Oh, bless him, John Prescott clearly sees himself as the knight in shining armour rushing to the side of a beleagered Barack Obama. He's been tweeting his You Tube video decrying the preposterous claims about the NHS made by Daniel Hannan to various official US Government sources and media networks.
I know he means well, but I'm not sure if he's really thought through what he's saying and his audience.
I think he could have done a much better defence of the NHS - surely to goodness Labour have some party election broadcast footage inside NHS health facilities that they could have used with a voiceover from Prescott or others. I'm not sure that Prescott's at times faltering delivery from the House of Commons Terrace with his chin looking like it's going to drop through the bottom of the screen compares too well with Hannan's slick delivery on the broadcast networks. The fact that Hannan is talking complete bullshit and Prescott is almost right is irrelevant in a country where image and presentation are taken so seriously.
The line that made me laugh the most was the one which basically said yes, we have waiting lists, but it's all the Tories' fault. I'm not sure that traditional British political quarrels are going to resonate much with the Americans. It's also quite a tragedy that the Labour Party actually believes that. The NHS has now been in their hands for 12 years, and there's lots more they could have done to improve delivery of services, making them less bureaucratic and more people centred.
Prescott was right to point out that in Daniel Hannan's own constituency, health was improving and deaths from cancer and heart disease were reducing, but, honestly, he did make a bit of a pig's ear out of delivering the information. Sometimes, it's just better to do another take. What was the rush? The internet's open 24 hours a day - it's not as if he had to meet a deadine.
I wonder how long it will be before the commercial interests opposing Obama's very reasonable reforms get hold of the footage of JP's wee argument with a voter from the 2001 election? I can't imagine that going down too well with an American audience either.
Prescott had the right idea, but maybe with a bit more thought, his production could have been much more relevant to the people he's talking to.
Much as I'm loathe to say it, the British politician the Americans would have listened to is Tony Blair - is it time to send him round the US networks defending the principles and practice of the NHS? He's well known there, the right, who are the ones who actually need to be convinced, respect him and might listen to what he has to say.
What do you think of Prescott's efforts?