Charles Moore, writing in the Telegraph:
Mr Cameron became Tory leader largely because he rightly recognised that his party needed to commit itself to public services. How could a party govern unless it could be trusted with health or schools? But he wrongly decided that this meant endorsing existing forms. In his first party conference speech as leader, in 2006, he said: “Tony Blair once explained his priority in three words: education, education, education. I can do it in three letters: NHS.”
Instead of endorsing what mattered – health care for all – Mr Cameron endorsed our particular system delivering it. It is the worst in the Western world. It is organised from the centre and run by the producers and the trade unions. The one thing it cannot do is what we all most want – to look at the whole patient and meet his or her medical needs. Anyone on a waiting list (currently 24 weeks in our area for a rheumatology appointment) experiences this. So does anyone elderly, or with an elderly relation. So do the queues in A and E, the sick who cannot get a GP at weekends; so did the dead in Mid Staffs or Barrow-in-Furness.
Out of a sense of their own weakness, the Conservatives put themselves in hock to the sort of service that a man like David Nicholson delivers. It was out of a similar vulnerability – in Labour’s case, about how to deal with capitalists – that Gordon Brown abased himself in front of the bankers. It has all gone wrong. As the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt rushes from studio to studio trying to get ahead of the story, you can tell by his hunted look that he sees this, too late.