The Curmudgeon


Monday, August 18, 2008

Never Rock A Sinking Ship

A further sign of the decline of New New Labour emerged today when a junior health service privatisation minister went off-message. The entertaining Ivan Lewis has attracted prior notice here a couple of times; first for his scintillating suggestion that pensioners should be put on work-for-food programmes in schools, and more recently for his vigorous attempt to get to the roots of teenage suicide by blaming the internet rather than, say, insane psychological pressure in the education system, lack (or, in present parlance, "reform") of adequate social facilities, or the golden prospects for personal fulfilment which have been opened up by Gordon's economic miracle. To the best of my knowledge, neither of these crude but amusing comic turns caused the slightest ripple of discontent among Lewis' masters; but his latest little jape has earned him a resounding smack. Working a slightly laboured riff on Gordon's one-size-fits-all economy comfort speech about feeling our pain and so forth, Lewis has actually been so foolish as to suggest that New New Labour, of all the corporate panders in the world, should tax the rich in order to help the poor. Since people's income has no impact on their health, Lewis has been told to "concentrate on his day job if he wants to keep it, instead of commenting on tax matters".


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