For most people the first port of call when they are unwell is their doctor. The family doctor is relied on and trusted. General practitioners are the cornerstone of our NHS and their wide range of skills and knowledge provide us all with a vital resource we all value. I was delighted therefore to be able to meet with representatives of our local GP’s from the Bury and Rochdale Local Medical Committee. We discussed the changes which may arise from the devolution of health and social care from London to Manchester together with specific issues such as the cost of indemnity insurance.

Race for the White House

With all the momentous developments in the UK over the past few weeks it is easy to overlook the fact that in a little over three months America will elect a new President. With Obama having completed the maximum of two terms after the main Parties conventions over the last two weeks we now know for sure it will be Donald Trump for the Republicans against Hillary Clinton for the Democrats.
Whilst There’s May is the UK’s second female Prime Minister the USA have never had a female President. Trump is outspoken and outrageous, a political novice but he does know how to attract publicity. On the face of it Hillary should win easily but then Most commentators never thought Trump would secure the Republican nomination but he has. It will be a fascinating battle over the coming months.

Good news for Jeremy

As the Labour Leadership battle gets underway I was not too surprised that the High Court upheld the decision of Labour’s National Executive Committee that the Leadership incumbent does not need to collect any signatures when challenged. The logic is simple. The incumbent – in the present case – Jeremy Corbyn has already had to overcome this hurdle when he was elected in the first place. The fact that he was only able to do so thanks to some members of the Parliamentary Labour Party lending him their support so he could get on the ballot paper in the first place is irrelevant.

Both candidates for tech Labour leadership seem to be basing their appeal on more of the same old Labour policies which have proved disastrous in the past. MOre spending, more borrowing and ultimately like it or not that will mean more taxes for everyone not just the top 1%.

Post Referendum Markets

I noticed that despite all the warnings of financial meltdown in the event of voters choosing to Leave the EU the FTSE 100 closed at a 52 week high yesterday. There has also been a steady stream of inward and additional investment as Companies realise the truth that just as the Leave side always side leaving the EU does not mean leaving Europe and what it does mean is a wealth of new opportunities. Of course, I expect there will be bumps along the road. There will be bad news. What matters is the big picture and the big picture is that Britain is very much open for business.

St. John’s House

Many thanks to everyone at Bury CAB and the Management Team at St. John’s House for hosting my visit yesterday. St. John’s House has been the new home for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau since they were forced to move after the floods last Boxing Day. Bury Law Centre will shortly also be moving in and it is hoped other charities and third sector group will also be able to be accommodated here too. There is much still to be done to maximise the use of this building but it was great to hear the vision for the future of St. John’s House.

Internet Access

The long awaited decision on the way BT operates in particular the legal status of Openreach the division of BT which handles the vast majority of the Country’s telephone network which is now the backbone of the Country’s broadband system. Some have been pressing for Openreach to be sold off and become an entirely Company. Personally I was not in favour of this change. The Company is already highly regulated and in my view poor performance by BT was just evidence of poor regulation. Over the years I have spent many hours studying the way broadband is delivered in order to determine why certain areas of the constituency do not get the broadband speeds others do. My view on the break up of BT was that it would simply divert resources away from what ought to be the focus of BT which is the roll out of the current broadband scheme and then implementing the new Universal Service Obligation which the government is legislating for.

Reflections on Leadership Contest

In just one month the Conservative Party have elected a new Leader and have a completely new team at the top. It has all happened with astonishing speed and with ruthless efficiency and a competency that I know many Labour MP’s quietly admire. The decisiveness shown by the Conservatives is in stark contrast to the current Labour Party leadership crisis. For a start it is less than a year since Labour elected a new Leader. Now that very same Leader has by a huge margin lost a vote of no confidence held by the Parliamentary Labour Party and a challenger has appeared who I suspect very few people in the Country have ever heard of. One of the themes of the last election was Conservative competence contrasted against chaos under Labour. Even with Labour in opposition that contrast is being proved to be right.