Letter: Blair's public spirit

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The Independent Culture
Sir: So Mr Blair has been advised by "spin doctors" to say sensationally silly things about the public sector in order to refocus public attention "after setbacks in the European elections and damaging speculation of internal division". I am a "real" doctor who thinks the future of the public sector is more important than that.

Acceptance of change, Mr Blair, begins at home. The medical profession, whom you find so intractable, subscribe to the idea that changes should be based on evidence. We have moved beyond the days when it was thought admirable to leap with a glad cry and both feet into every hare-brained wheeze that came along.

We recognise that progress in complex modern society means constant, careful evaluation, rather than an endless succession of revolutions. It is time for politicians to move in the same direction.

There may be good answers to the questions raised in Richard Smith's BMJ editorial on the Private Finance Initiative. If so, it would be better to tell us what the answers are than to make unsupported disparaging comments about the stubbornness of the medical profession.

For it to be suggested in a responsible newspaper that such comments were made primarily to manipulate pubic opinion for narrow political advantage is an insult to democracy. That is where change is unquestionably needed.

Dr JAMES WILLIS

Alton, Hampshire

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