I was watching the Health Minister, Lord Hunt, squirming on Sky News this morning over the crisis surrounding junior doctors and today's big protest march in London.
According to the doctor's spokesman, the whole process of selection and career progression for doctors is a mess and they feel abandoned. Worse still, government is playing with the statistics, as usual, to meet its targets. He cited himself as an example. "Training to be an orthopaedic surgeon", he said, normally takes 14,000 of experience. Now the new plan seeks to cut this to 6,000 hours." "It's crazy", he commented, "dumbing-down the qualifications when I know that I won't be experienced enough to treat patients properly under the new regime."
There was a long debate with Lord Hunt and the Sky News anchor suggested that if he were in charge of a FTSE 100 company, he would be expected to resign. Will he? Of course not, as he "acted swiftly" and is now going through an urgent process of consultation with doctors' representatives.
Matthew Parris in today's Times newspaper asks: "What will happen to Labour when it loses the coming general election? Based on the performance of Lord Hunt in the Health Service, you might think this inevitable but a second comment in the newspaper reminds us that:
"The Boundary Commission for England can only advise government to keep the parliamentary constituency boundaries fairly reflecting the geographical balance of population. It is a fact that in a General Election if the current boundaries remain unchanged, Labour would have a 60 seat advantage over the Conservatives even if they polled the same percentage of the vote. Will Labour allow all the appropriate changes before the next election to let the voters' voice be heard fairly? Would turkeys in the UK vote for Christmas?"