There were many people, no doubt, when the shadow cabinet election results were announced said/thought/yelped maniacally/just plain asked (delete as applicable) “Who the bloody hell is John Healey?”
Of course there were those people with nothing better to do with their empty lives experts in Labour politics like Will Straw and Hopi Sen who had him down as a rising star before the elections were even done.
For most people though, Healey was a relative unknown sitting between party stars Yvette Cooper and Ed Balls. It’s never an enviable position to get between a married couple, unless you swing that way, but Healey seems to have done well out of it.
Ed Miliband named him Shadow Health Secretary at the end of last week, telling him
“This is the big public services battleground for Labour over the next five years”
Healey, who is obviously not slow at picking up a brief, has been quicker out of the blocks than a Commonwealth Games sprinter looking for the loos, and has already issued a warning to the public that the Coalition’s plans are nothing more than a way of ‘privatising the NHS by the back door’.
The Government is planning to pass budgetary control of parts of the NHS into the control of GPs. Healey suggests that GPs will hire private companies to oversee the commissioning of services and that these companies will not have the accountability of the current Primary Care Trusts.
Let’s hope the rest of our shadow Cabinet can get a hold on their briefs just as quickly.