One of the odd things is how much media power Labour still has. This week my phone has been hot with journalists acting as unpaid Labour researchers, wanting the low down on the great Tory health row that never was.
I tell each one the same thing. There is no row, debate or discussion going on amongst Tory MPs on the issue of health reform. If there were I would know. Fellow Conservative MPs often ring me up to discuss party policy. No-one has been trying to get through to talk about changing our health policy in recent weeks, even allowing for the difficulty in doing so for all the journalists on the phone.
Despite all the efforts expended to get a quote, to create tension against David Cameron, and to enlist support for Dan Hannan, they have failed to do so. You would have heard all about it if they had. There would be lurid headlines now about Tory splits, about Tory evil intents, and lies of how a Tory government would cut free health care at the point of need and make health more the preserve of those with health insurance.
One allegedely serious newspaper not only put their reporter on to me, but the Deputy Editor rang when he had failed to get anything they could use. I explained I had given the paper many good quotes about the real health story – how Labour was up to its usualy dirty tricks to damage the Conservatives and how it intended to close down all serious debate by going on another of its MCarthyite purges of improper thoughts towards the NHS. The Deputy Editor did not seem to think that was an acceptable viewpoint. I explained again it was my view, and as they thought my view so important they should report it. The parting shot was to ask if I had myself taken out private health insurance. That question confirmed what they are trying to do. Let me stress here to all who are thinking of going that route to follow Mandelson’s bidding that I do not have private health insurance. Nor do most Conservative MPs and voters. So stop lying about us. Conservatives use the NHS and are fed up with Labour lies.
It is even more curious that against a poll background where Labour is consistently 10-15% behind the Conservatives there is only one Conservative supporting newspaper, the Express. You would have thought these newspapers would start to ask themselves how good their Conservative sources are in case the Conservatives win the next election. They might start looking at what the Consertvative stories are, as well as the Labour crude spin. I explained patiently to them all who rang that our main story is the run away deficit and the need to take action to limit the build up of debt. The leadership thinks this is the main issue, as do I. I listen in vain in the morning in the hope that the BBC will start to take this seriously. Doesn’t it rate as many mentions as global warming and the health “row” that never was? Those journalists who want to understand what Conservatives are talking about and thinking about should read this website and Conservative Home. Maybe then they will ring us and talk about something we are talking about and wanting to change, instead of trying yet again again to place us in one of Labour’s pathetic and predictable traps.
I look forward to some phone calls to expalin Conservative views on the economy – or even on the surveillance society. I am not expecting the phone to be red hot on those. Such remains the power of Labour’s distorting media operation.