Tony Garnett • Blog Posts

“Two steps forward, one step back”: Vladimir Ilyich Hunt goes into enemy territory, The Guardian, and becomes Nye Bevan.

But never believe what they say. Watch what they do.

Gives us “the NHS is safe in our hands” riff. This from the people who are starving it; who promised before the election no top down restructuring, then when elected tore it apart, opening it up to more profit hungry Americans; who pretend concern as GP practices shut down and staff shortages stretch overstretched hospitals; as social care becomes less social and provides even less care. They cause all this and then deny the consequences have anything to do with them, even blaming the overworked staff. But then generously offer token, inadequate solutions.

All this is the drip, drip policy of making the NHS become unacceptable to the public. Then sit back and wait for the public to demand a different model. Time to step in and offer the private sector. Just elected politicians responding flexibly and efficiently to voters concerns. The Tory way.

It’s all going to plan, providing most people don’t recognise the plan. Then they might stop it in its tracks. So say one thing and do another: every stage magician’s mantra, learned by politicians on their introduction course.

When you hear them speak – so sincere, so moved by the dedicated doctors and nurses who cared for their sick child, so grateful – you know they are odds on to win a BAFTA. Doubting their sincerity is just cynicism – worse, paranoia.

Until you add up what they have already done, from Blair onwards, and see its trajectory.

Then you wake up. These people really are doing the unthinkable.

But like the famous frog immersed in gradually heated water until it scalds to death, we refuse to believe anything irreversible is happening.