26 May 2017
”I had finished the morning’s writing and was just about to stick the banana bread in the oven and, on this glorious summer day, take my dog for a walk by Swan’s Barn, when there was a knock on the door. I opened it and standing in front of me in the bright sunshine was the Health Minister, the Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt, MP for Surrey SW. Oh, I thought, as I struggled to keep touch with reality. Where is Michael Crick and a Channel 4 TV crew when you really need him.
The conversation began normally enough. Can I ask for your vote? Can I answer any questions? he said. Why are you killing the National Health Service? How can you continue the unfairness of austerity? Why are you making such a farce of Brexit? Why are you coming after my pension to feed your city friends? I replied. Anything I can do to keep you out of Westminster I will, and I looked over to the Dr Louise Irvine National Health Action party flyer in my front window.
To be fair, and unsurprisingly, Mr Hunt was not phased, and wanted to ‘answer’ me point by point. When he started in on 12,000 new nurses, and I replied with 1% per year, nurses disappearing overseas or being driven back to Europe, he bid a gracious farewell. My dog by then had got bored and dashed out the door, and three of Hunt’s half-dozen or so advance team were worried, especially when Rufus chased after the MP for a sniff. One asked me if he bit? No, I said, he’s trained to flush out vermin, not attack them.
As I finally put the bread tin into the oven, I experienced what the French call ‘l’espirit d’escalier’, inspired perhaps by either Emmanuel Macron or the third series of Spin. It’s a similar phenomenon as the English laughing at Saturday night’s jokes during Sunday’s lie-in.”