Jeremy Hunt, Darth Health Secretary, explains how he must use The Force to vanquish any leaders who oppose The Empire. By Andy Cowper
Greetings, Earthlings! I am Jeremy Hunt, statistical destroyer of worlds! Look upon my difference-in-difference analysis, ye mighty, and despair!
When first I arrived on your puny human planet from The Death Star, I said “take me to your leaders”. The Emperor revealed that my destiny is to be Darth Health Secretary – a lifetime appointment.
This means that I must use The Force to vanquish any leaders who oppose The Empire. At times, I sense a great disturbance in The Force, as if a thousand voices cried out in protest on Twitter, and were suddenly muted.
It’s all about the evidence and the statistics, of course. The Empire must reign in perpetuity, and to do this, my trusty light sabre of evidence and statistics will scythe down the false teachers.
Now that I am the most statistically significant health secretary of all time, I can communicate with leaders throughout the NHS Rebel Alliance using The Force of my Monday morning telekinesis calls.
Fact their brains out
My mantra is that ”the path to better care is the path to lower cost”, which is why we are cutting the NHS budget per person next financial year. Blessed be the path. (I don’t want to blind you with my statistical genius, but this is what we statistical experts call “regression to the mean”.)
Transparency equal safety indeed. This is the way we use The Force
The Rebel Alliance’s propaganda machine works hard to misrepresent The Empire’s glorious mission to unite the healthcare galaxy. “Fact me!”, I hear the Rebel Alliance leaders shouting.
At least, that’s what my communications stormtroopers tell me they’re shouting.
Their wish is my demand. I fact these Rebel Alliance leaders, fast and furiously. I fact them early, and I fact them often. I use The Force of data and statistics to fact their brains out.
Let’s take an area of the NHS workforce in which we have absolutely no problems whatsoever: the nursing workforce. I fact the galaxy with The Force of statistical information: “Interesting graph on NHS nurse workforce. What changed in 2013? Asking trusts to publish ward staff numbers monthly. Transparency = safety”.
In the interests of transparency, I’m sure nobody really wanted to be distracted by the latest NHS England and NHS Improvement data releases confusing them around the date of the general election.
Transparency equal safety indeed. This is the way we use The Force, use The Force, use The Force …
The Empire strikes back
The Empire bows to no one in its respect for transparent and clear statistics, unmuddied by low politics. Just think of The Emperor’s consistent message that there were 93,000 student “overstayers” from foreign galaxies each year.
A few naïve people have questioned why recent Office for National Statistics data reveals that the correct number is in reality 4,600 “overstayers”, but it’s clear that these people don’t understand statistics, or the power of The Force.
Take the example of Obi-Wan Marmot, who recently had the temerity to suggest that since the glorious advent of the Empire in 2010, growth in life expectancy was in decline.
Pow! I used The Force to fact him on Twitter: “Respect Marmot but his graph shows life expectancy for newborn boy is already 61 mins longer than it was at time of his Today prog interview”
Obi-Wan Marmot mumbled something about “What are you saying? That ONS got its figures wrong and rise of life expectancy has NOT slowed since 2010? If ONS is correct, let’s discuss”, but I don’t think anyone’s really listening to a Jedi who just chunters on about studying social gradients in Whitehall. How not the front line is that?
A brief history of Hawking
But as soon as I fact one rebel output into submission, another rears its head. And it doesn’t matter how best selling a book about the history of time may have come out of that head, if its owner dares to challenge my statistical supremacy, I will fact the owner until his very professorship hurts. “Stephen Hawking is brilliant physicist but wrong on lack of evidence 4 weekend effect. 2015 Fremantle study most comprehensive ever”.
A Jedi is never challenged on his evidence and statistics, not even by the editor of the journal in which they were published
Now when you are choosing the evidence that backs your plans to use The Force to deliver more weekend NHS services on the same money and staffing, it is vital to ignore any clear statements such as “to assume these excess deaths are avoidable would be rash and misleading” (even if they are the words of the authors, in the very paper you are citing).
A Jedi is never challenged on his evidence and statistics, not even by the editor of the journal in which they were published.
A Jedi does not yield to other studies which indicate that the death rate following a hospital admission at the weekend is higher only because the number of patients admitted to hospital at the weekend is lower. Nor does a Jedi yield to evidence that the weekend effect arises from patient level differences at admission rather than reduced hospital staffing or services.
Fight like a Jedi
Instead, a Jedi fights with cunning, calling Professor Hawking “arguably our greatest living scientist. He is also a personal hero of mine. Who could not be overawed at the extraordinary contribution he has made to human knowledge despite his illness? Yes he is a very public Rebel Alliance supporter, but that should be irrelevant to our respect for his genius”.
If all else fails, a Jedi can talk of “pernicious falsehood”, and ask his opponents to “look at the evidence”
A Jedi uses The Force to say that “since 2009, The Rebel Alliance’s last full year in office, the number of people insuring themselves privately in the UK has actually fallen by 9.4 per cent or nearly three quarters of a million people. Far from progressing towards an insurance based system the evidence suggests the opposite”.
A Jedi uses The Force to ignore an inconvenient data release showing that the number of people in Britain taking out private medical insurance has risen significantly for the first time since 2008, and that demand for private medical insurance cover rose by 2.1 per cent in 2015 (the rise in private cover is coming through company schemes; individual subscriptions continues to fall, dropping by 1.7 per cent to 952,000.
If all else fails, a Jedi can talk of “pernicious falsehood”, and ask his opponents to “look at the evidence”.
Data! Evidence! Statistics! Transparency! Feel The Force and do it anyway!