On 12 May 2015, four days before my 71st birthday, I was called in by my doctor. Here is what I blogged at the time:
Yesterday morning I went to the Derby Road Health Centre and left knowing that a chest x-ray on 8 May had shown 'established lung fibrosis'. The enormity of the news became clear within hours. Whilst I now wait my first appointment at the QMC and tests that will tell me what kind of lung fibrosis I have and how advanced it is, the web has already told me and Susan some things. Most importantly, there is no known treatment, that it will get progressively worse and that average life expectancy after diagnosis is three years... read more...
In the event I went to the City Hospital Lung Assessment Unit five days later, where they picked up that I also had a heart problem, so I ended up having two scans, one of which led to open heart surgery in February 2017. By August 2015 I was diagnosed with 'Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis' (see NHS website). Back then, as I wrote at the time, the average life expectancy following diagnosis was '3 years'. Visiting the NHS website again for the first time since then things have changed and the NHS is more optimistic about the prognosis.
The English Labour Network welcomes the publication of the Labour Together report on Labour’s defeat at the 2019 General Election, and the inclusion of our submission as an annex. The report rightly identified failures including an abject party leadership presiding over an incoherent Brexit position and a manifesto lacking credibility, while noting Labour’s long term decline in support in towns, from older voters and from people who left education aged 16.
Yet there are some significant omissions in the report, most notably the failure to critically examine the political challenges faced in England and voters who identify clearly as English. The English Labour Network submitted detailed evidence showing how Labour’s defeat and the Tory vote surge took place almost entirely amongst voters who identified as more English than British. Yet the 152 page report makes no acknowledgement of the struggles Labour is having with this group.
These issues should not have been brushed under the carpet. Labour has failed to engage with English identity since devolution to Scotland and Wales, leaving the space to be filled by the right, and has paid the electoral price.
Labour’s response must to be to engage with English people, English identity and English political issues. We should start by saying ‘England’ when we mean England, by delivering an English Manifesto at the next election to sit alongside the Welsh and Scottish manifestos, and by developing a new plan for the governance of England – the most centralised nation in Europe.