James Forsyth James Forsyth

The irresponsibility of Andy Burnham

Nothing matters more in British politics right now than keeping the country together. The polls in Scotland show that no one can be complacent about the result on the 18th of September.

One thing that has helped the Nationalists to close the gap in Scotland is a serious of alarmist predictions about the NHS. They have seized on some of Andy Burnham’s overblown rhetoric to claim that the NHS south of the border is about to be privatised and that this will have a knock-on effect on Scotland.

Given this, a period of silence on Mr Burnham’s part until after the referendum would be most welcome. But this morning, Burnham has again been declaring that the NHS is ‘our country’s most valued asset and this Prime Minister has never been given the public’s permission to put it up for sale’. All grist to the Nationalist’s mill.

What makes Burnham’s comments so infuriating is that the same press release also contains a condemnation of Alex Salmond and what he says about the NHS. But it is Burnham own rhetoric that is enabling Salmond to make this case. For the good of the country, and the Labour party—which would suffer hugely from Scottish independence, Burnham should shut up until after the 18th of September.

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