AS REMAINER Jeremy Hunt and Brexit Boris head-off to battle it out in the final stages of the Tory race for number 10, people are forgetting the reasons why – very recently – the former Healthcare secretary was named as the most hated man in British politics.
Predicted to be another Theresa May (i.e. a Cameron-inspired Trojan horse sent it on the false promise that he seeks to deliver a ‘real’ Brexit before embarking on a laboriously drawn-out effort to prevent it) Jeremy Hunt’s six-year run as the health secretary was one of the most disastrous in the history of the NHS.
Between 2012 and 2018, when Hunt was in office, the NHS saw the slowest period of investment since its inception, which resulted in the organisation not reaching any of its targets on cancer care, hospital appointments or A&E waiting times since 2015.
Austerity measures, including restrictions on pay rises and extended working hours, which were considered to be ‘normal’, also led to Hunt ending up in a long-running dispute with junior doctors who staged a series of walkouts, with many hard-working NHS staff feeling attacked by the very man who was supposed to help them.
Recently, a GP from Hendon who is a staunch Conservative supporter, furiously laid into the despised Hunt live on LBC, telling him that “NHS staff will not vote for you as prime minister” and that he is the “most hated health secretary in memory”.
“You were the most hated health secretary in my memory. You demoralised and disenfranchised all junior doctors. Many of them have left medicine as a result of your changes.
Directly because of this, there are significantly fewer GPs and people can’t get doctors’ appointments. NHS staff will not vote for you as prime minister.
I do not want Jeremy Corbyn to be prime minister. I want a Tory prime minister. You on the Tory ticket will lose all of the NHS vote. People just won’t vote because of this.
You cannot have someone who is this tainted with this track record because you will not get the NHS vote.”
During Hunt’s tenure, more hospitals went into the red, as well as targets being missed in three important main areas: cancer care, hospital appointments, and A&E waiting times.
NHS England in fact has not met any of these targets since Jeremy was at the helm.
Just 85.3% of patients were seen at A&E departments within the waiting time target of four hours in January 2018. At least 95% of patients attending A&E are supposed to be either admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.
Understandably, at the time unions like the GMB demanded his resignation.
Hunt had said that changes to contracts were essential to deliver a seven-day NHS in England by 2020 – a pledge in the Conservatives’ 2010 election manifesto.
To achieve this, the proposed contracts would mean evenings and Saturdays would be considered “normal” rather than “unsocial” hours and would no longer attract overtime pay – a crippling blow to the many already overworked and underpaid NHS staff.
Junior doctors responded by tweeting pictures of themselves working weekend and late shifts, with the hashtag #ImInWorkJeremy. Yet despite getting little sleep after spending the majority of their days and nights tirelessly working to save lives and look after our sick, ill, and injured, the Junior doctors hated Hunt so much for his harsh treatment of them that they still found the energy to march on Parliament in their thousands on their days off to protest against him.
Disgusted by Jeremy’s damaging policies, the British Medical Association eventually decided on industrial action.
Junior doctors took part in a series of walkouts in 2016. On two strike days, between 08:00 and 17:00 emergency care wasn’t covered – the first time that had ever happened in the history of the NHS.
Public support for the strike was high, and even after doctors withdrew emergency care, the majority of the public (57%) still supported the strike and believed the government was more at fault (54%).
Hunt – who just today told people not to vote for the ‘populist candidate’ (i.e. his rival Boris Johnson) on account of himself lacking any form of popularity – was also, in 2009 found to have breached expenses rules and ordered to repay more than £9,500 after allowing his agent to stay rent-free in his constituency property, which was designated as his second home.
Mr Hunt had claimed £19,117 in public money towards the property.
As if that weren’t enough, he also has faced criticism for allowing the UK to sell arms to the brutal Saudi regime, which is currently involved in a controversial military campaign of blood-lust in Yemen, not to mention its lack of equality and brutal execution methods back home, with many executions being condemned internationally for being carried out against men and women with mental health disabilities.
A Remain campaigner in the 2016 EU referendum, Mr Hunt has since (following in May’s footsteps) ‘falsely’ said that he would vote Leave in a second vote, yet has ruled-out sticking to the already 3-years-late leave date of the 31st of October.
Vote Jeremy Hunt and we might see another three years of division and anxiety caused by the intentional delay of a democracy-denying remainer government.
There is a reason that so far to date, whilst live, the BBC, radio, and Sky News have all referred to him as “Jeremy C**t”, and it isn’t just the fact that the two words rhyme.
In June this year, Justin Webb was looking at the newspapers on BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today program when he said: “The paper says that Health Secretary Jeremy C**t … Hunt is understood to favour a cap on social care.”
Eight years earlier on the same program, presenter James Naughtie said the line: “After the news we’ll be talking to Jeremy C**t.” Upon his retirement from the show in 2015, Naughtie revealed that his colleagues bought him a bottle of champagne to celebrate.
This year, however, the country will only be celebrating if Boris Johnson is voted-in and Brexit is finally delivered and put to bed. The alternative – another remainer at the helm, another intentional spanner in the works, and further bumbling delays and shots at delivering a remain in all but name ‘deal’ – will leave us all popping the champagne back into the fridge and, once again, rolling our eyes in hope that one day this nightmare will all be over and we can finally pop that cork.