Nurse Suzanne Hunter
4 September 2014: – Better Together Team member Suzanne Hunter issued a statement through the, “No” campaign official blog
“As a nurse I understand the health issues that affect families across Scotland. I also understand that the higher level of public spending in Scotland gives us an advantage in getting to the root cause of these issues. After all, that public spending allows us to tackle the specific needs of Scotland with the allocation of that spending being decided by the Scottish Parliament.
Like every Scot, I’m incredibly proud of our NHS. Since 1999 the NHS has been under control of the Scottish Parliament. The decisions about how the public spending on Scottish hospitals is made in Scotland by people who understand the specific health concerns that affect us. The Scottish Parliament enjoys devolved powers over the NHS in Scotland – so it will be future Scottish Parliaments which decide the shape of our service.
Since devolution meant that all decisions over the health system in Scotland were made here in Scotland, we’ve made huge strides in improving the health of people in this country. We’ve seen a ban introduced on smoking in public places as well as the introduction of free personal care for our elderly. As part of the UK, Scotland’s yearly health spending is over £200 per person higher than it is in England.
So far so good but now the twaddle:
Yet under separation, impartial experts suggest that Scotland would face between £3 billion and £10 billion worth of cuts or tax rises. Even the NHS could not escape the inevitable cuts that would come from such an upheaval in our public finances.
I want to see that investment continue to tackle health inequalities in Scotland. I don’t want to see problems worsened by cuts to the budget to fund separation.
The NHS epitomises Scottish and British values in one institution. We care for our vulnerable and sick with no questions asked and no charged levied. These values would persist in a separate Scotland but our means to realise them might not.
Under devolution we can steer Scotland’s NHS in the direction we want it to go but backed up by the larger UK economy. As part of the UK, Scottish patients can get the best of both worlds: excellent treatment in this country’s hospitals while also having access to specialist treatment our families need across the UK.
Only separation puts this at risk. As a nurse I understand the health issues that affect families across Scotland. I also understand that the higher level of public spending in Scotland gives us an advantage in getting to the root cause of these issues.
Comment: Suzanne nailed her colours to the mast of, “Better Together” which was entirely proper since whilst identiying herself as a nurse she was not in uniform and had every right to express her opinion since it was entirely apolitical.
The referendum over and done with Suzanne got off the fence and openly declared her allegiance, (when off-duty) to the labour Party.
This took her into the political world and her activities required careful handling on the part of her political masters so as to ensure her new public profile did not place her at risk of contravening any of the many rules of conduct to which her employment and profession bind her.
They failed in many respects and when Suzanne was exposed, ducked and dived and dodged and weaved, seeking to wrap their failures in a cloak of anonymity.
When this strategy failed they released the dogs of war against the person that displayed excellent integrity at the time he shared the information with his blog readers.
25 February 2015: The undeniable
Below to the left is part of a Scottish Labour election leaflet that’s currently being put through Scottish letterboxes, featuring an alleged quote from an alleged NHS Scotland nurse identified as “Suzanne” from Clackmannanshire. On the right is the “CastingNow” profile of an actress named only as “Suzanne” from Clackmannanshire, who describes herself saying: “I’m very good at making people believe things which aren’t true hence why I’ve always been told to pursue acting.”
Let us examine the leaflets:
While they have very similarly-shaped faces and features, we have no idea whether the two Suzannes are the same person or if it’s just a strange and potentially amusing coincidence. But the point is, there’s no way of finding out. Labour Suzanne doesn’t talk much like a normal person. She talks, curiously enough, exactly like a political party leaflet.
She appears in her NHS uniform, something that numerous NHS employees have told us is not permitted for real nurses because it would link NHS Scotland itself to a party-political campaign. (We haven’t yet been able to find out for sure if such actions are banned, partly because NHS Scotland weirdly doesn’t seem to have a website, but it’d be unusual for any public-sector employee to be allowed to promote a party while in uniform.
But while not specifically prohibiting politics, the Scottish NHS dress code does stipulate that staff should in general not wear their uniform off-duty.)
Neither of our two Suzannes has a surname, making them difficult to verify, although Labour’s ostensibly shows her face so it can’t be in order to protect her identity.
Nowhere on the leaflet does it suggest that the photo has been posed by an actress. And we know that the law permits political parties to lie freely in election literature.
So it would be perfectly possible for Scottish Labour to have put an actress in an NHS uniform, invented a completely fake quote for her to say, and put it on a leaflet to create the impression that NHS staff backed Labour, all without ever admitting that not a single word of it was actually true.
We haven’t a clue whether that’s the case here or not. But we suspect we’re not alone in being disturbed by the fact that if it was we’d have no way of knowing. Alone among advertisers, political parties can invent fake people out of thin air, create opinions for them, and pass them off as being absolutely real without any fear of detection. (Unless they make a completely incompetent arse of it, of course.)
It’s an odd way to run a democracy. We can only hope that if Labour ever finds itself in a position to implement Jim Murphy’s “1000 more nurses than however many the SNP say” pledge, none of them will be imaginary. http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-unrefuteables/
But Suzanne is a close personal friend of Craig Miller who works for Dr Richard Simpson MSP, Shadow public health Minister for the Labour Party. https://twitter.com/craigmiller1986
The nurse and the model are one and the same, she temps for the Sonia Scott Model Agency. http://www.alltalentuk.co.uk/?action=listingview&listingID=417
The views she expresses in the numerous leaflets, now in circulation might well be heartfelt but she was unprofessional expressing them through Labour Party leaflet campaigns whilst wearing the full uniform of an NHS nurse a clear breach of protocol.
Further evidence she his both persons is contained in two posts to her friend Aaron Harper, from Auchie: http://archive.bebo.com/Profile.jsp?MemberId=2224510768
Post 1: Love for u… I’m still nursing, wouldn’t give that up, have a mortgage 2 pay haha. I’m only modelling in my spare time, have a few jobs lined up. Just fancy doing something 2 make me feel good about myself and the extra cash will be nice 2 ha. Wot u doing with urself now a days? U still living in Sauchie? x
Post 2: The story?! Come on Aaron, u know the story, start 2 finish. Haha Wasn’t satisfied with treating heart attacks, wanted 2 be the cause of them 2 haha. Wot u been up 2? Any half naked pics u want 2 show me??? xxx
25 February 2015: Thrown to the wolves
Before we start, let’s make this plain: we will NOT be submitting any sort of complaint to any healthcare body regarding what we’re about to discuss, and we ask readers not to either. When push comes to shove, we don’t want nurses losing their jobs. Once again, we reiterate: we will not be submitting any complaints and we urge readers not to either. But contrary to Unionist and media assertion, this site does NOT control every angry cybernat in Scotland.
These leaflets have been put through untold thousands of doors and disseminated widely online. The information is already out there and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. We just wish Scottish Labour felt the same way. Earlier today we ran a piece exploring a theme we’ve covered several times on Wings – the unique freedom of political parties to lie with impunity. By way of example we showed a Scottish Labour election leaflet depicting an NHS nurse, who we suggested might been posed by an actress, for several reasons outlined in the article.
The broad point having been made, we were happy to leave it at that. But this afternoon Scottish Labour’s shadow health minister, Dr Richard Simpson, posted the above tweet, angrily insisting that the woman in the leaflet WAS a real Scottish NHS nurse. A number of alert readers tracked her down on several “Better Together” leaflets, and it became apparent that her full name was Suzanne Duncan. Ms Duncan was an active participant in the No campaign. She even appeared in her own blog on the “Better Together” website, talking about the NHS and how it was devolved to Scotland.
This clear understanding of the principles of devolution makes it slightly odd that Suzanne is also to be seen on an election leaflet, saying that she’ll be voting for Scottish Labour in a WESTMINSTER election “because they’re the only party who can get rid of the Tories and pull our NHS back from the brink”.
She also appeared in a BT leaflet alongside the claim that a No vote would “secure the future of the NHS” – though we should note that those words aren’t attributed to her directly – and in several others from the No camp.
But all this is by the by. Suzanne Duncan is perfectly entitled to believe and campaign for whatever political ends she likes, no matter how confused. She is, after all, hardly alone in Labour when it comes to telling Scots that the NHS was totally safe as long as Scotland stayed in the Union, then suddenly deciding that, having won that No vote, it was in deadly peril after all.
Hurray! Scotland voted No! The NHS is safe, right? Oh. But as we say, that’s all fine. Lying, as we established in this morning’s piece, is something political parties are allowed to do.
But for NHS employees to campaign for political parties in identifiable NHS uniforms, not so much. That, we presume, is why all the “Better Together” material featuring Nurse Duncan was very careful to cover up the NHS Scotland logo on her tunic.
Scottish Labour, however, aren’t that competent or conscientious. None of which would have mattered if Richard Simpson had been able to keep his mouth shut. Anyone who saw our article would have come away thinking she was probably an actress and leaving it at that. But by compounding Labour’s ineptitude in leaving the logo on the leaflet, by insisting on shouting all over the internet that in fact she’s a real nurse, Simpson (and his equally brainless parliamentary assistant Craig Miller) have dropped poor Suzanne Duncan right in it. https://twitter.com/Craigmiller1986/status/472337169747820544
Once again, we reiterate: we will not be submitting any complaints and we urge readers not to either. But contrary to Unionist and media assertion, this site does NOT control every angry cybernat in Scotland. These leaflets have been put through untold thousands of doors and disseminated widely online. The information is already out there and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. http://www.sehd.scot.nhs.uk/mels/CEL2010_42.pdf http://www.nmc-uk.org/Documents/Standards/The-code-A4-20100406.pdf paras 59-61
We hope – sincerely – that nobody is bitter and poisoned enough to act maliciously. But if they do, the responsibility for it will lie squarely with the hate-blinded, tribal idiots of Scottish Labour, and with Dr Richard Simpson.
When your crazed loathing of the SNP has driven you so demented you start risking the livelihoods of young Scottish nurses, perhaps it’s time you stopped and had a long hard look at yourself in a mirror. http://wingsoverscotland.com/thrown-to-the-wolves/
25 February 2015: The Daily Record attacks: Wings Over Scotland website fuels hatred and paranoia
The vicious underbelly to the independence campaign was on display again in an unwarranted attack on an NHS nurse who happens to have appeared on a Labour leaflet. Suzanne Hunter is the latest victim of a campaign being waged on behalf of Scottish nationalism from Somerset, 300 miles away. She is not a Labour Party member or activist, just a decent woman who cares passionately about the NHS.
The Wings Over Scotland website seized on Suzanne’s photograph and published it next to the casting profile of an actress, hinting that they may be the same person. The two women do not look like each other in any way, but the mere suggestion of being duped was enough to trigger a torrent of vile abuse against an innocent woman from unthinking cybernats. This brand of politics isn’t unique to Scotland, though it has no parallel in the rest of the UK. It has echoes of far-right US Republicanism that seeks to undermine anyone with an opposite view by inciting online mobs, hatred and vilification.
This is a world of conspiracy theories, hatred and paranoia. This is a brand of nationalism that seeks to peddle falsehoods and unfounded allegations against anyone who isn’t a believer. It is nasty, sewage politics that debases public life. And yet the Wings Over Scotland is cited as an authoritative source by some leading SNP figures who really should know better. Newspapers are quite properly accountable – in public – for any mistakes they make. Indeed, we carry such a correction on our website’s home page today.
Those who peddle insults from cyberspace aren’t bound by the same standards of accuracy and responsibility. Yet they are, for better or worse, associated with a nationalist movement that will inevitably be judged by the company it keeps. With friends like these, no nationalist needs to make up enemies.
Comment: The content of the Daily Record article is poorly presented and contains many errors of fact:
“she is not a Labour Party member or activist, just a decent woman who cares passionately about the NHS.”
Almost entirely incorrect, the only part which has a ring of truth is her decency and passion for the NHS. She is actively involved providing support to the labour Party and their general election campaign, witnessed by her active participation, posing for political leaflets and allowing added comment critical of her employers, to be attributed to herself.
“The Wings Over Scotland website seized on Suzanne’s photograph and published it next to the casting profile of an actress, hinting that they may be the same person. The two women do not look like each other in any way, but the mere suggestion of being duped was enough to trigger a torrent of vile abuse against an innocent woman from unthinking cybernats”
Factually incorrect. Comment about her photograph and the casting profile of an actress does not hint that they are one and the same person. It categorically states that they are the same person, which is indeed the truth. Suzanne moonlights from her position as a nurse and works for the, “Sonia Scott Agency”.
“Newspapers are quite properly accountable – in public – for any mistakes they make. Indeed, we carry such a correction on our website’s home page today.”
I fully expect another, “correction” will be forthcoming in view of the foregoing untruths.
26 February 2015: The comical furore about The Nurse Who Definitely Isn’t An Actress shows no signs of making sense any time soon.
24 hours and several demented pages of hysterical tabloid shrieking later, we’re still not sure whether a No activist and Labour supporter from Clackmannanshire is called Suzanne Duncan (as “Better Together” called her until at least June last year) or “Suzanne Hunter” (as the Daily Record calls her), though a bit of Facebook detective work suggests the latter. We do at least seem to have cleared up her employment history, as the Daily Record has now very quietly and subtly changed its article of last night, which claimed she’d worked for eight years at a hospital that’s only been open for five. But a whole bundle of other questions remain unanswered.
The most immediately intriguing is “Who’s been Photoshopping her uniform?” Below are three pictures of Suzanne. The one on the left is from a “Better Together” leaflet from last year, the middle one is from a Labour “vote No” leaflet just before the referendum, and the one on the right is from Labour’s NHS leaflet of this week.
We say “three pictures”, but in fact they’re clearly all the same one. You can tell by the crease lines on her tunic, the position of her watch clip and, well, everything else. But there’s one significant difference. Where “Better Together” appear to have airbrushed out the NHS Scotland logo, presumably to stop the nurse getting in trouble for politicising her job in contravention of the rules for public-sector employees, Scottish Labour haven’t bothered. (At first, judging by a poorer-quality scan, we suspected that they might have crudely Photoshopped the logo ON, but the one above from a high-resolution original looks like the real version.)
Nurses are entitled to hold any political views they like, and to campaign for them in their spare time like anyone else, but they’re not supposed to do so in uniform. By carelessly failing to edit out the logo, and by then ensuring that the offending picture was blared all across the internet and the print media, Scottish Labour and the Daily Record have used her and then abandoned her up a creek without a paddle. But we pointed all that out yesterday, along with the reason.
The Record gives around three times as much space to its screaming, fuming editorial about a website suggesting a political party might have used an actress on a leaflet as it does to “correcting”, in a tiny box under the weather and the lottery numbers, the fact that it told Scots a TWENTY BILLION POUND lie on its front page just a few months ago, and inquisitive readers might wonder why.
There isn’t even the pretence of a fauxpology, or an explanation of how a senior political journalist could have so spectacularly misinterpreted the Smith Commission as to imagine that the UK government was going to hand Scotland an annual £20bn bonanza of free extra cash in the midst of savage austerity. While the Record explodes with fabricated rage across a full-page story and a lead editorial about someone saying they didn’t know if two people were the same or not – risking a nurse’s livelihood as they do so – they bury in a corner the fact that they told a gigantic front-page lie about a sum of money that would cover the entire yearly budget of NHS Scotland twice over, and they don’t even say sorry.
The Record bleats that sites like this one “aren’t bound by the same standards of accuracy and responsibility” that newspapers are. But we said absolutely nothing about Suzanne Duncan/Hunter that was inaccurate, and we didn’t insult or abuse her in any way. Unlike the Record and Scottish Labour, we didn’t put her job on the line. We have nothing to apologise for. The Daily Record, meanwhile, very much does, but it doesn’t seem to want to, and the toothless press watchdog is happy to let it off with a microscopic weasel-worded “correction” no bigger than the NHS Scotland logo that Scottish Labour forgot to airbrush off a nurse’s uniform.
And the reason for the massive smokescreen might be that the Record’s lie about the Smith Commission is still present on its website. On this page, at the time of writing, you can still see the paragraph claiming a 50% boost to the Holyrood budget which was deleted from the original story after we alerted IPSO, and which the Record admits isn’t true.
Also there is the equally-false line about “billions of pounds of extra tax and spending” which can still be found on the “corrected” original page – which this morning carries no notification whatsoever of the correction, despite IPSO saying that it would. So to recap: the Record’s original page still carries a major lie, another page on its website features that lie as well as an even bigger one that the paper claimed to have removed, and there are no links on either of them to the pitiful “correction”. Readers of the paper’s website will still come away with the completely wrong impression that the Smith Commission proposals would mean billions of pounds more for Scotland.
We’re not even going to get into the wider morality of being lectured on ethics by the newspaper group responsible for mass-scale phone hacking or the commonplace intimidation of innocent members of the public. But we promise the Daily Record that it can monster us as much as it likes. We’re going to keep right on watching it, along with the rest of the Scottish press, and every time it lies to the people of Scotland we’ll be there to tell them about it. http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-plot-stupids/
26 February 2015: the-nurse-who-wasnt-an-actress/
Suzanne Hunter States: “I have been made out to be a hypocrite, like someone who represents myself to be something I’m not.” Probably just another coincidence, we imagine.
27 February 2015: Ranting cybernats who posted hate messages about young NHS nurse are slapped down by First Minister
The First Minister today slapped down cybernats who tried to get a young nurse hauled over the coals for appearing on a Labour political leaflet. Nicola Sturgeon said Suzanne Hunter was entitled to express her own views on the NHS – despite trolls on the Wings Over Scotland website demanding she be disciplined by hospital bosses. The furore broke after site’s founder Stuart Campbell posted a photo of Suzanne, 28, alongside an actress, who looked nothing like her, and suggested they could be the same person.
The false comparison sparked a host of bullying comments and vicious accusations that Suzanne, an NHS hospital nurse for the last eight years, was a fraud. Speaking through her official spokesman, Sturgeon condemned the bullies and distanced herself from Campbell.
The spokesman said of Suzanne: “It’s entirely acceptable for her to have a political view.” He went on: “The First Minister has repeatedly, unequivocally condemned abuse of any kind whoever the victim, whoever the perpetrator. You cannot be more categoric than than. “She condemns it. Full stop.”
Comment: I read over many comments posted to the blog article. A very small minority, from many hundreds of posts may have voiced contrary views but they were speedily asked to moderate their opinions by others in compliance with the wishes of the blog owner so as not to upscale matters. I take issue with the comment of the Daily Record, “The false comparison sparked a host of bullying comments and vicious accusations that Suzanne, an NHS hospital nurse for the last eight years, was a fraud”.
At no time did anyone accuse Suzanne of being a fraud. Quite the reverse. All those who participated expressed the view that Suzanne had been badly let down by her Labour Party masters who should not have compromised her nursing career, posting party political brochures nationwide with her featuring prominently dressed in her Nursing uniform whilst participating in political activities in contravention of the NHS dress code and professional standards of behaviour which expressly forbid it.
NHS Nurse and part time actress Suzanne Hunter