Friday, 19 February 2010

Do the Tories give a damn about social care?

So the Conservatives have refused to take part in a conference organised to look into the future of social care. Surely this can't be because actually they don't care?

They claim that the event is a political stunt, but - as well as Labour and the Lib Dems - it will be attended by the Local Government Association (chaired by a Tory) and a wide range of charities involved in the sector.

One of the future options that will be discussed is the Government's 'death tax' option that the Conservatives hate so much. They are, of course, entitled to their views on this which are shared by many people. But that isn't the only option to be discussed. Perhaps by turning up the Conservatives would have to admit that they were misleading people when they claimed that the death tax was Labour's settled policy when it isn't.

By attacking the conference as a political ploy, the Tories are accusing all the charities taking part of engaging in party politics - something they are not permitted to do.

There was a great episode of the West Wing on this very subject - how to pay for social security for older people. There were behind the scenes talks in that too. As soon as one side started playing for party advantage the whole thing came near to collapse.

If the Conservatives carry on playing the Party card then the only conclusion that can be reached is that they have no interest in a consensus on this issue.

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