So the “listening exercise” is announced to a most embarrassed Andrew Lansley looking over his shoulder at the cavernous abyss that is where his political career is heading. That is, it would be heading if it was not for the fact that the extent of talent on the benches of the conservative party are so whoeful that he will cling on by his fingernails.
The fight back has begun on the NHS proposals lead by David Cameron and his buddy Nick Clegg. An unlikely dynamic duo coming to the rescue of Mr Lansley.
Just over 2 months ago Mr Clegg announced that the NHS reforms WERE in the Lib Dem manifesto, and was not a dishonest manifestation of the coalition agreement. Claiming credit in January does not now seem such a good idea!
Today Mr Clegg has been on television doing the rounds insisting that he WILL LISTEN and that the NHS is SAFE with the coalition and it will not be PRIVATISED.
The problem is of course, where as a year ago people were falling over themselves to believe Nick and listen to his sincerity, no one gives two figs for it now. How can you trust someone that has so obviously gone against what he told the electorate was his principle over Tuition fees??
David Cameron has recognised the enormous hole the government has dug itself, or rather Andrew Lansley has been digging for about 7 years!
The problem is, they say they will be listening, yet at the same time they tell us that there is no other choice than to enact these major reforms. They also tell us that the substantive policy remains and that they will listen to GENUINE concerns.
So is this a real case of the coalition listening and changing their policies in accordance with the concerns of professionals and the public or is it a filibuster, to delay the inevitable, to play for time and tell us again and again why their proposals are the only ones on the table?
This next 6 month period will be the defining time for the coalition and this NHS bill is one large component of this.
This week letters have gone out to those on disability benefits for re-assessment along with the spin that a third of claimants will be coming off the disability allowances. Writing the Daily Mail headlines for them.
Today the first of the cutting and raising of taxes comes into effect and by the end of the month many will be worse off. Yesterday, the high street gave a gloomy assessment of the state of high street sales and the OECD downgraded the UK growth forecast.
In May there are the council elections that the LIBDEMS will be lucky to get out of in one piece and then there is the AV election that could, just possibly hammer one nail into the coffin of either David Cameron or Nick Clegg.
At present the Labour Party does not need to do anything to rise up the electoral polling averages, which is a good job as they have little to offer in terms of policies yet.
I have a horrible suspicion that the NHS rethink will be simply the tweaking on the edges while finding ways of using language more palatable for the public to swallow. Savings not cuts we here now for the austerity program. Lets wait for the next spinning machine to kick in for the NHS.