"The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it"
Aneurin Bevan

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Coulson and the NHS

Many people complain that the Tories did not tell us during the election that they were planning to tear the NHS apart if they were elected. In fact the Tories did tell us, but very quietly. Basically most of the stuff in the Health and Social Care Bill was in the Tory manifesto, their draft manifesto or the Tories' NHS Autonomy and Accountability policy document (abolishing PCTs and SHAs are the only parts that were not part of their published policy). The issue is that the Tories did not talk about these policies during the election because they knew that if the details were discussed the public would not like them.

Interestingly, Nicholas Watt at the Guardian tells us why. In an article about Lansley's possible future Watt says:
If Lansley leaves the cabinet he might be tempted to point out that he was keen to explain his reforms which were included in the Tory manifesto. He was, however, blocked by Andy Coulson who feared unsettling voters on the NHS ahead of the election.
Coulson was a tabloid editor, he knew what the public wanted to hear, and he knew that Lansley talking in detail about his plans would be disastrous for the Tories' election plans. Considering that Cameron could not get a majority at the 2010 election, it is likely that talk of Lansley breaking up the NHS would have lost him seats. Ironically, it would have been the Lib Dems who would have gained, possibly giving them more seats than they have had for a century.

A lost opportunity for the Lib Dems.

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