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Anorak | Coming Clean

Coming Clean

by | 8th, April 2005

‘THE election promises to be good clean fight. Or at least a sterile fight over cleanliness.

Picture perfect

There’s Michael Howard in the Telegraph contorting his face into a toothless smile and wowing a couple of matrons at St George’s Hospital in south London.

You see, matrons are very important in this election. The Tories vow to “Bring Back Matron” to clean up hospital wards and fight the rise of the horrible MRSA superbug.

Or, rather, you don’t see, because, as the paper’s political sketch writer, Andrew Gimson tells us, he and his ilk were only allowed to watch Howard arrive and leave the hospital.

The bit in the middle, when the Tory leader toured the wards, met the medics and talked to some poor sod off his head on a pre-med about Tory policy was forbidden.

Perhaps it had something to do with doctor-politician confidentiality. Or an ardent desire to control events. Whatever the reason, Gimson is not best pleased.

And he’s right not to be. As he says: “We pay for the National Health Service and if our politicians wish to exploit it for electoral purposes the least they can do is let us watch them.”

But this secrecy and control-freakery is not only a Tory trait, and the paper produces another article (“No questions please, it’s the Prime Minister”) which illustrates how Labour have imposed “Soviet-style” shackles on hacks following the campaign.

At the launch of Labour’s new campaign poster an uninspired picture of Blair (tanned and concerned) and Howard (shadowy and frowning) with the question “WHO DO YOU WANT TO RUN THE COUNTRY?” a human barrier of Labour faithful prevented the ladies and gentlemen of the media from confronting the Prime Minister and his

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