Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Election Difficulties

Trust me to write about something outside my Worcester Park comfort zone - there are growing rumblings today that that the Lib Dems may be somewhat overplaying the threat to Kingston Hospital's Maternity & A&E departments ahead of May's general election (a story which, as some readers have pointed out, I failed to take with my usual pinch of salt).

The problem with secret plans is they are hard to prove or disprove, but for the other side of the argument check out Daily Mirror Associate Editor Kevin McGuire's Twitter postings from today:

"On train a - bloke's boasting on mobile he got Evening Standard to claim Lab has secret plans to shut Kingston Hospital".... "Train bloke now boasting the hospital scare story cooked up at his kitchen table. Very proud of Facebook following".

Thanks to a sneaky mobile phone picture of the 'hospital scare' man, he has been idenfitied by Mr McGuire as Lib Dem activist Dan Falchikov.

Blatant electioneering from the Lib Dems or a genuine threat to Kingston Hospital? The Lib Dems claim they have it from several different sources.

I would l,ike to think that the threat hasn't been completely fabricated - I suspect that, like many hospital departments in London they are classed as being 'under review' and this status is being spun like crazy for political purposes.

Conservative Councillor Geoffrey Austin (councillor for Canbury Ward which includes Kingston Hospital) is equally sceptical, writing (on the 'Save Kingston Hospital' Facebook group):

"Kingston Hospital Trust stated at their quarterly public meeeting this morning (Wed) that they weren't aware of any decisions having been made - and they are actually involved in the current consultations! 

However, they are concerned about the worry these rumours can cause by lowering the morale of hospital staff and volunteers, upsetting mums-to-be, and causing deep concern among all local residents So let's see this so-called 'secret letter' that has caused so much dismay and so far only been seen by two Lib-Dem MPs.

Or the cynical among us might begin to think that this is a bit of pre-General Election posturing by two MPs worried about the likelihood of losing their seats, and totally unconcerned about the unfounded fears they have inflicted on the local community!"

We may never know. I think I'll go back to writing only about Worcester Park. That'll learn me!