When Jeremy Hunt objected to NHS at Olympics ceremony


10:01 am - September 5th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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Just before the Olympics, The Times’ Rachel Sylvester wrote this in a column about Jeremy Hunt:

When Danny Boyle first presented his plans for the Olympic opening ceremony to the Government there was some concern. The proposal to import live farmyard animals, simulate a rain cloud and recreate a village cricket match as part of his “Isles of Wonder” extravaganza passed without comment.

Then the director mentioned his desire to include a parade of nurses.

Jeremy Hunt looked worried. Was it really necessary, he asked, to include this tribute to the NHS — the subject of the Government’s most controversial reforms — in a show that will be watched by a billion people worldwide?

The matter was referred up to No 10 and David Cameron decided that the angels of mercy should be allowed in, so they will troop through the stadium in Stratford this week complete with hospital beds.

This minister, who is ashamed of the NHS and didn’t want it to appear in the Olympics opening ceremony, has now been put in charge of it.

Unbelievable.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


I like the NHS, but I also found the tribute to it completely out of place in the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
In 2012 Britain celebrates having hospitals? Wow. I expected a celebration of warm water to follow.

I think this worship of the NHS IS going much too far.
I have had several bad experiences of NHS treatment – mostly associated with the GP “service”.
In 1996 on return from Ghana with malaria I was assured I had flu – and ended up in the Hospital for Tropical Diseases – eventually – for three weeks. My next of kin were sent for. By the way around the same time Simon Hughes’ brother DIED of malaria.
Recently I had a major sinus operation Guys – now day surgery (a similar operation in Manchester Royal Infirmary in 1974 entailed 4 days in hospital). I am only having a follow-up outpatient appointment because I rang to change my GP on the Guys appointments system and they noticed I had somehow been “missed”.
Frankly IMHO if we followed the Canadian approach and simply demolished a few hospitals the nation would be healthier – and save huge sums of money.
I would willingly accept a full refund of all my NHS contributions over the last 40 years and spent it in Harley Street.
And I speak as a left-wing Liberal Democrat – but one sickened by poor service from the NHS in my area (Brixton)

David W

Worship of anything is going too far – be it war heroes, deities or institutions.

But a tribute to a noble principle and well respected institutions that has saved millions of lives and that the country is largely united behind as the one thing the UK actually stands for in the modern world? That seemed fair enough.

Also – lol – left wing lib dem – nice one. 😉

Jeremy Hunt is a ridiculous individual, who also happens to believe in homeopathy.

It doesn’t surprise me that he is a nonbeliever in the NHS, as he has probably never needed to use it due to his wealth, and thus does not truly see how the NHS is a fantastic organisation which saves millions regardless of socioeconomic class (unlike insurance based health systems, which disadvantage the poor and are testament to inverse care law.)

Btw privatisation and the introduction of internal markets in the NHS should be prevented!

@1 “I expected a celebration of warm water to follow.”

That would have been in line with the NHS show, but also ridiculous. You know, Britain actually *is* known (in North Europe) as a third world country when it comes to plumbing.

Hot and cold water pipes are separate all the way to the nose of the tap because you guys haven’t invented the non-return valve yet? Get real.

Mr Margin – I liked the opening ceremony and found the NHS bit entertaining as well. But I still think the NHS as it stands is bloated and often run for the benefit of its staff rather than the patients.
As for your last bit – I was at the Rochdale by-election (when Cyril Smith was elected) when Labour tellers were hassling Asian voters and insisting that only people who could speak English properly could vote.
I was not at the Oval when Peter Hain (then a Young Liberal) dug up the pitch over the apartheid cricket tour – but I supported him. The Liberals had an honourable tradition of radicalism – and maybe will again when this wretched coalition goes.

Anyone from just about anywhere in continental Europe would have been totally bewildered at our worship of a healthcare system which is so much worse than theirs, and which has been copied by hardly any other country in the world.

8. Chaise Guevara

@ 7 cjcjc

Don’t worry. It’ll be so much better when Hunt decides we can save money on chemotherapy and NSAIDs by replacing them with Magic Water:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tomchiversscience/100179258/jeremy-hunt-health-secretary-thinks-homeopathy-works/

I have to admite – I’d tend to back any nasty and manipulative tactic to stop murderous scum like Cyril Smith being elected. Lets not forget this was a man who supported the businessmen friends of his who decided not to tell the world or their staff that asbestos kills.

Dispicable man – and it always amazes me that lib dems who claim a link to liberal party heritage don’t see him as a sickening stain on their party’s history (though of course, in fairness, he wanted no part of the Lib Dems as he felt the merger was wrong).

Mr Margin – give us chapter & verse on Cyril Smith’s “links” to Turner & Newell then. AFAIR asbestos was not an issue in 1972, but from Wikipedia the asbestos industry in Manchester had an interesting history.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turner_%26_Newall
Smiths Springs must have been a automotives parts manufacturer/supplier – when Britain actually had a proper car industry.
I expect you’ll be demanding that Manchester Dental School return the £99,000 donation Turner & Newall made in 1944 now.
Sorry to add I do have a Manchester University degree – do I hand that back in anger as well?
The Asians WERE harassed at that election, and whatever you think of Cyril Smith will not convince me that bigotted Labour party tactics were correct.
Even Soc Soc, so-called did not think so!

Evidently, Hunt thinks that the government should have intervened to censor the content of the Olympic opening ceremony because of the prominence it gave to the NHS. I have my own complaints about the Olympic opening ceremony – that it paid so lttle regard to Britain’s history of outstanding scientific achievements – but it never occurred to me that the government should have intervened to rectify that imbalance.

What else does Hunt think the government should intervene in to censor so as to suit his political priorities? I think we need to know.

12. margin4error

David

don’t have to hand anyhting back – but recognising that Mr Smith was utter scum should hardly be beyond the wit of some one who studied for a degree.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GppZltZd6xs

http://www.newstatesman.com/health/2008/08/asbestos-victims-company

cjcj…

“Anyone from just about anywhere in continental Europe would have been totally bewildered at our worship of a healthcare system which is so much worse than theirs…”

Evidence, on both assertions, please.

Cameron is giving the Brits his middle finger. He’ll get his way too.

Bob,
An important point here is that no censorship actually took place.

Anything overtly political would have been inappropriate, and it’s surely right that neutrality was maintained. The NHS section WAS actually quite close to the wind in theory, as can be seen from foreign responses to it, but reaction at home suggests that Danny Boyle got it right.

Not much of a story in my view, and I suspect Hunt may be grateful for the distraction from his more recent difficulties.

I think the more worrying thing is his call for the NHS to be abolished back in 2009.

Andreas Moser

“In 2012 Britain celebrates having hospitals? Wow. I expected a celebration of warm water to follow.”

Pretty important when the whole of the NHS is in danger of being destroyed. And once it’s gone, there’ll never be the political will to replace it. Danny Boyle and co knew what they were doing. I doubt Cameron wanted it in either, but saying so might call into question his “commitment to the NHS”.

Jack C: “An important point here is that no censorship actually took place.”

But that wasn’t Hunt’s fault. He sought political intervention to alter the content of the opening ceremony of the Olympics because of the prominence it gave to the NHS – not because the ceremony failed, as it did, to recognise the outstanding historic contribution of Britain’s scientific achievements.

19. Chaise Guevara

@ 17 Bob B

“not because the ceremony failed, as it did, to recognise the outstanding historic contribution of Britain’s scientific achievements.”

Eh? Since when is the onus on a sports ceremony to provide a comprehensive science history lesson? I’m sure it also “failed” to give a blow-by-blow account of the lives of 50s British film stars, or to provide close textual analysis of The Lord of the Flies. So what?

Chaise: “Since when is the onus on a sports ceremony to provide a comprehensive science history lesson?”

C’mon. For reasons best known to the producer of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, there were extensive historic references to Blake’s Jerulsalem and Britain’s pioneering industrial revolution, with passing acknowledgement of our literary heritage but Britain’s history of outstanding scientific achievements went largely unnoticed.

Margin
You clip is interesting – BUT it makes clear that “IN THE 1980s” it started to became apparent there was a problem with asbestos.
The Rochdale by-election was in 1972.
Also in 1972 I was just starting at Manchester University and did not have a degree.
I am not blessed with foresight. No doubt had you known about the Iraq War you would not have voted for T Bliar in 1997!
I think you should tone down your invective – you are in danger of appearing in “On the Boards” in Private Eye – or even being lifted by the “Daily Mail”!

22. Chaise Guevara

@ 19 Bob B

1) It had a big section on Newton, didn’t it?
2) There’ll always be someone disappointed that their favourite thing didn’t feature.
3) It’s art, not a treatise on British history.

Very odd.

24. man on clapham omnibus

@8

although the article was actually about homeopathic hospitals who do a lot more than homeopathy and are often the last port of call for the dying and those for whom traditional medicine cannot help.

25. Chaise Guevara

@ 24 MoCO

“although the article was actually about homeopathic hospitals who do a lot more than homeopathy and are often the last port of call for the dying and those for whom traditional medicine cannot help.”

The article was, but the letter Hunt wrote to his constituent said that he believed in homeopathy, not homeopathic hospitals. As I said in the other thread, it’s possible Hunt just doesn’t know the difference, but that’s not great either if he’s commenting on it.

@ . Andreas Moser

A”In 2012 Britain celebrates having hospitals? Wow. I expected a celebration of warm water to follow”

Good grief this is a naive comment.

Much of the world doesn’t have free health care and as such those of us who been elsewhere in the world know how precious it is.

It is something shout very loudly about because with out our health we individually have nothing

Lazy Dave had caved into the ultra-right of the tory party and a f-wit like Hunt in charge of a major UK institution. The law of unintended consequences is that this plays right into the hands of the Labour Party (thank the lord)and makes a rout of the BNP-lite at the next gen election an odds-on certainty


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  118. The Real Sumit Dutta

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  135. London 2012 Olympics

    #london #olympics When Jeremy Hunt objected to NHS at Olympics ceremony | Liberal …: When Danny Boyle first pr… http://t.co/wzT67DKX

  136. Michael Caruana

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  139. Brian Berkovits

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  140. Scott

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  141. John Casserly

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  142. John Casserly

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  143. sam kenyon

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  181. Charles Edward Frith

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  182. This Week in Mentalists – The ‘could they have made a worse choice’ edition « The World of Mentalists

    […] this time who actually knew what they were doing? Er… Step forward Mr Jeremy (C) Hunt. Yeah, the man who objected to Danny Boyle’s fabulous tribute to the NHS in the Olympics opening cere…, and who believes in homeopathy. […]

  183. liane gomersall

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  184. Rosemary Dun

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  185. Andrew Bradford

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  191. Margo Milne

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  192. Fi Douglas

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  202. Charles Edward Frith

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  204. When Jeremy Hunt objected to NHS at Olympics ceremony | Liberal … | Let You Know Everything

    […] Link: When Jeremy Hunt objected to NHS at Olympics ceremony | Liberal … […]

  205. Charles Edward Frith

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  206. Charles Edward Frith

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  207. drawingin

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