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Tuesday 4th September 2012 | 14:09
Jeremy Hunt's appointment to Health Secretary marks an impressive turnaround in his fortunes.
Despite the firestorm over Murdoch, I blogged in July that he was very much back on as the man to replace Lansley.
In the summer, Hunt himself also told me that his career this year had been 'from hero to zero...and back again!' and those words have become pretty prescient.
The PM sees him as a thoroughly decent, likeable, competent Cabinet minister who can defuse the NHS as a toxic Lansley-style issue while overseeing real change.
But Hunt does have one wee chink in his armour on the health service. Just before the Olympics, the Times' Rachel Sylvester wrote a Times column about the problem of exploiting the Games for party advantage.
She recalled this tale:
"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."
So that's the (now) new Health Secretary asking 'is this really necessary?' at the suggestion that the UK showcase its NHS worldwide. Cam had to step in to secure the NHS section.
Don't forget this was written before the NHS bit of the ceremony prompted some on the right to attack Boyle as a lefty.
I'd be surprised if Labour don't seize on this one soon. And equally surprised if Hunt wasn't asked about it in his first TV interview...
WEDS UPDATE: Channel 4 News' Paraic O'Brien Tweets me:
"Danny Boyle told me JeremyHunt DIDN'T express reservations re NHS sequence in opening ceremony."
Assuming Boyle wasn't just being diplomatic, Hunt escapes - again!
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