I've had my doubts about Andrew Lansley for a long, long time. The shadow health secretary is wet with a capital 'W'. Now, it seems, he's stupid as well. Writing on the Tory party's Blue Blog, Lansley said that while said he regretted the "human misery" recessions cause, "On many counts, recessions can be good for us. People tend to smoke less, drink less alcohol, eat less rich food and spend more time at home with their families."
For once I agree with Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics at the British Medical Association, who is quoted in today's Daily Mail: "There is no evidence that people smoke less in a recession. You can see the opposite happening - people might smoke and drink more because they are anxious and depressed. It is very difficult when you lose your job or think you are going to lose your house."
Lansley has now removed the comments (allegedly under orders from David Cameron) and apologised - but what an absolute and utter prat. How depressing to think that this man could one day be in charge of a major government department. Comments like this suggest that he is not only out of touch with many ordinary men and women, but he is unfit for office.
Simon Carr of the Independent has a rather different take on Lansley's view of the recession. According to Carr, "That is the only interesting thing Andrew Lansley has said in 40 years and he was made to apologise for it." Ouch!