The NHS is a lightning rod issue….

In the course of any government you get issues that act as a lightning rod for wider discontent. Look at Iraq; yes, people were agitated by the issue but it was also symptom of a wider discontent with Blair’s style of government. The complete fabrication over Weapons of Mass Destruction was the epitome of the spin over substance that slowly hollowed-out Labour in government out from the inside-out. This is why it finished Blair, to be brutal.

So it is with the NHS and this government. It’s quite right that people are concerned and lacking trust when it comes to the governments handling of what many across the political spectrum regard as a national treasure, it’s also symptomatic of wider discontent over the cuts. The real problem for Clegg and Cameron is that even if major concessions do now follow, given this, its likely to the beginning of serious and widespread resistance to their whole economic program. In other words, it could become the significant victory that is needed to give the anti-cuts movement momentum and much wider traction.

Norman Lamb’s concern that the changes are too ‘risky’ and too much too soon pretty much sums up what people feel about the governments economic strategy. As the bad data keeps rolling-in and people become increasingly more desperate this will move from being jitters to open rebellion. So, if Clegg did authorise his outburst then, yet again, this is a fantastically short-sighted gambit by somebody whose political myopia seems to know no bounds. In fact, it’s another example of his visceral opportunism; not of genuine conviction. Clegg’s bible, the Orange Book, actually goes much further than these proposals so how he can justifiably claim he is against them is totally beyond me. Obviously, he thinks it will benefit the Liberal Democrats electorally in the short-term, on May 5th, but the chances are it wont and in the longer-term it will lead to the rolling back of the governments entire strategy.

Normally, the level of individual rebellion by prominent figures we are seeing in this government would be associated with the decaying; fag-end stages of a government which has been in office for a good deal longer than this one has. I hope these proposals are stopped, not just because they are wrong, but if they are it will hasten the end of this governments entire economic strategy.


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About darrellgoodliffe


2 responses to “The NHS is a lightning rod issue….”

  1. John p Reid says :

    I sort of agree with the phrase “people” as rto discribe those who voted labour in 2001 and didn’t in 2005 and Iraqw awas only part of that, But it’s old laobur people who you mean, of which i’m one) and it wasnt only Blairite/Thatcherite reforms, that old labour was agisnt .(we)they wanted a higher rate of tax, some union laws repealed, but then if we had thm we would have lost middle england

    No tsure about the public being agaisnt the NHs reforms as a hole, It alway sthe way that the public see if we can afford it or not ,that reflects do tehy want it, Witness the public liking the educaiton reforms


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Yes, broadly speaking I think it is and rather than switch (though some obviously did) I think alot just decided to sit on their hands. I’m not so sure we would but thats something of a moot point.

    I think the point with the NHS is that as a Conservative MP said it brings out the inner socialist in us all (im paraphrasing a little, he said it makes us all socialist). Education is a little different but having said all that im not as convinced they are as popular as you think they are and also, I think there is a broader level of discontent about the cuts now which is resonating through the NHS issue.


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