Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Sanctimonious hypocritical rubbish from Labour on the NHS

I read this piece on LabourList today from a Labour candidate in Brighton and I am afraid I couldn't help myself but post a somewhat ranty response in the comments below it.

I thought I'd reproduce it here seeing as it's the longest thing I've written in a while!

What an absolute load of sanctimonious tribalistic rubbish. You didn't "rebuild" the NHS in 1997 and you won't need to "rebuild" it in 2015. It was perfectly functional when your party came to office in the 1990s and will be so next year if you win.

Your comments about cuts should be seen for what they are - hypocritical. The current government has ring fenced NHS spending against their cuts. Tiny rounding errors where money is either not spent in an area or rolled into the next year are screamed about by your party as "CUTS"! But your party made no such pledge about ring fencing the NHS so the readers can draw their own conclusions about what would have happened had you won in 2010.

The administrative problems you refer to regarding the closure of a GP surgery in Brighton is the sort of thing that happens under all governments not just this one. There were loads and loads (and loads) of admin issues under Labour. I remember Tony Blair getting an absolute roasting from a BBC Question Time audience during the 2005 general election campaign when one audience member highlighted how they could not book an appointment in advance and had to ring on the day first thing in the morning when they could often not get through. Blair said he was sorry and it must be particular to that one surgery at which point many more people in the audience spoke up about how they had exactly the same problem across a variety of surgeries. I myself had experienced it too. It was systemic. It was still happening late in the previous parliament when Labour had had over a decade to sort this out. Was that SAME OLD EVIL UNCARING LABOUR??!!! or is it simply that a massive bureaucratic service like the NHS is by definition very difficult to manage and when you have all sorts of targets (some of which contradict each other) administrative failings like this are inevitable. It's nothing to do with the party or parties in power usually. It's just the nature of complex systems.

Your party might have been in power when the NHS was founded but there was a clear pre-war consensus that something like it was going to happen and the Beveridge report which was the foundation of the NHS was produced by a member of the Liberal Party. Your party does not own the NHS like so much of your rhetoric and this piece would imply. It is owned by all of us. And it is not just Labour members and voters who care about it. We all do.

And finally, this is probably a controversial point because Cameron himself has unwisely referred to the death of his son probably too many times in this context but to suggest as you do that Cameron personally does not understand the value of the NHS is simply factually incorrect. Anyone who has had a sick/terminally ill child understands intuitively the value of it. It is very unwise of you to suggest otherwise.