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Anyone who is a parent will know that sometimes you just have to say no.  If you accede to all your child’s requests they become progressively more demanding and, frankly, ridiculous.  You end up with a spoiled child asking for a Faberge Egg for Easter.  

The child of course doesn’t even want the Faberge; they want a Cream Egg one like the rest of us [other eggs are available] but they are simply, and perhaps entirely naturally, seeking to push the boundaries and test the limits of what they can achieve.

If it wasn’t so serious, that is how you could caricature, the relationship between the insurance lobby and our austerity obsessed chancellor, George Osborne in light of the ridiculous announcement in the Autumn Spending Review last week to increase the small claims limit in England and Wales to £5000 and completely remove the right to victims of accidents, injury and disease to compensation for less serious injury.  

Picture the scene:

[bright eyed insurance lobbyist putting on his best sneering smile] - “Dad, Dad.  Can you ban referral fees please?”
[gushing chancellor gazing proudly on] “Oh, alright son”
[wow, that was easier than I expected, thinks the lobbyist]

[a slightly hesitating insurance lobbyist, head lowered but looking up with doubtful expectation] - “Dad, Dad. Can you stop victims of accidents choosing their own medical experts to assess their injuries?”
[not giving it a moment’s thought] “Oh alright son”.
[‘really?’ the lobbyist almost says aloud]

[speaking very quickly to get the request out before he can stop himself, a flushed insurance lobbyist] “Dad, Dad.  Can you abolish all health and safety laws?”
[Wondering what took the lobbyist so long to ask] “Of course son”
[a wide eyed and stunned to silence lobbyist just nods appreciatively]

“Dad, Dad [shuffling embarrassingly and looking at his feet] could you ban innocent victims of accidents from being able to claim any compensation at all”
[still not really listening] “Oh alright son”
“Bloody hell”

My little skit above is not a joke.  What is a joke is that Osborne is utterly beholden to and in the complete thrall of the insurance industry.  

This latest twist is an attack on human rights.  It will hit the poorest people most acutely.  And, it is utterly indefensible in any objective, evidence based, moral or intellectual way.

Perversely, it will also have a not insubstantial impact on the NHS budget in England and Wales. Currently, when an insurer pays a victim of an accident compensation they also require to repay the NHS for the cost of treating that victim.   Osborne’s master plan means that the NHS will lose all of that income.  It’s already stretched budget in these times of deep and dark austerity will be stretched further.

In short shareholders of multimillion pound global conglomerates are being handed a financial windfall at the expense of the poorest innocent victims of accidents and the NHS.  

Put another way there is something rotten at the heart of the Tory administration at Westminster.  

Civic society will fight tooth and nail to prevent the changes being introduced in England and Wales but we have to face the fact that the Tories have a majority and, it would seem, no heart and no willingness to listen to sense.  

Everyone in Scotland will fully expect the 55 SNP members of parliament to be at the vanguard of the attack of the proposed changes.  In turn, we hope that back in Scotland at least, any attempts by the insurance lobby to introduce similar changes will fall on deaf political ears.  

It is time for the SNP and Labour party in Westminster and Scotland to unite against a common enemy, the obsequious Tories pandering to the avaricious insurance industry.  

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