If life were fair, a reward would be winging its way to the press office at 10 Downing Street as a thank-you for passing on news of our pal Joe McCrea. But it isn't, so it won't be. Apparently, having found his skills surplus to requirements in the Department of Health and on Dobbo's mayoral campaign, the Enforcer has moved to a new job in Downing Street's research and information unit. Alas, a Number 10 spokesperson says the post is temporary and unpaid, so our man will be feeling the pinch. Any job offers or donations to the Save Joe McCrea fund gratefully received.
Meanwhile, the Milburn effect continues at Richmond House, with the DoH confirming that heart-throb policy wonk Simon Stephens is staying on. Word has yet to emerge from on high, but it seems Enforcer McCrea's old desk will be occupied by long-term Alan Milburn mucker Darren Murphy. The well-connected Mr Murphy succeeded his new boss as business development officer with North Tyneside council when the latter was elevated to a new life in Westminster, and currently works for fellow north-east minister Hilary Armstrong. Oh, and just to add another connection, his sister, Nicola Murphy, worked for Mr Milburn before the last election.
Still on the jobs front, Monitor understands that London Health Emergency Grant Mitchell look alike Geoff Martin is massaging his shoulder back into shape after discovering that the arm-twisting of unwanted candidates is not confined to wannabe mayors of our great capital city. Mr Martin has withdrawn from the race to succeed Rodney Bickerstaffe as Unison general secretary, clearing the way for backroom boy and current deputy Dave Prentis. But insiders say the real interest lies in who gets the number two job. They reckon the leading contenders are Unison health chief Bob Abberley, or current president Ann Picking - a nurse and, perhaps more to the point given the union's testosterone-heavy leadership, a woman.
And finally, Monitor is delighted to pass on news of Scottish health minister Susan Deacon's stirring address to the troops at Ninewell Hospital's limb-fitting centre, which concluded with the rallying cry, '. . . and more power to your elbow'. Well, it probably seemed an appropriate venue for a minister to put her foot in her mouth.