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Editor's blog 26 May 2009: How bad is bad?

Good evening to you.

Just a brief alert to the arrival of a new and prophetic Maynard Doctrine column here tonight.

There has been no briefing to Professor Maynard (you will probably be aware that trying to brief such a man is unlikely to benefit anybody). This excellent analysis arrived in the editorial inbox unbriefed and unheralded.

But it chimes with what we have been suggesting here for some time: that economically, things are much, much, much less rosy for the NHS than many are still assuming.

Of course, for the media, bad is good. Bad news is stronger and scarier (even if not more right or helpful), and the tradition is that 'if it bleeds, it leads'.

It is not an automatic sign of being serious to predict that things are going badly. Jeremiads are not a good look.

Equally, in the presently prevailing economic climate, it is probably not a good sign to assume that the understandably popular 'keep calm and carry on' mantra frequenting a poster, t-shrt and coffee mug near you, is a solid guide. It's only a slogan.

Go and read it. It will surely provoke some thought, and perhaps even some discussion. Whether or not the sky is falling, it helps if we pay attention to what is an acorn, what is a chicken an what is a fox. Biology 101, as the Americans say. Whether or not they believe in happy endings.

Because there are no happy endings. There are only endings.