For a fleeting moment I felt my cynical dry eyes moisten yesterday. The moment came and went when Matt Hancock, live on Good Morning Breakfast, did a very poor impression of crying at the footage of 81-years-old William Shakespeare receiving his Covid jab.
NHS PR man’s dream Shakespeare was vaccinated before the cameras and unlike his namesake was brief and understated saying he didn’t even feel the needle and was glad he could contribute adding: “It could make a difference to our lives from now on, couldn’t it?” he said.
His vaccination followed that of 90-year-old Margaret Keenan who became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer jab following its clinical approval.
The two jabs, administered in my hometown hospital kick off an unprecedented global effort to try to end the pandemic that has killed 1.5 million people.
Over these last eight months I’ve been highly critical of Hancock, who at times has seemed to be enjoying his lockdown powers a little too much, but I couldn’t help feeling both proud and happy for the man.
After all, the virus was not has fault nor, very probably were all the mess-ups on PPE, the NHS app, Test and Trace, the list is long. Having been not that long in the job when Covid started he pulled the levers of power and not a lot happened.
Truth is he’s never criticised those who let him down nor has he shied away from scrutiny. I am sure he had a role in some of the good decisions such as ordering millions of doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Throughout his innumerable appearances in Parliament, at news conferences and on TV, he has often seemed drained and dejected, his shoulders sagging, his eyes pouchy and his skin radiating all the zest and vitality of a used teabag.
His voice, until news of the vaccine, has been either a somnolent monotone or a croak of despair. It was reported that he’d worn the same tie from March until mid-summer suggesting he was too busy to notice.
It is easy to forget that politicians are human beings like the rest of us. He is dyslexic, quite a handicap in this key communication role I would imagine, and trained to be a jockey in 2012 actually winning a race in his constituency town of Newmarket.
So credit where it’s due Mr Hancock, this little prick you have so aptly organised, was another race you won. You deserve a holiday though sadly you’ve stopped us visiting virtually every other country in the world and your West Suffolk constituency is rumoured to be moving into Tier 3.