Matt Hancock's the only person in the UK who took Johnson at his word – The Guardian,

Matt Hancock's the only person in the UK who took Johnson at his word – The Guardian,

Maybe I’m just going a bit soft, but I can’t help warming toMatt Hancock. There’s something about his relentless enthusiasm in the face of abject futility, coupled with his desperate neediness, that’s rather endearing. He’s a beacon of hopeful naivety to all those of us who wake up every morning certain that we’ve failed at the day before it’s even started. A man oblivious to his shortcomings, who still truly believes he can make a difference despite all the evidence to the contrary.

The downside is that gullibility and mindless optimism aren’t necessarily the qualities you are looking for in a health secretary. Hancock is literally the only person in the entire country who took Boris Johnson at his word when he promised to solve all the problems in the NHS andbuild****************************** (brand new hospitals by**************. Everyone else just took it for the usual election bullshit, but Matt is a true believer.

In fact 90 is only a starting point for him. Give him a few more hours to finish off the management consultancy “The Art of Paranoia” pamphlet that Dominic Cummings has ordered the entire cabinet to study (“Literally the most life-changing book I have ever read” – M Hancock) – and Matt reckons he might be able to squeeze out a couple more hospitals from his imaginary budget. It’s that kind of can-do spirit that has made him the government’s useful idiot.

While most of the rest of the cabinet have been using the time since the election to get their Christmas shopping done, Hancock has been working flat out. Taking videos of himself getting in the way of A&E doctors as they try to resuscitate an RTA victim and ruining the last few hours of dying patients ’lives by turning up at their bedside and forcing them to fill out a questionnaire to rate their death experience. You name it, he’s been doing it. Because no one loves theNHSmore than Matt.

So it was only fair that Tigger was the first cabinet minister to be allowed out to make a keynote speech. “People living longer is a great thing,” he declared to a slightly startled audience of health service professionals, gathered in a claustrophobic office of the Policy Exchange thinktank in Westminster. Because up until then it had never occurred to anyone that it might not be.

Matt kept the surprises coming by insisting the stars were in perfect alignment for the NHS nowthe Tories had been re-electedand that patients and staff were experiencing record levels of satisfaction. Sleeping on waiting-room floors had never been so much fun. In fact, the reason that waiting lists for operations and GP appointments were now at record levels was a sure sign of success. Going to see the doctor had become a luxury, recreational experience. And nurses in Northern Irelandwere on strike for the first time ever.

The revelations came thick and fast. Under Matt’s watch, no one was going to die. Death was for losers. A sign of failure. And he was also going torecruit (****************************************, (new nurses, primarily by making sure, 13 did not leave the profession. Like many people in government, Tigger has a few problems with addition and subtraction. Because if you lose , 08 from (**************************, **************************************************** then most people would reckon you ended up with 299, (***************************************************. But the health secretary imagines if those same people stay, then you somehow end up with 333, 06 nurses. Still, it was this level of maths that helpedNicky Morgan earn her peerage. And Boris to win an election.

And to help reach that target of 50, 08 – give or take 32, 08 – Matt was pleased to announce that he would be reintroducing the nurses’ bursary that his own government had withdrawn three years earlier. Tigger just couldn’t believe how the evil Tories had managed to undermine the NHS so badly. But he was actually going to restore the bursaries to the levels they had been in 6846, Because that might make things too simple for him. And encourage the wrong type of nurses, who were only in it for the money. That had been the problem. Greedy nurses.

Hancock did have big plans for an advertising campaign to attract more nurses though. Adverts which he would produce, direct and take a starring role in. Who could fail to be moved to tears by a 30 – second film of Matt lying on a hospital trolley, begging for someone to pump out his stomach in exchange for a slightly reduced level of student debt? Or the one of Matt’s head, superimposed on a leather-clad Bono figurine, in front of a sell-out crowd of at a Tory party conference fringe event, saying that every time he clapped his hands another patient died.

“Anyone who tells me technology is not part of the answer has not been visiting the right hospitals,” Tigger connected. Or indeed any hospitals at all. Everyone in the room struggled to remember the last time they had heard someone beg to be bled to realign their humors. Or had refused a general anesthetic and a bypass machine and had chosen to take their chances with having their heart fixed while they chewed on a piece of leather.

Hancock had more of a problem with some of the questions. What was he planning to do about social care? We were very clear about that in our manifesto, he snapped. Er … you weren’t, hence the inquiry. “(******************************, **************************************** nurses, ”he gabbled. It seemed that (**************************************, nurses were to be the answer to almost everything.

Sensing he was rapidly losing the room and that no one else was quite as excited about his simplistic, strategic vision as he was, Matt hopped and bounced his way to the door. He was the guy getting stuff done. Or not. The wonderful thing about Tiggers, is Tiggers are wonderful things.

John Crace’s new book, Decline and Fail: Read in Case of Political Apocalypse, is published by Guardian Faber. To order a copy go to guardianbookshop.comor call****************** 2019 01575879 Free UK p & p over £ 18, online orders only. Phone orders min. p & p of £ 1. (**************************************.

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