August 13, 2009
This week, it was with no small measure of satisfaction that I watched Andy Burnham, our implausibly youthful Health Secretary, squirm on the GMTV sofa.
Andrew Castle, it must be said, is no Jeremy Paxman. So when Mr Burnham agreed to take part in the show to discuss the alleged merits of Tamiflu (how it sticks in my craw even to write those words) he was doubtless looking forward to putting across the Government’s point of view in the gentlest of surroundings.
What ensued was an ambush, as the visibly irate presenter revealed that his daughter Georgina had collapsed and nearly died after taking the supposedly harmless drug.
Mr Burnham, for his part, burbled some platitudes about Tamiflu being ‘our main line of defence’ against swine flu, and how it was a ‘different phase of the illness’ when Georgina was prescribed the drug.
Oh really? Perhaps Mr Burnham would have liked to come round to my house and explain the merits of Tamiflu to my three-year-old daughter as she sobbed and retched in my arms night after night.