than that 🙂

  16. I wonder if Jim Murphy is able to stoop as low as to apologise to Ed Miliband? Jim said he was going to do his own thing and be answerable to no one.

    I don’t think the public will appreciate his playground bully tactics.

  17. Derek, when are you going to interview Murphy? Has he refused your offer or don’t you want to do it?

  18. Mr Murphy truly is a pretty low specimen of the political breed.

    Last year our ‘crisis’ hit NHS saved my fathers life through not one, but two separate conditions. I can’t speak highly enough of the professionalism and care my father received in no less than four hospitals in the Greater Glasgow area over that difficult period.

    Mr Murphy and his BT campaign team are frankly beneath contempt. At a time when all of our services are straining under the yoke of austerity politics brought on by both Labour and the Conservatives collective economic mismanagement, incompetence and matchless record of failure, their first recourse is to scapegoat the helpless and lay the blame for their failures at everyone else’s door.

    Let’s show them how we feel about that in May.

  19. Mr Murphy has all the genes necessary to be a politician. It is a spectrum and the condition closely matches the definition of sociopathy

  20. Derek, Sturgeon (and with her, SNP) are not just impressing throughout the UK, in the Catalan press she (and they) are seen as one of the key new progressive forces in Europe.

    Salmond got coverage as a brilliant politician, she is getting coverage as the leader of a counter-current progressive movement.

  21. GMS – 7.15am : I’ve just listened to Jenny Marra repeatedly refuse to apologise for ‘Scottish’ Labour’s abuse of the Scottish NHS and it’s staff.
    She also sidestepped the fact that most of the cancelled operations were down to clinical reasons (and in rural areas – the Winter weather).

    You asked about Labour’s Health spokesperson Derek – so there’s you answer.

    • Just heard it too. These are truly appalling people, yet there is little we can do to hold them to account. They can lie till the cows come home and there’s nothing we can do. Democracy? Dead!

      We need more speeches like NS’s recent one in London blaming the problems on the nonsense of austerity, a “dangerous idea” which has never worked. There are more intelligent voices now writing about the Keynesian alternative and the “Fakeconomics” currently in vogue and which dominates economic thinking among both academics, so-called Think Tanks and politicians, despite no empirical evidence in support. We need more SNP spokespeople to hammer this home.

  22. He’ll keep doing it. Why? Because the unionist – and by extention Labourite – press in Scotland are utterly unquestioning when it comes to anything put out by the unionist parties.

    Small corrections at the foot of pages no-one reads, or rebuttals on the news that sound more like protests from the SNP – do nothing to correct the damage.

  23. The real concern in the Jenny Marra incident in midweek GMS is not her multiple failure to apologise when she had put her foot in it. That, after all, is the default position of Scottish Lab politicians. It is what we expect. I listened on in the rolling programme hoping to hear how such a major gaffe might become the morning’s political news story. Some hope!
    Of much more concern is the fact that the BBC then buried the story and revealed yet again how biased and partial their reportage has become.
    Complaining about this is wholly a waste of time. Once this organisation was respected for its news coverage and integrity and for its role as a reliable public service It has now become a joke.

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