The weekend before last, The Independent ran an interview with Alan Johnson in which, in answer to a question about whether politicians would ever be trusted again, the health secretary said the political system needed a complete “overhaul” and called for voters to be consulted on proportional representation.
The paper made nothing of this revelation - no accompanying news story, no leader and thus no follow-up in other papers.
So last weekend Mr Johnson was forced to do his own PR for PR, with greater success. He took no chances, this time penning a piece himself that was published in The Times on Monday calling for a referendum on proportional representation, and pushing a particular model called alternative vote plus or AV+.
For his trouble, he was rewarded in the same paper with articles headlined “Johnson seizes initiative over Labour leadership”, “Johnson’s tilt towards PR raises the pressure on beleaguered Brown” and “A political lifeboat that could save Labour in a storm of discontent”. Now that’s more like it. The following day, of course, the story was everywhere.
Sir Muir Gray was also attempting to get his voice heard in The Times. The NHS chief knowledge officer was warning that climate change will be “the health threat that will define our age” and telling doctors and the NHS to lead by example.
So Sir Muir might want to have a word with NHS Fife, which is reportedly offering helicopter trips, hardly the epitome of environmental restraint, as one of a number of prizes - or “bribes” as The Sunday Times called them - to people who give up smoking.
Finally, just as you thought the pigs had left the papers, this week they’re back - in The Daily Mail. “Pig farmers told to wear earmuffs to blot out the squeals at meals” was the headline. It’s not health and safety gone mad, honest.