Off script, Ed?

“Shit! I can’t find my script…!”

There seems to be glimmer of hope that it yet all go horribly wrong for Labour in next weeks election because it seems that the spectre of bigotgate is raising it’s head. Poor old Ed just can’t manage the awkward questions when he’s off script…

Last week on an unscripted LBC phone, he was handbagged by a woman from Manchester who’s mother died whilst being treated by the NHS. Ok, I feel for her but that’s not the main cause of her complaint. The woman said that her local Labour candidate had put the phone down on her when she rang him to speak about the treatment her mother received. Now I know the NHS is a sacred Labour cow never to be questioned, but nevertheless!

She asked him: ‘My mother died in an NHS hospital under Labour’s watch, how can Labour claim to be a party of the NHS?’

Miliband responded: ‘First of all Claire I’m incredibly sorry to hear what happened to your mum and when anything goes wrong in our NHS I think it needs to be properly investigated and properly dealt with. I know that won’t bring your mum back, but I’m incredibly sorry for what happened. I think the NHS is a fantastic institution, I think overall we’ve made progress in our NHS, but obviously that can never excuse any case that goes wrong.’

I think that at this point we need to look up the dictionary definition of ‘incredible’ which seems to be ‘something that cannot be believed’?

She continued : ‘I actually find it physically repulsive when I get documentation coming through my front door about Labour being the party of the NHS. She suffered totally avoidable, terrible, agonising suffering. Labour had been in for the best part of 13 years when she died.

Totally inadequate weekend staffing, routine operations prioritised over emergency operations, a total denial of inadequacy. Staff totally in fear and unable to whistleblow. Totally poor co-ordination of resources. One conversation I heard on the radio when a Labour spokesman said something about “oh we had record levels of patient satisfaction and family satisfaction during our time”. Well I only wish I could have been given one of these so-called surveys because her death was horrific and I have to live with that every day and you’ve not answered my question.

You pride yourself on being the party of the NHS through the ages. Why during 13 years did you let the NHS descend to such a level?’

Whoops! Here’s an unhappy Labour voter with some good questions! Miliband’s response? ‘As a prospective prime minister I understand why it went wrong and what lessons can be learned’ Usual standard claptrap basically followed by going back to the script about Labour’s plans for the NHS and how the wicked Tories really don’t care.

Labour has remained in charge of the NHS in Wales thanks to devolution. Waiting times are longer than in England, and access to cancer drugs is so bad that some patients have been forced to move to England. Not much of a plan is it, Ed?

But it’ll be alright because he’s said he’ll visit her personally to discuss the situation – no doubt accompanied by an entourage of spin doctors, press photographers and media commentators. It’ll make a great photo opportunity.

Let’s hop he forgets to turn the microphone off afterwards…

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2 responses to “Off script, Ed?

  1. That's one of the biggest problems with the NHS, it has been allowed to become a sacred cow. A little bit like the BBC, supposedly one of the nation's most cherished institutions. However, the NHS is much more important than the BBC.

    The NHS has been involved in a political tug-of-war almost since its inception, with many of those employed within it joining in.

    The NHS is far too big and complicated to be controlled properly. It's a behemoth. Having worked in a large, one time public now privatised company, I know how out of control and unmanageable a large organisation can be.

    To be honest, I don't know what the answer to health care is, but it definitely is not appointing ever increasing numbers of managers or simply throwing vast amounts of money at it. Both private and state provided systems seem to have their problems.

    From what I've read – no personal experience – the French health service appears to offer a good all round experience.

  2. To be honest, this sort of customer is the nightmare of the politician and the darling of the opposing press, if it exists. Anecdotal evidence makes fools of us all. Actually, the NHS, for all its faults, is still superior than most medical facilities, in most countries. Cry as we may, but break a leg in Mexico and even in the US and take a glance at your bank balance, unless you took out holiday insurance. Think of the poor buggers who live there.