With disbelief, Mrs May broadcast a Statement whilst in Wrexham today. As she put it herself, only six political seats will determine if a hung Parliament emerges following the forthcoming General Election. The Prime Minister, at last, has seen (or been told about), the writing on the wall. Rather an apt metaphor!
There had been an earlier inference what she would be saying, apparently, via George Osborne new Editor of the Standard (former Chancellor on Government Benches), that a ‘cap’ on Social Care was going to be announced.
Everyone watching this broadcast listened to the ‘padding’ of preliminary comments why Brexit was safer in her hands than Mr Corbyn’s, then eventually, Mrs May got to the real reason for this impromptu opportunity.
Basically, four days after her Manifesto was launched, she announced what was, in effect, a U-turn, because, she said, Mr Corbyn and others were scaremongering concerning the social care plans outlined in her Manifesto.
She referred to the fact that a Green Paper, Parliamentary Consultations or discussions, would be initiated regarding Social Care, as to the level of costs and absolute limit of what people would have to pay.
Mrs May threw in a bit of Nationalistic pride in the UK saying ‘we were four Nations but at heart we are one people and achieve more together. All have a stake in each other’s successes and future.’
She got through that then took questions from journalists present. Despite the facts that they presented their questions politely and factually, as the Prime Minister took more questions she became visibly more rattled and obviously angry by her stern replies.
The Prime Minister when accused of making a U-turn on Social Care in her Manifesto was most emphatic she had not and even quoted that there was reference to a Green Paper in their Manifesto, either on Page 64/65 – a sure ‘tell’ that someone had been doing quick homework on this subject. Mrs May refused to confirm what cap there may be on social care costs.
Throughout both her speech and subsequent questions, Mrs May reiterated that there would be another two million people aged 75 or over in the next decade and her Party were willing to tackle this situation.
The Prime Minister was accused of being unsure and uncertain making these changes four days after her Manifesto – Mrs May denied any changes were being made and that the journalists themselves were buying into the scaremongering of the Labour Party, Mr Corbyn and others.
Another submission by a journalist was, what else will she be ‘clarifying’ in the next few days with respect to the Manifesto Chaos. She was accused of buckling – that her social care plan was not strong or stable and that she was in a panic in face of opposition.
Yet another journalist said firstly she had changed her mind over National Insurance, and now this, weak and wobbly, not strong and stable – where will the cap be on costs of social care, £100,000, £200,000 or £1/4 million? No reply was forthcoming other than references to the Green Paper Consultation.
One question was asked about obtaining a tariff free Brexit and of course the Prime Minister returned to comments in her preliminary statement, e.g. This is why she is best to enter Brexit negotiations to benefit everyone rather than Mr Corbyn – it will be either herself, already equipped in such negotiations, or it would be the chaos of Mr Corbyn et al.
At one point when Mrs May said there had not been any changes to the Manifesto, the journalists present in the room all drew in breath and moaned almost jeering!
This is the first time Mrs May looked, and acted, angry, exasperated and irritated, almost to the point of never wanting to see a journalist again.
With all due respect, the Social Care issue should never ever have been included in the Manifesto and I am amazed not one journalist accused her of sneaking the matter in her campaign, hidden under the cape of Brexit like a thief in the night
Worse still, all the elderly, sick and disabled have been worried all weekend (and still will be), therefore why did the Prime Minister not ‘clarify’ this non-existent U-turn before now?
Yet to be discussed anyway sometime in the future are more issues when comparing illnesses within social care plans, e.g. Cancer or dementia, general old age, care home care or own home care, etc.
It was not The Prime Minister’s day, as a campaigner against fox hunting, also arrived at the same venue and was apparently arrested.
Yet another stupid policy Mrs May will have to ‘clarify’ why adults dressed in red jackets (‘hunting pink’, don’t you know), must ride horses and drive hounds, blowing horns, terrifying both fox (and in some cases deer), then permit the kill of foxes (who collapsed exhausted and terrified), by the hounds, tearing these poor animals (referred to by fox hunters as vermin), limb from limb whilst they are still alive. Sadistically, their tail is cut off and blood smeared on the forehead of those lead riders responsible.
Not in my name! I wonder if the fox would refer to politicians as vermin (or worse), for allowing this barbaric ‘sport’ – sport like that, is not fun for the involuntary participants. It is sick!
The day was not yet over for Mrs May however, as later that evening she was interviewed by Andrew Neil – and she thought this morning was difficult enough!
Andrew Neil grills Mrs May who spins off piste
Seasoned BBC TV Journalist Andrew Neil on Monday commenced a week of key political interviews, the first being with the Prime Minister, Mrs May.
One could not help but feel sorry for her, however, as she had been through a dreadful day, as I reported above.
Andrew Neil is the most talented political interrogator, with his own set of metaphorical thumb screws, in that he knows exactly what questions to ask, and how to present them. He thoroughly understands national finances, deficits and making budgets understandable in terms which lay people can comprehend. Consequently, he also knows the areas which are lacking in urgent finance.
Try as he may however (no pun intended), he just could not get the Prime Minister to admit errors regarding her Manifesto, and subsequent U-turn thereof.
This is the first time in history, apparently, that a Manifesto has suffered a U-turn before a Party has been elected.
Just how many times can the same question be asked of someone? All the Prime Minister offered in response to specific questions was the standard side line diversionary tactic, verbally skiing off piste into rhetoric and scaremongering by the opposition Parties, reiterating that on 8th June, voters had to choose between herself and Mr Corbyn as to who will lead the country through immediate Brexit talks.
She ‘fudged’ specific questions about the NHS and extra funding, broken promises relating to the Manifesto and also immigration figures. Mrs May could still not answer how the winter fuel allowance would be means tested, other than to say charities and other agencies will advise of those most in need.
How do they know the circumstances of every vulnerable person (either pensioners, or younger people) – not all are fuel poverty registered with various utility companies, and unless a person attends church or is known to Social Services, how can a Government know who they are, some as a result dying through hypothermia, too frightened to switch on any heat worried about the cost.
What an indictment and responsibility for any Prime Minister to have on their conscience should it happen (and I am sure it must happen more than is known). Political manslaughter perhaps, at least in moral terms.
Social Care issues relating to people losing funds on the value of their property after they die (in lieu of care fees), is now going to be capped as to cost limits, but yet again, the Prime Minister refused to give a rough estimate to appease worries of viewers in these categories being discussed.
Mr Neil pointed out that in the Manifesto costs were not being capped but now they were, etc. All Mrs May commented on was reference to the Green Paper (Consultation in Parliament), and input from various pertinent agencies if she is re-elected.
Again, as reported previously, a home owner can retain £100,000 to pass on to their families as a bequest after their death, inferring everything else is claimed or clawed back against care costs. How is it quantified and costed against each house value? Other Parties have been saying what right has any Party to stipulate such things.
Illnesses differ. Stays in hospitals, care homes, or care in one’s home (diverse levels required), differing diseases all needing care and cannot all be generalised and quantified against a property that could be valued at a rate above examples proposed. Market values throughout the UK differ. What about people who rent? It is better to rent, and spend therefore, telling the young to live for the moment, own nothing.
One question which was mooted briefly, but I think should have been discussed in a deeper way, is why did the Prime Minister ‘Trojan Horse’ all these issues within a basic Brexit Mandate.
Mrs May wore a rather heavy chain-effect necklace and one wondered if she was indeed tangled in her own chains of deceit on her U-turns and refusal to give straight answers. She stressed time and time again that the people either wanted herself or Mr Corbyn as Prime Minister and that it just came down to a question of trust.
Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine
Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing stages of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short: www.thepinkprofessor.com. She has also written an E-novel, ‘Just Suppose…!‘ which is available via the attached link.