Just came across this story on Labour’s supposed death tax. I don’t really care about whether they’re planning a death tax or not, but what I care about is this:
Andy Burnham, the health secretary, threw down the gauntlet to his opposite number, Andrew Lansley, demanding he tear down Tory posters that feature gravestones and a separate claim that Labour wants to impose a £20,000 death tax on everyone.
In a manoeuvre designed to force Lansley’s hand, Burnham is to convene an emergency national conference on care for the elderly this week involving every main charity and quango affected by the problem, to which the shadow health secretary will be invited only if he complies.
Lansley’s absence from the summit could severely damage the Tories’ relationship with the organisations and undermine their claim to be committed to reforming the system.
Burnham said: “If the posters come down, and they call off their campaign on the doorsteps, the Tories can join this convention. But if they don’t, they’ll be excluded. Either they’re in this debate or they’re not. It’s far too important to reduce to scare tactics.”
Hang on just a second! Assuming for the moment that this story is accurate, what could possibly give the minister the right to place a party political condition on his shadow from attending the conference? Why is no-one pointing to the elephant in the room: That Mr. Burnham is abusing his position for party advantage. Either Mr. Lansley has a right to attend the conference or he does not. It does not and indeed cannot depend on his political views or speech.
Does no-one care about integrity in public office anymore?