Looking back at April 2009
The public meeting in Stafford.
In Stafford the Hospital story dominated the press day after day, and public concern was reaching boiling point. A public meeting was set up by the pressure group with the assistance of Bill Cash.
The purpose of this was to put individuals who felt that they might have a claim against the hospital in touch with a number of legal companies who were offering to represent their interests.
The Lawyers were given time at the meeting to explain what they could offer, and then had opportunities to meet with their potential clients over coffee.
The other two local MPs also attended this meeting and I and a number of other people went along as an observer.
There were around 100 people there, many of whom were genuinely angry with the hospital and had stories to tell. Many of these are people I have never seen since, though we should presume that they were involved in the group compensation claim made against the hospital The core pressure group of people with serious committment to dealing with their concerns has dwindled to around 15.
The pressure group and Bill Cash were of course using this meeting to reiterate their call for a Public Inquiry, which David Kidney also felt was necessary. Tony Wright explained why he felt this was the wrong course to take.
I found the meeting shocking. I still do. Perhaps it was just the excitement of the occasion, but Julie Bailey used the platform to call “lets shut the hospital, lets sack all the staff”. This was met by loud cheers from her band of followers.
Her anger as an individual is something that is completely understandable in human terms.
What concerned me was the toxic nature of the politics which meant that one party appeared to be willing to stimulate and ride public anger in this way. If politicians behave like this then essential trust is eroded and it becomes impossible to work together, to solve the difficult problems that face us all.