Is Labour being marginalised in the NHS stand-off?

Is Labour being marginalised in the NHS stand-off?

How do the reds get a look in when it’s a Blue-Yellow spat?

There’s a poignant piece by Sunny Hundal on Liberal Conspiracy about the challenges for Labour when all the political focus is on the coalition partners.

He wrote: “At 9am yesterday morning, Labour shadow health secretary John Healey gave a speech calling for the NHS bill to be scrapped because it essentially meant the end of the NHS..At around 11am Nick Clegg gave a press conference and pretty much did just that; saying it would most likely have to go back to the House of Commons for a debate. This sequence of events not only highlights the problems Labour have, but the coming battle over NHS ‘red lines’.

The Labour problem is simply this: John Healey’s speech in the morning was ignored by most of the national media…because Healey said nothing new and partly because the media is much more interested in Libdem-Conservative fights over the NHS than what Labour is saying. In a sense, Libdems have positioned themselves to become the de-facto opposition on the NHS rather than Labour…”

The challenge, of course, for any opposition is that they cannot “do” – they can only call for things or attack – so getting coverage is invariably a challenge. Inevitably the media focus is generally on the key players and if the argument, as in this case, is between those who can affect the outcome then inevitably what Labour says is not going to get much attention.

Hundal concludes that this all presents a big tactical problem for Labour who are seen to be doing little while real the opposition is coming from the Lib Dems.

Mike Smithson

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