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Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat(Conservative) coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

The UK Conservative – Liberal-Democrat (Conservative) coalition government has lost its appeal against publishing the NHS risk register. There is a further appeal available to the government. It is expected that the government will make that further appeal – it is desperate to both prevent and delay publication of the risk register.

Royal College of Surgeons condemns NHS reforms

Surgeons stop short of calling for health and social care bill to be scrapped, offering small crumb of comfort to Andrew Lansley

Surgeons have condemned the coalition’s NHS shakeup but stopped short of demanding the scrapping of the health and social care bill.

An extraordinary general meeting of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) passed a highly critical motion on Thursday night saying the bill would damage the NHS.

But the college bucked the recent trend within the medical community by rejecting a call for it to move to a position of outright opposition to the bill by seeking its withdrawal.

The move will bring a small amount of comfort for the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, as he steers the troubled legislation through what he hopes are its final stages this month. Other major medical organisations, such as the British Medical Association and royal colleges representing nurses, midwives and other health professionals, have called for the government to abandon its plans and devise new policies for the NHS in England.

The RCS’s decision means that opponents of the bill cannot claim the entire medical establishment is united in its plea for the government to abandon its plans. A total of 176 surgeons attended the meeting at the college’s London headquarters.

By a majority of 101 to 70 they agreed that the bill would “damage the NHS and widen healthcare inequalities, with detrimental effects on education, training and patient care in England”.

But members held back from the dramatic step of backing its withdrawal. While 76 agreed that the college should “publicly call for withdrawal of the health and social care bill”, 99 disagreed.


How the Orange Bookers took over the Lib Dems

What Britain now has is a blue-orange coalition, with the little-known Orange Book forming the core of current Lib Dem political thinking. To understand how this disreputable arrangement has come about, we need to examine the philosophy laid out in The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism, edited by David Laws (now the Chief Secretary to the Treasury) and Paul Marshall. Particularly interesting are the contributions of the Lib Dems’ present leadership.

Published in 2004, the Orange Book marked the start of the slow decline of progressive values in the Lib Dems and the gradual abandonment of social market values. It also provided the ideological standpoint around which the party’s right wing was able to coalesce and begin their march to power in the Lib Dems. What is remarkable is the failure of former SDP and Labour elements to sound warning bells about the direction the party was taking. Former Labour ministers such as Shirley Williams and Tom McNally should be ashamed of their inaction.

Clegg and his Lib Dem supporters have much in common with David Cameron and his allies in their philosophical approach and with their social liberal solutions to society’s perceived ills. The Orange Book is predicated on an abiding belief in the free market’s ability to address issues such as public healthcare, pensions, environment, globalisation, social and agricultural policy, local government and prisons.

The Lib Dem leadership seems to sit very easily in the Tory-led coalition. This is an arranged marriage between partners of a similar background and belief. Even the Tory-Whig coalition of early 1780s, although its members were from the same class, at least had fundamental political differences. Now we see a Government made up of a single elite that has previously manifested itself as two separate political parties and which is divided more by subtle shades of opinion than any profound ideological difference.

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