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back to article Broadband minister Hunt LOSES portfolio, takes on national health

Jeremy Hunt, who is the minister responsible for the government's ambitious faster broadband roll out, has been shifted out of the department for media, culture and sport into a new cabinet role as Health Secretary. As recently as April this year, the Tory MP and homeopathy fan faced calls from the opposition to stand down after …

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Devil

Qualifications?

I discussed recently with my family that I don't understand how some MPs get into their roles. This is a prime example. If Hunt was qualified to be the Culture Secretary then fine, but how does that also make him qualified for Health Secretary? Does he have a background of running medical institutions or working with medical professionals? If the answer is 'no' then I serious questions over his experience and ability to be successful in this new role.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Qualifications?

He's perfectly qualified, possible corruption during mass privatisation of the service is exactly what we need. The homoeopathy is merely a bonus.

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Silver badge

Re: Qualifications?

Ministers do not have to understand their ministry, that is what permanent under secretaries were invented for. Have none of you seen "Yes Minister"?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Qualifications?

He's also against abortion and stem cells; marvellous.

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Silver badge

Re: Qualifications?

As part of a representative democracy qualifications in the field are not per se a requirement; they would be in a technocrac. Ken Clarke was quite a good Chancellor despite being a lawyer by trade. Admittedly, this was after that utter idiot Lamont so even a Tellytubby would have looked good.

I'd like to say that Hunt can only be better than Lansley who is being given the shove for steaming ahead with and botching a reform that the government wanted. But, as even my mum, who doesn't swear lightly, has to take care when speaking his name, I can't say that with conviction. Well, more conviction than he has. I suspect that precisely nothing will happen in the department of health on his watch, which is probably the aim of the whole thing. He's an arse but he probably won't do much.

Removing Ken Clarke from Justice and so he could do no more damage with his heretical plans to lock fewer people up and replacing him with a slavering "hanging's too good for 'em" from the shires has me more worried.

And who is going to replace the utterly irreplaceable Louise Mensch as Minister for Chick Lit and Won't Somebody Think of the Children?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Qualifications?

He's a pro-homeopathy anti-abortion Charterhouse boy, how could he be any more of a perfect fit?

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Linux

Homeopathy fan? Seriously?

<-- A penguin, the nearest I could find to something quackish

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FAIL

First to say...

Deckchairs. Titanic?

I bet I'm not the first though...

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Nev
Bronze badge
FAIL

Homeopathy Fan....

Oh dear.

Should be grounds for instant removal from any departmental head role, let alone DoH.

He'll hopefully be out on-his-ear once the Newscorp shite really hits the ventilator anyway.

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Bronze badge

How dare you...!

Doubting the qualifications of MPs in ministerial roles!

We've had some classics over the years:

Glenda Jackson (actress) was given a junior ministers role responsible for transport in London. Well, I suppose she at least lived there.

Gordon Brown has a PhD in history, making him a fabulous bean counter as Chancellor.

Nick Clegg studied archaeology - Not more to add really to that one.

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Anonymous Coward

ive got some homeopathy for you

i hope you like it splashed in your face

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ive got some homeopathy for you

errr I think you might have confused "homeopathy" with "spunk"

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Joke

Re: ive got some homeopathy for you

No, spunk has something in it and proven effects.

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Re: ive got some homeopathy for you

"spunk has something in it and proven effects"

I understand it is both an excellent facial treatment, reducing the 7 signs of aging, and also if ingested is full of useful vitamins and minerals and aids weight loss without requiring dieting or gym visits.

All proven facts, don't forget to tell the missus.

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Bronze badge
WTF?

Musical chairs... but you don't lose a chair, you just swap

Fail at your current job role, wasting billions of pounds? Not a problem! Here, try health. That's far less important than broadband. Oh, what's this? Chris Gray-lying bastard and downright vile excuse of a human is now minister of justice? Proven liar, justice, those two should never be linked and yet there we are. I'm starting to think my neck ache problems come from continued head shaking at the state of governments both home and abroad screwing over the people.

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Cool, so he can go from..

not understanding technology to not understanding the health service.

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He'll Be There For You

So which director of Pfizer is his good friend?

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Anonymous Coward

Minsters and suitability ...

The theory is that Ministers are the accountable end of the deal. They have the ability to hire experts in their field for advice and support, in return for acting as the point man for the public.

As I say, that's the theory.

In practice we get whiney snivelly gits, who ignore the advice of their consultants, in favour of Daily-Mail headlines and political expediency. And then when the balloon does go up, they just stick to their job like a barnacle, instead of fulfilling their end of the bargain (to take one for the team).

You know, for a houseful of lawyers, successive governments have made some crap laws.

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Bronze badge

Re: Minsters and suitability ...

I think the problem also lies with who gets appointed a "consultant", too.

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Bronze badge

Re: Minsters and suitability ...

"You know, for a houseful of lawyers, successive governments have made some crap laws."

Indeed, crap laws create a demand for lawyers - it's no more remarkable than if parliament was full of florists and legislated for Mothers' Day to be monthly rather than annually.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Minsters and suitability ...

"Consider though both Cameron and Miller come from the advertising industry."

Yeah - all style and no substance.

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Anonymous Coward

in hell steve jobs will be treated the way he treated his customers on earth

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FAIL

Topic fail.

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In slight tiny almost defence of his Homeopathy support...

Most people presume that "Homeopathy" covers ALL alternative therapies, including the ones that aren't *UTTER NONSENSE*, e.g. acupuncture, and not just the sugar pill bullcrap.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In slight tiny almost defence of his Homeopathy support...

I tried acupuncture once but it wasnt as good as heroin.

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Re: In slight tiny almost defence of his Homeopathy support...

Pretty sure acupuncture is load of codswallop too though.

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Nev
Bronze badge

Re: In slight tiny almost defence of his Homeopathy support...

No they don't.

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Bronze badge

Re: In slight tiny almost defence of his Homeopathy support...

An unusually strong placebo effect given that it is used in place of anaesthetic in China in a lot of hospitals (according to some debunking programme I watched ages ago, where acupuncture allowed you a cheaper hospital visit, plus jumped the queue).

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Linux

Re: In slight tiny almost defence of his Homeopathy support...

I'm a bit less militant about this now. I have a friend, who suffers from depression. He's very much into his alternative therapies. Including one where you put cups of steam on the back in special 'magic energy points' or something. That, aromatherapy and accupuncture have worked for him.

Who am I to start talking about the placebo effect, pseudo-science, and maybe destroy the benefit this 'treatment' is giving? Some friend I'd be, if I started shooting my mouth off.

I'm sure it's all down to being looked after, and relaxing. But it works for him. I believe the placebo effect is stronger with injections than pills, and also if you've paid for it, over free. Thinks: I wonder if that explains the fervour of the various phone fanbois?

I knew a physio working with seriously disabled kids. She said that most of these 'miracle' treatment regimes were just down to time and money. If she could spend 3 hours a day with each child, and 2 physios, she could work wonders too. Instead of a couple of half hour sessions a week.

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Bronze badge

Re: In slight tiny almost defence of his Homeopathy support...

Fake injections (saline) have been proven to be more effective than fake pills at pain relief according to Dr Goldacre (a delightful man)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/nov/16/sciencenews.g2

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Joke

The British Government firmly believes in Homeopathy...

...They've massively diluted the amount of jobs, disposable income and well-run services in the UK in order to make them more effective.

This was supposed to be a joke but now I want a stiff drink.

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Anonymous Coward

Scrape away

There's a point in the life of every government when you know that it's the beginning of the end. It comes when certain people with an indefinable but recognisable quality get promoted up the political food chain to the cabinet, or from the backbenches to a junior ministerial role. In short you know that they've gone through anything that could loosely be called talent, at least in terms of ministerial qualities, and are taking a chisel to the bottom of the barrel.

The hallmark usually is the inability to do an interview with anything like good grace or humour, shouting down or patronising the interviewer if the questions get too probing, getting that tight, bitter tone to the voice when a Paxman or Humphreys chips away at the real question and refuses to allow them to deliver the little homily that starts "Thats why we..." as briefed by the whips.

Major had a plentiful supply, NuLab had them in spades, most notably in Andy Burnham. But pity poor Cameron. Thatcher wouldn't have let your first cabinet go leafleting in Solihull on behalf of the party. Your first shuffle and you actually promote Jeremy Hunt (a man who seems to do an ongoing impression of a turkey looking forward to Christmas) up the pecking order, rather than showing him the spot on the back benches he so thoroughly deserved after the 'Ruperts cheerleader' debacle. As PM, if the most talent you have to shuffle is actually in another party entirely, it's probably time to consider taking the doubtless generous pension and heading off leafy Oxfordshire to write your memoirs, dwelling at length on your days at Eton to make sure you pad it out past 100 pages.

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Gold badge

Re: Scrape away

Humphreys and Paxman are shit interviewers. They're part of the problem, not the solution.

We might have a healthy political discourse if politicians were allowed to finish a fucking sentence once in a while! It would also help if self-aggrandising wankers like Humphreys actually asked them a question it was possible to answer, rather than setting them up with a 'when did you stop beating your wife', so Today can deliberately misquote them for the rest of the morning. Or alternatively force them to spend so long qualifying their answer that it sounds like they're lying, even the times when they're not.

You know that Paxman only asked Michael Howerd the same question 10 times because his editor suddenly said there were 5 minutes to fill, and he couldn't think of any more questions...

Sure we've got some slimy buggers in politics. But then we accuse the straight talkers of being gaffe-prone, and don't allow most of them to ever answer the questions they're supposed to be on the shows to talk about. It's a very rare beast, like a Ken Clarke, who can actually still get his point across, without losing his relaxed delivery or sounding like a liar or a screeching loony.

We might also get better quality ministers if we cut them enough slack that they can present their case before we decide they're lying or bluffing. Then we could catch the actual dissemblers out, and keep a few more of the good ones around.

Ooops! Off-topic rant now over. Sorry about that. I used to listen to the Today program, when it was good. I think I'll wander off for a beer now...

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Meh

Re: Scrape away

That would be the "did you or didn't you" question that Mr Howard kept dodging ?

Actually I get irritated with all interviewers because they don't ask the actual awkward questions, and its often clear from what they do ask that they have no clue of even the general area in which those questions might fall

(Ob conspiracy: or they steer well clear deliberately so as not to jeopardise their income stream).

Any kind of PR/interview is a game in which there is a limited period of time / space for copy and one party wants to get their spiel over as verbatim as possible and the other party wants to look as though they're an important contributor to some kind of high level discussion/debate.

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Gold badge

Re: Scrape away

arrbee,

Yup. 'Did you threaten to overrule him?' x 10. To be fair, Howerd was dodging, and should have just given a straight answer. So he deserved to be made to look silly.

Today lasts for 3 hours, so they've got no excuse for always cutting people short. The World at One, and The World Tonight are far better. Today have plenty of air-time to give politicians time to make their points, and then grill them afterwards.

Instead they ask them leading questions, and then try to cut them off if they fail to give yes/no answers on complex issues. When I could still bear to listen to it, without shouting at the radio, was when Rodd Liddell was in charge: their stated aim was 'to set the news agenda'. So they'd ask a question like 'why is your policy designed to disadvantage old people'. So minister tries to say that all policies have winners and losers, gets hurried up and interrupted, then says something like 'yes this policy is worse for pensioners, but better for families.'.

Then the BBC news bulletins all lead with 'Minister says his policy is designed to hurt the old'. What was noticeable was that this would always change at about the 10 o'clock bulletin. When a different shift would take over, and correct what was obviously a glaring distortion of the interview. This was when I worked from home, so had the radio on most of the day. And I'm a Conservative supporter, so it isn't my love of Labour's ministers that led me to this conclusion.

I don't get to listen as much now, but whenever I tune into Today, it's still the same hectoring, headline seeking, fundamentally un-serious pile of arse that it's been for over a decade.

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Anonymous Coward

"One of Jeremy Hunt's new fleet of homeopathic ambulances, seen here treating some rioters:

http://t.co/1Jtd2rgs (relatively worksafe)

Also, the fun thing about the whole Newscorp mess is that George Osborne knows a lot of very awkward things about Cameron's dealings with Murdoch and co that haven't yet come to light, he is for now somewhat untouchable- so the malign influence of the old aussie lich persists.

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Silver badge
WTF?

In what scenario is a picture of a tank with a water cannon squirting protesters NSFW?

I demand a refund for the brief moment of titillation heightened by possible dismissal that was promised.

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Anonymous Coward

Tom,

Any possible answer would be very NSFW, you cunning fiend, you!

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Boffin

Time to roll out the homeopathic A&E.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMGIbOGu8q0

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Headmaster

David Cameron's administration seems to have mirrored the USA in some respects: it has gone from the beginning phase of "enthusiastic yet inexperienced amateurs" to "corrupt self-serving incompetents managing a slow-motion disaster" without the usual intervening phase of "roughly all right, could do better, but so so disasterously bad" in the middle.

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WTF?

Maria Miller is also now the Minister for Women & Equalities.

WTF?? Maria Miller:

Voted against equal gay adoption rights.

Voted against "hate speech" being criminalised.

Voted against lesbians being able to get fertility treatment.

And quite a few other such issues.

Yep, this is *just* the sort of person we want for "Women and Equalities" Minister!!

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Devil

Homeopath

I always thought a homeopath (someone who practices homeopathy) was a cross between homicide and psychopath. Wait. Was I not right?

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