Monday, 12 January 2009

A Family Man

Say what you will about Bill Blunt, but there are few people in the world he would hesitate to urinate on if they were on fire. Common human decency, together with a bladder that’s not as functional as it used to be, mean I would rarely pass up an opportunity to extinguish the flames if a fellow human being were suffering in anguish while being burned alive.

There’s always an exception that proves the rule, however. In the case of the Honourable Member for Darlington, I’d keep my legs well and truly crossed.

What can be said about Alan Milburn that hasn’t already been said? He started out his political career working in a Socialist bookshop in Newcastle, peddling Marxist tracts to anyone who accidentally stepped over the threshold of Days of Hope - rising, inexorably, to a place in Tory Blair’s cabinet as Secretary of State for Health. Whilst in office, he oversaw the introduction of the so-called Private Finance Initiative – for which read letting the private sector construct hospitals, which they’d then lease back to the NHS at huge cost to the public purse.

In a little-appreciated annexe to his career, he also abolished Community Health Councils, the last vehicle for democratic influence in the health service (which, for more than a quarter of a century, had kept the worst excesses of NHS managers in check).

As Wikipedia so succinctly summarises:

“Following his resignation as Secretary of State for Health (to spend more time with his family) [in June 2003] Alan Milburn took a post for £30,000 a year as an adviser to Bridgepoint Capital, a venture capital firm heavily involved in financing private health care firms moving into the NHS, including Alliance Medical, Match Group, Medica and Robina Care Group.”

Whatever Milburn’s real motives may have been, his family clearly thought better of them since, in September 2004, he returned to Blair’s government as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – a role he renounced once Gordon Brown was appointed as Prime Minister in June 2007. Since then, he’s continued as a constituency MP for Darlington. He might have gained some solace when he accepted Pepsico’s offer of a £25,000 a year ‘to attend a handful of meetings and offer advice on health, nutrition and the company's "strategic direction"’.

Now, it's been 'reveled' (sic) that Milburn has been invited to head up a ‘new commission’ on social mobility. We can only presume that Gordon Brown would much prefer Mr Milburn to be inside his tent, rather than outside.

Now, there’s a tent I’d rather not be near to if it was on fire...


Theresa H Hall said...

Never visualized one putting out a fire in this manner. It made me chuckle. :D

I am so busy packing up I had to break away and come by for a visit, old friend. Please give Thomas a huge hug and peck on the cheek for me. He is one of my all time favorite people, in the whole wide ... round world!

John C said...

I'm starting to feel honored that you'd personally piss on me. Never had anyone be there that much for me.