"We need to say tomorrow we're on Shirley Williams' side & not on Andy Burnham's."
For a start I also hated the fact that one of the two motions on the NHS yesterday bore the subtitle The Shirley William's Motion. I thought as Liberal Democrats that were not in the business of political personality cults, but rather into testing each option on the facts.
The fact that even with Our Shirl on the motion it only won by 29 votes after transfers should tell Nick that it isn't just about Andy Burnham. 280 Liberal Democrats voting reps at conference are not and were not persuaded by the screams of Andy Burnham.
Many of us have been following with forensic scrutiny the coming and goings of every step along the passage of this bill. Even last Spring just after its publication we were ready to tell you and our MPs what to change. Yes Shirley was one of those, but so were all many of medical professionals within our own party. Many of them are still telling us that this Bill needs more time, shouldn't be rushed so that you and David Cameron can conveniently put it into the Queen's Speech. However, it is possible that those that voted a second preference on this weren't aware of the depths of issues and saw the words save, NHS and Shirley Williams all together without a great deal of thought, I've spoken to one voting rep since who did just that.
We're not against reform, we know it is needed. But we're saying you need to stop and think again. If that means dropping the current Bill and rethinking then that is what is needed. We know what was agreed in the Coalition Agreement and this is still going far beyond that.
The Liberal Democrats I know is not about personality. Indeed on occasions as you know Nick, bringing a big name to bear on a vote when conference is in a volatile mood can be the end of what is wanted. So don't tempt us to turn our backs on following Shirley, we might just do that.