Saturday, July 31, 2010

Coalition is more radical than Thatcher government, says senior Tory minister.

Francis Maude is saying this because he is proud of it, and whilst loathing it, I agree with his sentiment.

The coalition is trying to push through quicker and more vigorous reforms than attempted by either Margaret Thatcher or Tony Blair in their first terms, Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister and senior Tory responsible for the party's transition into government, said today.

There has been criticism that David Cameron risks overloading the Whitehall machine, and storing up political trouble, by quickly pursuing radical reforms on so many fronts simultaneously.

But Maude, in a Guardian interview, said: "If you look at the last transitions of governments and the way they came in, I would say one of the things that Thatcher regretted was not pushing ahead vigorously enough, and quickly enough, in terms of reform. The big reforming Thatcher governments were not until 1983 and 1987.

"Similarly, the Blair government did not just waste its first 100 days – it wasted its first five years. By contrast we have prepared very carefully. So we are well equipped to hit the ground running"

I would agree that this government has hit the ground running, my problem is that they have hit the ground running with a radical right wing agenda.

Since the election, the government has announced plans to eradicate the structural deficit by the end of the parliament, reform welfare, put GP commissioning at the heart of NHS change, set up a wave of new academies and free schools, elect police commissioners to oversee police, impose radical reforms to the pay and conditions of public sector workers, and introduce the biggest wave of constitutional reform since the 1832 Great Reform Act, including a referendum next May on the alternative vote system.

In a sign that the government recognises that public opinion is in a fragile state, Cameron is to not planning to relax in early August, but will be undertaking two "PM directs" in the regions next week to try to reassure voters that the cuts programme is necessary and not part of an ideological drive to shrink the state.

What they are doing is, of course, an ideological drive to shrink the state. The main difference is that they are getting to shrink the state with the political cover of the Liberal Democrats, who will echo their insistence that there really is no other way out of this other than to cut public services and, essentially, make the poorest members of society pay for the greed of the bankers who got us into this mess.

And nowhere, despite his campaign promises to protect the NHS, is Cameron more dangerous than with his plans for our health system.

Strip away the ­management speak and David Cameron’s naked policy is to privatise health, to wreck universal free care, to recreate the postcode lottery, to celebrate markets over medical need, to champion profit ahead of patients.

Another of the reasons why Cameron is getting away with this level of radicalism is that there is, effectively, no opposition. The Liberal Democrats are in bed with him and the opposition have no leader.

Until the Labour leadership contest is concluded Cameron is getting away with all of this without any effective opposition voice that the public can hear.

I said at the time of Osborne's budget that even Thatcher wouldn't have attempted to be that radical. I find it scary and depressing that Francis Maude agrees.

Click here for full article.


daveawayfromhome said...

Americans may have been crazy to work so vigorously to avert having a free health care system, but what will it say about y'all if you let the Tories take yours away?

Kel said...

It would be catastrophic and they would never get away with it. The danger is that, with Lib Dem cover, they might get to privatise parts of it.

And we all know how disastrous that will be. Just think how many people die in British hospitals from MRSA since Thatcher privatised the cleaning of hospitals. And yet, astonishingly, the press - on the whole - give the Tories a free pass when it comes to this.