12 Jun 2011

Lib Dems may be being Outmanoeuvred by Tories on NHS

The Lib Dems appear to be being circumvented yet again in their attempts to make the coalition more liberal and fair.

Following Vince Cable's removal from the Murdoch competition review, where Jeremy Hunt MP took over and approved the Sky News deal, we now see Clegg about to be sidelined by Sir Stephen Bubb's biased review of the NHS competition body.

As Lib Dem MP John Pugh observes, "asking Sir Stephen to sum up on competition laws is as neutral as asking Simon Cowell to tell us about the merits of TV talent shows". Or, indeed approving the reform of the NHS by a Tory MP who's election campaign was funded by a donation from ATOS healthcare (Lansley).

The so-called independent review is quite aptly referred to as a 'trojan horse' by the Observer, and looks again likely to see the Lib Dems outmanoeuvred by the Tories.

It seems that Orange Booker mentality of senior Liberal Democrats is no match for the free market capitalism of the Conservative party's approach to the public sector.

I would prefer to see the Lib Dems pushing for greater scrutiny in the great 'commissioning drive'. This mistake was made with the part-privatisation of railways, where commericial sensitivity has coated provision of services thickly and opaquely. This would at least demand that all services were subject to public review.

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