Sajid Javid is having a bit of a tough time at the moment. Under pressure from Labour’s new golden boy Wes Streeting, the Health Secretary was forced to admit to MPs today that the NHS waiting list in England, which already stands at a record six million, will keep on growing for another two years. In such difficult times, with the health service at breaking point and Tory tensions over tax rises to fix it, ‘the Saj’ will need every brilliant idea he can seize.
So Steerpike enjoyed hearing about Javid’s latest initiative to inspire his under-pressure health department. In his desperation for new ideas, the Bromsgrove MP has launched a new pun-based online feedback form for policy ‘Saj-estions’. Members of staff are encouraged to write in order to ‘help you deliver your ideas to the Secretary of State’ as part of Javid’s push for reform.
In stark contrast to some of his, er, Cabinet colleagues, Javid is at pains to show that his department will be a listening department, where underlings are treated as equals. Cue much language about how ‘everyone should feel empowered to suggest ideas’ with the former banker speaking in honeyed tones about the ‘DHSC family.’ Snappy stuff.
Being a cynical soul though, Mr S couldn’t help but notice the glowing picture of Saj which accompanied the release. It comes just a few weeks after Javid updated his Twitter picture to one of him standing tall, staring off into the horizon, looking almost – some might say – prime ministerial. The Health Secretary is something of a perennial Tory leadership contender, having stood on a joint ticket with Stephen Crabb in 2016 and then launched a doomed solo bid three years later.
With his ministerial team now boasting a record six special advisers, it seems that the Saj has already begun the rebrand ahead of the big leadership campaign. Will