A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Monday, April 12, 2010

That Leaflet

I have a suspicion quite a few of the Tories ranting about Labour's "sick" leaflet (David Cameron's terminology) about cancer haven't actually seen it or read it.

You can judge it for yourself here: http://www.thestraightchoice.org/leaflet.php?q=940

To my mind it's entirely fair and factual, pointing out Labour's cancer guarantee and that the Tories are committed to scrapping it.

Is Labour supposed not to mention policy differences between the parties if they are connected to people's health?

And surely the exact people that need to know about the policy choice on cancer are people of the age and demographic profile most at risk of it.

I've had cancer - I'm due a PET scan in June to see if my tumour is still there. I want to know what the parties' policies are for diagnosing and treating the group of diseases I've had.

This isn't scare-mongering - the parties have a duty of care to voters to tell them the negative consequences of electing their opponents. No where could that be more profoundly important than if one of the parties' policies reduces your chances of surviving a potentially fatal disease.

I'm reminded of the 2006 Camden elections. At least one ward Labour Party refused to deliver a leaflet warning old people that a Tory/Lib Dem council would cut their services. They thought this was scare-mongering. Without the warning, we narrowly lost a seat in that ward. The Council went hung. And guess what? The Tories and Lib Dems did make the cuts to services that the squeamish Labour activists had refused to warn voters about.

The "sick" people in this case are not Labour for warning voters about Tory policy and the political choice about cancer care but the Tories for having such a policy.


Blogger Silent Hunter said...

Sorry Luke I have read it and - IT'S JUST SICK !

As sick as 3 Labour crooks using taxpayers money to defend their crimes.

No one who is honest will vote for Labour.

10:38 pm, April 12, 2010

Anonymous Andy said...

I think the leaflet was bang on. I've had two close family members affected by cancer since 2005. There is nothing worse than waiting around for hospital appointments, knowing that all the time you are waiting the tumour is getting growing and spreading. Thankfully both recieved speedy treatment on the NHS. Compare and contrast with the experience of this Guardian letter writer: "In October 1988, at the height of Mrs T's pomp, I went to my doctor with a pain. Two months later, a letter invited me to see a consultant during the final week of May 1989. I wasn't happy. Against my principles I paid to see the consultant privately. Five days later he operated, removing the tumour I hadn't been happy about.

In February 2010 I went to my doctor with a similar pain. Five days later, a phone call invited me for a scan, and the next day I received another to see a consultant. A phone call nine days later invited me to attend surgery that very afternoon. I've just had another call to see an oncologist in two days' time. So, forgive me, Dave, if I don't take up your invite to join you and your newly found, touchy-feeliness (Comment, 9 April).

John Minshall"

11:37 am, April 13, 2010

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

I was just wondering (if the story is true) how on earth information on cancer patients was made available to us (the Labour Party).
Is'nt this some sort of breech in Data protection?
If this story is true then I do think it is an absolute disgrace.

12:15 pm, April 13, 2010

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

It wasn't. Labour just sent a mailshot to people of the right age or other demographic characteristics to be at risk of cancer. Inevitably as it is a widespread disease some people getting the leaflet would themselves have cancer. Lots of others wouldn't.

12:20 pm, April 13, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And since when has "Silent Hunter" ever said he is voting Labour.

I dare say that enlightenment might eventually dawn. Possibly in an NHS waiting room under the Tories.


12:27 pm, April 13, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're either being wilfully obtuse or just plain thick. I'm pretty sure it's the former. Deliberately targeting cancer patients with leaflets essentially claiming the Tories will kill people with cancer is a sick abuse.

1:40 pm, April 13, 2010

Anonymous Andy said...

Doh, anonymous, I think you are the one being plain thick here. As Luke said, the leaflets (of which I have delivered a fair few in Pudsey) are not being targeted at cancer patients, the Labour Party does not have information on who in this country does or does not have cancer...

2:27 pm, April 13, 2010

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Thanks for the clarification Luke, the press were reporting it as if the party had specifically targeted cancer patients.


To be fair to The Times they did also write this article, which describes what you have just said


By the way Gareth, am I to assume you have decided to vote labour again? I remembered you made a post here about backing the tories in (I think) the Euro elections.

3:58 pm, April 13, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ravi - Despite many otherwise active party members voting with thier feet at the last Euro Elections the Party hierachy would not read the actuality and ditch Brown.

Yes I will be working and voting Labour if purely 'cos I can see the damage "call me Dave" will do in his attempt to make this a country safe for bankers and other spivs.

And the less said about the linguistic Taliband of the Yakida Party the better.

No we have to support Labour, working people can not afford the luxery of pointless votes for fringe idiots


6:18 pm, April 13, 2010

Anonymous Rich said...

I think everyone has been affected by cancer in some way. Everyone knows the importance of being diagnosed and treated quickly. There is still massive room for improvement in the uk as we still have the worst survival rates in Europe.

The use of xrays needs to be replaced and we need to fund the new drugs the are now available in France and Germany.

We also need to fund research into cancer. For example mesothelioma is currently massively under funded and the Tories are blocking attempts to compensate sufferers.

The conservatives are happy to note statistics but are not willing to commit to spending to help sufferers.

8:11 pm, April 13, 2010

Anonymous Observer's friend said...

Luke, I agree. Last year I had a "bump", it was seen within two weeks, a cancerous tumour was diagnosed and it was whipped out three weeks later. I definitely want to know each party's policy on health.

11:21 am, April 14, 2010

Anonymous stephen said...

It would only be scare mongering if it wasn't telling the truth about the Tory policy on cancer referrals. I have yet to see any rebuttal from the Tories on that point - and only an idiot would argue that cancer referral times are not of relevance to the treatment of cancer.

Surely politics should be about issues such as this which actually matter to real people, rather than some abstract exercise.

1:43 pm, April 15, 2010


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