Sunday, February 08, 2009

Why Alan Is Banging The Drum For Dave

Hide-away health secretary, Alan Johnson, has been opening his heart to a Sunday newspaper with Confessions Of An Ex-Postman and banging the drum for Tory leader, David Cameron. But why is this beaming working class hero singing Dave's praises? 

On the surface it seems the new Downing Street strategy is, if you can't beat them join them, as Johnson told the Sunday Times: “Cameron’s likeable ... He’s articulate ... He’s a nice guy ... I am sure he is genuine about the NHS,” before laying into Dave with a "killer hug". 

The Orange Party reckons there's a simpler motive at work here. Johnson is hedging his bets and saving his own skin. 

Johnson is MP for Hull West and Hessle, where angry construction workers travelled across to Immingham for the 'British Jobs' refinery strike. He's worried about his voter base, as time and again these solid Labour supporters feel betrayed by Brown and the government. 

Tellingly and ominously, international financial analyst Bloomberg reported to the world this choice quote from a Hull construction worker recently:
“They’ve sold us down the river,” said Charles Hilton, 61, an electrician from Hull in northern England who was out on strike yesterday with local oil-refinery workers. “We’re going to see civil unrest in this country. It’s already started. It will grow unless things are sorted."
Hilton, who calls himself a traditional Labour voter, said he’ll back David Cameron’s opposition Conservative Party in the next election.
As a former postman and union official, Johnson knows too well the mood of the workers. He's biding his time for when the Blairite elite finally get the boot. 

Meanwhile wandering around this whole New Labour thing with a bemused smile, Johnson is contenting himself with yet another meaningless and misleading campaign on obesity. After all, fat is still a political issue and if there's a bandwagon to jump on, let it roll.  

There's clearly something in the water in Hull, as Johnson joins another Hull MP, born again class-warrior and new blogging whizz kid, John Prescott, with outspoken attacks on the greedy bosses and fat cat bonuses.

But Johnson is in danger of disappearing up his own low public profile, happy to let Darzi take the knife to the NHS and as the wasteful disgrace of the £12.7 billion NHS computer comes crashing down around the government's ears. 

Ministers are steadfastly squandering billions of pounds of taxpayers cash on the useless NHS white-elephant, already more than five years behind schedule. 

The Tories already have that NHS Connecting for Health computer firmly in their sights as a prime example of rotten government waste and incompetence. No amount of sucking up to Dave will get the minister ultimately responsible off the hook. 

Nevertheless the Orange Party believes Johnson is one of the very few New Labour ministers who come anywhere close to being a solid, decent bloke. That boy will go far. 

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