Tribalism won’t save our NHS from the Conservatives

Posted on: 25th October 2019

NHSStrewth! Here we go again…

Liberal Democrats DO NOT support the privatisation of the NHS and will fight Tory attempts to put profit before patient care.

I spent long enough fighting a Labour Government which rolled out the red carpet for the private sector in the NHS and fighting the Tories during those awful Coalition years to take lectures from anyone on this subject. I stand on my record.

Distracted by Parliamentary froth?

However, cleverly put-together material has been produced by some Labour anti Lib Dem attack-dog groups which are attempting to distract attention from their own internal squabbles on Brexit. Apparently it helps to galvanise their troops when morale falls. (The Tories must be laughing behind their hands!).

They refer to an inconsequential vote in Parliament on Wednesday. Regrettably this was one of the less seemly sides of Parliament. You’ll have noticed the vote didn’t generate any mainstream news coverage. That’s because it was part of the Parliamentary pantomime of froth and tribalism.

Cunning plan

Labour tabled a motion which the Liberal Democrats would have been happy to support in principle but they cunningly added an element (the repealing of legislation installed by the LDs) which made it impossible and contradictory to vote for. As it happens I would quite happily have voted for it, because I voted against the Health & Social Care Act 2012.

But it was a meaningless vote, even if it succeeded, it wouldn’t have worked. It was purely a motion calculated to cause political embarrassment for narrow tribal ends, not to protect the NHS.

Bigger picture

Your vote in a general election is for your local MP. And here, if I don’t win, you’ll end up with the same Tory MP. And that would be the worst outcome for our NHS. So if you’re put off voting for me because of it Labour will once again be helping the Tories. that’s all.

I’m sure I agree with many of the anti-Tory labour tormentors on most things. And yes may disagree with Jo Swinson on some matters (and I’m always prepared to say so when I do). But we should fight the battles we can win and attempt to contain the damage on those we can’t. The motion wasn’t about the NHS. It was a cunning ploy to embarrass the Liberal Democrats. And to feed the tribalist narrative.

Let’s campaign against tribalism

This is the part of politics which drives sane rational people away. And it has certainly driven me to become very semi-detached from tribal loyalty. Some Party faithful seem to believe they should behave like football supporters or behold their party like a religion for which nothing short of evangelical idolatry will do! This just has me screaming for the exit door

So, please don’t be distracted by this froth. I’ve not changed my strong opposition to the Tory view of the NHS (the Party let us not forget who voted against the creation of the NHS).

This link to fullfact may also help: