Friday, December 29, 2006

Hazel Blears goes up in my estimation

Whatever health minister Ivan Lewis has said today, there can be no doubt that Hazel Blears' protest against NHS reorganisation in her constituency is deeply embarrassing for the Government. It demonstrates not only that its internal discipline is continuing to break down, but also that ambitious, up-and-coming ministers like Blears are now able to defy those on the way down like Patricia Hewitt with impunity.

Blears also has the merit of being right. Like the abortive police force mergers project, which was sensibly scrapped by John Reid in one of his first acts on replacing Charles Clarke as Home Secretary, the current health reorganisation is doing exactly the opposite of what people want, and taking services further away from the people they serve.

In my area, the main A&E hospital in the centre of Derby is being closed and all services transferred to a site on the city's western extremity. That will no doubt make a huge amount of sense to people who live to the north, east and south of the city - not.

I have always regarded Hazel Blears as a just another shameless New Labour careerist, but perhaps there is more to her after all. She has certainly gone up in my estimation this week, and more importantly, I suspect she will also have gone up in the estimation of thousands of Labour members with votes in the party's deputy leadership election.

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Anonymous said...

I think the Mirror summed her up perfectly as the Minister for Hypocrisy.

If Blears is really unhappy about the current round of NHS cuts why doesn't she resign.

Anonymous said...

I have made my own comments about Hazel Blears in my own blog,

As you will see, I tend to agree with
Paul Linford, and definatly dissagree with the Daily Miirror on this one.

Gareth said...

She should definitely do the honourable thing and resign from the Government to hasten its departure.

If she really cares then that's what she must do - it's not like she'd be wrecking the government, it's all ready wrecked. Better for her to make like a rat and jump ship.

Anonymous said...

Willing to wound but afraid to strike - just like Clare Short.

Anonymous said...

Paul, I can sometimes forgive backbench MPs for campaigning against somethig they've voted for in Parliament (due to the whipping system etc). When a member of the Cabinet does it dont they have to do the honourable thing and resign - or is this something that doesnt happen anymore?

Anonymous said...

John, Gareth, Jonathan all think Hazel Blears should resign. I think Patricia Hewitt should resign for having clearly failed to convince even her own Cabinet colleagues to back this absurd reorganisation.

Anonymous said...

OK - Hewitt will do, as it would make everyones New year :o)

Hector Superb said...

Someone on another blog said that she looks like Ronald MacDonald, how on earth can you take the woman seriously?