Sarah Vine with husband Michael Gove: Not so much a ‘golden’ couple as a ‘grubby’ pair.
Michael Gove – a politician best-known for making a series of nonsense claims about Brexit and then stabbing Boris Johnson in the back – got exactly what he deserved when he claimed that the social media were peddling “fake news” about the Tory government’s attitude to animal welfare.
The government recently rejected an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill that would have transferred the EU’s protocol on animal sentience – basically an acceptance that animals experience feelings – into UK law. The claim was that animal sentience is already recognised.
He said: “On social media there was a suggestion that somehow the MPs had voted against the principle that animals are sentient beings, that did not happen, that is absolutely wrong.”
“There is an unhappy tendency now for people to believe that the raw and authentic voice of what’s shared on social media is more reliable than what is said in Hansard or on the BBC.
“More than that there is a particular concern somehow, a belief somehow that outside the European Union our democratic institutions can’t do better than we did in the EU. We’ve got to challenge both those points.”
His claim that the social media aren’t accurate has provoked a strong response from those who remember some of Mr Gove’s own howlers – especially with regard to the EU referendum, without which the debate over animal sentience would not have happened:
Interesting to hear Michael Gove complaining about the distortions of social media. £350m? Turkey? EU army? #R4Today.
Oh yes. Let’s all remember that Mr Gove’s wife is Daily Mail ‘journalist’ Sarah Vine.
Ms Vine infamously wrote an article claiming that Theresa May had an advantage over Nicola Sturgeon in a meeting with the Scottish First Minister because Mrs May had better legs.
She also produced a piece after her husband made an unacceptable “rape joke” – again on the Today programme – belittling concerns about sex scandals in Westminster as “hysterical” and a “witch hunt”. Many MPs have since resigned or been suspended as revelation after revelation became public knowledge.
All things considered, it was only a matter of time before somebody made the obvious connect – and it was Lily Allen:
Michael Gove leaves hospital on crutches after his wife drove him to the wrong NHS facility.
Please enjoy this letter, posted by “emigrated consultant” Tony Cartwright on Facebook.
I am another UK doctor who is writing a letter to government, if only to satisfy my own anger and frustration. You must all be getting quite tired of this, really.
Ms Vine, you took your husband to a 17 bed community hospital out of hours… and you really expected the full flow of a trauma centre ? This is an unrealistic expectation and will never be the case. We could staff Shepton Mallet Community Hospital with a 24/7 radiology department for the use of ‘people like us,’ as you describe yourself and as you suggest at the end of your missive, however I suspect your husband’s friend, Jeremy, and indeed the PM himself may have something to say about that and the funding and staffing involved. And then what…orthopaedics too and a bit of general surgery…all squeezed into a 17 bed community hospital with no operating theatre. What about the follow up – the nurses / receptionist / plastering tech / porters / radiographers. Really ? And the cost ??
Your nearest emergency department is either in Yeovil or Bath, both a fairly tiresome 40-60 minute drive, and had you gone to either of these hospitals you would have had an X-ray at any time of the day or night and been referred immediately to orthopaedics if required, oh, and been reviewed by a Consultant, for urgent treatment if required and/or some conservative (that word is beginning to stick in my throat) management with advice. That would have resolved your issue later on the Sunday, however I suspect you had many more important things to do than ensure the comfort and health of your husband.
It was your and/or your husband’s choice, for whatever reason, to not take your husband to a doctor in an emergency department in a timely fashion following his injury and, instead, to take him to a unit that was never designed to be equipped to deal with a major fracture (toe, was it ?) out of hours. You see, with repeated changes to funding and allocation of resources within the NHS, the local A&E departments that I remember as a child have been wound down and closed. You and your husband have the freedom to be able to choose to live in a beautiful leafy part of Somerset far from the madding crowds and you therefore have to make a little effort to access those services that larger hospitals provide 24/7/365, and you decided not to make that effort. Surely you could have used a little of your husband’s 10% pay rise to cover the cost of a little petrol/diesel and some hospital parking to get either to Bath or Yeovil, both centres of NHS excellence ? Your decision not to is not our fault. Do not blame us for your lack of effort or forward thinking.
To then level your inappropriate decision making at the NHS doctors and nurses, and gloss this with a fairly healthy dose of ignorance about healthcare provision in the NHS, is absolutely disgraceful, insulting, and only proves further how ignorant politicians, and now apparently, also their wives, are. The comment ‘….he doesn’t have a spare half-day to sit around awaiting the pleasure of the hospital radiographer…’ only further demonstrates the absolute contempt in which politicians hold doctors, nurses and other allied medical professionals. Your attitude is disgraceful.
Yes, I am a UK trained Consultant. However I saw what the likes of Jeremy Hunt and yourself are doing to the NHS through the media and government and I emigrated, like many others have done and are increasingly doing so. This does not, however, attenuate my upset when I see people such as yourself, who are clearly professionally ignorant of Healthcare provision in the UK, being so openly vitriolic towards the phenomenal institution of the NHS and my UK colleagues, who are highly trained, skilled, utterly professional and respected the world over, except, apparently, in the UK. You should respect them and everything they do and not hammer them for what they don’t do, largely due to direction from above, over which they have absolutely no control. The NHS is respected and revered the world over. It is the envy of almost every country in the world and you openly lambast it in your paper ? Just think about that for a moment.
Your expectations of the current NHS are completely unrealistic and your demand for every community hospital and treatment centre to have 24/7 care displays a level of ignorance regarding healthcare provision and financing which, considering you announced this in a national paper, is quite simply astounding. This triad is complete with your vitriol and implied criticism of my highly trained, skilled and professional colleagues which is utterly disgusting.
Yet again, the government is serving its own end and ignoring the populace and the entire Healthcare sector.
Jeremy Hunt, pretending to be in a hospital on a weekend (it was in fact a Friday). He also managed to tweet confidential patient details to the general public. This man is the Conservative Party’s choice to be Secretary of State for Health. No wonder a petition calling for him to be removed via a vote of ‘no confidence’ gained the 100,000 signatures necessary to be considered for debate in Parliament within a matter of days.
Conservative Party bigwigs seem determined to make fools of themselves, and undermine their own policies, during the summer Parliamentary recess.
Already, This Blog has recorded how Priti Patel single-handedly wrecked any credibility the government had over its claim that it will publish figures relating to the deaths of sick and disabled benefit claimants.
On Friday, it was the turn of Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove – and Michael Gove’s wife, Sarah Vine – courtesy of Channel 4’s satirical bombshow, The Last Leg. The segment was so good, it is worth quoting almost verbatim.
Reading a message the show had received on Twitter, host Adam Hills said: “Hannah asked, ‘Is it okay that Jeremy Hunt breached patient confidentiality and still continues to criticise NHS doctors? #dontbeadick #dontbeajeremyhunt’?”
The question alone encouraged the studio audience into a loud and sustained round of applause.
“Hmm!” said Mr Hills. “I think that just measured the temperature of the room! Yes, the man who is his own rhyming slang upset more doctors than an outbreak of ebola this week, when he criticised NHS staff for not working seven-day weeks – to which most NHS staff replied, ‘Dude, we totally do’.”
Co-host Josh Widdicombe pointed out that what’s needed is more doctors, but Jeremy Hunt isn’t prepared to provide the money for it; he just wants them to work longer. “The ideal scenario would be: Each hospital has one doctor who never goes home.”
And Alex Brooker, the other co-host, added: “The way I see it is, a doctor is working all the time because, even when they’re not in the hospital, if they go to the supermarket and someone collapses, they can’t turn around and go, ‘I tell you what, a few hours ago when I was in, I could have helped you!'”
“Lozzle McFozzle said, ‘Is it okay that Jeremy Hunt attacks doctors for supposedly not working weekends, shortly before his eight-week holiday?'” continued Mr Hills.
“Jeremy Hunt tweeted a photo of himself in a hospital on a Saturday, but came under fire when a quick look at the rosters behind him showed it was actually a Friday. Mm-hm!
“A quick look at the confidential patient details behind him showed that he had also tweeted confidential patient details.
“In Jeremy Hunt’s defence, he says he’s trying to forge new contracts that will make the NHS safer – but doctors claim they are already providing five-day-a-week care on four-day-a-week funding. If you make them work seven days a week but with no extra funding, it actually makes the NHS less safe.
“Some doctors have even suggested this is all part of Hunt’s plan to undermine the public’s trust in the NHS, so he can eventually privatise the whole thing. And bear in mind, this is a guy who co-authored a book about dismantling the NHS – and we’re surprised that he wants to dismantle the NHS? It’s like getting freaked out when the author of 50 Shades of Grey breaks out the handcuffs. You’ve read the book, you know what you’re in for; you’re going to get screwed and it’s probably going to hurt!”
Alex Brooker cut in again: “I find it so incredible that we’re even talking about this… For a country’s economy to work, the workforce is absolutely fundamental, and what can be more important than keeping that workforce healthy? So what is more important, to spend money on, than the NHS? ‘Cos they’re not putting it into the schools. So at what point do you think, ‘We should probably scrimp on one thing that completely makes the country run and our economy work’?”
Moving on, he stated: “Someone called Shab said, ‘Is it okay to NOT feel sorry for Michael Gove, who’s been left on crutches this week?’
“Justice Secretary Michael Gove hurt his foot over the weekend but couldn’t get an X-ray until Monday morning. His wife claimed, in an article, this was proof that the NHS needs to be open 24/7 – but forgot to point out, he didn’t actually go to an NHS centre. He went to a minor injuries unit which was established to ease the pressure on accident and emergency, who deal with accidents and emergencies!
“If Michael Gove really needed to be seen over the weekend, he would have been sent straight to A&E where there are 24-hour-a-day radiologists.
“This is not proof that the NHS needs to be open seven days a week. This is proof that Michael Gove needs to go home, take a tablespoon of cement and harden the f**k up!
“As for Jeremy Hunt, everybody wants a seven-day-a-week NHS but you don’t get it by degrading doctors and making them look workshy. Many doctors are on call at weekends, they earn below minimum wage for that work and they often work unpaid overtime beyond all of that.
“In the words of a letter written by a doctor this week, called Karan Kapoor, ‘We don’t go on strike, we don’t hold the country to ransom, we don’t compromise patient care because we were meant to go home two hours ago; instead, we go above and beyond. Without this silent and diligent commitment, the NHS would have crumbled many years ago’.
“This is for Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Michael Gove’s wife: You are badmouthing some of the hardest-working, best-qualified people in Britain, who are also woefully underpaid; the people who may one day need to save your lives. You’re not just being dicks, you’re being a massive pack of…”
(Cut to a clip of BBC Breakfast News presenter Bill Turnbull misreading a news piece earlier in the week) “C***s.”
Just to make sure the point hit home, the show had one more dig at Jeremy Hunt up its sleeve:
For further background reading, try this article. Undoubtedly there are many others.
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