Just when you thought the monster was dead, he rises in the fourth reel. So the Blairites are out in force supporting Cameron's National Health Service destruction (I can't bring myself to call them "reforms", an Orwellian deformation of the English language).
First David Miliband gives us the speech-that-never-was, and suddenly they're all emerging from under their stones. Tony Blair has been a major bulwark for Cameron, who quotes the filthy-rich warmonger willy-nilly, with some in his camp, notably Education Secretary Michael Gove, outing themselves as Blairite.
The Independent's Steve Richards wrote a blistering piece yesterday, headlined, "Blair's approval keeps Cameron safe". And, indeed, it does.
Blair appears to broadly support Cameron's public service reforms, and in his memoir argued in favour of George Osborne's contentious deficit-cutting strategy. ... His former health minister Lord Warner appeared on the Today programme on Tuesday to put the case for the Coalition's original NHS changes, conveying more evangelical zeal than Andrew Lansley did when he launched his partially doomed revolution. On the World Tonight on Tuesday, there was an illuminating discussion between another former adviser to Blair, Julian Le Grand, and the former Lib Dem MP Evan Harris. Harris noted that Le Grand's arguments were so close to Lansley's he was surprised Blair's adviser did not support the original plans. Meanwhile two of Blair's former ministerial allies, Alan Milburn and John Hutton, have worked or work on specific projects for Cameron. Both have been known to tell friends: "These people are Blairites." ... When [Ed] Miliband and others argue against cutting the deficit too quickly, he and George Osborne are armed with quotes from Blair's memoir supporting them.
Alan Milburn, another former Labour health minister under Blair, has supported the hated Andrew Lansley (also with his finger in the privatisation pie, being bankrolled by a major private health company) who's been charged with ripping up the NHS. What could possibly have moved the lefty who once ran the "Haze of Dope" bookshop to switch ideologies so drastically?
Entirely unrelated, Hugh Muir writes in today's Guardian Diary:
A broadside in the Telegraph from former health secretary Alan Milburn about the coalition's apparent loss of nerve over the health reforms. Nye Bevan himself would have been perplexed, said a furious Ally. "When I introduced private sector providers, some claimed it would be the end of the health service as we had known it. In fact, they strengthened it." In time, they strengthened the Milburn bank balances too. Milburn chairs the European Advisory Committee at Bridgepoint, a private equity group that makes a pretty penny out of private healthcare. Nothing wrong with that, though the Telegraph rant might have mentioned it. Helps him see the big picture.
I never liked Ed Balls due to his pandering to the immigration scapegoat, but he is fast looking like the only Labour contender to check the pillage by Blair's acolytes. Can someone please finish off the grinning monster for good?