148,748 members

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


The key to losing the next election


Blog headlines

Friday, 16 January 2015

The key to losing the next election

Campaigning for this year’s general election is already well under way. Most people assume this is because it will be a close-fought race and that the main parties are therefore desperate to get an early lead. This is what they want you to think.

In fact, all of our leading politicians are desperate to lose, but losing requires careful planning.

Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg have already had a taste of what it’s like to lead the country through a recession in a coalition government.  It’s not an experience either man would like to repeat. Most polls suggest that few voters want them to repeat it either.

Mr Miliband claims he would like to be the next prime minister but has skilfully managed to avoid effective opposition. Commentators put it down to ineptness, but Mr Miliband knows what he is doing. He is engineering a tactical third or fourth place, tucking in behind Mr Farage and the Greens, saving his energy for a run at the next election but one.

Career politicians know that timing is everything and the timing of this election is no good. In 2015, Britain is simply not worth running. The economy, immigration, Europe, terrorism, social unrest, corporate crime, sex scandals and a new series of Celebrity Big Brother – it’s not an attractive proposition.

So our current crop of political leaders, all young men with plenty of years left on the clock, will sit it out and watch someone else muddle through the next five years of austerity. They will wait for the next economic upswing and the last seventies entertainer to be put behind bars before making their move.

When you grasp the basic strategy, all parties’ NHS policies suddenly start to make sense.

The NHS is a political headache in its own right, a great thumping mass of problems no one knows how to solve, and the ideal subject for political strategists hoping to put their parties on a course for electoral disaster.

Here is a selection of losing tactics gleaned from the politicians hoping to limp home in the middle of the field in April.

  1. Wait until the NHS is a top issue for voters, then pretend you’ve never heard of it. Some politicians have stopped mentioning the NHS at all in case they inadvertently say something vote-winning.
  2. Go for the popular vote. Labour is promising to turn mansions into hospitals staffed by the former chief executives of bankrupt tobacco firms. Perfect.
  3. Promise more money for health but refuse to make it clear how any increase will be funded, exactly how much you mean to spend or over what period. Keep it nice and vague and roughly in line with what everyone else is promising. £2.5 billion is about right.
  4. Alienate potential supporters. Tell the people whose goodwill could propel you to an unwelcome victory that you value their commitment and admire their dedication, then cut their pay.
  5. Claim to have complete faith in your top team. Phrases like “I have every confidence in Jeremy…” and “Andy has a credible plan to save our NHS…” will convince everyone that you are completely out of touch and beyond help.
  6. Propose one new far-fetched scheme each month or so. Suggest that health and social care budgets are to be merged under a new commissioning body run by the General Synod of the Church of England. Confirm their worst fears by adding that you can pull it off without resorting to top-down structural reform. Appoint Andrew Lansley as Archbishop of Canterbury.
  7. Insist that Circle was just a bit unlucky and that privately run NHS hospitals are the way forward. Invite hedge fund managers to debate the issue at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual conference. Stand well back.

Political editor: Julian Patterson

Please don't vote for him on Twitter @NHSnetworks

Anonymous says:
Jan 16, 2015 10:20 AM
At the end of a very week, these always make me smile!
Anonymous says:
Jan 16, 2015 11:06 AM
It's OK as from May 2015 Alex Salmond will be running NHS England and you will get back to having a proper NHS again in England
Anonymous says:
Jan 16, 2015 11:14 AM
Point number 4 pretty much hits that nail on the head. What with (an unprecedented)flat-line pay for the entire 5 years of a Government, and an added large helping of mis-briefings (outright dishonesty) to the media about NHS pay - just to get people trebly angry.
The result? A loss of around 1.6 million voters at a stroke; more than enough to tip the result in more than enough constituencies.
Anonymous says:
Jan 16, 2015 12:09 PM
Totally agree on this one!
Shirley Murgraff
Shirley Murgraff says:
Jan 16, 2015 02:47 PM
To coin a phrase, Mr Patterson, "Perfect" - thank you!!! Might even wake up the in-thrall-to-the-LP sleepwalkers?? I'm not holding my breath tho' - especially as I have respiratory problems!
Anonymous says:
Jan 18, 2015 04:42 PM
brilliant Mr Patterson as per usual your spot on with your Diagnosis
 can I ask you to Do a Paper on the Patient culture and A/E departments when No GP appointment is available
Samuel Matcham
Samuel Matcham says:
Jan 24, 2015 04:32 PM
I am currently looking for candidates to take part in a questionnaire that will assist me in obtaining my MSc in Human resource management. The candidates I am looking for must currently work in the NHS or an NHS trust and the subject of the questionnaire is on organizational culture. Total anonymity will be fully respected and results will be saved in a secure location and not distributed to anyone else. The link for this questionnaire is https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YNMP3XJ and it should take no longer than 10 mins. Thank you so much in advance for taking the time to help me complete my study. Your insight is truly valuable.