Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Lansley ambushed - media conspirators

The ambush of Andrew Lansley as he walked from his office across Whitehall to Downing Street has been likened to a scene from The Thick of It. It ran all day on the news channels yesterday and has given most newspapers a great picture to use today.

This stunt is emblematic of the approach taken by Unison particularly, but other unions as well, in making the fight over NHS reforms a battle between nurses/doctors/hospital workers and the 'out of touch' government.

The Mirror referred to June Hautot, the lady who confronted Mr Lansley, as a Mum-of-three, the Daily Mail called her a pensioner but acknowledged she was also a former union rep as did the BBC. The Telegraph failed to mention her union links, nor did Channel 4 News.

This was a clever, if cynical, operation by Unison yesterday. They knew what would make the news - a pensioner who used to be a public sector worker, who had also lost her husband to cancer despite the care of a 'brilliant' NHS, tearfully lambasting the health secretary as he walked into Downing Street.

It is clear that Lansley's team rebutted well by making it plain who Mrs Hautot really is but, the simple fact is, that the media like an easy story and Unison gave it to them on a plate.

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