By Tim Hardy
Time is running out for the NHS but it is not too late to stop the Health and Social Care Bill. Lord Owen is calling on the Lords to delay the third reading until the NHS Risk Register has been published. On Tuesday, Labour have called a Commons debate in support of the 170,000 people who signed the epetition demanding the government drop the bill since the coalition are refusing the public the debate they are owed.
Clegg is not only destroying the health service, he is condemning his party to oblivion. His calls to ignore the past must be resisted. Liberal Democrats must own up to their responsibilities in government and push for this bill to be dropped before it is too late.
Editor of The Liberal magazine, Benjamin Ramm, reacted with scorn to today’s decision not to debate dropping the bill at conference:
It is ironic that the outcome of this crucial vote was determined by AV – electoral reform being the party’s holy grail. In supporting this Bill, Lib Dem activists have opted for armageddon: they are the architects of their own undoing.
This vote, which looks like cowardice – and makes a mockery of Tim Farron’s claim that the Lib Dems are the sole party of conscience – will have serious consequences for activists; if not in the long-term (when the extent of privatisation becomes evident), then in the short term, starting with local elections in May.
If Clegg does not want to look at the Juggernaut bearing down in the rear-view mirror, then his passengers might want to consider getting out.