Another day, another re-launch for Mr Balloon.
Ways NOT to start a local campaign for local hospital services:
Sit in LONDON (in your chilled shoes, freshly delivered by air-conditioned Lexus); pick 29 hospitals at random; tell them you are going to save them whether they want you to or not. Or indeed whether they EXIST or not.
You see the thing is, lending your support to local campaigns ought to be a GOOD thing. That is why Liberal Democrats do it all the time. In fact we launched OUR OWN NHS SOS website in June (so it has taken Mr Balloon almost a whole couple of months to jump on the bandwagon… perhaps he has been on holiday…). WE do this because we believe that LOCAL PEOPLE are the best people to decide what services they need, not some minister in London.
But that is NOT what Mr Balloon decided to do. No, Mr Balloon just came up with HIS OWN centralised solution!
Mr Frown says: "We must have… uhh… gleaming and efficient new
So Mr Balloon says: "NO! I want to change things and by change them I mean keep them exactly as they are! Every hospital needs to be saved, even the ones that don't!"
Having just spent a week supporting Mr Deadwood's new proposals to allow business to work us all into an EARLY GRAVE, Mr Balloon clearly wanted to fluff up his SOFTER SIDE and what could be fluffier than pledging a "BARE KNUCKLE" fight to save hospitals?
Well, quite a lot, actually, and isn't a BARE KNUCKLE FIGHT more likely to end up with more people IN Accident and Emergency?
We believe in CUTTING WASTE NOT WARDS. Saving the millions spent on failed IT schemes and an endless roundabout of reforms (or "whatever is this month's whim in Whitehall") and spending it on providing the service that people really want.
Mr Balloon seems more interested in generating HEADLINES from SCARE STORIES… something that has left one of his MPs apologising to the hospital in King's Lynn.
In fact, the MP in question, Mr Henry Bellingham, was on the Radio 4 news last night desperately trying to make sure that everyone knew that Mr Balloon was in no way responsible. For anything.
"I'm so sorry, I as the local MP should make clear to my local hospital that as their local MP I should have asked them it they were being closed down before Mr Balloon added them to, er, I mean before he discovered that they had been added to his list and as local MP any mistakes that were made by my leader were entirely my fault, not that he makes any mistakes and if you think he might then as local MP it's my fault for suggesting it."
(Mr Henry Bellingham is the local MP for the King's Lynn hospital. He might have mentioned that.)
Today, the Conservatories RETRACTED another apology saying that the statement had been put out by a VERY JUNIOR member of staff with no responsibilities and no one understands how Mr Balloon was allowed to make such a statement in the first place.
All of which adds up to not very much. The Conservatories are generating a lot of coverage for themselves, but mostly it is coverage of how VERY BAD at this sort of thing they are. And it is clear that they STILL have no idea how much of an EASY RIDE they get from the press.
Liberal Democrats launch a campaign to save the railways or to do our duty for Iraqi translators or against the "surveillance society" and the press barely even TWITCH. But they'll lap up every Conservatory Press Release and turn up for Mr Balloon every time to give him a week of coverage even if it IS coverage of him getting egg on his face. Again.
I am NOT bitter, though. Because I know that – unlike Mr Balloon and the Conservatories – we Liberal Democrats have the policies backed up by our philosophy and the campaigns backed up by our hard work to REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE even without free handouts from the media.
Now, if the Eejit from Eton REALLY wants to support local hospitals… has he signed our PETITION?