Editor's blog Wednesday 19 January 2011: Beginnings, endings and gravity talking
Today it begins.
Today the NHS faces a fascinatingly undeveloped, electorally-unpromised and fundamental overhaul.
Today we start the legislative move from a system with hundreds of statutory commissioning organisations with accountable officers, working to national standards and regulation and offering patient choice to ... a system with hundreds of statutory commissioning organisations, working to national standards and regulation and offering patient choice.
And it's not really clear why. As the health select committee agrees.
And public satisfaction with the NHS is at an all-time high.
Not even a skilled presenter like PM David Cameron could
untangle the narrative confusions on show.
It is all going to be interesting ... in the way that driving a massive car with dodgy brakes in torrential rain on unfamiliar winding roads, when you absolutely have to get somewhere by a certain time is interesting. Which I can tell you is pretty interesting. Not to say lively.
I just wouldn't run a health service that way.
Almost exactly five years ago, the NHS was running into financial and political trouble. I was editing a monthly magazine in this field, and I used the whole front cover and the editorial to offer the then-NHS chief executive Sir Nigel Crisp some careers advice. Which he took.
That editorial was titled 'Gravity talks'. It always does. Sir Isaac's lesson for Sir Nigel applies to us all: what goes up must come down.
Today, at half past two in the House of Commons, gravity will talk. We don't yet know whether it's going to describe a beginning or an ending, but the warning signs are there and the maps are not complete.