February 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
Notice a lot of news about the Olympics lately? That’s partly because, for the people of Britain, its the sporting event of the decade. But, its also because every day the government is manufacturing three positive news stories about the Olympics. In what could be seen as an attempt to hijack the games for political ends, the government is taking every opportunity to promote their own story of the games.
The government’s News Co-ordination Centre has been told to produce one ‘main government story and two targeted at more specific audiences’ each day.
Speaking to The Times today Sir Menzies Campbell, a former Olympic sprinter and member of the Olympic board said, ‘its well to remember that the bid was achieved under the previous government’. He also reminded people of the non-partisan spirit of the games.
It’s clear that the government is taking every opportunity to promote the country oversees through their press centre. What remains to be seen is how far they will push their own image through their thrice daily news up dates.
If they do, they could face a number of problems. Primarily, they could face retaliation from Scotland in 2014 as the country simultaneously hosts the Commonwealth Games and goes to the polls to decide its future within the United Kingdom.
If the conservatives come across too self-righteous about the games they could lose face if the opposition seizes upon the opportunity to humiliate them.
Finally, we can expect a host of stories coming to light this year exposing the tactics of some PR agencies. This is tipped to be this year’s MP’s expenses. If the government’s press office comes into the limelight through the promotion of the games there is potential that it could be marred with the same brush, however clean its tactics really are. If the climate changes and people suddenly become sensitive to the techniques used by PR offices the government’s own centre could be humiliated, however unfairly.
February 13, 2012 § 1 Comment
As peers today debate around 25 amendments to the government’s controversial Health and Socialcare bill, Nick Clegg has shown his support saying that Andrew Lansley has is passionate about the NHS.
Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats, told the BBC today that:
“Andrew Lansley is the architect of the NHS bill. He cares passionately about the NHS. He’s the right man for the job and he must see it through.”
This comes at a time when back bench Lib Dems are pressuring Clegg to speak out against the bill because of the controversial competition it would bring to the NHS.
Yesterday Simon Hughes, the president of the Lib Dems, said that Lansley had to go. Whilst Labour are taking every opportunity to attack the government on this bill.
David Cameron seems hell bent on forcing his reforms through parliament. In a move that is reminiscent of Tony Blair, he seems to be ignoring all opposition cries, and seems committed to the idea and even a bad reform bill is better than none.
What effect this will have on the Tores is not yet clear, but as they think about the next general election it is certain that the looming crisis in the NHS will enevitably be used by Labour as ‘proof’ that the Tories cannot be trusted with the NHS.
This bill could well become this generation’s poll tax, a fundamentally flawed idea which the government pursues with such tenacity that they blind themselves to the opinions of the voters.
However, after Cameron’s semi u-turn on Europe the PM getting quite a reputation for last minute cold feet. Especially when he thinks the public is against him, take bonuses for example. Perhaps he is pushing his broken bill through in an attempt to save face and restore the confidence of his back benchers.
He needs to do something to show the government won’t turn tail and run at the first sign of opposition.
February 12, 2012 § Leave a comment
Today The Guardian news paper has reported that Simon Hughes, the deputy leader of the Lib Dems, has come out against Andrew Lansley saying that he should be replaced after the reform bill becomes law.
On the Andrew Marr show this morning he said “I’m clear we need to move on from this bill. My political judgment is that in the second half of parliament it would be better [for Lansley] to move on.”
Simultaneously a YouGuv poll has shown that the country is strongly against the bill. A poll for the Sunday Times shows that “only 18% of people said they supported the NHS reforms. It revealed that 48% opposed them, with 34% saying they were not sure.”
February 10, 2012 § 1 Comment
Continuing the ICBs coverage of organisations against the NHS reform bill, the Financial Times has announced it is now against the bill. The FT is the latest in a long list of societies, groups, companies and individuals who are calling for the Government to drop the bill.
Though pro-reform the FT believes that:
“Dropping the bill and pursuing change without omnibus legislation looks on balance the better bet.”
FT seems to agree with the growing consensus that the government has got its priorities wrong over the bill, saying that the bill is a “mess”.
Any reform has to balance top down management, competition, and the self-determination of doctors and nurses. The FT appears to believe that the current bill is too heavily waited towards top-down management, saying that David Cameron has failed to live up to his manifesto pledge not to impose top-down reorganisation on the NHS.
The FT also notes that the bill has destroyed Andrew Lansley’s reputation, noting that:
“Mr Lansley’s position would be weakened – perhaps fatally.”
This is something that the ICB talked about here.
For further coverage of the NHS reform bill subscribe to the ICB’s RSS feed.
Many thanks to Left Foot Forward for their excellent coverage of this story.
- Petition to drop Lansley’s monster – Dr Kailash Chand