Andrew Lansley was right
A biased and jealous BBC is sneering at the success of the Daily Telegraph’s journalism, and is horribly wrong in criticising the Government’s investigations into the gendercide scandal
The Care Quality Commission is a disastrous failure. After misleading Parliament in its 2011 annual report and even scrapping its investigations team, a week ago MPs on the Public Accounts Committee said the CQC was failing as the independent regulator of health care provision in Britain and had “a long way to go” before it reached even a decent standard of operation.
This is the same CQC that admitted in May 2011 that it had committed “an unforgivable error of judgment” in failing to prevent, stop or punish the brutal and violent mistreatment of people with learning difficulties at a residential nursing home near Bristol.
So when the CQC failed to spot that women across the country were effectively able to commit murder in aborting their unborn babies, you might have expected the Commission to apologise profusely, move heaven and earth to stop the practice, and to welcome clear, decisive political leadership from the Government and support from the Department of Health.
But you would be horribly wrong.
After the Daily Telegraph’s recent expose of abortion practices, health secretary Andrew Lansley immediately pointed out that the mere fact an unborn baby had the misfortune of being a girl did not represent a ‘substantial risk’ to the health of her mother (as the law requires for a abortion), and that any terminations on these grounds were morally wrong and, indeed, criminal.
He acted at once to order the CQC to inspect 320 abortion providers in the UK, who were suspected of unlawful practices including pre-signing consent forms to circumvent the need for two doctors to agree that a termination take place.
Let’s be absolutely clear on this. Mr Lansley acted to investigate and stop the systematic, unlawful killing of girls. Unless there was widespread euthanasia of the elderly, for example, or hundreds of the terminally ill dying through ‘mercy killings’ on hospital wards, there could be no other incidents for the CQC to investigate which would be anywhere near as grave as the facts Mr Lansley was confronted with.
So, after a mere 1,100 man days (50 people working 22 days?) and the cancellation of some 580 pre-planned inspections, the CQC’s investigations are apparently complete - for now. (Quite frankly, given how appalling the Commission is as a regulator, I wonder why the Government bothered. A police investigation on the scale of Operation Weeting would have been best.) It has been reported that more than one in five of the visited abortion clinics was found to be breaking NHS rules and now face police inquiries.
No one could possibly have minded this clear and sensible re-prioritisation of the Commission’s resources. After all, in order to maintain confidence in the industry and to show that its practitioners were acting within the law, surely even pro-choice campaigners would welcome the immediate and scrupulous investigation of allegations as serious as those raised by the Telegraph?
But the idea that abortion providers might be criticised – or might even be breaking the law – is anathema to the BBC. Sanchia Berg, a BBC journalist on the Today programme, used a Freedom of Information request to find out what the cost of the investigations were: a paltry £1m. This, apparently, represented a “considerable impact” on the CQC’s resources.
The BBC has previously been critical of the CQC, and credit should be due: it was Panorama that exposed the mistreatment at Bristol. But because there was controversy over access to abortion, the Corporation seems to have lost all perspective on what was going on.
It is a great shame that the political left in the UK are so tied up in supporting abortion. Even those who think that abortion is tragedy find that they cannot view the matter with any reason or distance, and a variety of socialist causes have become elided together with the pro-choice campaign.
This was evident a week ago, at a respectful pro-life rally in central London. Several hundred people said some prayers for two hours outside the headquarters of an abortion provider, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (a misnomer, incidentally: never will BPAS positively advise a mother to keep her baby, nor provide support for a vulnerable mother and her born child). BPAS and its supporters arranged a counter protest of about the same size, with the intent of demonstrating and shouting over the pro-lifers’ recitations. It was quite striking that amidst ‘Get your Rosaries off my ovaries’ and ‘Protest the Pope’, there were many Socialist Worker Party, Unite, UK Uncut, National Union of Teachers and Green Party signs.
Pro-abortion support is not the sole domain of the Left. Steven Dorrell, chair of the Health Select Committee and a health secretary in the dying years of the Major government, was interviewed last week on Today as Berg’s report broke. His criticism of Mr Lansley’s actions took a different angle, attacking them as supposed transgressions on the CQC’s independence.
He omitted, of course, to declare an interest as a pro-choice supporter, but the interview was eclipsed by an act of hypocrisy on a monumental scale displayed by Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, who told the BBC that Mr Lansley was “acting disproportionately” and “chasing headlines” in ordering the investigation.
This is the same Andy Burnham who in an interview (‘My family values’) in 2009 said “Three things are important in my life, apart from family. Everton FC, the Labour Party and the Catholic church – in that order.”
Easter has passed: a time for hope. Let us hope the spring brings a fairer BBC.
Peter Smith was formerly research assistant to Edward Leigh MP and now works as a lawyer in London
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