"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Live Health Debate

Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Health; Andrew Lansley, Shadow SoS for Health; Norman Lamb, LibDem spokesman on Health were cross-examined by Andrew Neil & Branwen Jeffreys.

Well, I say 'cross-examined' but you can judge for yourselves:

Labour: protect frontline NHS from spending cuts; access to a local GP at evenings and weekends; the introduction of a National Care Service;  cancer diagnostic tests with results in a week; one-to-one nursing for cancer patients; psychological therapy for all who need it.

Neil: Before we come on to health,  the PM has just called a grandmother, a lifelong Labour supporter, a bigot.  Has Gordon Brown just lost you the election?
Burnham:  I don't accept that at all. All we politicians face difficult moments and confrontations at times and make off-the-cuff remarks which I'm sure we regret and the PM has done the right thing and apologised immediately.  He's a man of complete decency er and integrity and er he has done the right thing."

Neil followed with a question asking what it tells us about Brown's character and Burnham replied that we're all "only human".  It's true that we're all "only human" but it seems some are considered more worthy than others.

Conservatives: spend more on the NHS every year; cut admin by a third; choose your GP, hospital and consultant; all the best new cancer drugs on tyhe NHS; more single rooms and an end to mixed-sex wards; peopole not having to sell their home to pay for care.

Brillo asked why Lansley's private office was being funded by one of the biggest private health-care providers in the country.  Lansley said it wasn't:  apparently it's the wife "of somebody"  who happens to be involved in a company, who paid a donation...  Care UK makes the headlines again.

LibDems: reduce number of health targets; make it easier to switch GP; allow patients to register at more than one practice; reform dental contracts to get dentists back into the NHS; extend end-of-life services and hospices; ban below-cost sale of alcohol.

Brillo:  Why do the LibDems say they support a minimum price for alcohol yet blocked it in the Scottish Assembly?  Why do the LibDems say one thing and do another?
According to Lamb "that's the beauty of devolving power - people reach different conclusions."

The debate was acrimonious and  full of political back-biting.  Burnham and his excuses are crumpet toast.  Lansley and Lamb aren't far behind.

The Yes/No/Maybe Interlude:

1. Scotland & Wales have free prescriptions for people with long-term conditions, would you introduce that in England?

Burnham: Yes.
Lansley: Andy hasn't published the Gilmore Report so.. [interrupted]
Neil:  So is that a yes or no?
Lansley: We're waiting for the unpublished Gilmore Report.
Lamb: No.

2.  Was relaxing licensing laws [in England] a bad mistake?
Burnham:  No.
Lansley: Yes.
Lamb: Yes.

3. Are you going to introduce minimum pricing in  the next Parliament?
Burnham got nowhere with this question since he supports it.
Lansley: No
Lamb: Yes/no/maybe.

It occurs to me that I've been wasting my time tuning into these debates because we learn nothing new - here are the videos, courtesy of SwissBob at the Daily Politics.

Part 2

After that, Swiss Bob fell asleep :-)  If the third & final segment turns up, I'll post it.

Part 3


  1. Uploading the rest now. Sorry, I was transfixed by the walking disaster that is McRuin.

  2. No problem, Bob :-) This morning's front pages all cover 'Bigotgate' - the rest of the world's quite interested too. I bet Merkel and Sarkozy are laughing over their cornflakes.


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