After Mid Staffs, Labour’s NHS lies won’t fool voters

When Labour have a shadow health secretary with Andy Burnham’s credentials, it is hardly surprising that the latest ComRes poll shows that 22 percent of people say David Cameron is the party leader they most trust to manage the NHS, with Ed Miliband on 20 percent. Labour's lies aren't working

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Lost trust: Accusations of cover-ups have destroyed Labour's NHS credentials
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the commentator
On 4 January 2015 21:11

General election campaigns are always brutal, unpredictable and exhausting, which is why political parties tend to focus on a core issue, usually one where they have strong credentials.

Having halved the deficit, helped get 1.75million people into work and put Britain on the road to recovery, it is perfectly logical that David Cameron and the Conservative party are focussing on the economy. In contrast to this astute political judgement, the Labour party have chosen the NHS as its key theme -- using Andy Burnham as the face of the campaign.

Yes, that’s the same Andy Burnham who was running the Department of Health when it stopped the Care Quality Commission watchdog from releasing a damming report into failing hospitals just hours before it was due to be published in November 2009.

Burnham has denied claims of a cover up, but the delays on the report, due to be published before the general election, left many calling for his resignation.

When Labour have a shadow health secretary with Andy Burnham’s credentials, it is hardly surprising that the latest ComRes poll shows that 22 percent of people say David Cameron is the party leader they most trust to manage the NHS, with Ed Miliband on 20 percent.

Labour have long resorted to smears, falsehoods and deliberate lies about the NHS when they get desperate and run out of ideas. A good example of this is one of the taglines in their 27-page health propaganda dossier claiming the Conservatives will destroy the NHS within years.

It makes fascinating reading and can easily generate big headlines and hysteria in the left-wing press. The problem for Labour is that the public not only trust David Cameron to manage the NHS more than they do Ed Miliband, they know that Labour is lying.

David Cameron has not only ring-fenced the NHS budget from cuts, he has repeatedly made personal pledges about how precious the organisation is to him and his family.

Cameron’s commitment to the NHS has been proved time and time again. A perfect example of this was the announcement from Chancellor George Osborne who pledged an extra £2bn in his recent Autumn Statement. The announcement wrong-footed Labour strategists, forcing them on the defensive over a policy issue that is supposed to be home turf.

By selecting a topic on which they have proven themselves to be utterly negligent and at times dishonest, Labour is leaving itself wide open to attack. Many, many questions about Andy Burnham’s record as health secretary under the previous government have not been answered and the public have a right to know what he knew and when he knew it.

Labour’s narrative that the Conservatives have a secret agenda to run the NHS into the ground is neither factually accurate nor believed by the public.

If Labour really cared about the NHS, then they wouldn’t be frightening people that use it with lies, they’d be trying to improve it. For that reason, if none of the above, Labour will never be trusted to run the NHS again.

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