Daniel Hannan has hit the headlines over his comments on the NHS, made in the US. I have no problem about Hannan speaking his mind about an organisation that is the biggest employer in the UK and spends £119 bn of tax payers money. For comparison, our total income tax payment is £141 bn. Figures are from the 2009 Budget report. Indeed I find the total silence on this topic from other MEPs baffling.
I would that all our UKIP MEPs spoke their mind with the same disregard of party political considerations as Hannan has. He has clearly been a major embarassment for Cameron but there is not the remotest possiblity of Hannan being disciplined in any way. His defence would be, as mine was when I was kicked of the NEC by the UKIP cabal, is that he is doing what he was elected to do. Cameron knows in a major public debate he would lose that argument. UKIP gets away with its completely undemocratic actions simply because it is too small to merit the media's attention. That may change however in the run-up to the coming General Election.
What is really interesting is that Hannan was given such prominence on US TV media to comment on the hot issue of health reform. This coverage arose out of his brilliant performance at the European Parliament session that Gordon Brown attended where Hannan made an outstanding critical speech that attracted millions of YouTube hits. This earned Hannan much US media coverage that he handled equally brilliantly and this established him as a US media star worthy of commenting on Obama's proposed health care reforms. In the parochial world of the US media that takes some doing!
Farage gave his usual rant at the same EU parliamentary session, got a reasonable number of YouTube hits but was ignored by the mainstream UK media let alone US media. The truth is that in media terms Hannan is the real deal. Thank goodness he is a real Eurosceptic as is his fellow Tory Roger Helmer. They are our best hope of stopping the EU juggernaut. Nigel will huff and puff but I fear his heart is not in it and his media skills have been vastly over-rated.