Yesterday Oxzen was out and about on the sunny streets of downtown Bermondsey when . . . what should he espy other than a flock of Liberal Democrats, gathered together on a pavement, looking as if they were about to go a-canvassing with their clipboards and leaflets.
Having walked past them it was tempting to go back and accost them with a few questions:
"What are you people doing about opposing the NHS bill?!"
"When are you going to demand the bill is abandoned?"
"Why is your party allowing Clegg and Cameron to go ahead with the bill?"
"Don't you realise that the likes of Tim Montgomerie and his conservativehome blog have called for the bill to be abandoned? Don't you people realise your party is now well to the right of the Tory heartland?"
"Do you really want to see NHS services farmed out to make profits for the private sector?"
But I didn't.
Sometimes, though, you have to admire Simon Hughes:
Lansley should be replaced after health bill becomes law, says Hughes
Lib Dem deputy leader says health secretary should 'move on' to enable government to put NHS controversy behind ithttp://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/feb/12/lansley-replaced-health-bill-hughes
A leading Liberal Democrat sparked renewed speculation about Andrew Lansley's future when he said David Cameron should find a new health secretary after the health bill becomes law.
The Lib Dem deputy leader, Simon Hughes, said he believed Lansley needed to "move on" in the second half of this parliament so the government could put the controversy over the NHS reforms behind it.
Hughes's comments will not be welcome in Downing Street, where Cameron has been defending Lansley in response to calls from the influential ConservativeHome website for him to be replaced and an anonymous briefing from a No 10 source saying the health secretary should be "taken out and shot".
Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, he said: "I'm clear we need to move on from this bill. My political judgment is that in the second half of parliament it would be better [for Lansley] to move on."
When asked whether he was saying Lansley should be replaced, he confirmed that he was, but also accepted that he needed to be "careful about the political sensitivities of this coalition".
Although Hughes is not a minister, he is the most senior figure in the party to call for Lansley to be replaced.
He spoke out as Labour stepped up its attack on the health reforms, releasing an internal Department of Health letter saying too many patients were facing delays because trusts were failing to meet waiting time targets.
The coalition finds itself under fire on many fronts. The Mail on Sunday reported that McKinsey, which has received almost £14m from the government for work on the NHS, paid for health regulator staff from Monitor – including the chairman, chief operating officer and director of strategy – to attend lavish events.
A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times showed only 18% of people said they supported the NHS reforms. It revealed that 48% opposed them, with 34% saying they were not sure.http://conservativehome.blogs.com/
Why we need more banker bashing
Banks are the biggest scroungers of public money – solutions will not simply materialise if we don't keep up the pressurehttp://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/07/why-we-need-more-banker-bashing
by Sunny Hundal
Banking reform has been pitifully weak. If the crash were to happen again tomorrow, the government would have to bail them out again. They remain leveraged up to their eyeballs; remain "too big to fail" and too inter-connected to each other so most can't be allowed to go bust. Without public anger there is no impetus to push banking reforms further, which the Conservatives are stridently resisting and Labour is still reluctant to push too far.
Banker bashing begs a wider question – if finance has become the life-blood of modern economies, why can't we exercise more control over such a vital industry? Consider this: we pretend that banks are private businesses that should be allowed to run their own affairs. But they are the biggest scroungers of public money of our time. Banks are lent vast sums of money by central banks at near-zero interest. They lend that money to us or back to the government at higher rates and rake in the difference by the billion. They don't even have to make clever investments to make huge profits.
Far from being the pinnacle of free market capitalism, banking is full of sorry executives who keep asking for more handouts to protect their deliberately bloated businesses. The solutions won't materialise if we go back to how things were. Public anger has grown because it is starting to dawn on middle England that while the rest of us are paying for the crisis, the people who caused the crash want to go back to 2007. Even the Daily Mail is starting to reflect this impatience. This recession is already longer than the 1930s and the stagnation will continue for maybe a decade. For from being over, the nightmare for the Goodwins and Hesters is just getting started. And quite rightly too.
Good comments by moretorybullshit and others beneath this article.