Labour still ahead but Lib Dems are real winners in the polls

February 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

The latest polls show labour is still just ahead of the Tories at 41% to 37%, however it’s the Lib Dems who are the unlikely winners in this race.

What Cameron’s actions over the last few weeks have shown is that he is desperate to keep the government together. He fears a Blair style reshuffle which would weaken his government and damage policy. It’s because of this fear that he was so quick to defend Lansley against attacks from Ed Miliband during PMQs.

In the latest poll race, the Lib Dems only just made it to the finish line, hobbling in with a mere 7%, whilst UKIP snapped at their heels on 6%. It was revealed this week the that the Lib Dems might be getting cold feet in the coalition. Those close to Cameron fear that they might walk out of the coalition agreement a year and a half before the 2015 election. This would leave Cameron without a majority in parliament, a situation which would effectively cripple his government.

If the Lib Dems continue to feel they are losing credibility in the coalition they could begin to make increasingly large demands on the Conservatives. This new found confidence could begin in the next few weeks as the two sides battle it out over the upcoming budget. Lib Dem heavyweight David Lewis is pushing for his £10,000 tax allowance and with the backing of Simon Hughes and Labour’s Ed Balls it is looking increasingly like a possibility.

This policy has united Hughes and Lewis who stand at opposing ends of the often muddled Lib Dem political spectrum. Hughes is the foremost social democrat in the party, whilst Lewis (who is the only Lib Dem not to oppose the Tories) has staunchly liberal economic views.

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Who Supports these NHS reforms?

February 15, 2012 § 2 Comments

 

Over at whosupportsnhsreforms.org.uk they have made a very pleasing visualisation depicting the true weight of public, private and political opinion against the NHS reforms. I thought I’d take this opportunity to feature their site. Enjoy…

Read more at:

Clegg backs broken reforms – The ICB

The Financial Times joins growing consensus against NHS reforms – The ICB

The complete list of organisations against the Government’s NHS bill – The ICB

Government floods media with Olympic news

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.

Clegg backs broken NHS reforms

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.

Hughes attacks Lansley as country turns against NHS bill

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.”

The Financial Times joins growing consensus against NHS reform

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.

See also:

Labour ahead in the polls

February 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

The latest figures from YouGuv show Labour are ahead in the polls, but only just:

“Latest YouGov/Sun results 9th Feb CON 38%, LAB 41%, LD 9%; APP -20”

This could partly be because of the Tories NHS reforms and it could partly be down to their blustering over Europe. We’ll have to wait and see if this lead still remains during the council elections in late March. Read more.