Friday, September 29, 2006

Death by a thousand cuts

The Lib Dems reckon they have evidence that Swansea's Singleton hospital is heading for big cutbacks.
It's a theme many constituencies identify with.
Next May Rhodri Morgan will have a good story about the health of the nation. On April 2 smoking will be banned in pubs, prescription charges will be scrapped and waiting lists will - he hopes - have met their latest target.
He needs a good story - Labour will have to go some to drown out the threat of hospital closures affecting key marginals like Preseli, Carmarthen West and Aberconwy.
Labour AMs have been caught out by NHS shake-ups in their own constituencies that they had little to do with. Health chiefs are responding to the Assembly Government's demand for a modern NHS. People have been bombarded with visions of an NHS that they don't like or understand, even if, in the long run, they don't know what's best for them.
In Pembrokeshire, for example, Tory and Plaid candidates have become the mouthpiece of opposition to threats to Withybush. Plaid has taken a lesson in grass-roots campaigning from the Lib Dems and its troops were being schooled in the art of local war at last week's conference.
Meanwhile Labour footsoldiers fear becoming the object of scorn for botched attempts at "consultation".

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