Or should Utley have left it well alone?
There’s an interesting attack on David Cameron in the Mail which I’m surprised has not got more attention. For the paper’s sometimes controversial columnist, Tom Utley takes the Tory leader to task over the why he uses his family, including his late son, Ivan, in the NHS argument.
Utley’s focus is on those who argue about the NHS by reducing everything to their personal experiences.
“..I find it deeply depressing, however, when the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition stoops to the same level of argument. Again and again, he invokes Ivan’s treatment to underline his commitment to the current structure of the NHS, and to try to silence those in his own party who believe there may be better models that would deliver a more effective service, more cheaply, to everyone who needs it.
He was at it again yesterday, appealing brazenly to our hearts rather than our heads, when he said of his determination to increase spending on the service: ‘It’s not to do with ideology, or philosophy, or any abstract political theory…
As he’s well aware, there are better ways of running a health service. It’s just that he’s made a political calculation that the British people are too sentimentally attached to this unwieldy monster to listen to reason..So he’s chosen simply to duck the need for a radical overhaul – and to slap down anyone in his party who is honest enough to rock the electoral boat by suggesting alternatives to the NHS.”
The general point is a fair one – but I wonder whether Utley’s approach today is wrong and not in good taste. He’s also failed to deal with any of the substantive points that Cameron talked about yesterday. Isn’t he doing what he accuses Cameron of doing?