Yesterday in PMQs Ed Miliband delightedly declared that the Tory Reform Group (TRG) had come out against these proposals” and that “it comes to something when even the Tories don’t trust the Tories on the NHS”.
Well, sort of. What Craig Barrett, who wrote the article on the TRG’s Egremont blog actually said was:
The NHS is one of the great glories of post-war Britain. A Liberal concept, enacted by a Labour government in the teeth of opposition from the British Medical Association.
However, only the most blinkered dinosaur or Pilgrim would deny that the same idea today would be viewed as an unworkable and bureaucratic behemoth.
We ought not consider the NHS purely in financial terms because the benefits to the nation’s health and well-being must outweigh the mere cost. Yet that is not an argument for it to remain unchallenged or unreformed.
He does then go on to say that:
Mr Lansley seems like a man clinging to a time-bomb that only he cannot hear ticking. The Government urgently needs to look at what he is trying to do and accept that it needs drastic, perhaps total, reconsideration.
That is just a couple of small excerpts from a long and well written piece, but even this little snippet reveals a rather more nuanced opinion then Ed Miliband presented at the dispatch box. Essentially Barrett seems to endorse the view most sensible people take, that the NHS undoubtedly needs reform, but the current top down approach from Lansley is a disappointing one that those of us who support the coalition were hoping it would not indulge in.
The TRG has now been thrown into the spotlight, and Egremont editor (and my fellow Total Politics blogger,) Nik Darlington went on the Daily Politics to explain the TRG’s position:
In fairness, the Egremonet blog is a totally stand alone site to the main TRG one, and, as Darlington points out, on the blog it clearly says The views expressed by the contributors are their own and not necessarily endorsed by the TRG Honorary Officers, TRG Board or the TRG Membership.
I did though rather like Nik’s point on bloggers increasingly setting the news agenda, although I’m not sure Andrew Neil was as convinced as he should be!
You can read the TRG’s response to Ed Miliband here.