Simon Carr: Cameron says he loves the health service... the lie detector stays quiet

Sketch: No one from the mainstream of the Labour party can object to any of what he said
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The Independent Online

Nice that the Prime Minister is still free at the point of use. At Ealing Hospital where he was giving his keynote speech there were those who had to pay handsomely. But they were filming Silent Witness up on the 6th floor.

We were a bit silent ourselves in this part of the NHS Future Forum "listening exercise". As he said himself, he was going to do most of the talking.

The audience listened politely but looked suspiciously unrepresentative of the health industry. The lack of morbidly obese professionals (20 per cent of most genuine NHS gatherings) hinted at some secret selection process. I was probably the fattest person there – and I can still fit on one seat.

The other absentee from this keynote occasion was the Health Secretary. Whether he'd refused to come or been refused entry there was a big Lansley-shaped hole in the meeting. The PM has taken control. They are now his reforms.

The song Cameron sang wasn't exactly "I Love You Just The Way You Are", rather "I love you but lose some weight, work harder, take more control, be better."

He must have used the word "love" half a dozen times. Normally I bristle at the word. It's like swearing. Not that it's a sign of a small vocabulary but that it stops others understanding what you are trying to say.

And there are those who say that Cameron uses his personal experience of the NHS to give credibility to his amorous assertions. It has been suggested he is cloaking his real intentions and putting them beyond interrogation by using his family grief for a public purpose.

But its hard to look at the PM fairly and accuse him of bad faith – that he's secretly planning the privatisation of the NHS when he says he is not.

Do we think he's made covert commitments, prepared a dodgy dossier, is going to make millions when he retires on the basis of this reorganisation? Is his ulterior purpose to get Labour "on the wrong side of the argument"?

Is he, in short, giving us his "promise" honestly?

The geiger counter that still squeals over Tony Blair remains quiet over Cameron.

And whatever he said, no one from the mainstream of the Labour party can object to any of it. It all was, is, or will be Labour policy – a point Cameron might make more often. Not only is it a decent and generous thing to do, it is also fatal to the Opposition's opposition.

PS: Cameron was very curt in his expression of confidence in Chris Huhne. "He denies the allegations," is all he said. But it really doesn't need a six-month police investigation – just 12 minutes of Paxman exploring Huhne's explanation of the taped phrase: "Why are you suddenly saying that?"