By Tim Hardy
To celebrate their victory over democracy, evidence-based policy and common sense, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have let slip that the £20 billion in cuts they’ve demanded for the NHS is only the start. There is far worse to come.
One NHS chief present during Mr Douglas’s presentation told the Financial Times: “The message was pretty stark … He said everyone thinks about this spending review period only – that’s the £20bn saving. But if you look at the next period and make certain assumptions about growth rates, it’s a much bigger figure – around £50bn if you look at it over the two spending review periods. It was quite bleak.”
These estimates will of course be based on the idea that Osborne’s tinkering will create an economic miracle so when snow, rain, the Jubilee, the Olympics, the mess Labour left us and a dozen other feeble excuses for the lack of economic recovery have been rolled out the cuts will need to be far, far heavier than even this catastrophic figure.
A lot of people are feeling very angry and upset right now. This is just rubbing our noses in it.
What we do next is uncertain but I think one thing is clear.
Many of us warned the Liberal Democrats that they would be destroyed if they backed the Conservatives on these chaotic, damaging reforms of the NHS. We now have to make good on our promise. How we do this tactically without handing too much power to the Conservatives will need to be worked out but this party of dangerous, self-deluding, Tory-enablers needs to be taken off the political map before they can do any more harm.
Cameron is making changes beyond Margaret Thatcher’s wildest dreams with Nick Clegg riding shotgun.