Welcome to the summer edition of ‘The Standard’
The only thing that is certain is uncertainty
Our nation is divided by the course it has chosen and our future, be it the sunny uplands or the slough of despond, uncertain.
The multiple ironies of our situation came to me at our session before the House of Commons Health Committee on 5 July. One of the repeated arguments for leaving the EU was the 'burden of regulation'. Yet I was challenged in the Health Committee by Ben Bradshaw MP for Exeter on the Authority's right-touch regulation principles, 'the public want more regulation not less', he said.
I'm confused. I thought we had just voted for less.
One consequence of the referendum result is that we probably won't get the promised reform of health professional regulatory law. For six years now we have been working to define what we need to make regulation less burdensome and more effective and to get parliamentary time for legislation. In 2013 the Law Commissions put forward proposals. These proposals themselves were the product of three years’ consultation. Then we had the government's consultation on a different bill. That fell away before the 2015 General Election. This year we have had the possibility of more radical legislation with the promise of a formal consultation in the autumn.
The referendum result has derailed all that; over the next two years and beyond every government lawyer and every moment of parliamentary time will be engaged in unravelling and re-knitting our relationship with 27 other countries and possibly Scotland and Northern Ireland as well.
I've never believed in those regulated straight bananas, much reported by the Eurosceptics, because I've never seen one. But I do believe in those regulated nurses, healthcare scientists, dentists and doctors from Europe who work in our health service and care for all of us every day. Let's hope against hope that they don't vote to leave.