Don't play politics with tragedy

LUKE Day's tragic death has made headlines across the country, and despite the pleas from his family it looks likely to crop up during the election campaign.

LUKE Day's tragic death has made headlines across the country, and despite the pleas from his family it looks likely to crop up during the election campaign.

Health stories often dominate election campaigns, whether or not the politicians want them to.

The trend started in 1992 with the “Battle of Jennifer's Ear” when Labour highlighted the problems faced by a young girl needing an operation.

It turned out that her family was split on whether she should have been featured by Labour and the whole thing got very messy.

Then in 2001 Tony Blair was confronted by a furious wife angry about her husband's cancer treatment.

And just a few weeks ago we had the saga of Margaret Dixon and her delayed operations in Warrington.

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Now we've already had a statement from the Conservative leadership about how Luke's death shows the need for cleaner hospitals.

And Labour MP Chris Mole has expressed his sympathy and expressed the hope that ward improvements will cut the number of MRSA cases in Ipswich.

Frankly I don't see why MRSA should be an election issue. I don't see why politically-motivated decisions like “Bringing back matron” should make any real difference to tragedies like this.

The fact is that the best defence against MRSA is clean wards - which everyone is in favour of - and ensuring that hospital staff and visitors wash themselves before going on to the wards.

That shouldn't be a political issue - it's common sense!

But for all this, I cannot escape the nagging feeling that the political parties won't be able to resist the temptation to make political capital out of the death of a 36-hour old baby during the election campaign.

I WAS down in London earlier this week and went to a meeting at the new Conservative Central Office which is above a Starbucks coffee bar near the Palace of Westminster.

Much has been made of the fact that Tory leader Michael Howard has brought in Australian strategist Lynton Crosby to beef up his campaign.

He isn't the only person from down under in the Tory campaign headquarters - I heard a lot of antipodean accents while I was there.

And I couldn't help but be impressed by the lengths the Tories had gone to make them feel at home.

The heating was turned up so high that I thought I was on walkabout in the outback!

I WAS a student in the 1970s at a time when protests at the University of Essex or the UEA seemed to dominate local television news programmes.

Since then the student radicalism seems to have died down - according to most experts they're now so busy studying and preparing to earn big bucks after graduation that they have no time to change the world.

So I found it rather refreshing to meet a group of students from Suffolk College the other day who certainly are carrying the radical torch from a generation back.

We'll be featuring them during our general election coverage - look out for their interesting views on what the current generation of politicians has to offer them!

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