Cheltenham LibDem MP Martin Horwood`s “House Notes” column in the Gloucestershire Echo on January 7th was a highly misleading attempt to put some distance between his party and the Tories. Martin told readers that he was:
“never persuaded to support Conservative Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s plans to reorganise the NHS”
and pointed out that the
“Coalition agreement between Tories and LibDems specifically promised no top-down reorganisation”
This begs the question – why did the LibDems allow the agreement to be abandoned with scarcely a whimper? Martin provided no answer – instead readers were told that “Lansley’s changes are still going ahead though”, and for those wondering what to do about this extremely worrying process Martin had this astonishing advice:
“don’t even think about the chaos of trying to roll them back now”
If Martin was a Bond villain hell-bent on the destruction of the NHS (perish the thought!) he might have put it differently, perhaps using the words “resistance is futile”, but the meaning would have been the same. Some of us object to being told what to think or not to think about, especially by a politician who has been caught misrepresenting a rapacious corporation (Circle Health) as a “social enterprise” 100%-owned by its staff!
Mystery of LibDem capitulation over extremely expensive NHS “reforms” solved
The mystery of why the LibDems accommodated the Tory agenda of breaking up the NHS at an estimated cost of £3bn is easily solved by reference to an interview Nick Clegg gave to the Independent in 2005 where he said:
“One very, very important point – I think breaking up the NHS is exactly what you do need to do to make it a more responsive service. I don’t think anything should be ruled out. I do think they deserve to be looked at because frankly the faults of the British health service compared to others still leaves much to be desired.”
The interview was given by Clegg to journalist Marie Woolf after he finished what Woolf described as a “convivial lunch” with his old boss, the former Tory cabinet minister Leon Brittan, a vice-president of the European Commission. Clegg used to be a speech writer for Brittan in Brussels and it was clearly no political stretch for Clegg to articulate Brittan`s thoughts on paper!
The case of the disappearing interview
Intriguingly, the interview is no longer available on the Independent`s website, neither is the accompanying article also written by Woolf, entitled “Call for break-up of NHS will anger activists”. Fortunately the interview is available through a wonderful but little-known resource called the Internet Archive, at this webpage:
Horwood claims Jeremy Hunt is “a more conciliatory Tory”!
Horwood is a politician whose stock-in-trade since the Coalition was formed has been false reassurance, and readers of his Echo column were encouraged to place more faith in the future of the NHS, on the basis that:
“Lansley’s replacement is a more conciliatory Tory, Jeremy Hunt, backed up by a little-known but impressive Lib Dem minister Norman Lamb”
No doubt Rupert Murdoch would describe Jeremy Hunt as extremely “conciliatory” and there is no reason to think Hunt would be any less conciliatory to the corporate vultures circling what`s left of our NHS. But what of LibDem minister the “impressive” Norman Lamb? Well, it turns out that Lamb cottoned-on sometime ago to the Right-wing trojan horse argument for introducing charges for NHS care, at the 2007 LibDem conference he asked the question:
“If you get rat-arsed on a Friday night and get taken to A&E where you are foul and abusive to staff, is it right for the taxpayers to fund your life-saving treatment?”
Imagine if such a person had turned to drink or drugs because they had been abused as a child – of course a demagogue like Lamb is not concerned with such matters, only with undermining the principle of healthcare free-at-the-point-of-use. Similar arguments have been made for introducing charges to patients who are obese, who smoke etc.
Such attempts at social engineering bring to mind the chilling words of Margaret Thatcher in an interview she gave to the Sunday Times in May 1981, where she contrasted the “collectivist society” with the one she hoped her policies would help to create:
“Economics are the method; the object is to change the heart and soul”
Source: Margaret Thatcher Foundation