So David Miliband has resigned from politics to run the International Rescue Committee charity in New York. He has described the job as his “dream job” and many have begun to eulogize a political career that was relatively brief at only 12 years, ending at the relatively meagre age of 47. This is itself reflects the increasingly youthful nature of politics with Cameron and Clegg both in their mid-40s and looking set to end their frontline political careers in their early 50s at the latest - a time when politicians used to begin their careers.
UK The Eastleigh by-election on February 28th resulted to UKIP garnering 28% of the total votes, 4% behind Lib Dems who won the race, but pushed the Tories to third place by a 3% margin.
The outcome of UKIP’s performance proved detrimental to all main parties concerned, but in all probability affected the Tories most. Ukip did better in Eastleigh than in any prior parliamentary elections, and that should be kept in perspective in future by-elections.
By-elections are the best venues for protest parties. Voters with issue grievances could shift their allegiance to another party without fear of severe repercussion relevant to political clouts, and with the Lib Dems in government, UKIP is the obvious choice for protest voters, The Guardian reported on March 1st.
Nigel Farage, UKIP leader, said “The party had really connected with voters because we’re talking about issues the other parties would prefer to brush under the carpet, as reported.
Farage, still vexed with the PM over his description of UKIPs as “loonies”, stated “David Cameron is going to be pissed off. Traditional Tory voters in this constituency don’t believe he’s a Conservative, that’s why he’s done badly”.
Geoff Bulleyment, 79, a retired Royal Marine, concurred saying “I’d always been a Conservative until about three years ago. David Cameron is not a Conservative but a social democrat, a Lib Dem. The big local issue here is unemployment which he failed to address”.
Eastleigh was the first electoral test for the PM since he tried to neutralize the UKIP threat, when he pledged to hold an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership with the EU, and the outcome was rather unfortunate for the Tories.
Eastleigh was one of the 20 Lib Dem seats cited by Grant Shapps, the Tory chairman, essential to his party’s victory at the next general election, and since its creation in 1955, the Tories never won a general election without winning Eastleigh, The Guardian reported.
UK Labour Party leader Ed Miliband’s steadfast move to rule out a referendum evoked concerns among many of his MPs. Last month, Prime Minister David Cameron committed his party to the re-negotiation of the UK membership in the EU for an in/out referendum, which Miliband opposed saying “I do not support a public vote. My position is NO – we don’t want an in/out referendum”, as reported.
Just nearly two weeks ago, Labour gained a 12-point lead over the Tories in the opinion polls survey conducted by The Guardian/ICM, the biggest lead the party attained since May 2003, amid tensions in the ranks of Labour Party.
Another survey by YouGov poll for The Sun gave Labour a lead of 11-point against the Tories, and likewise revealed that voters favor Labour on the economy issue, at 28 points against Tories’ 27 points.
Edward Michael “Ed” Balls, a 45-year-old Labour Party politician, MP for Morley and Outwood since 2010, and the current Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer since Jan. 20, 2011, in contradiction to Miliband’s comments made a remark recently in a Yorkshire Post interview that Labour would be “stupid” to fight the next election opposing a referendum on the European Union.
He said “As long as we don’t allow ourselves to be caricatured as an anti-referendum party which we’re not, we’ve absolutely not ruled-out a referendum. And if we permit ourselves to be the status quo or anti-referendum party in Europe, then we’ve got a problem”.
Douglas Garven Alexander, a 45-year-old British Labour Party politician, MP for the Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituency and current Shadow Foreign Secretary, said the Europe and Labour’s opposition on a referendum will not be the main issue at the next general election.
Alexander stated that the Conservatives’ failure to deliver economic growth in the country would be the dominant issue and he was not worried Labour’s referendum standing could affect the party in an electoral campaign, in an interview with the Guardian recently.
Labour Party settled on a compromise position, being opposed in a referendum but not ruling-out support for it in the future. Meanwhile, If Labour Party wins in the 2015 election and forms its own government, it would hold its own referendum, despite Miliband’s recent comments, as predicted by Labour MPs.
UK Sir Bruce Keogh, 58-year-old, is the Medical Director of the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK since 2007 and National Director of the NHS Commissioning Board since 2012.
Following Stafford scandal, Sir Keogh, on the first week of February, announced launching of investigations on five hospital trusts over mortality rates.
Further investigations on nine more hospital trusts were recently announced, and United Lincolnshire Hospital Trusts (ULHT), was among those 14 trusts currently investigated, BBC reported.
Gary Walker, former chief executive of ULHT, who was sacked for gross professional misconduct in 2010, defying legal gag orders, broke his silence in an interview and claimed he was forced to quit for refusing to meet Whitehall targets for non-emergency patients, which resulted to a gag order as part of a settlement deal allegedly for L500,000, as reported by Birmingham Mail on February 14th, Thursday.
Walker, the whistleblower, likewise alleged that Sir David Nicholson, the first chief executive of the NHS Commissioning Board since 2011, ignored him when he raised concerns relevant to patients’ safety in 2009, as reported on Mail online on February 21st, Thursday.
Unite the Union, the biggest British and Irish trade union formed on May 1, 2007, citing that Sir Nicholson presided over a “culture of fear and bullying” in the health service, repeatedly called for his resignation, to no avail, as reported online.
Following Walker’s interview, solicitors from ULHT wrote and demanded immediate repayment for breach of the settlement agreement of his unfair dismissal claim.
NLHT lawyers added “The agreement we reached with Mr. Walker was not about concerns raised relevant to patient services but related to his employment proceedings”.
MPs wanted NLHT to cease on pursuing legal action against Walker, to enable Walker to disclose evidence pertaining to his dismissal.
Stephen Dorrell, chairman of the House of Commons Health Committee, wrote to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, for his appropriate action. He also said that the culture of gagging whistleblowers in the NHS was “corrupt”.
The Health Secretary, for his part and in response to the letter, criticized the trust’s action.
Stephen Phillips, the Conservative MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, said he would call on the Parliament to conduct investigation on the issue and pledged that all related- evidence would be made public.