Monday, June 13, 2011

In Praise of U-Turns.

I really have read and heard the most utter tosh about the NHS reforms that the Coalition Government are currently taking through Parliament. Sometimes I really despair at the hopelessness of commentary on our political process. And some of it from our own side!

Now lets start from the proposition that we want our Government to legislate in a way that delivers the best results. The 'best result' is not necessarily the Bill that is first put before the House of Commons (or Lords) - which is why we go through the various stages of debate before the final product goes forward for Royal Assent. Sometimes a lot of change is needed and sometimes no change at all. Sometimes a Government abandons its proposals altogether. What happened with the NHS Reform Bill was that the Health Minister and the Prime Minister decided to 'pause' for three months to reflect, after a fair bit of criticism from health professionals. We need to get any reform of the NHS right. A group of knowledgeable people were asked to advise, which they did today. And now we can move forward with a better bill. Seems to me a sensible way to behave.

What I find particularly childish is the portrayal of this entirely sensible consideration of complex and sensitive policy as some sort of dual between the two Coalition partners. There are still some who do not get it. We have a Coalition Government. The Lib Dems and the Conservatives are colleagues. Whenever I hear Conservatives undermining Lib Dems or vice-versa, I think its like watching footballers trying to kick the ball into their own net. We govern together as a team, and we win together as a team.

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