End Game has been enjoying the Twitter account of John Ashton for some months, mainly because it allows us to answer the question “what happens when a senior figure broadcasts whatever is on his mind, without the slightest regard to his personal reputation?”
Mr Ashton is president of the Faculty of Public Health and had various senior public health jobs in the NHS before the government’s Health and Social Care Act reforms took effect. He has tweeted nearly 27,000 times since early 2012, so people who follow him already have a fairly good idea what he thinks about most things.
But a remarkable flurry of 41 tweets sent in the space of just five minutes on Monday illustrated something approaching the full range of his interests.
They included: being rude about Simon Cowell; the relative badness of violence against women and violence against children; swearing at HSJ hack Shaun Lintern; pornography law; a plea for journalists to contact him about the dangers of the current government [in which he got his own phone number wrong]; admiring Leonard Cohen’s virility despite advancing years; the evils of nuclear power; and berating Terry Christian, former presenter of The Word, over his choice of football team.
Somehow, he didn’t get onto Syria.
“The great thing about tweeting is that you don’t have to get dressed up for it,” Mr Ashton twote on 9 August, conjuring a distressing mental image.
True, but sometimes it’s not a bad thing to be on your best behaviour.