Letter: Insidious disease that the Government is spreading

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The Independent Online
Sir: A breathtaking depth and degree of arrogance, cynicism and selective amnesia were displayed by Michael Portillo in his speech to the Conservative Way Forward group.

It is Conservative governments since 1979, and not 'egalitarians and socialists',' which have attacked and denigrated the service in which I work and the institutions of which I am a member. Not since the rebellion of 1715, when its Jacobite students and professors were purged, has Aberdeen University suffered such destructive changes as occurred in the Eighties, and not since the day in September 1936 when King Edward VIII broke his long-standing promise to open their new infirmary, because he was too busy meeting Mrs Simpson, have the citizens of Aberdeen and their health service been so insulted as by the imputations of inefficiency, ineffectiveness and diseconomy contained in the Government's programme of NHS 'reform'.

No, Mr Portillo, there is no nihilism here, just despair at power in Westminster being held - to quote you - by 'those whose stock-in-trade is to belittle and undermine the fabric of our society'.

Yours faithfully,

HUGH PENNINGTON

Department of Medical Microbiology

University of Aberdeen

17 January

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