Because I was suffering from a cold between Christmas and the New Year, I was not able to visit care homes in Montgomeryshire - something I've done over the last 10 years. This is not for electoral purposes, because a few years ago, we decided that, in general, it's just not right to campaign in residential homes. Not always the case, and much sensitivity is needed. I recall visiting a home a few years ago, where I'd talked to several residents, but left without asking anyone to vote for us. As walking out I met a representative of another party going in with a fistful of postal vote forms. Hmmm. Anyway, I'm starting on my Christmas visits tomorrow.
The state of our care homes is becoming an increasingly high profile issue. And about time too. The recent BBC programmes based on research into care by Gerry Robinson were very powerful - and shocking. No-one who watched them could remain unmoved. And yesterday, there was much media coverage of a report from the Royal College of Physicians which claimed that thousands of elderly people are being forced to have feeding tubes inserted into their stomachs in order to be admitted to a home. If this is true, and I'm not sure how much hard evidence there is in the report, its a shameful disgrace. Its an issue I'll be discussing on my visits. This issue demands urgent government investigation.