Saturday, 10 March 2012

Lib Dems and the NHS

The Lib Dem Conference is underway, and it seems their credibility is well and truly in the gutter.

The party has rejected an emergency motion urging the withdrawal of the Health and Social Care Bill. However, they are quite happy to support Shirley Williams motion to support the NHS changes.

Nick Clegg, no doubt under orders from Cameron, has reassured one and all that the NHS Bill has changed in all recognition, and there is no danger of a private health service coming in to replace the NHS. A strong speech from a strong man. Totally trustworthy as he proved over Tuition Fees.

Scotland may well become the last outpost for the Lib Dems, since the NHS and Education are devolved powers. In England, their survival must now be critical endangered.

Cameron has, from Day One, used the Lib Dems as a political shield for his more controversial policies. He cannot escape blame, but the Lib Dems are the ones who will suffer most.

There is surely much dissent within the party. This can be seen with the first round voting where 270 people were for attacking the NHS reforms, against 246 against. Clegg's political skin was saved by the fact of them using second preference voting, which gave 280 for the protest against 309 supporting the reforms. A terrifyingly small margin.

One thing is clear, the party simply will not listen to voters. Just about every man and his dog are against these changes within the NHS. The level of protest is probably higher than the Poll Tax, because changes to the NHS affect nearly everyone. How many people do you know who have never once required the services of the NHS?

For all their talk about reining in the Conservatives, the simple truth is that they are doing what they are told. If there were to be a general election, the Conservatives could possibly scrape a majority, although that is doubtful. One thing is certain, the Lib Dems could see the majority of their MPs wiped out, possibly to single figures.

The Liberals / Lib Dems or whatever they are called this week will soon have to come up with a new name, because there is a good chance that the party will split when voter support disintegrates.

There is a warning here for Scotland. The Lib Dems will do anything for a taste of power. Anything. Regardless of whether independence happens or not, there will still be a Scottish government, and it will not always be the SNP in power. We have a system designed to make a majority very difficult, and that means a possibility of future coalitions. Does Scotland really need the Lib Dems?

The Monster Raving Loony Party once defeated the SDP. There's a good chance they will add a Lib Dem scalp to their collection.

UPDATE: Seems that the Lib Dem members have defeated their own leadership, by voting 314 to 270 for opposing Government changes to the NHS. While that will not change the policy, it surely spells disaster for the Lib Dems. Could we see a coup within the party?

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