If you’re seeing attacks from Labour types on social media tonight, saying that we didn’t vote for their amendment which, amongst other things, called for the NHS to be protected in future trade deals, ignore them.
Political parties often do this. It’s a silly game and I don’t like it when we do it, too.
It goes like this.
You lay down an amendment that has a bit of good stuff in it, and you combine it with something that another party just isn’t going to go for. Then when they don’t vote for your amendment you go after them on social media.
Today Labour’s amendment read as follows;
At end add ‘but respectfully regrets that the Gracious Speech does not repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to restore a publicly provided and administered National Health Service and protect it from future trade agreements that would allow private companies competing for services who put profit before public health and that could restrict policy decisions taken in the public interest.’
Now I know that many, including me, in this party had concerns about the reforms in the 2012 Act. But there was some good stuff in there, on social care and on mental health, both issues very important to use.
So we didn’t vote for the amendment. However, we have good form on the NHS and trade deals. For a start, we have on very many occasions challenged the government on exactly this point. We do not want to see the NHS undermined by Donald Trump, thank you very much. Vince Cable used to challenge the government on this all the time.
Ed Davey said here that “we must make sure that the NHS is not up for grabs in any trade deal.”
Jo Swinson also talked about the danger to the NHS during the leadership campaign in an interview with the Standard.
At the time of the Brexit vote we had Obama. Now the world is much more unstable. There’s the rise of China, Putin, strong men leaders — do you want to be at the mercy of these superpowers? They aren’t going to be giving us great terms on a trade deal; there’s chlorinated chicken, the NHS is on the table. Frankly that is a cause for concern.
We need to be a wee bit careful when we are under social media attack from Labour or (or SNP types for that matter). We can be inclined to think they must somehow be right – when in fact the trolls are at best grossly misrepresenting the facts. It is hardly surprising that Labour want to throw some mud to deflect attention from the fact that their MPs helped get the awful Withdrawal Agreement Bill over the line last night.
They want to detract attention from the fact that Labour is moving towards an election rather than a People’s Vote.
They want to throw a dead cat on the table to distract attention from the fact that Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn met today to discuss how Labour could help back another programme motion that would ultimately foist Brexit on an unwilling public.
So don’t fall for it.
If we don’t vote for opposition motions, there is usually a good reason for it.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings