We’ve documented the confused and confusing nature of UKIP’s NHS policy before on this blog. Yesterday provided another example of the internal incoherence of the insurgents’ thinking – or, less charitably, their willingness to adopt multiple, conflicting positions at the same time in order to be all things to all people.
Let’s consider two interviews by UKIP spokespeople.
First, Mark Reckless was interviewed by John Pienaar on 5 Live. After criticising the rival pledges put forward by Ed Balls and George Osborne, he was asked: “Does that mean you would not be putting this extra money into the NHS?” His answer was as follows:
“What UKIP would like to do is, we’re going to save between £10 and £20 billion from not sending all that money to the European Union every year, we’re going to save up to £10 billion on overseas aid, and we’re planning to save £50 billion by cancelling HS2, that gives us some money both for the NHS and the deficit…we support giving proper resources to the NHS.”
Let’s ignore that he lumped in some annual savings (like our EU subscription fee) with multi-year project savings (HS2 will not cost £50 billion a year). He was unambiguous that UKIP would spend more money on the NHS, despite having just criticised others for, er, offering to spend more money on the NHS.
Then, barely 15 minutes later, Suzanne Evans, UKIP’s Deputy Chairman, appeared on Sky News’ Murnaghan show. When asked “Isn’t the truth that you can’t ultimately just keep on throwing money at the NHS?”, she replied that:
“I completely agree…throwing money at the NHS just isn’t going to work…There are huge pots of money in the NHS that actually we could cut without having to chuck any more money in”
The two positions are direct opposites – spending billions more versus not spending any more on the NHS. Which is it? This is yet another layer of confusion to add to the thicket which is UKIP’s NHS policy.