I THOUGHT the Letter from Notts county councillor Kevin Rostance (Con), of Hucknall, in last week’s Dispatch, where he attempted to justify selling off care homes for older people, was very revealing.
His first revelation was the rather bizarre attack upon my Hucknall colleague, Coun Chris Baron (Lab), for having ambitions of winning an election in the future. A politician who wants to win an election? Whatever next? Coun Rostance describing the toilet habits of bears, followed, presumably, by similarly astounding claims, such as the religious affiliation of the Pope? A weekly column, ‘The Rostance Revelations’, must be in the offing.
Since he appears to regard the harbouring of any form of electoral ambition on the part of a politician to be so heinous a crime, then I’ll look forward to no Hucknall Tory having any similar stain upon their character in future. (But, for the good of the country, why restrict it to Hucknall?)
However, the real revelation was Coun Rostance’s confirmation that the reason for the Nottinghamshire Tories selling off the care homes was due to the fact that the homes were “losing money”.
So the merits of providing of any public service are weighed against one criterion and one only — whether it generates a profit.
Never mind the wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Their needs count for nothing when set against an accountant’s balance sheet.
But hey, who could have any concerns about transferring anyone into the care of the private sector so soon after the collapse of the largest private care provider — Southern Cross — or the confirmation by the Care Quality Commission that public providers offer the best care?
Another fascinating aspect of Coun Rostance’s response was his assertion that the privatisation of the care of our older people was nothing to do with the cuts imposed upon local government — the deepest since before the Second World War — by his own Tory-led government. Sorry, but is that some sort of bad joke?
To gauge by his wounded comments, it appeared as though he blamed the last Labour government for not providing sufficient resources to Notts County Council to allow the homes to be kept open. Since we’ve spent the last couple of years listening to Tory lies about Labour’s profligacy when it comes to public expenditure, it’s a bit rich to read about alleged parsimony on its part.
There is no doubt why the care homes have been sold off — because it is the central fixed point of Tory ideology that all services should be privatised and, if they don’t return a profit to a private company, then they are simply not worth providing in the first place.
Let’s hear no more excuses. What the Tories are doing is what they want to do and no-one else is twisting their arm either.
I suppose, picking a few examples at random, the closing of Hucknall Library on Wednesdays and the removal of tenancy support and the emergency alarm services are nothing to do with you or your fellow Tories either, eh, Coun Rostance?
COUN JIM GRUNDY (LAB),
Ashfield District Council.