I missed Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday but it seems from what I read and hear that Ed Miliband got the better of David Cameron. I hope so because these exchanges matter, and even if the actual audience who watch the whole thing live is relatively small, the impact is large. It ‘gets out there’.
There is no doubt that the government’s vulnerability on the planned NHS reforms is growing. The combination of a lack of a mandate, the Lib Dems as a party now formally opposed, Number 10’s seeming lack of awareness of the scale of change planned by Andrew Lansley (aka David Cameron leaving himself an escape route) and the scale of opposition within the NHS itself, and not just from what Cameron dismisses as ‘the trade union’ of the BMA – these are combining to form a very potent backdrop to what could become a very potent issue for the next election.
It is a tribute to Labour’s good record on health that it figured low on people’s concerns at the last election. Something tells me it could be back at or close to the top of the charts next time.
So I hope Ed keeps coming back to it, and keeps drawing out that petulant, no attention to detail side in the Prime Minister.
I was also glad to see Alan Milburn debunking the Cameron line that these reforms are somehow a natural extension of our health reforms. They aren’t.