Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Why are Labour opposing what they did in office?

I know politics tends to be played in a certain way and that Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition are there to oppose. It's there in the title.

But it is remarkable just how many times Labour in opposition are now against almost exactly what they did when they themselves were in office. In some cases not just against them, but viscerally against them suggesting all manner of nefarious motives on the part of the EVIL CONDEMS for even considering them.

There's a good example today. It has been reported that the government is encouraging the NHS to use its expertise globally in order to make a profit from international markets for re-investment domestically. Sounds perfectly sensible to me to explore such opportunities, especially with a brand that is as strong globally as our National Health Service is.

Labour however have wasted no time at all in attacking the plans. Which is very odd because only 2 years ago, Andy Burnham, the then Labour Health Secretary was all in favour of pretty much exactly the same idea:

“A key part of responding to the economic challenge that the NHS faces will be realising the full potential of innovation, not only making effective use of our knowledge and skills at home, but also making money abroad that can be reinvested back into the NHS."

The Labour attack is based around this being the "wrong time" for such a change and that the "priority" should be sorting out the "mess" in the NHS. But If Burnham 2 years ago, in the midst of an economic crisis thought then was the right time for this and that it could form a "key part" of the NHS's economic challenge then I cannot for the life of me work out why now is the wrong time. Surely Labour think the NHS has got worse in the last 2 years so anything that can bring more money in for reinvestment (as they clearly thought this would when in office) should be a good thing?

This apparent contradiction has been reported widely today and I have seen a few Labour activists make an attempt to defend the new position usually along the lines of the "approach" that the current government is taking being wrong.

Frankly this is a load of rubbish. It is becoming ever more clear that Labour are going to oppose anything and everything that they think they can get political capital out of regardless of how hypocritical they are being. The theory seems to be that if they shout loudly enough against all these policies, the fact they used to be for them will be forgotten. They should be held to account for this, otherwise how are we going to know what we'll get if they end up back in government again?

Andy Burnham being interviewed about this subject today:

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