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Home » NHS » The Tory pitch on the NHS is based on two innocent misrepresentations. They’re huge – like the debt.

The Tory pitch on the NHS is based on two innocent misrepresentations. They’re huge – like the debt.

A perfect way to annoy nurses is to promise a tax cut for people with the highest incomes ahead of a release from the pay freeze most nurses have endured for the last few years.

I’ve noticed a curious phenomenon when I retweet articles on Twitter. It is not a secret that I am ‘left wing’, whatever that means to the intelligentsia of North London. If I retweet an article from the perspective of how awful this Government, by a left wing ‘seleb’, it won’t be uncommon for people to think ‘nothing to see here, please move on’ . But, if I share something by Fraser Nelson or Isabel Hardman, all hell breaks lose.

Take, for example, the article by Nelson criticising the burgeoning debt burden, published in that well known leftie rag, “The Spectator”. It’s a refreshing honest piece of journalism entitled, “Osborne increases debt more than Labour did over 13 years“. I suspect both Ed Miliband and David Cameron were more prepared for the scenario if Scotland had voted ‘yes’ to independence. Most people I know felt that the story of Ed Miliband’s walk in the park was totally underwhelming. David Cameron, in an outbreak of honesty, meanwhile, let slip that he “resented” the poor. This, for me, represents a clear example the “don’t think of elephants” phenomenon. The harder you try not to think of something, you think of it.

Once, at the Labour Conference held in Liverpool (2011), I asked Jim Naughtie about this famous episode.

Both Naughtie and I burst out laughing. Jim Naughtie is of course not the first person to have dropped a massive clanger. Everyone, including Andrew Neil and Nick Robinson, knows that the pitch by the Tories on tax cuts, when the deficit is being given a second chance to resolve itself, this time by 2018, is a total farce.

I had barely got over the admission that Cameron resented the poor when this suddenly happened.

speech segment

This is a colossal lie, as Sir Andrew Dilnot CBE, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, has  explained to Chris Leslie MP, the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, in his letter. The critical paragraph of that letter is this.

Debt Para

Even a PPE graduate from Oxford can begin to get the gist from this graph helpfully provided by Dilnot.

debt graph

Similarly, because of inflationary pressures – including increasing service demands – on the NHS budget, it is difficult to argue that in real terms there has been an increase in funding of the NHS. That one is also colossal lie, as Sir Andrew Dilnot CBE, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, has  explained to Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, in his letter here. The critical paragraph of that letter is this.

NHS exercpt

The Conservative pitch logic is as follows: (1) the Tories are trusted on the economy, (2) Labour is trusted on the NHS, (3) Discredit Labour by repeatedly talking about Mid Staffs despite clearly enduring problems in the lifetime of this period of office, (4) Promise tax cuts in 2018 and ‘more for less’ (by citing examples such as falling crime despite budget cuts). But this logic is based on a surfeit of lies and half truths.

It is a curious phenomenon that crime statistics keep on falling across a number of jurisdictions, fitting very nicely with the argument by libertarians for a smaller state. Furthermore, NHS England has reported on poor recent performance, following the time of the Mid Staffs disaster, in the “Keogh Trusts” during the lifetime of this period of a Conservative-led government. Andy Burnham MP does not repeatedly bring up the example of Harold Shipman, a colossal failure of regulation of general practice which happened instead under the lifetime of a previous Conservative government. It’s been repeatedly reported that Labour ‘do not appear to want to be in power despite being on the brink of power’. But, by that token, the Conservatives are behaving as if they realistically do not expect to be the largest party next May, either. The Conservatives-led Government decided not to take up a golden opportunity of regulating clinical professions, handed on a plate by the English Law Commission, in the last Queen’s Speech of this term. The General Medical Council even signalled their disapproval of this. And, as alluded to above, the debt is exploding while NHS demand continues to increase, leaving a ‘funding gap’ which has been brilliantly discussed by ‘The Health Foundation’. Once again, the patriotic Conservative Party have stuck two fingers up at the best interests of the country by currying favour with their high income (and wealthy) backers, instead. The “jam tomorrow” argument from the Conservatives could be fatal to a frank discussion of the need to integrate health and care from the next Government, whoever it is. But, as my late father often used to remind me, “one lie leads to another”.

Time to turn to the “Black Eyed Peas” for inspiration perhaps.

Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry
Hey, baby my nose is getting big
I noticed it be growing when I been telling them fibs
Now you say your trust’s getting weaker
Probably coz my lies just started getting deeper
And the reason for my confession is that I learn my lesson.

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