The Curmudgeon


Sunday, February 05, 2017

In Touch with Real People

Well, isn't this touching? A couple of days ago the shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth, and the former New Labour poor-basher Liam Byrne, spoke in Parliament about their experiences with alcoholic parents. As a result Nicola Blackwood, the minister for public health, was moved to tears and has promised to produce an entire new strategy.

Essentially, there are two possibilities here. One is that Blackwood will not produce a new strategy, has no intention of doing so, and merely hopes to co-opt Ashworth and Byrne into supporting whatever she already plans to do - always assuming that, as paid-up members of the Opposition, they don't support it already. That would be business as usual.

The other possibility is that the minister for public health was genuinely shocked and genuinely moved, and genuinely does intend producing a new strategy. At best, this implies that the minister is unacquainted with her brief; which arguably would be business as usual again, particularly in an area such as public health where the Conservative Party has no real interest beyond asset-stripping and cripple-kicking. At worst, it implies that national policy is to be made on the basis of an emotional response to some personal anecdotes, and that the minister for public health had no idea that alcoholic parenting was a Bad Thing before two fellow-feeders at the Westminster trough stood up and gave her the benefit of their personal experience.


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