.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, August 14, 2009

What will the fallout for the Tories be from the Dan Hannan affair?

As if he did not have enough problems with his own party, David Cameron was forced to break off from his summer holiday to stress Tory support for the NHS after Dan Hannan, a Conservative MEP, told American television viewers that “he wouldn’t wish it on anyone”.

Hannan's comments have unleashed a Twitter phenomenon in which over 11,000 people have tweeted in defence of the British health service using the hashtag #welovetheNHS. But it is not so easy for Cameron to disown Hannan. After all the MEP's controversial remarks were made before he was re-elected as a Conservative member of the European Parliament at the top of their regional list and he was subsequently invited to give the keynote speech at the Conservative Spring Conference.

The things that are being said about the NHS in America are both bizarre and obnoxious. In this video* one appalling American commentator even suggests that our health service is a breeding ground for terrorists. I am deeply offended by that suggestion.

That a leading Conservative might want to associate himself with this anti-NHS campaign is puzzling and inexplicable. He is not just talking down Britain but also reminding people about the problems that the health service suffered under previous Conservative Governments. That might be a problem too far for Cameron's charm to smooth over.

*Hat Tip: Daran Hill
That's all very well Peter, but we must not close our eyes to some of the very real problems that politicians have created in the NHS in Wales. For example, the policy of no redundancies in the current rorganisation has led to a situation where there are at least five directors of finance in the new Hywel Dda LHB. The NHS should be for the benfit of patients, not staff.
I dont disagree with you but did you have to change the subject?
The trouble Cameron has with Hannan is that the latter was so feted by the Right for, really, just delivering a scripted piece of rudeness at the PM in the European Parliament that he (Hannan) then presumed that all that he said and thought was important. Remember his toe-curling election 'address' for example? :o)

Still, imagine how even more self-important you would then feel if you were flown over to the US to try to undermine Obama's attempts to provide health care for everyone there, not just those who could afford it.

Not that public school types like Hannan have much need for the NHS, still less to stoop to understand why it does matter to those born less fortunate than themselves.
I saw that interview live when my cable box was screwed up and CNN was showing Fox. I thought It was appalling however. Its easy for Cameron to dismiss it as Free Speech, however the guy was slandering the NHS, and that is wrong. I have a friend who is a “Foxist” and very much against government healthcare, he just lost his job and has no healthcare. He asked the question where do you go? The woman in the woods. He bemoaned on his Facebook page! Unfortunately he is still in denial!
Any Lib Dem seat worth its sat should be a launching a Save the NHS" petition ASAP.
It would be like a petition for motherhood and apple pie - everyone would sign up - even Tories who secretly agree with Hannan - because of the backlash from the public. What we need is some way of smoking out the real opinions of Cameron and Co. so that we can have a real debate on the future of the NHS. I don't think a petition would help . . . .
The fuss in the US - I've just returned from there - isn't about the NHS but rather about the GOP and right-wing commentators seeing an opportunity to inflict serious political damage on Obama.

There are alternatives to the NHS, sensible ones, that might fit the the US better than Obama's hazy and ill-considered proposals. The Netherlands, with universal provision and mandatory private insurance looks like a good model.

And we in the UK shouldn't be arm-twisted into refusing to contemplate other options. For the first time in my life I'm having to use the NHS seriously - and permanently. I'm not too impressed with NICE decisions that mean I can't get the universally acknowledged best drugs for my condition; or with the GP who misprescribed rather dangerous drugs twice in sixth months; or with the consultant appointments postponed twice in successive months; or with the registrar reading up on my condition on Wikipedia when I entered the consulting room.

We can do better, you know.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?