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Last Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
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Jon Sopel
Jon Sopel
The Politics Show

Jon Sopel Photo by Jeff Overs

Hello again...

Politics has lots of truisms and very few truths.

And one of the greatest truisms is that health is a Labour issue.

It is part of Labour folklore the story of how Nye Bevan overcame the opposition of the doctors and the Conservative Party to establish in 1948 the NHS.

Ever since, Labour has - with a good degree of success - positioned itself as the one true defender of the welfare state.

So what are we to make then of the most recent polls suggesting the Conservatives have the lead as the party most trusted to deal with health?

This is something unthinkable throughout the history of the NHS up to this point.

But why?

Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt
This hospital issue could be a headache for Patricia Hewitt

On this week's politics show we ask whether it could have something to do with policies like those which may be putting your district general hospital under threat.

The Government believes that most health services would be better provided by local community or cottage hospitals, with only the most serious conditions going to regional super hospitals with advanced specialist skills.

The experts point to evidence of better survival rates in the largest hospitals, and hint that district hospitals may not be very good for your health.

But it is not very good politics to tell Labour MPs hanging on to small majorities that you are going to take away or downgrade the hospital their constituents have relied on for years.

Indeed, there are many cases of seats being won or lost on the single issue of the fate of the local hospital.

The Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt joins me live.

Also in the programme...

David Willetts
David Willetts in the questioning line...

David Cameron announced, on Wednesday, that the Conservatives hoped all faith schools - CofE, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim - would consider opening their doors to 25% of their intake from outside their own faith.

It is a highly charged subject, with strong feelings on either side.

Opponents of faith schools say they are divisive and promote racial segregation.

Supporters say schools are essential to raising their children within their own traditions.

Both Labour and Conservative policies have shifted slightly in the last few days.

But do either really have the stomach for a fight over faith schools?

Shadow education secretary David Willetts will be with us

Also... find out why broadcasters like us could be threatened by the new organs of political debate.

Yup. Bloggers.

They are everywhere, and have become a vital route for the political parties to tap into the mood of the country and the mood of their supporters.

But do not threaten us too much.

Join me on Sunday at 12. The roast can wait.

The Politics Show on Sunday 08 October 2006 at 12:00 BST on BBC One.

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