I quite liked it when Jeremy Hunt first defended homeopathy.
I quite liked it when Jeremy Hunt first defended homeopathy. And again yesterday when the Today programme asked him about it and he didn’t exactly deny his fondness. He’s in a government big on bullishness and low on sympathy, at a time when science and atheism have really made their mark on wishy-washy beliefs, and he’s pretty much coming out of the closet saying he believes in fairies.
Homeopathy is certainly up there with the oddest of ideas. So although I’ve had some excellent results from alternative treatments, and I know my friends would all mock the quackery, I felt quite intrigued that somebody so mainstream and establishment could spare an ear for the hippy-dippy. Why, it almost seemed left-wing.
Until I realised, that, with its mission to reduce, reduce and reduce, this government’s ideology could be considered homeopathic. Given that this week’s revised estimates put the cost of the NHS reforms up from £1.2bn to £1.6bn – and those reforms include getting rid of 28,000 jobs and counting – who knew that it could take so much outlay to make something smaller, and smaller, and smaller?
Could it be that Jeremy Hunt knows something we don’t, and that homeopathy – or should I call it Hunteopathy – is in fact the most right-wing idea of all? The idea that we can all cure ourselves, with minimal intervention – is that the Tory ideal in a nutshell? Small government, no welfare state. Why not scrap housing benefit altogether and just give a trace element of a trace element of it (half a tent, perhaps) which will work with 10 times the potency of the traditional cure (a house made of bricks)? Reduce the jobseeker’s allowance so much that they can’t afford to wash their hair or get the bus to the interview, but instead they just sort of will the job into being? Oh, yes! Hunteopathy – for those cuts that just don’t heal.