Redwood disowns his own NHS pamphlet!


4:45 pm - June 3rd 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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Wow, this is a surprise.

This morning I published a pamphlet that John Redwood and Oliver Letwin had written for the CPS think-tank in 1982 on how the NHS could be privatised.

Do Redwood and Letwin still stand by their claims then?

It looks like they’ve been told to distance themselves from their radical pasts.

The Guardian’s NHS live-blog asked Redwood for a comment and he replied:

I co authored a pamphlet with Oliver Letwin in January 1988. It did not set out my own view of sensible reform then, but an agreed set of questions and ideas with Oliver. It most certainly does not represent my views today on the NHS, which I have set out over the intervening 23 years and have developed and adapted as I have gained new insights and in response to the public mood and the evolving achievements and problems of the NHS.

I support free health care at the point of use, a choice of provider or doctor where possible and the other health reforms that improve patient care set out in the current Bill before Parliament.

You can almost hear the sound of the back-tracking, probably ordered from the cabinet in case it turns into a big row.

Thanks to the Guardian for chasing this up.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


A decade ago, a person says something.

In the intervening years, they (possibly) change their mind.

Do they get applauded for that – or vilified by the very people who should applaud their change of mind?

This is why it is so damn difficult to get a politician to say anything concrete in public – if they later change their mind, they are attacked for being normal and rethinking their options on things.

@1 This is Liberal Conspiracy and Sunny will spin this as childishly as he can. I’m surprised that, considering the spin in the last thread was that the 1988 paper was the current Bill in toto, that it hasn’t been spun as “Redwood disowns government policy Tory splits shockhorrorgasp”.

Do they get applauded for that – or vilified by the very people who should applaud their change of mind

You’re the same guys who say ‘har har’ when Labour admit they got something wrong, right?

Anyway – we reported on Redwood changing his mind. Make of that what you will, just stop whining on this blog. Its a news story. If you don’t like it, please read something else.

Redwood and Letwin were part of the Conservative Party Policy Unit (in 1988 Redwood was an MP). Redwood says that he has changed his mind since writing that document, but clearly at the time he thought that it should be policy.

The question I would like answered is what are people in Conservative HQ doing right now? Are they producing similarly reprehensible policies hopeful that Cameron might endorse them?

On that subject. In February Cameron wrote a piece for the Telegraph which can be summarised as the great sell off of public services. He promised a white paper. But there has been no white paper and it is now rumoured that there will be no white paper.

So what has happened? The only influence that could persuade Cameron against a policy is the Treasury. Could it possibly be that the Treasury have looked at the plans and pointed out that the private sector is not necessarily cheaper? That Cameron’s plan to “shrink the state” will actually cost more?

“You can almost hear the sound of the back-tracking…”

After 23 years? Seriously? Sunny, when was the last time you changed your own political allegiance? What was the Labour party talking about in 1988 – would you like to hold them to account also?

More to the point, what were your own views? Have you changed any of them since?

Man Holds Different Opinions Today To Those He Held 23 Years Ago

There was uproar across the land today as it was revealed a politician has admitted he does not have the same opinion as he did when he was over twenty years younger.

Sunny Hundal, the editor-in-chief of the popular Liberal Conspiracy blog, was responsible for this extraordinary exposé. He said, “We discovered something the man wrote two decades ago and we published it this morning. By this afternoon the man had confessed he had changed his mind in the intervening years.”

Mr Hundal added, “How can we put our trust in in people who backtrack like this?”

Given most of those recommendations are being put in place now, its amusing to hear people say that the paper is irrelevant. Fair enough, keep drinking the kool aid.

The trouble is that the tories have made a big thing about saying they have changed. But if you look at what they are doing, they have not changed at all.

It is no good Call me Dave standing there and saying “I’ve changed,” because his word does not mean shit. He said before the election he had no plans to raise VAT ( the tories favourite tax) and then only 2 months into power up went VAT.

Call me Dave tried to tell us that by sticking a windmill on the side of his house he had become green. Well, that did not last long. Has Goldsmith resigned yet by the way because of govt policies? Of course not, because it was all a sham.

So when the tories say they love the NHS. I say LIAR, LIAR, LIAR.

“Man Holds Different Opinions Today To Those He Held 23 Years Ago”

I take it Redwood voted for the current health bill, which means he has not changed at all.

Tory plans are saying up is down and black is white. Same as it always is. Oh and saying the word choice a million times.

10. redwood_is_a_twat

REDWOOD IS A TWAT
REDWOOD IS A TWAT
REDWOOD IS A TWAT
REDWOOD IS A TWAT
REDWOOD IS A TWAT
REDWOOD IS A TWAT
REDWOOD IS A TWAT
REDWOOD IS A TWAT
REDWOOD IS A TWAT
REDWOOD IS A TWAT

11. redwood_is_a_twat

I really hate him

@11

Let’s not overlook that John Redwood was the shadow minister for Deregulation in the run up to the financial crisis.

13. Charlieman

Did any of the latest intake of MPs say anything of smut or political interest in their entire existences?

That is a separate question from whether they have done anything useful in their lives.

Should it be possible for a former Monday Club activist to become Speaker of the House of Commons?

The concept that MPs re-think is unusual in our age, but it is one that we should celebrate.

“The concept that MPs re-think is unusual in our age, but it is one that we should celebrate.”

I agree – there is that illuminating example of Tony Blair’s 22-page letter to Michael Foot in 1982:

“In the 22-page letter, the 29-year-old Mr Blair tells then Labour leader Michael Foot how reading Marx had ‘irreversibly altered’ his outlook. He also praises Tony Benn, agreeing with the left-winger’s analysis that Labour’s right-wing was bankrupt.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/5081798.stm

@ 10:

Well, that showed the Tories, eh? I had been an ardent Conservative, but after reading your sophisticated and well-thought-out argument, I’m off to join Labour instead.

@ 7:

As far as I can see, the only connexion is people with similar ideologies coming up with similar solutions to similar problems. The pamphlet might be interesting as an example of the sorts of policies which free-market Conservatives would advocate, but to claim that this particular pamphlet is “underpinning” the proposed reforms is surely pushing it.

“I say LIAR, LIAR, LIAR.”

sally (#8). Greetings from the founder member of your fan club! Is this what you had in mind?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQFwxw57NBI

18. Charlieman

@14. Bob B: “I agree – there is that illuminating example of Tony Blair’s 22-page letter to Michael Foot in 1982…”

Thanks for the laugh, Bob. The Tony Blair story that gets me in kittens is Francis Wheen’s description of the Blair family Inca induction ceremony in _How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World_.

The fact is that other west European countries have state-run social insurance schemes to cover personal healthcare costs. But they don’t have state-owned and centrally managed and financed infrastructures of hospitals to provide healthcare “free at the point of delivery”.

On the evidence of patient outturns and satisfaction ratings, west Europeans mostly don’t have inferior national healthcare systems. But none of that justifies the current government-made hiatus in reforming the NHS, which was aptly described thus in the editorial in the British Medical Journal on 21 January 2011:

“What do you call a government that embarks on the biggest upheaval of the NHS in its 63 year history, at breakneck speed, while simultaneously trying to make unprecedented financial savings? The politically correct answer has got to be: mad. . . ”
http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d408.full

20. David Hodd

@ 6″UKLiberty” – Your follow up article will read:

Man Holds Different Opinions Today To Those He Held 23 Years Ago – An apology

Redwood said: the CPS paper “did not set out my own view of sensible reform then”. So they were not his views.

The views proposed in them must therefore have been Letwins.

The Man from Vulcan is not broad shouldered enough to say “these were views I once promoted, and which have strong parallels with the policies in the current bill that I voted for.”

Crucially Redwood has yet to distance himself from Lansley’s present efforts to enact Letwin’s views Redwood put his name to 23 years ago but did not agree with.

Altogether now:
“Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad.
Tra môr yn fur i’r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i’r hen iaith barhau.”

– if you don’t know the words, just mumble along, and hope no one notices…


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Worried John Redwood disowns his own NHS pamphlet! http://bit.ly/mCXD0Y

  2. sunny hundal

    Hah! I think John Redwood's been ordered to disown his paper (and we published) on NHS privatisation! http://bit.ly/mCXD0Y

  3. John Edginton

    Hah! I think John Redwood's been ordered to disown his paper (and we published) on NHS privatisation! http://bit.ly/mCXD0Y

  4. sunny hundal

    John Redwood MP: "[The pamphlet] did not set out my own view of sensible reform". Him and Letwin were mucking about? http://bit.ly/mCXD0Y

  5. Lanark

    Worried John Redwood disowns his own NHS pamphlet! http://bit.ly/mCXD0Y

  6. Dave McDave

    Worried John Redwood disowns his own NHS pamphlet! http://bit.ly/mCXD0Y

  7. Revealed: the pamphlet underpinning Tory plans to privatise the NHS | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] Redwood has now distanced himself from his own […]

  8. James Leppard

    Hah! I think John Redwood's been ordered to disown his paper (and we published) on NHS privatisation! http://bit.ly/mCXD0Y

  9. James Goodhew

    RT @libcon: Redwood disowns his own NHS pamphlet! http://t.co/C3MVyAG

  10. Redwood disowns his own NHS pamphlet! | Pan Heads and Dead Heads Rock On

    […] Source: http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/06/03/worried-john-redwood-disowns-his-own-nhs-pamphlet/ […]

  11. Casper

    @MaxPemberton @parliament Of course he hasn't – his views are well known http://t.co/Nc5ng1qU





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