Richard Marsh is a former Special Adviser to Virginia Bottomley when she was Secretary of State for Health
On the Spectator's Coffee House blog earlier this week, Fraser Nelson posted a mordant denunciation of Andrew Lansley and his handling of health reform. It was evidently an anguished cry from someone who wants to reach the party. Sadly, however, the Speccie's editor slid into hyperbole - as does much of the opposition to the Government's health reforms - when a different interpretation is available. Can things really be as bad as all that?
For a start, the author was writing after returning from a gathering of "health professionals" - never the best vantage point from where to retain either one's humour or sense of proportion. I would wager that almost all of those who were there take the left-wing whip. Not only do they regard Conservatives and Conservative policies with innate suspicion; they hold that the very idea of a Conservative Health Secretary is an abuse against nature. They also represent the authentic reactionary voice of the status quo. Of course Nelson is right to say that such people will blame everything that goes wrong on the reforms. They always do, and have always done so since time immemorial. It is either that or the "cuts". This isn't hard to understand: it absolves them of the responsibility to look to their own failings of leadership or imagination in explaining, for example, why half of our hospitals cannot meet basic standards of care for the elderly.