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Who is briefing? - The Ex-Communicator

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February 11th, 2012


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08:28 am - Who is briefing?
I often have a feeling about political secrets, but I can't think who are the three Ministers who are anonymously briefing against NHS reform to ConservativeHome blog.
Speaking to ConservativeHome, three Tory Cabinet ministers have now also rung the alarm bell. One was insistent the Bill must be dropped. Another said Andrew Lansley must be replaced. Another likened the NHS reforms to the poll tax.

One is tempted to think they must be the more centrist and moderate Ministers, like Clarke. But Clarke isn't an anonymous comment kind of guy. It's not Warsi because she has made an angry response to the article. It might be Hague as part of some elaborate manoeuvre which he thinks is terribly clever. It might be Pickles because as token working-class person he'll be the first to get thrown to the wolves if there are any repercussions, so he might be feeling nervous*.

In this Guardian article Michael White speculates on the identity of the sekrit critics. He says one might be Owen Paterson, the Northern Ireland secretary (no idea). He also thinks it might be Michael Gove, who is just enough of a two-faced weasel to stick the knife in to his 'friend' even though he privately supports the abolition of the NHS. That would make him three-faced I suppose. Anyway, the speculation continues in the comments to that article with just about everyone being mentioned.

Meanwhile, you can sign the petition on the Government's website urging them to drop the NHS 'Reform' bill. Follow this link. The number of signatures is currently at 63,272. I don't know how long it has been up. Thanks to kalypso_v for the link.

*Actually I guess Pickles will be second to be sacked after Lansley himself, who is a dead man walking. Though Michael White thinks Cameron will keep him alive until just before the next election so he can spectacularly sacrifice him then to propitiate the electorate. What gruesome imagery comes to mind.

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:nineveh_uk
Date:February 11th, 2012 09:15 am (UTC)
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I wondered if they'd decided that it wasn't viable to keep going, but they didn't want to say that, so theywere setting up Lansley as scapegoat "we would have done it, but he was incompetent and buggered if up, and so we've had to drop him and it".
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From:communicator
Date:February 11th, 2012 09:23 am (UTC)
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Yes, I think they may be setting him up. And when you put it so starkly, perhaps the briefing could have come from deep within Cameron's inner circle. Some comments on the Guardian article suggest Osborne. However it's a very risky strategy, because Cameron is exposed at the moment. hmmm. Don't know what to think.
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From:nwhyte
Date:February 11th, 2012 09:18 am (UTC)
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One extra point in favour of Patterson is that Tory loyalists are briefing against him anyway, to the point that it has even reached my ears in Brussels. He is considered to be out of his depth in general and the recent failure to merge the Northern Ireland Conservatives with the Ulster Unionist Party, which got no coverage in GB but made some waves in Northern Ireland and also, more importantly, within the Tory hierarchy, was seen as largely Patterson's debacle. People who are being briefed against are more likely to retaliate.

Who the other two are, I have no idea, except that White's exoneration of Clarke is so unconvincing that it almost reads as if White knows that Clarke is one of the three.
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From:communicator
Date:February 11th, 2012 09:24 am (UTC)
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Right, thanks for that about Patterson, because I don't really know anything about him at all. It sounds very plausible.
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From:mraltariel
Date:February 11th, 2012 09:33 am (UTC)
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Anyone in their right mind is briefing against Lansley, I should think. And Gove as well. ;-)

Lansley is a complete idiot. Botching these reforms means that the NHS is going to continue on its lurching journey to its ultimate collapse some time in the next 20-30 years. That's the slow-motion tragedy we've been watching for the past few decades, and that politicians of all kinds have been ignoring while they squawk at each from ideological perches divorced from the reality of health and social care in Britain.

In the current climate, it probably needs a Labour government to be able to reform it properly, though. But that means a Labour government with the balls to stand up to the vested interests, and face up to the reality of the operation of the NHS, unlike the last one.

20 years of working with the NHS makes me very, very angry. And I'm especially angry at the moment as yet another aged family member of mine is getting appalling treatment in an NHS hospital in Derby.

The NHS could be brilliant, and it isn't. Throwing money at it hasn't worked (surprise surprise), and Lansley has personally buggered up the latest opportunity to fix it.

As to whether he'll eventually get the boot? Probably, but he seems to have remarkable staying power. But why do you think Pickles is in the firing line? Even after this council-prayer nonsense, he's a 40-1 shot with Ladbrokes, same as Cameron and Osborne!
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From:communicator
Date:February 11th, 2012 09:39 am (UTC)
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The reason I think Pickles might be sacrificed is because he is working class, well he was 'born that way' anyway, and therefore easier to let go. Like the guy in the red shirt in Star Trek. I was thinking the prayer thing might be a way he is seeking to gain grass roots support.
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From:kalypso_v
Date:February 12th, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC)
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Cameron wants to hang on to his token working-class colleagues so he can say he understands their point of view. That was why he was desperate to keep Coulson, who was supposed to have a grasp of working-class opinion.
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From:communicator
Date:February 12th, 2012 06:51 pm (UTC)
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I think that's the kind of consideration that is nice to satisfy when the going is good, but when the chips are down a w/c man, like an ethnic minority person or a woman, is less painful to let go. Painful, but less painful than a true insider.
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From:katlinel
Date:February 11th, 2012 10:11 am (UTC)
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Maybe I've been watching too many political dramas on TV but when I read that Cameron expressed 'full confidence' in Lansley, that suggested to me that he was about to go.

The 38 Degrees campaign group have also launched a petition to drop the NHS Reform Bill, which currently has approx 501,000 signatures.
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From:communicator
Date:February 11th, 2012 11:58 am (UTC)
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I know: 'You have the PM's full confidence Andrew'. 'Oh great'.

Thank you for the link; I have signed that too.

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