This morning, the Labour Party declared that they would be making a major announcement on the NHS at 1000 hours. To show how important this was, the gathering would be attended by Jeremy Corbyn, backed up by Barry Gardiner. And so it came to pass that a completely unredacted version of a Government dossier which showed that talks on the future of NHS drug prices had been taking place.
But even before Jezza had begun to address the meeting, and pitch the revelations, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog had initiated a defensive spin operation. Think about that: Jezza spoke just after 1010 hours, and took a few minutes to spill his beans. The Fawkes folks published their post at 1012 hours. Unless they had a functioning crystal ball, they had the rebuttal ready to go beforehand.
Under the pretentious title “Exclusive … Guido Investigation”, it proclaimed “Corbyn’s Redacted Negotiation Document Lies”, and told “The unredacted documents Corbyn is branding have been seen by Guido and turns out it’s not the bombshell Corbyn was hoping for … With document 1 not even mentioning the NHS, document 2 even shows the NHS is heading for cheaper drugs under a US-UK trade deal”.
Six documents were then presented for the perusal of those who had not already received their copy from the Labour event. Fawkes teaboy Tom Harwood told anyone who would listen “Guido has obtained the documents Corbyn is talking about. Read them in full here”.
Hard on Harwood’s heels was Christopher “No” Hope of the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph: “Jeremy Corbyn is giving out a 100-plus page unredacted document marked ‘OFFICIAL - SENSITIVE (UK eyes only)’ to journalists. Civil Servants will have marked it like this for a reason. And he wants to be Prime Minister in just over a fortnight's time”. What were Kim Darroch’s cables marked, O Tory cheerleading one?
Tory chairman James Cleverly claimed the leak meant Corbyn was “a threat to our country”, to which Aaron Bastani countered “Guido uploaded the documents with civil servants names attached (Labour obviously didn’t public these). So what about them?” And on that claim that the documents meant cheaper drugs, one observer mused “this says exactly the opposite - that NHS access to generic drugs is an issue for the US”.
And Steve Peers laid out why the Fawkes spin was wrong. “This is either ignorant or dishonest about Trump's trade policy on drug pricing. It's the other way around - Trump's policy is to *increase* the prices paid for drugs outside the US … Here's Trump's policy on drug pricing in his own words, objecting to ‘unreasonably low prices’ outside the US - from the House of Lords library briefing on ‘the NHS and future trade deals’, 4 July 2019”.
There was more. “Some have objected to Corbyn saying that Trump seeks ‘full market access’ for medical products. But this phrase is found in the Trump administration's own public document setting out its objectives in the US/UK talks … this falls short of the claim that "the NHS is for sale" in the trade talks with Trump. But we do know: a) patents/NHS drug pricing is under discussion (although we can't be certain what final FTA would say on this) … b) Trump's objective is NHS paying *more*, not less”.
Labour’s revelation has cut through. The Tory boot boys have confirmed it. Game changer.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at