“A week is a long time in politics!” was Harold Wilson’s famous dictum. Less than 48 hours since my last post and the publication of the star-sprinkled Guardian letter last Saturday there are sudden signs of movement on the NHS (Reinstatement) Bill in the Labour camp.
The Socialist Health Association, longtime opponents of the Bill and rumoured horse-whisperers in Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander’s ear, voted 30-1 in favour of the Bill on Saturday. Shadow Health team member Andrew Gwynne MP has said that Labour is “moving towards backing the Bill”.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has apparently now publicly re-confirmed his support for the Bill. The Shadow Health team have agreed to attend its Second Reading and debate next Friday, giving some weight to the proceedings. And there have apparently been meetings between Jeremy Corbyn, Heidi Alexander and Caroline Lucas.
Whilst all this may not be A Whole Lotta Shakin’ it feels more than Corbyn and McDonnell just Dad dancing. A scent of hope is in the air amongst campaigners I’ve spoken to.
Here’s the piece Our NHS Can’t Afford Privatisation which I was asked to do for the E-zine OpenDemocracy. It references a revealing letter from a former lifelong Conservative member of my local 38 Degrees group.
Flipping the privateers’ mantra ‘We Can’t Afford the NHS’ was a fillip. It’s attracting a fair amount of attention since Caroline Lucas tweeted it.