Sunday, 6 October 2013

Andy Burnham - Resign Now for the Good of Your Health


Despite our spats (Link: None so Blind) I like Andy Burnham, he's my local MP, he's probably even a friend, but boy is he in real trouble. Although a scared rabbit in the headlights he's come out fighting but it will be futile and only serve to prolong the agony for him and, more to the point, for those who suffered so badly under Labour's administration of the NHS. The health portfolio can be the best and worst brief in cabinet in equal measure. Get it right and you'll get the admiration of all those around you. Get it wrong and your friends, while loyal at first, will back away leaving you to flounder, crash and burn and you'll be very, very lonely. Andy Burnham would be as well to remember one of his predecessors, John Moore. He was a rising star within the Conservative Party in the 1980's. He'd caught the eye of senior cabinet figures and even the Prime Minister herself. He was rewarded with promotion to Secretary of State for what was then the combined Department of Health and Social Security. A massive budget and a responsibility to match. A year into the job, and maybe one or two rash spending promises to the Star Chamber, he was in real trouble. Hospitals were struggling in the very cold winter of 1987/88. What some saw as mismanagement caused headline grabbing scenes of patients in corridors and on trolleys waiting for treatment. His cabinet colleagues deserted him and he was left to flounder on his own. He was stripped of the health portfolio leaving his as Secretary of State for Social Security before being completely sacked a year later. His ministerial career was over and talks of him being a future party leader had long evaporated. He didn't fight the 1992 election and, despite being given a peerage, is yet to give his maiden speech, politically the job broke him. History has a habit of repeating itself and Andy Burnham is just confirming that he is no exception. My message to Andy Burnham is to recognise that things went horribly wrong on his watch and be sorry for the fact that so many have suffered. After this, as yet uncharacteristic, contrition he may, just may be able to rebuild a political career. 
 Unless you come clean, you'll become a broken man.

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