If I were PM...Dr Phil Hammond

Written by 17 Dec 2010 on 17 December 2010 in Culture
The working GP and comedy writer would educate the nation on the finer points of condom-application

Only if bullying was outlawed. Picking on the one with poor social skills who can't tell a joke is just cruel. Other than that, no notes, no podium, no rules. And I'd hold it in the Ring O'Bells pub at Hinton Blewett, so I could have a couple of pints and walk home.

What would you travel around the country in?
I'd go round in a Popemobile, with the Pope driving. It's the least he can do after we bankrolled his visit.

Who would be your Alastair Campbell?
Nate Borofsky from the band Girlyman. I don't want to be surrounded by anger, aggression, blame and repressed homosexuality. Their music is full of liberation and joy, and lifts my mood better than any drug. I once advised Nick Clegg to get some Girlyman in his life and look where he is now.

What would you ban?
Very bad food. No health service can cope with obesity. The trans-fatty gristle burger should be a class A drug. A Victoria sponge would be class C (you're allowed a small slice yourself but you mustn't push it onto other people). The punishment would be to work in a tall building with no lifts, but beautiful, clean, inspiring staircases.

How would you respond to being booed in public?
I'd savour it. Booing politicians is a fine example of safe and sustainable pleasure. For the recipient, it's much better than indifference.

What would you have as a new national anthem?
Love Train by the O'Jays. If people all over the world joined hands and start a love train, it would solve most of our problems (although they might need help putting a condom on. I once met a sex worker who can do it with no hands, but most of us need at least three).

What would keep you awake at night?
Being reported to the General Medical Council by William Hague's press secretary (it's happened before, it could happen again).

How would you see off a younger, better looking political rival?
With one of Dr Phil's Go Quickly Pills.

Who would be your George Osborne?
Any one of my patients who somehow manages to live on £30 a week. We're all in this together, ha, ha, ha.

Who would be in your cabinet?
I'd pick Shirley Williams and then let her pick the next person, and so on until we had a love train.

How would you increase participation in politics?
Explain what politics means. A hundred people, a hundred answers. To me, the central ethical dilemma in life/sex/politics/religion/healthcare is the responsible use of power. Only by connecting with people can you avoid abusing them.

What would your commemorative statue look like?
A pair of polished ginger balls, made out of cornelian, to remind us of the Cornelian dilemma at the heart of politics (being obliged to choose between two courses of action either of which will have a detrimental effect on yourself or on someone near to you).

What would you call your memoirs about your time as prime minister?
First Do No Harm, Now Give Some Pleasure. We're all apes on the briefest of joy rides, but to enjoy life we need to slow down and connect.

Phil Hammond's Confessions of a Doctor is out now on DVD

This article was first published in Total Politics magazine.

Tags: If I were Prime Minister..., Issue 31

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