By William Norris

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Sample text

It had been a moment of high drama and high comedy as well. On the face of it Mr Brown had saved the Government from acute embarrassment with a few short words which really conceded nothing. Had they been necessary? Would Mr Wyatt and Mr Donnelly really have cast their votes in the Opposition lobby that night and risked bringing their own party down? We shall never know. Nor can the outside observer say how much effect those few words had on the course of events over the succeeding days and weeks.

A. produced what it called a 'family doctor's charter'. M r Robinson did not like it much, claiming that it placed too much 29 ONE FROM SEVEN HUNDRED emphasis on money and too little on the organization of the service, but he came back to the Commons in a much more conciliatory frame of mind and agreed to use it as a basis for negotiations. Considering that the doctors were claiming about seven times what the review body had recommended—an average rise of £1800 a year—the Minister was not being ungenerous.

Mr Crossman undertook to give new grants for old. He did not elaborate on the form they would take, but claimed that they would shift the balance back from rates to national taxation. Two subjects specifically mentioned for Government help were teachers' salaries and town centre redevelopment. For the overburdened ratepayer, even if he was a taxpayer as well, it all sounded too good to be true. But when would it happen? 'A very short time' was the most precise estimate that Mr Crossman would allow himself, adding that it would be too short a time to make the reforms as radical as he would like.

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