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Editor’s blog Sunday 15 August 2010: Telegraphing the changes

Today's Telegraph offers three health policy-inflecting stories.

The first is the return of the Quiff Of Doom, ex-Health Secretary and ex-MP Alan Milburn.


Who indeed, sort of never went away.

Apparently, Milly's latest comeback (so that's who he reminds me of - Dame Nellie Melba, goddamnit!) is to be a social mobility adviser to the Coalition Government. A role in which he didn't exactly make the political weather when he played it for Gordon Brown in the last government.

I wasn't a massive fan of Milburn when he was in Cabinet (and indeed almost vomited on him once ... but that's another story). He was depressingly closed-minded in public debate, and evidently relished being 'tough' in a way that pretty much invariably signals onanism of character.

Yet I have to concede that many people who worked closely with him report that he was effective and more reasonable than his public persona suggested. He certainly passed the classic 'Thatcher' test - you might not like him, but you knew where you stood.

How much this is simply a 'hundred days'  sop to Lib Dem policy sensibilities (a phrase Milly would love to read about himself) and how much a serious intent to do something about social mobility (which would effectively benefit the natural supporters of the opposition party), only time will tell. Tick and indeed tock.

Personal budgets in 'used for personal services' shock
Story two is the deeply unsurprising news that when you let people decide how to spend state money on themselves, some will do so on things of which the Editor of the Daily Mail would disapprove.

This could be a candidate for the 2010 intake to the Academy Of Things That Are Not Surprising.

I do, however, rather like the bloke in Norwich who reportedly over a year got a holiday to Tunisia, art materials, a subscription to an internet dating and driving lessons out of being depressed about his divorce. He did well.

Incompetent Dr Ubani seeks action against sons of the man he unlawfully killed
And German GP Dr Daniel Ubani, whose incompetent massive overdose of diamorphine killed David Gray during his out-of-hours shift for the ironically-named Take Care Now was dubbed "unlawful killing" by the coroner, continues to seek to gag Mr Gray's sons.

Authorities in The Fatherland do not appear to be covering themselves in glory in the conduct of the inquiry. Perhaps they are just being efficient. Following procedures.

I mean, surely the unlawfully killed Mr Gray's sons (one of whom is a UK GP) should know better than to call Dr Ubani (whose expertise is apparently in cosmetic surgery) a "charlatan" and "killer".

What could have led them to that conclusion?