TRUTH be told, it has taken tweets and blogs and work by my colleague Tom Foot, on the scene, to get the full story of Andrew Lansley’s visit to the Royal Free Hospital on Monday. We all now know that it wasn’t all ‘meet the patient’, it was ‘flee the protester’ too.
People may well have sympathy for the Health Secretary – why should he stop to speak to somebody who is simply interested in heckling him? Is he expected to get into a shouting match? Yet although barracking isn’t necessarily the story of the day, the public anger on Monday was at least part of the story. And the fact it flared up when media access had clearly been limited by press strategist muscle somewhere along the line only escalated the suspicion. The limited press options intensified the flashpoint.
Lansley could have countered claims of fleeing the controversy by simply answering a few questions on the day to reporters. It’s a mystery to me (kinda) as to why, like he has done in the past, he could not have stopped to speak to the written press and the locals who cover the work of the Royal Free. A chance to celebrate the hospital’s work got lost in the chase. Maybe if he had stopped for an interview, the image of a Health Secretary on the run wouldn’t have beamed brightly from blogs. Maybe there wouldn’t be leaked footage of a confrontation in a corridor and calls to security. And maybe there would never have been the chance for opponents to the Health Bill to come up with the ‘viral’ video sent around yesterday, see below. One of the campaigners, not sure who, but take a look at the comments section on my last blogpost on this subject, has twinned ‘The Corridor Scene’ – for want of a better title – with familiar music from Star Wars. How did it come to this?
This video was posted to Facebook here.
UPDATE: …and now a Benny Hill version from @BeauBoDor