What we can learn from Welsh socialism

“Recently I suggested” that anyone who wanted to know what life under a Miliband Labour government might look like could “look across the Channel at France,” writes Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun. The French are leaving in droves for the UK, as taxes and unemployment under President Hollande rocket. But now there is a better example: “the great socialist experiment which is going pear-shaped… in Labour-led Wales”.

Labour is the most successful party in the country, having won the biggest vote at every general election since 1922. But a revolt is brewing. After the death of her husband due to “shoddy” NHS care, Welsh Labour MP Ann Clwyd is campaigning to highlight the Assembly’s “calamitous” health record. Some 15,450 cancer patients crossed the border last year for treatment in England, from 3,471 in 2003.

Yet Clwyd, who claims her husband was treated “like a battery hen” by Welsh NHS staff, has been attacked by Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones, who accuses her of making up her story.

Labour have badly “betrayed their legacy on the NHS” in Wales, writes Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie on the Spectator blog. The Welsh NHS budget has been cut by £800m, while life-saving innovations introduced in England – such as the Cancer Drugs Fund – have not been copied.

Last year, the chief medical officer for England wrote to his Welsh equivalent to suggest an investigation into the country’s high mortality rates. “He was ignored.” Yet “if you need an ECG to check out a suspected heart problem in England… you have less than a one-in-a-hundred chance of waiting over six weeks”.

In Wales, the chance of waiting that long is “well over… one in three”. This reveals Labour’s “fundamental instinct” – putting the “reputation of the ‘System’ and the State, over patient lives”.

It’s not just the NHS – Wales “is in trouble” more generally, says Robert Hardman in the Daily Mail. The public sector accounts for nearly 70% of all output. Education standards are plunging further behind the rest of the UK (43rd out of 65 in international rankings), with the Wales-only GCSE “a dismal failure”.

The government has spent £52m of taxpayer’s cash on buying Cardiff Airport, even though six times as many people use Bristol Airport, and it intends to splurge more money on expanding the Welsh Assembly by 30%.

Yet Labour’s “state apparatus” buries any complaints, with “party dogma” trumping “selfish bourgeois concerns”, and Miliband has even likened the First Minister “to a mentor”. If this is “the sort of Labour government Britain might expect if the voters jump ship next May… it’s not encouraging”.

Merryn

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