Thursday, January 05, 2006
It must be admitted our hopes were never high. But David Cameron's pledge yesterday confirmed our worst fears:
"Other people - some of them in my own party - urge me...to promise that under the Conservatives, the NHS will be transformed beyond recognition into a system based on medical insurance.
I will never go down that route."
At a stroke- and without waiting for the conclusions of his own policy group- he has ruled out almost all the most realistic options for improving Britain's healthcare. All those options so painstakingly worked up by thinktanks such as Reform. He has turned his face against the social insurance systems used so successfully by our European neighbours and decided that Britain, alone among major developed economies, will continue with public healthcare funded from general taxation.
Moreover, as the Stephen Pollard points out, even in terms of the vacuity that is the politics of centrism, DC's pronouncement may be seriously misjudged. That's because public opinion is itself shifting:
"In a poll for the think tank Reform in February 2004, 69 per cent agreed that: “The NHS was the right idea when it was introduced in the 1940s, but Britain has changed and we need a different healthcare system now.” Only 40 per cent agreed that: “The Government is right to rule out alternatives to the taxpayer-funded NHS.”
But forget all the image positioning stuff. We wanted better. Britain needs better.
What DC is doing here is conniving in the continued growth of two-tier healthcare, with excellent private medicine for those that can pay, and a dysfunctional, managerialist, dangerous morass for everyone else.
I feel ashamed for him.
PS Excellent article on the same subject by David Green of Civitas.
Posted by Mike D at 9:44 am