THERE’S a distasteful contrast between the time Andrew Lansley phoned the Camden New Journal‘s Tom Foot in 2010 and promised to save the Whittington Hospital – and the Health Secretary’s visit to the Royal Free today.
Once more than keen to speak to the local press, the invitation wasn’t repeated today. He ended up fleeing protesters through the corridors of the hospital in Hampstead. Tom will write more on this but needless to say the readiness of Mr Lansley and Tory HQ to not even allow the locals to follow his tour of one of our major local public institutions has caused a smell. It is everything New Labour ministers were accused of. Stage management. Picking and choosing the questions.
You sometimes hear people like Alastair Campbell listing sicknesses in the media, telling Lord Leveson and anybody who will listen that newspapers have changed formats and style, blurring information with comment. All that may be so, and they may indeed be changes for the worse. But he and the people who play the same games now could add the cynicism behind spin doctored photo shoots and ministerial visits like this to the checklist of ways our daily news is distorted.
…currently on You Tube: Andrew Lansley is barracked as he walks through the Royal Free. You can see Tom (red scarf) looking on.