Tony Blair has frequently been accused of lacking empathy with the families of the dead and wounded in Iraq, not least by Reg Keys. Among other things, like not knowing how many of them there are, he has also been criticised for not visiting the wounded returned to the UK. Now, earlier this week, Blair's press secretary Tom Kelly wrote to The Guardian denying this. He claimed that Blair had in fact visited wounded servicemen returned from Iraq, but that "he has - he just didn't announce it to the media because he believes such visits should be private." (Link)
Curious, this insistence on privacy from the Five-Times-A-Night Man himself. But let that pass. What I'd like to know is when, where and how often these visits occurred. I don't particularly want any information on who he visited, as this indeed involves the privacy of those visited. Since the closure of the military hospitals after 1996, military patients are by and large treated in wards within the NHS, especially at Selly Oak hospital in Birmingham.
Now, I wouldn't want Mr. Kelly to accidentally give the impression his chief asked him to lie through his teeth. After all, he's not that good at spin doctoring: remember when he called Dr. David Kelly "a Walter Mitty figure"? So - can anyone help me to save Tom Kelly? People who are likely to know would include members of the Defence Medical Service, NHS staff at the hospitals concerned, and of course the patients themselves. It's time to find the missing PM.