This morning Jeremy Hunt appeared on The Andrew Marr Show to defend his growing feud with the junior doctors. While Marr took the health secretary to task over the junior doctors’ strike — reading out a number of hostile letters from those affected, Hunt responded with an interesting form of defence.
Discussing his health reforms, Hunt argued that the hostile reception he has received from both the public and NHS staff over the junior doctor contracts is perfectly normal. He then appeared to compare himself to Nye Bevan — explaining that the Welsh Labour politician — who served as minister for health under Clement Attlee — had experienced a similar situation when he established the NHS:
‘Look at the history of the NHS. The person who founded the NHS, Nye Bevan, was described three years after the second world war by the BMA as the “medical fuhrer”. That’s how much they hated him.’
Given that the two share little common ground — Bevan is credited with establishing the NHS while Hunt is accused of trying to destroy it — Mr S suspects that the Tory minister would be best advised to avoid such comparisons in future. After all, Bevan is unlikely to have taken too kindly to Hunt’s work — the Labour stalwart once described Tory policy-makers as ‘lower than vermin’.