Left Watch

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Despite what Andy Burnham MP says, the principles of the NHS are still very much alive

By Tim Montgomerie
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Last night the NHS Bill was passed. The Lansley reforms became law. Regular ConHome readers will know that I regret that. I think nearly all that the heavily-amended-and-bureaucratised Bill set out to achieve could have been achieved by continuing with what Labour had already put in place. We should have chosen evolution rather than given the impression of revolution. Troubles in the NHS would then have been blamed fairly and squarely on the empty national coffers.

Nonetheless what is done is done and we now need to make the best out of a bad job. In that task we might be helped by the hysterical behaviour of our political opponents. The Mirror wants us to believe that the NHS is dead this morning. What absolute nonsense. The NHS remains free at the point of use. The Coalition is investing more money in the health service. It's the Labour administration in Wales that is cutting the NHS - a theme we will be developing on ConHome in the next few days with an article from Conservative MP Alun Cairns.

And it's not just the Mirror that deserves ConHome's Order of the Over-The-Top. Andy Burnham chose to piggy-back on the Queen's Jubilee speech and make political points. “On this day," he said, "in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, we should be celebrating what a much-valued social ­institution has done to bind our nation together throughout the 60 years of her reign." He concluded: "Instead, we gather to dismantle it.” Labour really won't help themselves if they can't find the reasonable position on the rhetorical dial.