'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

You know, I'm beginning to wonder if Nick Clegg actually reads my blog at all...

No sooner had the New Statesman posted my suggestion to Nick that he took advantage of the open goal yawning in front of him by doing the kindest thing, killing the Health and Social Care Bill, and positioning himself as the man who saved the NHS, than he did the complete opposite.

He sent that letter from himself and Shirley Williams to his Peers and MPs.

And I think that letter was a mistake.

Firstly, I'm not sure it says good things about Nick's leadership that in order to get the Parliamentary Party he leads on side, he has to get Shirley to co sign his letters. With all due respect to Baroness Williams, it's a bit like taking your mum to the playground fight behind the bike sheds. If he can't even write to his own MPs and Peers with any certainty that they will heed his words - then we've got a problem.

Secondly, lets say the changes he proposes do the trick and convince the Lib Dems in Parliament to pass the Bill. What's the net effect? Well, in the eyes of most of the public, the Bill is damaged goods and very bad for the NHS. So rather than being the man who saved the NHS - Nick could end up being labelled as the man who killed it.

And thirdly, as this rather good piece in the Telegraph makes clear - even if these (in the words of No. 10) non significant clarifications and reassurances are delivered - are we any happier with the Bill?

Nick. It's not too late. Take the advice of the man who came up with the idea at the heart of the Lansley reforms in the first place - and who now wants it dropped.

Kill the Bill

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