Sometimes you don’t get everything right in politics, but Hartlepool Council certainly did the right thing when agreeing to fly the national flag during the World Cup.
England never make things easy, but their win on penalties against Colombia not only broke a duck and sent them into the quarter-finals, it excited and energised the nation.
Watching the match here in London was an experience in itself, but I can imagine Hartlepool was bouncing, and rightly so – a well-deserved victory and reason to celebrate.
Talking about national pride, this week the NHS turns 70. For me, it is simply the best invention of any Government, with its mission always to provide health care free at the point of need, and a model which has set the standard across the world. Nye Bevan and the Labour Party made it a reality and Labour will make its future secure through proper funding, not empty promises.
In the words of Roger Daltrey and The Who ‘We won’t be fooled again’, or are we that gullible as a nation that we really can be fooled again? Remember the red Brexit bus promising £350million per week being clawed back into the NHS? All based on false promises and dodgy calculations. Now the Prime Minister is at it again using the same old scam.
In reality, her pledge to pump £20billion into the NHS over the next 10 years won’t even touch the sides, and her silence on future funding of social care just spoke volumes to me.
For forgotten places like Hartlepool where Tory dogma over the NHS has seen year-on-year distillation of services from our Hospital to North Tees – the closure of an internationally award winning IVF Unit; the closure of at least two GP practices in the town; and the basic right of babies being able to be born in the town under threat due to uncertainties over the midwifery-led birthing unit. The lack of detail about where the extra money promised will come from and how it will benefit our town is frustrating to say the least.
Hartlepool people are quite rightly sick of the lies and false promises offered up by the Tory Government on health and social care provision. All they see year in and year out is a drift away and watering down of services and that is why, in celebrating 70 years of the NHS, I was so pleased to see so many citizens sign our NHS birthday celebration card last Saturday outside Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, and why I support the recent, but long overdue, call by the local CCG for a fairer slice of the pie for the town.
And finally let us not forget that flying alongside the flag of St George stalwartly all week outside the Civic Centre has been the armed forces standard. This week is Armed Forces Week, something we rightly celebrate in Hartlepool and this coming Saturday will be Armed Forces Day on the Headland. We should never fail to honour our Veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our country and I, for one, look forward to this weekend.