Good politicians are few and far between, but British health secretary Andrew Lansley is among the worst.
In 2008, he was forced to apologise after saying recessions brought "good things" such as people being able to spend more time with their families.
In Britain’s parliamentary expenses scandal in 2009, he was accused of claiming for the renovation of a rural cottage, selling it, then “flipping” his second home designation to a London flat and claiming thousands of pounds for furniture. He said his claims were "within the rules".
Lansley has said "people who see more fat people around them may themselves be more likely to gain weight".
Yet until the end of 2009, he received £134 ($210) an hour from advertisers representing junk food clients such as Walkers Crisps, Mars and Pizza Hut.
Last year, the British Telegraph revealed Lansley was being bankrolled by John Nash, founder of Sovereign Capital, which owns private healthcare companies.
Lansley's wife runs a PR firm that works on behalf of food and drug companies. She advises them on how to “establish positive relationships with decision-makers".
The politician's wealth is estimated at £700,000.
However, his worst move yet came in July last year when he announced sweeping cuts to the state-owned National Health Service (NHS).
Even Margaret Thatcher steered clear of touching the NHS.
Lansley’s reforms will open up public hospitals to as many private patients as they can take. Staff earning more than £21,000 (just under $33,000) face a two-year pay freeze.
He will also abolish primary care trusts (PCTs), the bodies that buy medical services for the NHS. He wants GPs to take on that work, without extra pay.
It’s a pill too bitter to swallow.
When Sean Donnelly, a 22-year-old binman from England’s Midlands, saw that his girlfriend’s hopes of an NHS career were being dashed, he decided to give Lansley a taste of his own nasty medicine.
Under his pseudonym of MC NxtGen, Donnelly penned “Andrew Lansley Rap”. An attention-grabbing gobbet of grime, it jabs at Lansley like a stabbing hypodermic.
He then made a comical accompanying video - complete with protesters waving placards along to the song's infectious sample of The Animals' "House of the Rising Sun" - and stuck it on YouTube. It went viral.
Within hours, a Guardian journalist wrote that she was readying herself for the March 26 austerity cuts protests in London by learning the song’s catchy chorus: “Andrew Lansley, greedy/Andrew Lansley, tosser/The NHS is not for sale you grey haired manky codger.”
On March 27, the same paper reported that protesters were singing the song on a bus that travelled all the way to the capital from Newcastle in England's north-east. MC NxtGen appeared on Channel 4 News, BBC Radio and there were calls to send the song to number one in the charts.
Lansley even responded, saying: “We will never privatise the NHS, but I’m impressed that he managed to get lyrics about GP commissioning into a rap.”
What did the young rapper make of that?
“I don’t think anyone believes him,” he tells Green Left Weekly.
“But I think deep down he actually likes it," he laughs. "A new fan!”
It is little wonder Lansley was impressed. NxtGen, a former drum’n’bass MC who learnt his craft spitting rhymes across tracks racing at 180 beats per minute, manages to shoehorn the unlikeliest lyrics into his speeding diatribe:
So the budget of the PCTs, he wants to hand to the GPs,
Oh please. Dumb geeks are gonna buy from any willing provider,
get care from private companies
They saw the pie and they want a piece
Got their eyes on the P's like mice for the cheese
I talk truth when I ride the beat, you talk shite when you speak
See money when you close your eyes to sleep
So fall back - your face looks like a shrivelled up ball sack
The stuff that you chat is bull crap, I'm sure Andy Pandy snorts crack
Health minister, I mean sinister
You know your public will finish ya
Is your brain really that miniature?
You're full of crap, go give yourself an enema
Made filthy rich by those who represent Walkers Crisps, Mars and Pizza Hut
Proved you're a health slut and you're always talking shit
A hundred and thirty four pound an hour every week, that's quite a lot of quids
And you came to the conclusion that the food industry should be a little less strict
Scandal disclosed that you flipped your second home
You said your claims were within the rules, filled your pockets, took us for jokes
So how would you cope when broke folk get ill, injured and broke,
But don't have the dough to get their life back on the road
So the poor die slow and the rich take control
Lansley's white paper: "Liberating the NHS"
Sets out a plan where we'll become more like the US
And care will be farmed out to private companies
Who will sell their service to the NHS via the GPs
Who will have more to do with service purchase arrangements
Than anything to do with seeing their patients
He's been given cash
by John Nash,
Chairman of Care UK:
a private healthcare provider,
Who, if they have their way,
will be the biggest beneficiaries
of conservative Lib Dem policies
to privatise healthcare and pull apart the welfare state
These plans have been slagged by patient organisations, charities and unions,
Nursing and medical institutions
The Royal College of GPs even joined the attack,
looked closely at the proposals and said they were crap
Say yes for the NHS, Andrew Lansley can suck on David Cameron's breast
His quest is for the rich to pay less, and the poor have to stress
It'll be one big mess
The lyrics have hit a chord in the US. “So many Americans have commented on the YouTube video,” MC NxtGen says. “They’re saying, ‘Trust me, you don’t want it like it is here, if you chop off three fingers you have to choose which one you want putting back on.’
“I come from a working-class family, and I have members in my family that get treatment from the NHS. If it becomes privatised then they will not be able to afford what they need.”
So, now that he’s carved out his own musical niche of what might be called “conscious grime”, can we expect more political lyrics from MC NxtGen?
“Definitely,” he grins. "Youth listen to and follow grime/rap artists. Most don't watch the news or read the paper, so they haven't got a clue about this stuff. They need to know what's happening for their future.
"It's worrying, but I think a lot of people don't give a toss, when they should - that's why I did the rap!"
Let’s hope British people act on his prescription.
[You can buy the song from iTunes or at http://cdbaby.com/cd/nxtgen .]
Andrew Lansley Rap.