Street cred reporter, Max Cotton did a piece on the show today. He was at an old folks home in Berwick upon Tweed, border town between England And Scotland. He was comparing the care that old people get in both countries.
Now this was interesting, conflict, unfairness, Barnett formula…. All were surely going to be in this hard-hitting report, weren’t they?
The piece opened, Max stated that it’s win, win, win for your average Scottish old person – even if you’re the Duke and Duchess of Argyle the Scottish state picks up the nursing home tab – leaving you to bequeath your castles, grouse moors, art collection, salmon rivers and London pad to your kids ….. Meanwhile in skint old Blighty, you have to be living in a cardboard box to qualify for any state aid at all. (And even then they take the cardboard box off you for recycling!)
At the old folks home in Berwick, ‘street cred Max’ shoved his big enquiring mike into the face of the Manager. She told Max that even though they were in England, as they were on the border, they had quite a few Scots resident there as well. She also told him the Scottish Executive send cheques through every week for their people. Of course, the English old ’uns had to sell their 2 up 2 downs to live in the home…….
Max, the dog with a mike was onto something – he pressed relentlessly onward. "So is there friction between the Scottish and English residents?" The manager confirmed there was. She also confirmed that the English residents were angry and baffled as to why they had to pay – but the Scots didn’t.
So there it was – the consequences of the Barnett formula in a micro-crusty environment….
Surely, ace reporter, Max Cotton would find out why such a thing was happening? He went to the local MP. Lib Dem Scot Alan Beith is the member for Berwick. Alan couldn’t really help. He sort of waffled a bit about how we in this country needed to aim at the utopia of free old people’s residential care – like they have in Scotland. Nothing though about what an absolute bloody outrage it all was for his aged constituents having to pay when others do not.…..
Alan was nervous, you could tell that he was waiting, waiting, waiting for the the question on why Scotland can afford it, yet England cannot. No need to worry on that score though, Max never asked him.
Next, ‘Scoop Cotton’ went to see Andrew Lansley, Shadow Health Secretary to try and get him to shed some light on this cash conundrum. Andrew was brutal, uncompromising, square-jawed. Andrew said there was "No chance" of there ever being state subsidised old people’s residential care in this Country.
‘Scoop’ didn’t ask him why Scotland could do it but we couldn’t….. I sense a pattern emerging here.
After that, it sort of petered out, we went back to the studio. I picked up the ‘phone, selected number 6 and hit the autodial …"Hello, is that BBC complaints department……. Bla, bla, bla, Call himself a reporter – he was rubbish! Cotton didn’t ask why Scotland could afford it but we cannot, it’s the most obvious thing to ask – but he never asked it … but I know why, I’ll tell him if you put me through….. Well I’ll tell you why then"……
If you want to see Cotton’s report, go here and click on the video button. It’s the last bit of the show – so advance the button to about seven eighths along.