Nurse! Quick!

No sooner did I finish the post below than Jim Murphy is caught doing exactly what I say he is, only this time he has to admit it. It isn’t eggs this time, it’s chickens coming home to roost.

I’ll come to the NHS operations stats but first, my main concern isn’t the numbers or targets, but the staff. To stand outside an identifiable hospital and make inaccurate claims about cancelled operations is an insult to those who work there. You only do that if there is a genuine concern that you can separately verify – as in the staff or unions are up in arms and have asked you to come in for a briefing – and they say it’s ok to use the name of the hospital. Otherwise you are staining the staff, both medical and admin, with allegations, even if your real target is the government.

That your claims are also wrong is pretty dismal and shows an opportunistic hunger to decry public services for political gain.

There is another element in this tawdry story which gives an insight into the Murphy/Better Together mindset. It is this: ‘Somebody made a mistake in interpreting the statistics that we got from a freedom of information request. We don’t get published data although they do in England.’

See? It’s No Jim’s Fault, Right?

It’s the SNP’s fault for not having all the information available for him and then it’s the fault of the researcher who misinterpreted the details. Of course it was…

There would be no justification, would there, for thinking that Murphy just couldn’t resist the temptation to ridicule the NHS when the topline figures appeared? Nothing in his history or of Better Together’s to hint at chicanery to manipulate the media with a skewed message? I’m sure there will be a full explanation in the Record in the morning.

A real leader needs to do better than this. Take responsibility. Go back to the hospital and apologise. Say we all need to make sure we don’t mess with the NHS – the government must publish all the data and Labour must behave responsibly – words to that effect.

It seems to be pretty plain that the medical reasons for cancellations which changes the meaning of the Scottish numbers, were clear in the information and there is no excuse for rushing on to Youtube. Doesn’t he have a health spokesman, or Labour folk in the NHS or a university contact where he could check? I mean, if you’re looking at four times the cancellation rate, it’s spectacular, so you’d want to make sure it was genuine before wetting your pants with excitement. But fact-checking isn’t Jim’s game – dominating the media for visibility is.

I’ve said all along that he is trying too hard because nobody can keep up with every announcement and voters just think he’s hyper and ultimately boring. Now he’s compounded the problem by allowing opponents to say you can’t believe him on health, thus neutralising one of the key election issues (albeit devolved).

The contrast with Sturgeon is startling. Her calm but energetic appearance while guiding a government and impressing across the UK against Murphy’s frenetic, incoherent playground noises to which we now add lack of trust and desperation to talk down the NHS making it a political tool just as he did Scotland in the indyref.

Time for his medication…

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