Doughty Hunt scrubs up to lead from front on weekend working

Or was the health secretary out shopping?

Click to follow
The Independent Online

What an example of tireless endeavour that nice Jeremy Hunt sets as he campaigns to force health service employees to work at weekends. After irritating some NHS staff into tweeting pictures of themselves in weekend action under the hashtag #I’matworkJeremy, the Health Secretary took to Twitter himself with pictorial proof that he leads from the front.

“Fascinating visit 2 see brain surgery at UCLH and inspirational leadership of Neil Kitchen,” he wrote above a snap of himself posing in scrubs with a surgical team, which he posted early on Saturday afternoon. Passing over the minor embarrassment that the photo had to be hurriedly doctored because it compromised patients’ privacy, here was a classic public-relations masterstroke. No one healthcare worker could complain about giving up a Saturday, after all, when their boss appeared to be giving up his.

Or could it be that Jeremy was pulling a fast one? I wouldn’t be impertinent enough to ask but for this: just before noon on Saturday, while wheeling the trolley through a car park at the Westfield shopping centre in west London, I was startled to notice a beanpole in a pinkish T-shirt who looked astonishingly like Jeremy Hunt. It might well have been a doppelganger, of course, although a woman bearing an equally striking resemblance to Lucia Hunt shouted “Jeremy” in his direction, while the ages of the children in their care matched those of the Hunt offspring.

It is no more my business to invade this character’s privacy than it is his to invade the privacy of NHS patients. Nonetheless, I am honour-bound to report that Jeremy (or the Jeremy lookalike) seemed terse, sulky and possibly in the midst of the sort of minor domestic row a weekend shopping trip might incite. We may never know for sure whether the chap entering Westfield not long before Jeremy Hunt tweeted his photo was the Health Secretary. But whoever it was, he looked like someone who would rather have been hard at work than on a schlep to the shops with the missus and little ’uns.

Katie Hopkins fails to offend

In shock news for Katie Hopkins fans, there may be a limit to her commitment to cause offence. Asked by interviewer Jon Ronson whether she thinks her Sun editors owed her a duty of care to remove certain references (“cockroaches”, and the like) from her typically nuanced column about drowning migrants, Katie tended towards the diplomatic by replying: “Um”.

Ronson records that Katie “looks briefly panicked”, and “keen to not speak ill of her employers”. If only in this one narrow field, there is an end to her capacity for fearless honesty after all.

Kendall answers back

Hats off to Liz Kendall, the Keith Joseph of the Labour front bench, for grabbing some media attention for herself during this crazy outburst of Corbynmania. The outsider of Labour’s four leadership contenders snagged two Mail on Sunday pages to tell political editor Simon Walters that she can still win (she can’t); that Labour might have won the election with David Miliband in charge (it wouldn’t); and that the Younger Milibandroid focused too much on the poor (he didn’t). I especially enjoyed the coquettish joshing when Walters told her she looks as fine in her designer clothes as Kate Middleton. “In fact,” wrote Simon, “she looks the same weight as the Duchess – about 8st – though when I ask she slaps me down with a raucous ‘Fuck off!’, adding quickly: ‘Don’t print that’.” Quite the Beatrice Webb de nos jours is she not?

Deep-fried royal vindication

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Little Princesses’ Hitler Saluting Training Session from 1933, the revelation did at least bring some old favourites crawling out of the woodwork. These days we hear all too seldom from the elite corps of “royal experts”, so it was lovely to find Hugo Vickers and Sarah Bradford wheeled out by various Sunday titles to drivel in support of the Windsors.

But pride of place goes to “Colonel” Andrew Roberts, the social-climbing Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise heir who moonlights as a historian. He explained in The Sunday Times that everyone in the photo, including the Fuhrer-adoring halfwit who was later to become Edward VIII, was mocking rather than hailing Hitler.

If this latest ingratiation should earn Andrew a finger-lickin’ good invitation to dine with Her Maj, we gently remind him that he will be fed at the table, and that it might be considered declassé to pitch up with his own Bargain Bucket.

Straw’s just the man for job

Tremendous to find Jack Straw on the committee appointed by the Cabinet Office to review the scope of the Freedom of Information Act.

With any body like this one, what you’re looking for are people of the very highest integrity who have no axe to grind and bring an open mind to the matter. So who better than Jack, who has spent years publicly regretting Labour’s introduction of the FoI Act; who seems rather keen that details relevant to those pesky allegations that, as Home Secretary, he colluded in CIA rendition and torture remain secret; and whose political career not long ago ended in disgrace when a sting recorded him offering him services to commercial interests seeking parliamentary influence?

Comments