Tuesday, 6 September 2011

My day of discontent

Oh dear. It’s never good when a plan doesn’t come together. My day was well mapped out. I took the afternoon off to watch the England vs India one day international cricket match on the TV and was looking forward to a relaxing time. Alas it was rain stop play and my conscience wouldn’t allow me to ignore the fact that the recommitted Health and Social Care Bill was due to be discussed in the House of Commons.

Reluctantly – I switched over to BBC Parliament and my heart sank as I started to watch parliamentary proceedings. Like a re-run of a very bad movie with a predictable plot, weak storyline and unsatisfactory ending, I watched Andrew Lansley, UK Secretary of State for Health defend both the original bill and the 1000 plus amendments. As always he seemed confident and comfortable with his complex legislation, and still apparently blissfully unaware of the unwavering opposition to his plans.

He accused that ‘the unions, of course, are being misleading’ in their opposition to the Bill. In response to the Labour MP, Toby Perkins who reminded the House of the many and diverse organisations who opposed the NHS shake up, asking ‘Does the Secretary of State think everyone is wrong?’, Lansley smirked and said ‘you obviously haven’t spoken to all the people that I have spoken to in the NHS’

So there we have it. Same old same old. Deja vue. Groundhog Day.

Like the wonderful line from ‘Carry on Cleo’ – when Kenneth Williams, playing a wonderfully camp Julius Caesar shrieks ‘Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!’ Lansley simply thinks everyone else is wrong.

Alas – as the NHS continues to plough it’s directionless course we now face another round of fruitless discussion and lack of clarity.

As Nick Trigg, BBC Health Correspondent asks ‘Are we facing an Autumn of discontent?’

In short and with much regret, the answer is ‘Yes’


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