Editorial Friday 13 January 2017: Bowie meets Queen - official: May Queen declares truce with Sun King
Right: let's sing the bass line together:
"Dum dum dum du-du-dum-dum
Dum dum dum du-du-dum-dum"
Theresa May has blinked first in her ill-advised face-off with Sun King Simon Stevens. (Facing off against a Sun King: I mean, you're bound to blink first, no?)
And admitted that "the NHS is under pressure".
This doesn't change the operational reality of unrelenting pressure. The shit has still hit the fan, and the fan is getting up near to full speed - and the off switch is broken.
But it does change the politics.
As HSJ's astute editor Alastair McLellan earlier noted on Twitter, the open fight between the Prime Minister and the Sun King isn't sustainable. Alastair mischievously suggested we might have to put the May-Stevens health economy into a success regime or an STP.
If he's smart (and he is), Simon Stevens will go full diplomacy for a while. He's won this round, but spent some political capital with the new PM.
The Sun King has, however (as Alastair's shrewd editorial observed), shored up his position within the service by standing up to the particularly egregious 'got more than asked for' Schumachers that Mrs May delivered on Sophy Ridge On Sunday.
Right now, The Sun King is in the winter of the May Queen's discontent. He'll be able to live with that, because the NHS just got a sharp reminder that not only is Simon Stevens a politically smart operator, he stands up and is counted when the chips (low fat, baked in olive oil) are down.
In the midst of the current shit-fan joint working party, Simon Stevens needs the NHS on his side like never before. Goodwill from current staff won't solve the access crisis, but it will help at the margins. The margins are a smart place to be when the fan is at top speed.