Friday, 16 April 2010

What I didn't tell the leaders

I was sad not to feature in any of the party leaders' homilies during last night's TV debate.

It's my own fault, I know.

While not in hospital for the operation I was not having to correct a rare but treatable condition, I was unable to explain to a visiting David Cameron how, owing to New Labour's obsession with target-setting and centralised top-down control in the NHS, the hospital trust was unable to access the medicines I needed but which NICE had not got round to approving. Nor did I see the troubled frown that would have crossed his features when I told him about the rat I'm sure I would have seen scurrying across the sheets as I shivered, starving, in the undignified hospital gown that New Labour had delayed replacing until just before the election.

I also missed the opportunity to let him know that while not laid up in the hospital my house was not burgled by an early-release prisoner who stole literally everything in the place to fuel his drugs habit; and I was unable, therefore, to hear his assurance that under a Conservative government there would be no such burglaries by early-release prisoners, and that even if there were I would be quite at liberty to kill any that invaded my home.

Mr Cameron would, I'm sure, have listened carefully to my succinctly-phrased explanation of how Labour's policy of inviting millions of immigrants to enter the country legally and illegally had impacted on local services. And he would have heard, with a suitably concerned expression, that as a teacher my job had been made impossible by the four hundred thousands separate boxes I am required to tick each morning. But since neither he nor I were there, we were unable to have this important conversation which would, I'm sure, have provided much material for the debate and thus improved what was generally regarded as a disappointingly flat performance.

Sadly, Nick Clegg was unable to hear my exasperation, as an ordinary hard-working citizen who expects fairness and honesty from politicians and those with power and influence in society, with the greedy bankers and spoilt arrogant MPs who had stolen all my money. He therefore missed the opportunity to assure me that none of the MPs concerned were Liberal Democrats and while some of the bankers may have been he was pretty sure that most of them were Tories.

As a black gay woman, I would have liked the chance to thank Gordon Brown for making it possible for me to have my operation in a hospital that was not only new - thanks to the private finance initiative which he wisely pioneered - but which took issues of equality seriously enough to employ many well-paid staff to monitor the race and sexual orientation of patients. This, the prime minister (who would have been on a purely low-key, private visit unhindered by the presence of journalists and film-crews) was not in a position to stress, would never have happened under a Tory government.

I'm also sorry that I was not there to hear him congratulate me on the record exam results that my non-existent children are not achieving, year on year, thanks to the record investment put in by his government. Nor did I hear him remark, as is apparently his wont, that Nick Clegg certainly agreed with him on this, as on all other policies and topics, except the most important one, which is the need for five more years of a continued Labour government.

No, I missed a treat. Still, it was fun to watch Nick Clegg's total humiliation, wasn't it? Out-classed, out-gunned, and out-of-shot, I can't have been the only one wondering why they ever let him on.