Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

The votes yesterday in the Lords in favour of the NHS bill were, paradoxically, a sign that the government knows it's in some trouble. A turnout of 330 in favour of the bill isn't happenstance, not just some Lords who happened to be stopping by on their way to lunch; it involved whisking people down to London from the furthest reaches, by the ankles if necessary, to ensure the bill limped through.

In the long run this will make absolutely no difference to what will become the Health and Social Care Act, of course, as almost any changes that noble Lords manage to inflict on the bill, and I can't stress this enough,


This will be one of the occasions when, barring the merest tweak, Parliament acts essentially as a sluice running from the Cabinet room to the statute book. It's no consolation to know that in the even longer run, thanks to their loyal behaviour over this, the fate of the Lib Dems will very probably mirror that of the NHS.

Earl Howe, the Tory minister in the Lords tasked with seeing this through, is almost certain to become a bogeyman in some quarters over the next few months. This will be undeserved as he is a genuinely decent and honest man, who certainly believes in some of what his government tells him to say. For example, he honestly means it when he says,
Earl Howe: The bill does not introduce a free market for all. It does not change competition law or widen the scope of competition law. It does introduce a framework by which competition can be effectively managed,
despite the fact that this is basically saying, "Of course we're not driving over a cliff. We're going to park safely and firmly with our wheels hanging over the edge."


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 13th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
It does somewhat boggle my mind that the Lib-Dems appear to be quite cheerfully pressing the self-destruct button on their party, and will go down in history as the party that enabled the Tories to destroy the NHS.
Oct. 13th, 2011 03:46 pm (UTC)
Well said indeed. Sluice or sewer.
Oct. 13th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
Will the changes simply be reversed in the Commons though? Both Houses have to agree the Bill, and if the Commons (that is, the Coaltion majority in the Commons) overturn changes that their Lordships feel strongly about, wouldn't we end up with ping pong?

Ultimately, if the Lords dug their heels in on certain changes, couldn't the Bill end up being withdrawn and put through again, with a view to using the Parliament Act?

You'll have a better feel for this, as you're there. You know these people. Are there certain changes that the Lords might make they'd be willing to stick to their guns on, a la the 90 days detention "incident"?
Oct. 13th, 2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
The answer to your last question will become clearer in committee, probably on day 1 (of 200).

Don't forget, though, that the power of the coalition and the backwoodsmen means that the votes won't be anywhere near as close as they were over counterterrorism. Even the most fervent rearguard action is likely to lead to no more than a single ping.

And if some extraordinary event led to the opposition carrying the day, as you say, the whole thing would be forced through with the Parliament Act. Yes, that would inevitably damage goodwill, reputations, the usual channels etc—but with this acrimonious coalition, surely that damage is done already...
(Deleted comment)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

December 2015
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner