I agree with the late Will Rogers1: ‘The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other.’ I doubt I am alone in believing it was Margaret Thatcher and Kenneth Clarke who pulled the plug on decency in the NHS when, with fund-holding, they introduced a competitive internal market into general practice. Nor am I alone, I suspect, in being disappointed that the Blair government seems to have no remedy but to insist a square plug will seal the leak.