Anorak News | Shouldering Blame

Shouldering Blame

by | 4th, March 2005

‘FORGET Mondeo Man and Bella Woman, this General Election is being fought over Margaret Dixon.

Things can only get better

And do not doubt that it is a fight, as the Times (“Campaign begins with battle of wounded arm”), the Independent (“The Battle of Margaret’s Shoulder”) and the Telegraph (“War of Mrs Dixon’s shoulder”) all lead with fighting talk.

Of course, despite what the papers’ front pages say, this is no war. Wars are where people are killed (see Iraq).

This is a political row over a 69-year-old woman whose NHS operation to have her shoulder fixed has, as the story goes, been cancelled seven times.

Indeed, if this were a real war, the fist casualty would not be truth but, dare it be said, Mrs Dixon, who we fear may perish before she goes under the surgeon’s knife.

Or for that matter before John Reid, the Health Secretary, responds to Mrs Dixon’s invitation to visit and offer her his apology and heartfelt sympathy.

Mr Reid did, as the Times reports, take a trip up north to the Warrington General Hospital in Cheshire where Mrs Dixon’s operation should have been performed.

And while there, he chatted to staff and, as the Telegraph reports, said that all of the dedicated crew had confirmed his belief that “this hospital is better now than when Mr Howard was in power”.

Not that Mrs Dixon can join the general chorus, since she’s yet to fully test the hospital’s facilities or be granted an audience with the man at the top.

But she did get a visit from a few Tories, while her husband and daughter popped down to London for a natter about the failing NHS and some photo opportunities with the Conservative Party leader, the aforesaid Michael Howard.

And so to the accusation that Mrs Dixon is being treated like a political football – or a “political stunt”, as a spokesperson for the Labour Party tell the Indy – to highlight a blighted NHS.

Not that Mrs Dixon cares much what her role is, so long as the publicity serves an end and she gets her shoulder fixed.

“I am not aware that the Tories are using me for political gain,” she tells the Indy, “and as far as I am concerned I am not a political prawn.”

And we’re glad to hear it – a tank full of sharks is no safe place for a small, wounded shellfish…’

Posted: 4th, March 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink