The dark memory lane of a damaged bellend
The man for whom Cockney rhyming slang was invented, Jeremy Hunt, reportedly said the other day that most of the Junior Doctors didn’t know what they were striking about. It’s funny, but many’s the time I’ve been, you know, sitting in the dentist’s waiting room and thought, ‘Aye aye,’ I’ve thought, ‘I’m in a dentist’s waiting room, what in God’s name am I doing here?’ And then I’ve thought, ‘Good gracious me, my tooth hurts. Yes, that’s why I’m here’.
Most of us, research shows, know why we’re doing stuff like standing on picket lines, walking round the supermarket aisles or applying the brake as the rear of the vehicle in front heads towards us. But who knows, perhaps there are occasions when even people like the Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart suddenly think, ‘Blimey, there are two white posts one on either side of me and why are all those people shouting ouch a leather sphere just hit my head’.
The buck stops with Jeremy, because he is the Secretary of State for Health. Technically, he hired these people, because he’s only been in the job for four years and they’re junior doctors. When they grow older – much older – they’ll be senior doctors, and the most important function they’ll perform is diagnosing illnesses. It kind of goes with the territory when it comes to doctoring. The only doctoring Jeremy ever did was on the results of a Times competition to find the best employer in London, when he and his partner in Hotcourses, Mike Elms, filled in the forms on behalf of the staff. Because of this, they won the competition.
But in his defence, it could be that Mr Hunt thought to himself, ‘Mike and I will fill in all these forms although I’ve no idea why we should want to, and there will perhaps be some advantageous reason for doing so but search me as to what it might be’. Thus later, he could say “I did nothing wrong”.
But it’s a lot less easy to pull that particular leg when you’re a proper grown up medical doctor. It simply won’t do during Sir Peregrine Fruntbotham’s ward rounds to assess a patient by observing, “This patient is clearly ill because he’s in hospital but I’m awfully sorry, I’ve completely forgotten why I trained to be a doctor, so quite franky squire, as to the specific nature of this chap’s malady, your guess is as good as mine, and very probably better”.
So you see, if the Health Secretary is hiring juniors unable to retain reasons, motives, callings, bones or organs, then he’s a bit of a washout as a Health Secretary. But of course, we all know that’s not a reasoned observation: Jeremy Hunt is a washout at everything. He always has been. Except crawling up every Murdoch ring he could find. He got 93% on that one, and it’s seen him through. Well, that and nepotism – through which he inherited the Surrey SW seat, and as a result of which, he began supplying course pamphlets to the British Council. Yet somehow – despite being the only bidder – he screwed it up, so Baroness Nettlekettle-Fettle had to bail him out.
But again I stress, on Planet Hunt nothing we do has any rationale worthy of staying in the mind. Thus, Jeremy has no idea at all why he withheld emails from the BSkyB bid enquiry, had several meetings with James Murdoch in New York during 2007, blagged a seat off his second-cousin, denied she was his second cousin, co-authored a pamphlet urging the destruction of the NHS, or won’t meet the junior doctors for further talks. Indeed, he’s no idea why his second cousin sits in the Lords, and that allows me to do my first good deed of the day by reminding him: she is the chief lobbyist for the UK’s private health insurance sector.