Anorak News | 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 chancellor.

And the Times’s Ben Macintyre, who was there in the old Billingsgate fish market, agrees. He says this election is becoming the “most controlled, sanitised, and paranoid ever”.

Indeed, while the old market was peppered with purple disco lights and U2’s Beautiful Day blared out over the sound system, Labour’s kingmakers ushered the wonderfully united Blair and Brown to and fro.

No chance for asking a question at this do as Macintyre hears one party-handler shout “Go, go, go” into the two men’s ears as the stage-managed event drew to a close.

That was when Macintyre attempted to get close to one of the men – well, at least his photo. Walking up to the party’s second poster of Brown (happy, smiling) and Oliver Letwin (gap-toothed and idiotic), he went to pat Brown on the nose.

“You can’t do that!” yelled a party loyalist. The Times’s man on the spot is then “hustled” away from the photo call by some anonymous Labour drone.

But why give up there? When you see the poster at a high street near you, try not to recoil in fear of your life, but bravely walk up to it and give the Chancellor’s hooter a playful tweak.

You might be then imprisoned for life without trial, but it’ll be a great anecdote to share with your fellow lags as you break rocks beneath a merciless sun…

Paul Sorene is the Anorak’

Posted: 8th, April 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink