I don't often quote Conservative Home here, but this morning they've put out the following blog and according to many sources have done so at the request of members of the Cabinet. When the heartland of the Tories is now blogging against NHS reform I think its days are numbered:
The NHS was long the Conservative Party’s Achilles heel. David Cameron’s greatest political achievement as Leader of the Opposition was to neutralise health as an issue. The greatest mistake of his time as Prime Minister has been to put it back at the centre of political debate.
Many Conservatives think that the NHS needs fundamental reform but for far-reaching reform to succeed certain pre-conditions must be met. The public needs to have been persuaded that substantial change is necessary. The Government cannot be distracted by other consuming projects but its best brains must be focused and single-minded in ensuring the policy’s success. The Whitehall machine needs to be prepared and co-operative. The Health Secretary needs to enjoy significant goodwill amongst NHS staff and possess exceptional communication skills. Few - perhaps none - of those preconditions exist.
ConservativeHome supports the Government’s radicalism on schools, welfare and the deficit. We’d like to see much more ambition on competitiveness and changing Britain’s relationship with Europe. The NHS Bill is not just a distraction from all of this but potentially fatal to the Conservative Party's electoral prospects. It must be stopped before it's too late.
Of course I disagree with that agenda: it's just not what we need. But I do agree, NHS reform has to stop now before it's too late.
But if the government does stop them the clear evidence that these people are unfit to govern will be there for all to see as it was when they crashed on economic policy in 1992 and from then on their days are numbered. But it looks like even the Tories think that would be better than carry on on with NHS reform now. What an indictment of their own incompetence.