Right now, David Nicholson, CEO of the NHS in England, will know exactly what Nick Davies meant when he wrote “I know of nothing anywhere in the rest of the world’s media which matches the unmitigated spite of an attack from the Daily Mail”. As with the earlier attack on Les Ebdon, which I wrote about at the time, the Mail is now mounting a sustained campaign to have Nicholson removed from office.
So go f***ing private like me, then, c***
So the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre has ordered his obedient hackery to say whatever it takes to have Nicholson kicked out, despite the tactic failing against Ebdon – and also failing when attempted against Channel 4 recently. Key to this strategy is christening their target “The Man With No Shame”, because of his brief connection to the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.
This is held to mean that Nicholson must have known everything that was happening at Stafford Hospital at the time when the poor care standards highlighted in the Francis Report were known to have occurred. That he was also in charge of two other trusts, and in possession of no more than the same 24 hours in a day granted to other human beings, is not allowed to enter.
Nicholson’s alleged lack of shame is, in Dacre land, down to the “1,200 deaths” meme that has already been shown to be false (as I’ve already noted, this figure was extrapolated from Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios (HSMRs) which showed high figures because Mid Staffs NHS Trust had no coding manager at the time, and the expected death figures were lower than average after correct coding).
So today, following Nicholson’s appearance before a Parliamentary Select Committee yesterday, has come a particularly vicious assault. He is alleged to have “left MPs staggered by his evasiveness”. The Mail falsely tells readers “he admitted personal failings which led to more than 1,000 unnecessary deaths between 2005 and 2009” and “that patients were not the main priority in the NHS”.
So far, so typical: this line is then taken up by the pundits, led by “Daily Mail Comment”, the authentic voice of the Vagina Monologue. “Labour’s sick defence of the indefensible,” it thunders. “four former Labour health secretaries sprang to his defence, displaying a defective moral sense matched only by his own”. Ah, where would the world be without Paul Dacre laying claim to the moral high ground?
And so important is the occasion that the odious Quentin Letts (let’s not) attended the Committee’s proceedings, relating “After listening to Sir David for some two hours I left with a throbbing headache”. Try taking notes, Quent, so you won’t have so much to remember. And make sure you keep banking the cheques, because Dacre might not be there for much longer.
But the falsehood and misinformation will continue. No change there, then.