The ruling Labour Party in Britain has used its control of the National Health Service to help its campaign for the May 6 general election, via the Times of London:

Labour was today caught up in a new row over its use of personal data after e-mailing NHS professionals using their work addresses to ask for their support.

The move emerged after the party had been criticised for delivering campaign leaflets on the party’s cancer policy to 250,000 women, some of whom had the disease.

The postcards, produced by Tangent, which works for the Labour Party, said that the Tories would scrap a Labour guarantee that patients would see a cancer specialist within two weeks.

One of those who received the latest communication, a doctor, has complained that senior Labour figures are trying to pressure her into publicly backing the party against her will.

It’s a good thing nothing like that could happen here:

The White House on Monday shut down an email account set up to collect tips from Americans on “fishy” claims about President Barack Obama’s health-care plan, as congressional Republicans raised new concerns about why some Americans received an unsolicited email from the White House last week.

The White House shut down an email account “flag(at)whitehouse.gov” as congressional Republicans and bloggers continued to raise questions about why Obama officials were collecting negative statements made by ordinary Americans about the president’s health care plan and what the administration was planning to do with the information it gathered.

[Special shout-out to the first person who correctly identifies the allusion in the post title.]

Update: That did not take long, special shout out to Jeff Peterson from Austin, Texas, who e-mailed me as follows:

“Newman!” – “Threatening comment to Jerry: “When you control the mail, you control . . . information!” (Not as funny as his description of why employees go postal: “Because the mail never stops!” etc.). But still very good.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rg_4z2adv6Q]

Commenter Yaacov David Shulman obviously is more well-read and literate than I am, and is not addicted to Seinfeld re-runs, pointing out the similarity to a statement in the book 1984, by George Orwell: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”

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