The thing is.....

Date: 2012-10-17 06:30 pm (UTC)
daweaver:   (redlightdoor)
From: [personal profile] daweaver
There's a rather smoking gun in that most obscure document "The Coalition: Our Programme for Government", section 22, bullet point 2:

"We will stop the top-down reorganisations of the NHS that have got in the way of patient care. We are committed to reducing duplication and the resources spent on administration, and diverting these resources back to front-line care."

True, this isn't a "frequent" pledge, having been made in precisely one place. Nor was it made in the run-up to the election; my copy of the programme for government was downloaded on 20 May, a full fortnight after the vote. And the full quote is explained further by a theme in the Conservatives' election campaign, against the target-setting culture of the Labour era. The Conservative position was that administration-by-number generally didn't improve things, and was occasionally damaging to health. (obAdamCurtis: More on this theme in episode 1 of The Trap: Whatever Happened to Our Dreams of Freedom? (2007))

Like the original poster, I'm unsure about the changes to the NHS, not least because the enabling Act turned into a complete dog's dinner that is going to make good money for lawyers. Nor was I convinced by the arguments offered by the opposition: the only coherent attack I saw on the plans (as opposed to emotional posturing) was MD in Private Eye.

For historical reasons, Labour tribalists fetishise the NHS as "their" creation (blah blah Beveridge independent-Liberal historical inconvenient fact waffle). From what I can tell, Labour tribalists wish to ossify the NHS as it stood in the late 1960s, regardless of advances since. Rather than debate the merits of the proposals, and actually come up with concrete counter-proposals, they chose to scaremonger and mislead and lie. It's almost as if they knew they couldn't win the argument on facts.

It strikes me that only Labour would have the social capital to successfully bring about fundamental change in the NHS (such as, a move to a social insurance system broadly along the Irish or Dutch lines). Similarly, only a Conservative-led administration would have the social capital to bring about same-sex marriage and make it stick.

More widely, "No one voted for it" is a lie used by Labour tribalists about the present coalition government. This ignores the voices of the Liberal Democrat parliamentary party, federal executive, and conference representatives, all of whom quite clearly did vote for the present coalition in its present form. By my reckoning, about 1000 people expressed clear assent. Compare against people who vote for individual Labour councillors, or union grandees.

The pressure group does make one valid point concerning the BBC. The corp is absolutely hideous at publicly documenting contributions to its news coverage. Compare the running order for The Quotidian Today Programme - a brief description of some items - with its Australian counterpart, RN Breakfast. Similarly, finding out who was on Radio 5 is far less easy than who was on ABC Newsradio.

My understanding is that the BBC does keep such information in-house, but it's not on public-facing websites. I also understand that the Beeb is willing to assist with genuine research enquiries.
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matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

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Mat Bowles

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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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