PMQs: Cancel that firing squad!

We started yesterday with warm congraulations to Her Majesty on attaining the sixtieth anniversary of her accession to the throne.

For the second week running at Prime Minister’s Questions, Ed Miliband’s inquiries were on health reform. He had one of his most successful sessions so far, during which we found out that David Cameron doesn’t want Andrew Lansley to be taken out and shot.

Miliband was on excellent form and, by golly by gosh, at one point he almost ascended to the John Smith “hotels fall into the sea” level of stinging wit, with this passage:

Isn’t this interesting? The Prime Minister says that this is all about reform, but even the Tory Reform Group has come out against these proposals. It comes to something when even the Tories do not trust the Tories on the NHS.

It sounded better than it looks written on the page.

There were hordes of traded statistics. Cameron held his ground well. But I can’t help but think that the government is battening down the hatches and preparing to sail on through flak and storms to get the Health and Social Care Bill, come what may, on goat skin to the Diamond Monarch for her signature.

Liberal Democrat questions

Sir Menzies Campbell asked what confidence we can have that unilateral intervention by Russia will put an end to the terrible violence in Syria. “Very little” – was the PM’s response.

Gordon Birtwistle highlighted the success of the Work programme since it was introduced in Burnley in October 2010. The town has gone from 66% of people economically active to 75% in that time.

Unusual event of the week

Nick Clegg nodded. He only does that once every blue moon these days. On this occasion it was to indicate his support for the sovereign. Safe nodding territory there.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is currently taking a break from his role as one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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2 Comments

  • •Nik Darlington….

    I love your conclusion that, an article that starts…”For the good of the NHS, Andrew Lansley must admit defeat”, and ends..,.”For the good of the NHS, Andrew Lansley must admit defeat and head to the backbenches”….
    is pro reform.

    The idea that the paragraph..
    .”We ought not consider the NHS purely in financial terms because the benefits to the nation’s health and well-being must outweigh the mere cost. Yet that is not an argument for it to remain unchallenged or unreformed. The NHS must be continually analysed and rationalised to ensure that it is fit for purpose in the modern world”…..is pro reform, for ideological reasons, would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious…

    The paragraph is “Mom and Apple pie”. No organisation, be it public or private, could argue that it should, “remain unchallenged or unreformed” because that would mean it was considered perfect.

    The article is wholly ‘against’ this NHS reform and that is what matters…

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