Mental Health Bill

The Independent (15/4/2007) is pleading with MPs and others to look at the case of a 16 year old who needed treatment for mental illness before the Mental Health Bill is debated tomorrow.
The inhumanity exhibited by New Labour is a major factor in my decision to get out. Time after time draconian measures are put into force which rather than remedying a bad situation frequently make it worse. Reactions to “terrorism”, drugs, asylum seekers criminalises the vulnerable, likely to be victims themselves of criminal gangs. The Observer leads with the futile attempts to stem an endemic drug taking culture. This is the subject of a report due out this week.
We know that prisons are overcrowded, filled with people who self-harm and are suicidal. The Unicef report tells us that the young are failed badly in the U.K., more than any industrialised country.
While all this is happening the Observer is reporting on Tesco’s £5,000 a minute profits about to break all records. I noted earlier that Philip Gould, one time ally of Blair, together with others close to government, had decamped to advise Tesco on their voracious appetite for land – either to use themselves or prevent competitors moving in. Generally speaking those at the top are looking after themselves and their friends very nicely.

In the run up to the local elections I have been visiting homes in the Handsworth area of Birmingham. Young people are looking for affordable homes, others are living in accommodation which needs serious attention. Their houses are damp with leaking roofs. Some elderly people have suffered strokes and find climbing stairs impossible. There is a need for shower and toilet facilities to hand. The waiting lists for adaptations, or alternatively re-housing are infinite. Public services on the other hand are either being cut-back or privatised. Stories about private concerns carrying out substandard work and failing to put it right are legion.
When I first became a councillor in the just over 10 years ago the area had benefited from urban renewal grants and enveloping schemes which had transformed whole areas. When the money ran out a few streets were left. These were the places where there are perennial problems.
But New Labour prefers to spend £3 million daily in Iraq. Not only is there death and destruction at an all time high, promises that were given that ancient sites would be protected appear to have vanished. Different priorities are urgently needed.

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