It’s a sign of a government in trouble when a single, brief confrontation with a member of the public can spiral into a political crisis.
Ordinary people all over Britain will have cheered the sight of campaigner June Hautot haranguing health secretary Andrew Lansley at the end of Downing Street.
Now the debate about the NHS has moved from the meeting rooms of the British Medical Association and Westminster to the front pages of almost every newspaper.
People don’t trust the Tories with the NHS—and David Cameron has long known it.
Cameron wanted to inoculate himself against attack on the issue, so he took every opportunity to praise the NHS and claim his commitment to it.
Margaret Thatcher tried a similar tactic. She famously claimed that “the NHS is safe in our hands”, yet she will forever be associated with cuts.
The Tory Bullingdon boys in the cabinet attack the NHS because it represents everything they hate. It is publicly funded and free for everyone who needs healthcare.
They thought they could use the NHS bill to sneak their rich friends in the back door and hand them a piece of the action.
They want to bring profit and competition into the heart of public healthcare.
Now the Tories’ flagship bill could become their Poll Tax.
The opinion polls are a warning. The Tories are down four percentage points in a month to 36 percent.
Labour is now on 37 percent—one point ahead and up two points on last month.
Cameron cannot get out of this easily. He has gone so far with this bill he doesn’t want to be seen to do a U-turn. But carrying on means provoking more opposition.
The Tories are floundering on the NHS—so let’s make the most of it. This is just the time to step up the fight on every front. Protests have forced some of Britain’s biggest companies to back out of the Tories’ welfare scheme.
And hundreds of thousands of workers are organising to strike against attacks on their pensions on 28 March).
Their fight is not simply an industrial dispute over working conditions. Millions are terrified by the threat of the Tories’ austerity agenda and want to see it stopped.
Activists everywhere can make 28 March a day to bring together everyone who wants to resist the Tories’ attacks.