Podcast: Labour accused of hypocrisy by former MP
PUBLISHED: 06:30 31 March 2015 | UPDATED: 11:44 31 March 2015
vÉÄövÇ¬©Archant Photographic 2008
Former Labour MP Ian Gibson has accused the party of hypocrisy over its accusations that the Conservatives will privatise the NHS.
Speaking during the first EDP election podcast, Dr Gibson said the party’s message on privatisation of the NHS was “too unsubtle”, pointing out that the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital private finance initiative had been signed under a Labour government’s watch.
“‘We are against privatisation’ - It is too unsubtle. It is not true. They were for privatisation. They privatised the air traffic controllers. I remember those issues. Privatisation was on the agenda.”
Andy Burnham has said in speeches that forced privatisation was entering new territory and the David Cameron had never been given the permission of the public to put the NHS up for sale in that way.
Dr Gibson described how he had travelled back from Germany to vote against Labour’s foundation trust proposals - which saw decision making in the NHS devolved from central government.
He said: “The health service has never been perfect. My wife was a nurse and she trained at the N&N and was a sister at the old West [the former West Norwich Hospital in Bowthorpe Road]. She said there were always complaints about not enough money and not enough staff. The food was wrong. It is the same. What you need is people who are determined to make it work and I don’t mean managers with MBAs...I mean people who are steeped in the health service, maybe an ex-nurse, who understands how to treat patients when you are on the wards, and how to get patients out of the wards and get social services...”
Antony Little, a Conservative party campaigner who stood in Norwich South for the Conservatives in 2005 and 2010, and also took part in the podcast, agreed that there were too many career politicians.
“We don’t have enough MPs with public sector backgrounds, I mean proper experience, front line NHS. Proper frontline teachers, proper frontline policemen. He said that there were many ex-spads [special advisors], lawyers and academics.
But added: “We don’t seem to have a lot that go in with that front line experience.”
He also said that often those who did win power were not put into the relevant departments.
Dr Gibson said he thought people were longing for candidates with some “life in them and some ideas”. “They are just under discipline and not coming up with anything radical about what they would do with Norwich.”
Adding: “I think there is a great discipline now.”
He described how he and Robin Cook were told off for being “off message” on Radio Norfolk.
“When you are human being you do things that people pick up on and that is what makes you more interesting. After all, I think Miliband the other night, the Hell and all this John Wayne stuff, and I watched Lucy Powell yesterday too being tough on Andrew Neil - ‘being tough on Andrew Neil - cor that is daring’. Somebody put her up to that and she did very well.”
To view the EDP podcast go to our general election website www.edp24.co.uk/election2015