The Wasting Mule Martin Shipton who sometimes seems be almost quoting Labour press releases verbatim seems to have a new liking for Tory Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb
Shipton reports how he has warned Cabinet colleagues to be careful in their use of language when criticising the Welsh NHS.
Earlier this year, at the Welsh Conservative conference, David Cameron described Offa’s Dyke, the historic boundary between England and Wales, as a line “between life and death”.
The comment was made during a speech in which the Prime Minister was highly critical of the Welsh Government’s decision not to establish a designated fund for cancer drugs.
More recently the Conservative-supporting Daily Mail has launched repeated attacks on the Welsh NHS, claiming it provides poorer services to patients than the health service in England.
Mr Crabb's comments follow his earlier attack on Labour leader Ed Miliband, in which he argued the Labour leader "didn't give a toss" about Wales.Asked in an exclusive interview whether comments such as that by Mr Cameron could damage Wales’ reputation and the prospect of inward investment,Mr Crabb said:
It seems that Mr Crabb and realises that such attacks that go down well with "Middle England" may haver a negative affect in Wales
“He was saying that with a very specific meaning, which was the absence of a cancer drugs fund.“Almost 100,000 people in Wales have recently signed a petition for a cancer drugs fund, the point being that if you’re someone in Wales with a form of cancer and can’t access one of these drugs when a few miles away across the border somebody with a similar condition can, then the border between England and Wales could feel like a border between life and death.“Strong language – but for people feeling that, it’s reflecting their views.“All of us politicians in Wales understand that – and Labour politicians as well, because some of them will tell you confidentially this is the number one issue on the doorstep. [Welsh Labour MP] Ann Clwyd is a brave woman putting her head above the parapet and being willing to speak up for the people of Wales.”“When the Prime Minister has been asked questions about health in Wales at PMQs [Prime Minister’s Questions], he’s gone out of his way to praise nurses, doctors, midwives and staff in the front line.“He’s been quite careful never to imply criticism of them but to bring it back to political choices made by Welsh ministers – cutting the health budget when it didn’t happen in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Westminster.“Resource was there to protect the health budget and they chose not to. And I happen to feel very strongly that the Welsh Government hasn’t properly been held to account for that decision that they made at a difficult time to slash the health budget. So we shouldn’t shy away from having those robust arguments.“In terms of the language though, and I’ve been very clear with my Cabinet colleagues since I’ve become Secretary of State, I want them to take care how they speak about health services in Wales, and to make a clear distinction between political decisions of ministers in Cardiff and the heroic performance of doctors and nurses and midwives and all the other professions on the front line.“We know them personally, we see what they do, our families rely on them, those of us who are rooted in Wales, and we value them.“We’ve got to take care that we don’t imply any devaluing of the professionals who work so hard. I’ve been clear with my Cabinet colleagues about that.“I don’t want to hear anyone talking about a second class NHS in Wales.
The problem for the Tories in Wales is that wheras Mr Crabb was right in that whilst is argument that Ed Miliband, "didn't give a toss" about Wales. is true it equally can be applied to hs own leader David Cameron.
The Tory attacks on the Welsh NHS are not for our benefit but marginal seats in England attempting to show Labour can't tell be trusted to run the NHS.
Cameron may take the loss of a few Welsh votes and seats as acceptable if it means he wins in marginal English seats.
Keep an eye on Prime Minister Question Time as English MPs sometime reading from a written Text by the Tory's whips office read of some stastic on the Welsh NHS.
You may just then get a shot of our Welsh Secretary wincing on the government front benches.