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Wednesday 6 May 2020

Matt Hancock - Big Girl’s Blouse

The long-running but not very funny Parliamentary sitcom Hancock’s Half Hearted had another outing yesterday, as our supposed Health Secretary faced off against Labour’s Rosena Allin-Khan, who you can tell as she’s a doctor, across the dispatch box. Sadly for Hancock, this was a campaign that soon developed not necessarily to his advantage.
As the Independent has reported, “Dr Allin-Khan told the Commons the government’s testing strategy was ‘non-existent’: ‘Community testing was scrapped, mass testing was slow to roll out and testing figures are now being manipulated.’ She asked: 'Does the secretary of state commit to a minimum of 100,000 tests each day going forward? And does the secretary of state acknowledge that many frontline workers feel that the government’s lack of testing has cost lives and is responsible for many families being unnecessarily torn apart in grief?’” And she’s an A&E doctor, remember.

She knows her subject. So how did Hancock respond to one of those NHS heroes he and his pals are so ready to praise? "Mr Hancock, who was in the Commons to answer an urgent question from Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, responded: ‘I welcome the Honourable Lady to her post as part of the shadow health team. I think she might do well to take a leaf out of the shadow secretary’s book in terms of tone.’

In other words, he told a front line NHS worker to watch her tone. Indeed, he had also told the Commons “Yes, [Jonathan Ashworth] has asked questions in a responsible and reasonable way”. Rather obvious that what he said in response to Dr Allin Khan was not a slip of the tongue. The Sky News report also read it that way.
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan

Their piece tells “Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been criticised after he told a Labour MP to watch her ‘tone’ when she questioned the government's handling of the pandemic”, while also noting “Dr Allin-Khan later tweeted she would ‘not watch my tone when dozens of NHS and care staff are dying unnecessarily’”. Scores of them.

And the Indy has now come back to tell “Matt Hancock is facing calls to apologise to a Labour MP who has been working on the NHS frontline after telling her to watch her ‘tone’ when she questioned him about coronavirus … It sparked outrage among opposition MPs including former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman, who branded the health secretary’s words ‘creepy’ and Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey, who said: ‘Matt Hancock’s tone should change, not Rosena’s. Looks like the truth hurt the Secretary of State.’

As Guardian sketch writer John Crace put it later, Rosena Allin-Khan “has far more experience of how the NHS works in practice than Hancock”, and “Not that Allin-Khan’s questions were particularly aggressive or demanding. Rather, they were completely to the point”. But failings in tacking the pandemic “had contributed to an unnecessarily high mortality rate and had meant that doctors like her had been left to break the bad news that people had died to relatives”. And now he’s made things worse by ticking her off.

Some right-wing pundits love to tell Labour MPs to “man up”. They would be better advised giving that advice to Matt Hancock. And stop him acting like a big wuss.

Time for him to realise that sniping at front line health workers is not a good look.
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Steve Woods said...

Tim, this post's title is an insult to female apparel. :)

Anonymous said...

Hancock is the weirdest hypocritical creep in a party of weird hypocritical creeps.*

Meanwhile, said creep is chugging along with creeping privatisation of the NHS.

*To be fair, this also includes Labour Bliarites and LibDem coalitionists.

James said...

When Karma catches up with Hancock, I hope she gives him hell!

Fuck him and other neoliberal scumbags.

grim northerner said...

Hancock - a death star maintenance droid.