Unhealed and untaught

1st June 2001 at 01:00
The Daily Telegraph

Everybody knows that our public services are bad. Healthcare in Britain is unworthy of a rich, sophisticated country. State education suffers from teacher shortages, retention of incompetent teachers and disruption of classes by unruly children. Our road network bears no comparison with that of France. Our healthcare is inferior to that of Germany, or indeed almost any other advanced country.

The Labour Government has gone backwards, returning to a socialist, dirigiste model. It decided that teachers and doctors needed to be told by ministers what to do. So professionals have wasted hours reading te diktats of people who are only professional at getting elected. Mr Blair has said he is frustrated that he has been unable to campaign on health and education. He should be grateful. Labour's failure to improve public services has been the most notable aspect of its term. The Tories may offer a better alternative, but they do not dare to embrace the radical reforms needed.

There is no prospect of signifcant improvement over the next five years. Falling ill in this country will become more hazardous and children will get good educations only if their parents are lucky, well-located or rich.

Leader, May 26

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