Saturday, 13 March 2010

The Tories and medical blogging

It has come to my attention that over the last year or so the Tories have been checking out the medical blogosphere and making discrete contact with influential medical bloggers. I haven't heard of Labour or the Lib Dems making similar overtures. This may reflect the Tories' cutting edge online strategy or just that Labour have completely conceded the ground to them.

What is interesting is the pattern that has seemingly emerged. Rather than outright endorsement of the Tories* there is just explicit condemnation of Labour and what it has done with the NHS. This chimes rather well with the attitude amongst doctors within the NHS. Although naturally leaning towards the Conservatives as upper middle class high earners doctors also have something of an old fashioned public service ethos and are understandably concerned with public service provision (being public sector employees, directly or indirectly, themselves). However, in recent times, after the euphoria of the early years died down, doctors have been fairly vocally critical of Labour's 'reform' agenda, from PFI to patient 'choice'. This is an attitude that you can see daily being expressed by doctors to patients, and this must have a real influence on regular health service users.

But it is only half the story and there is a danger that by failing to spell out what an alternative to Labour's unpopular policies would entail doctors are giving tacit endorsement to the Tories who, in many ways, want to extend and entrench exactly those policies which have proved so unpopular and unsuccesful. I wonder whether the Tories have already figured this out.

* Although perhaps a little nearer the election this will change, with nose peg style 'change' rhetoric.


Zarathustra said...

Indeed. It's always easier to be against something than for something. From my (brief) stint in party politics a few years ago, I well remember that being in opposition (whether that's in a constituency, or a county council, or nationally) is basically the art of finding something to be outraged about on a regular basis. Which isn't difficult. Having constructive and workable alternatives to whatever you're outraged about - now that's an entirely different matter.

The Tories haven't contacted Mental Nurse to date. Probably a good thing, since I'd almost certainly tell them to get lost if they did.

Neuroskeptic said...

I've just love them to try that on me, but somehow I don't think Neuroskeptic is their kind of blog.