South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay: Leaving behind 2022 and looking to the year ahead

Craig Mackinlay

Political opinion with MP Craig Mackinlay (Conservative)

As the festive period ends, the recycling and general rubbish is bagged ready for the first New Year collection and the usual question arises – which is the twelfth night for the decorations to be boxed and stashed away or should we just do it now and have done? The Christmas lights neatly coiled in the hope that they won’t be the cats cradle of mess requiring a good half an hour (again) of unknotting in early December this year. We make resolutions not to be kept and think carefully about joining #DryJanuary. The great start to the year of fireworks over Ramsgate harbour was sadly cancelled due to the foul windy and wet weather which was a great shame but shows how erratic UK weather can be, from icy blast to wet and gloomy over just a few days. We then think of the year just gone, and what a year it was but lots of it best put out with the rubbish. I cannot say it was a great one.

We lost the only Monarch that many of us have ever known; the passing and reflection of the great life of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a most significant international event and one of great sadness even though, as years passed, the likelihood was always increasing. But we welcome a new King with the Coronation in just a few months’ time. Ukraine became the focus of a foul and illegal invasion by Russia, with the pain continuing as the war lapses into stalemate but with true misery and death continuing across the nation as energy supplies are disrupted and missile strikes continue. The cost of living crisis fuelled predominantly by energy prices hit both householders and general taxpayers’ pockets through price support mechanisms. It feels a little less sharp than it did a couple of months ago, but is still very much with us. Then we had political turbulence as if more were needed with three Prime Ministers and strike activity causing upset and misery to all of us.

The strikes across the public and quasi-public sector (I put Rail and Royal Mail in this category given their prior nationalised status) makes us consider what is the ‘right’ pay for a job? What was the true value of the ICU nurse who looked after my mother to the end with care way beyond duty? To our family obviously priceless but that isn’t an affordable value. What of the train driver? The standard pay for a Southeastern driver, without overtime which is generally available, is £57,030; senior signallers £48,000. For teachers, currently considering strike action, the lowest starting pay is £28,000 but they have an 8.9% pay offer on the table. Senior headteachers can earn way in excess of £100,000 and the highest paid CEOs of the largest Academy Trusts typically around the £250k mark.

It is difficult in non-profit industries, i.e. where there is no obvious cash transaction to see, to determine the right level of pay. Obviously easier in a private business as the market more readily decides as does the profitability of the underlying enterprise and in the private sector the adage more generally applies that if you don’t like the pay and conditions in a job then find another one. We all appreciate that times are hard, but would inflation busting pay rises make times easier? There may be the initial satisfaction of doing well compared to everyone else, but in public sector jobs it simply means higher taxes, more borrowing and higher interest rates and in the private sector prices hiked that will then embed in higher inflation, leading to calls for higher salaries and so the cycle goes on into a wage-price spiral.

So what will I be striving for in 2023? A proper solution to the cross-channel fiasco is high on my list. We cannot have 47,000 chaotic entries into the country by such a route repeated in 2023. I’m pleased to see that Border Force will be working on the ground in northern France with French officials, and also that Albanian claimants will be fast-tracked back to their safe home country. Added legislation will be needed to close down the loopholes so widely exploited by those taking advantage of this lucrative and evil trade.

We need something dynamic in our approach to the NHS and social care. There is no shortage of money going into the NHS, it has close to £750m more per week now than in 2010 and an overall budget for NHS England of £158.6Bn for 2023/24, one of the highest per head spending in the world. The conundrum is how its outcomes and speed of delivery has worsened in the face of record funding? I could opine on this dilemma in an article all of its own. Perhaps I will put pen to paper on my analysis of the problems and with it sensible solutions.

Then there is energy policy – we cannot enter the 2023/24 winter in such a poor state of preparedness. Then obviously the economy where I find myself at odds with the current high tax strategy. That one will run and run.

Thanet District Council goes into 2023 in good shape with a reformed Senior Management Team so congratulations to the Council Leader Ash Ashbee for the drive and determination to make this happen. I also look forward to the fruits of the £21m Levelling Up funding starting to take shape.

Have a great start to 2023. I look forward to seeing many you over the months ahead.


  1. Why do you not try harder to get the 33bus service reinstated that would win you quite a lot of votes!!!.

  2. His NHS figure sounds great until you do the number crunching. £750 million a week equates to less than £10 a head per person in the UK. So in 12 years of Tory and Tory/Lib Dims coalition we are spending a tenner a week more. Adjust for inflation, it means the Government has made huge cuts. No mention of the crooks pocketing money for useless PPE, nondom tax evasion, billions wasted on war in Ukraine and all the other profiteering that could pay for health and social care, decent transport and good public services. As Julian Amery paraphrased Cromwell in 1940: “You have sat here too long for good you may have done, in the name of God go and get thee gone!”

    • Keith Veness so would you leave Ukraine to the mercy of Putin and the killers from the Wagner Group? Also with regard to the NHS, it wastes millions each year on job creation on middle and senior non medical posts. The NHS needs sorting out before anymore money is thrown at it! Maybe Wes Streeting will sort it out by using more of the private sector?

      • confused
        Are you confirming that if it had been a Labour administration no help would have been given to Ukraine?
        You do realise the Tory fast track PPE con is still ongoing with the charge for storing said crap PPE being charged to the NHS budget

        • So you want to fight to the last Ukrainian do you? Like most conflicts, it will have to be solved eventually by negotiation – the same people who handed Afghanistan back to the Taliban apparently don’t want any negotiations in South East Europe. I am sure if we had a vote to pay the nurses, doctors and ambulance staff decent wages to attract more staff or spend on missiles to use thousands of miles away, I am pretty clear what people would vote for. Our idiot Government spends three times what France does and five times what Italy does on funding the Ukrainian oligarchs, countries of a similar size to the UK. Start negotiations now and put the saved money into our NHS!

          • You won’t find a greater pacifist than me Keith Veness, although I have been responsible for 3 deaths, all legal, one a mercy killing! What is happening to Ukraine is down to a mad man, who somehow has gained control of the Russian media! But the most important thing to remember is Putin is a student of history, and he isn’t so much interested in being famous, as he is in being infamous! He wants to emulate Stalin, and be mentioned in the same breath as Hitler! If Ukraine is defeated then he will almost certainly invade the Baltic states, because he will see it as NATO being useless! It is vital the UK continues its support for Ukraine!

      • There needs to be far more emphasise on people getting fitter. Even in these days of (supposedly) everyone needing food banks, there is no decrease in obesity rates. Why is that?

        (I’m far from perfect, and always start the new year several pounds heavier than usual, but you can guarantee that by the end of the month I’ll be able to wear the same size clothes I was wearing 20 years ago!).

  3. If Craig can’t sort his fairy lights, or remember which day is 12th night, and thinks the NHS is ok for funding can we trust him and his party to sort out the economy and remember where they last put the poor people they keep losing sight of? And good luck with dry January. I didn’t realise you had an alcohol problem – but it all makes sense now….

    • Dry January is NOT a good idea. It’s the month that already struggling pubs and restaurants struggle even more. So get out there Christine, and have a drink on me! *hic*!

      Oh, how did you get on with your water by the way? Several people on here (including Tories like me) asked about you on here as we were worried. Did anyone get you some while you waited???

  4. The PPE scandal in the NHS it the tip of the iceberg of the corrupt practices that the Conservatives have been doing within the NHS for years if there is no political attempt to pervert the course of justice there should be some who will end up in prison. The conservatives know the game is up and there is a lot more that will be exposed.
    The NHS is in its current difficulties purely 100% as the conservatives want it to be. Just like other essential services this useless government his run down and ruined. I worked 42 years in the NHS and have seen Tories doing the damage every time they have been in power.

  5. Craig Mackinlay didn’t mention that MPs “earn” £84,000 + expenses. That’s an increase of £20,000 since 2010. I reckon that’s about 30%.
    There’s enough money to pay MPs.
    There’s enough money to pay MP’s cronies £Ms for rubbish PPE.
    But we can’t afford to pay nurses.
    (What happened to the £350M a week we’ve saved from leaving the EU?)

  6. “Mone became a Conservative life peer in 2015. From 2020 to 2022, in a series of investigative pieces, The Guardian reported that Mone and her children had secretly received £29 million of profits to an offshore trust from government PPE contracts, which she had lobbied for during the COVID-19 pandemic”

  7. I think Peter you need to go to SpecSavers your comments are the complete opposite of truths and reality of what damage and harm your beloved Conservative Party has done to the U.K. you are Bizarrely defending the indefensible, maybe you need to start using you zoom lens again to see things more clearly.

  8. “What of the train driver? The standard pay for a Southeastern driver, without overtime which is generally available, is £57,030; senior signallers £48,000. For teachers, currently considering strike action, the lowest starting pay is £28,000 but they have an 8.9% pay offer on the table. Senior headteachers can earn way in excess of £100,000 and the highest paid CEOs of the largest Academy Trusts typically around the £250k mark.”

    Are you saying they are paid to much or not enough ?

    MP’s get cheap food and drink dont they get help with their houses ? . MP’s get lots of perks at our expense.

    Tory MP’s dont live in the real world. Dont want the working classes to be well off. Dont want a NHS,

    • Your right Mr X, a train driver may be responsible for upwards of 600 people, possibly more, but what our chocolate tea pot for South Thanet didn’t mention is this Tory government wants to do away with train Guards! That is sheer bonkers! Who would deal with rowdy drunk hooligans, smoking pot which I witnessed once? The guards are highly trained, and I know one that had to deal with a large bag left under a seat, it turned out not to be a bomb, but it could have been, so who would have dealt with it if there hadn’t been a train guard?

      • Dump, when was the last time you used a train? We got on a 4-carriage train from Birchington to Margate on Sunday, and there was just ONE other person on it (so basically it had travelled from at least Herne Bay with just one person on). At this rate, they may as well just have one carriage, and let the driver do guard duty. As for pot-smoking and drunk hooligans, I’ve witnessed myself guards just reading the paper and ignoring them!

        • I was returning from London, and the train was crowded, but most passengers got off at the Medway towns. Your trip sounded like an amiable walk, or a bus ride!

  9. For the Tory party 2022 is a year they hope we will forget.Craig is right about putting out the rubbish,it’s time we did so.
    I don’t think Peter Checksfield can seriously claim that anything but a clean out of the Augean stables is acceptable.
    Blaming patients for being too fat is desperate and the refuge of a scoundrel.
    Yes obesity is an issue,as is poor service at the level of primary care,but social care is in free fall and the NHS is running far too hot in terms of bed capacity compared to similar western economies.
    We have failed to invest sufficiently in the cheapest format of healthcare and private organisations have taken out far more than they have delivered.
    Quoting specious figures on investment is misleading at best and mendacious in purpose.
    We have suffered 12 years of dog whistle bigotry,that has diminished our standing in the world and made us all worse off.

  10. Another little gem:
    “A vast majority (73 per cent) [of Tory voters] said they thought NHS management had been a failure in the last decade, compared to just 16 per cent who said it had been a success, according to the Opinium survey for Compassion In Politics, shared exclusively with i.”
    The astonishing thing is that some seem to think that the government has done a good job!

  11. My bet is that all MPs, Tory, Labour, Green, etc do get the same salary. It amazes me that so much venom is directed at our local MP; Craig Mackinlay ; as he strives to improve Thanet South and has to tolerate so much grief from the very people he serves diligently. Not an easy task for sure !

    • Just what has the Chocolate Tea pot for South Thanet done for us constituents “Concerned”? His job is to hold government to account, anything else except the NHS, is dealt with by District, and County Councillors. He was once Deputy to UKIP’s Farage, and was active in persuading gullible people to vote to leave the EU, which has cost the country dearly, according to Mark Carney former head of the bank of England! He said in my newspaper of the 26th October “the British economy was 90% of that of Germany when we were in the EU, now its less than 70%”. Can’t argue with that can you if your so “Concerned” you have a right to be!

  12. Craig McKinley only became an MP because of fiddling his election budget. All MPs have a limit on what should be spent on an election campaign. One of his election team was found guilty of conspiring to hide the budget overspend- oddly the other person / persons the above conspired with was not identified -McKinley ( a trained accountant) said he was “ not aware of what the budget was”. He was found not guilty such is the justice system of the U.K.
    Having said that McKinley’s opposition was Nigel Farage it was a case of bad and badder as far as choice of candidate.

    • Ann. Thank you for the history lesson! Are you same Ann who posted earlier in the thread about working for the NHS for 42 years?

      • He didn’t shake up the EU.
        He for ed David Cameron to hold a referendum on EU membership.
        We’re “enjiying” the consequences.

          • Wasnt Mr Farage the UK’s representative on the EU’s fishing commission?
            Wasn’t he chair of that commission?
            Did he only put in one or two appearances, despite drawing €10000s in wages?
            Isn’t it a consequences that the UK’s fishermen suffered financially as a consequence?
            I would say that Mr Farage is hardly a rôle model.

  13. Farage Is a delusional idiot he is a con artist who was the laughing stock at the EU indeed he still is the laughing stock as is the U.K. He has done nothing but harm by stirring up weak stupid Tories by being an unelected pied Piper to take others on a journey of deception and fraud. He steps from one camp into the next camp fooling people as he goes. He is a typical follow me follow me I’ll show you the promised land when, in reality one’s feet you often find your standing on it.

  14. Angie, you are right to highlight the truth about pay but as you already know you will never get the truth from a Conservative MP their whole existence is based on lies. The starting pay for an MP is over £83,000 plus £100,000 expenses and free travel.

      • There are about fifty from Craig’s gatekeeper and number 1 fan too it’s a shame we can’t click “ignore”. He isn’t big on facts just like Craig.

    • Well done Ann! In this mornings newspaper are the 5 policies the current Tory Prime Minister claims the Conservatives will fight on in the next General Election which are 1.halving inflation this year (at the cost of cutting the wages of essential workers, especially nurses) 2. Growing the economy, what does that even mean? Oh, I know through the magic of the Free Market, Duurh) 3. Reducing the National Debt (what? OK, the Tory’s have borrowed billions, and we are having to pay interest on it, money which could have gone on uplifting the incomes of the 8 million people living in poverty, not including children who are sent to school half starved!) 4. Halving NHS waiting lists (yeah right! Thats some 7 million people I believe, when there were only 2.5 million before the Tory’s took over, 12 years ago) 5. Stopping small boats (How? The reason people are fleeing war, persecution, and authoritarian regimes, is because they can claim asylum in the UK, which they couldn’t do when we were a member of the EU! So the easiest way to stop people trying to get here is to re-join the EU, and then they would have to claim asylum in the first EU country they arrived at, simples!) In all seriousness though, does the current Tory Prime Minister actually think the people of Great Britain will fall for his waffle?

  15. Laurence, what’s wrong dear are you trying to practice at being a stalker
    or are you I looking for a date, if it’s a date you want you had better not be a prude and definitely not a Conservative voter. I only swim in the nude in my swimming pool and take naturist holidays around the world that’s the thing about naturist we have nothing to hide unlike Conservative MPs who like to take their clothes off not because they are naturist its normally with someone else’s partner.

    • I always liked dating women with differing views from mine, as it kept life from being boring (and no, I’m not looking for a date – and no I’m not taking my clothes off in front of a stranger!).

    • Ann all i am trying to do elicit is an answer to the question I asked on the first post to appear hear from someone named Ann regarding the NHS. Still I’m wasting my time judging by your silly response. Anyway you could really be named Bill or Ben in real life and could live in a flowerpot.

  16. Laurence yes I worked for just over 42 years in the NHS from cadet nurse (as it used to be ) to working my way up to hospital Matron. I loved every second of it, I’ve met wonderful human beings both staff and patients the best of the best in humanity. Now you know.
    Those who would like to destroy the NHS I hope Karma deals with them very severely.

    • Ann thank you at last you have answered my question.

      Now don’t you think that millions have been wasted on job creation on middle and senior non medical posts over many years?

      I have no doubt and I have witnessed myself that there are many first class people working in the NHS, however it needs reform and free from political interference from all political parties! . It is not just a question of more money it is question of stripping out needless bureaucracy created in part by successive government legislation of all political colours but also created by senior management in local Trusts and elsewhere.

  17. Laurence, when I first entered the nursing profession I started local, before taking up senior post in my career in large London hospitals . Locally it was “ the isle of Thanet hospital management committee” that run all the local hospitals, Margate hospital / Ramsgate Hospital / The royal Seabathing Hospital / Haine Hospital / Hill House Hospital / Princess Mary’s Hospital / Victoria House hospital. Seven 7 of those hospitals have been long closed. Time and time again local residents were told at each closure “ it’s to improve patient care”. In the last 30 years beds in the NHS have more than halved from 299.000 in 1987 / 1988 to 141.000 in 2019. I can show you a correlation of the amount of hospital closures and beds lost that coincide with the times the conservatives were in power it’s indisputable what politicians in what party have caused the damage to the NHS. It’s nothing to do with middle management that’s a red herring.

    • Ann, an interesting read. It is always easy to headline a bald statistical figure such as the fall in beds within the NHS in England without some further background for instance the number of hospital beds for general and acute care has fallen considerably since 1987/88; the bulk of this fall is due to the closure of beds for long – term care for older people, medical innovation, including and increase in day – care surgery. For instance who would have considered even 10 years ago being a day patient for prostate removal and many more procedures that are now run of the mill.

      As regards you going back to the Thanet Hospital Management days and running 7 hospitals, one can all go back to the good old days before technology and advances in medical science.

      You state ‘it’s nothing to do with middle management that’s a red herring’ you do not address my comment about senior management. As a Matron I take it you were in a very senior role a Band 8a or above? Did you not wonder sometimes of the non medical roles and bureaucracy being created when the frontline was under pressure.

      You and I are as far apart as one can imagine both regard to the ills of the NHS and how we may move forward to fix it. One thing we do have in common is that we both worked in the NHS me for only 11 years 2009 -2020 at the end of my career and held two roles as as administrator that gave me access to all areas of the hospital and dealt on a daily basis with all levels of staff in both non clinical and clinical roles. The view I formed was top heavy bureaucratic non clinical management compared with other roles I have held in the public sector.

      Anyway I have said my piece and I will not be commenting any further.

  18. Yes Laurence, I think it’s best you leave it there I would not like you to get out of your depth on the facts and figures.

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