Tories, confusion and reality

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This piece was first posted by Peter May on Progressive Pulse, which I publish, and I thought well worth sharing here:

This is an interesting piece, from The Spectator’s James Forsyth, on how he thinks this pandemic will change the Tory Party. Even if he’s only half right, the future might not be quite as bleak as it looked.

Covid-19, by showing that no hospital is an island, has accelerated the move away from the Lansley reforms issued by the coalition government. ‘We’re going back to more of the Nye Bevan model, where the Health Secretary could hear the bed pans clanging on the ward floor,’ says one cabinet member. This crisis also means the end of NHS independence. It will now be run from Whitehall as a system.

I cannot understand how anyone with even a shared brain cell thought that a hospital was ever an island or that the Lansley Health and Social Care Act was anything but a disastrous step backward. And as for a Conservative cabinet member even mentioning Nye Bevan…

The piece continues in a surprisingly (for progressives) optimistic vein :

Coronavirus will also make the Tories deal with an issue that they have avoided since it cost Theresa May her majority in 2017: social care. As one government source puts it: ‘If this doesn’t trigger action on social care, nothing will.’ Allies of the Prime Minister believe he now has ‘the leeway to act on it’.

This period will alter how the Tory party defines who is, and isn’t, a key worker. The points-style immigration system that the government devised at the beginning of the year, in crude terms, equated value with wages. But the lockdown has been a reminder that many of those who make the country function are on relatively low pay. There is a sense in government that the policy might have to adjust to this reality.

I’m a bit wary of the ‘might’ in the last sentence. It does rather suggest that their policies had previously not been adjusted to reality.

He concludes by mentioning that Rishi Sunak said that everything the government has done during this crisis has been motivated by the ‘simple idea that we depend on each other’. 

You don’t say. It is remarkable that he thought it not a statement of the bleeding obvious, but an ‘idea’.

Next, they’ll be telling us that Brexit was a mistake…


I have one point to add: we will know they are serious when they defer Brexit