Daniel Hannan, the Tory MEP, has been upsetting the Tory apple cart again today by criticising the NHS and participating in the US campaign opposing Obama's health service reforms modelled on the UK NHS. As some one who has been married to an NHS medic for many years I can see much merit in Mr Hannan's remarks. The NHS is in sad need of real reform. What it does not need is more money, managers, box tickers, choose and book etc. The interesting thing is that when Andrew Rawnsley, the Tory health spokesman, was asked would Hannan be disciplined by the Tory party his answer was to the effect, "No, we have free speech in our party and allow a diversity of views".
If Farage's UKIP had this ethos UKIP would not have lost so many talented activists over the last few years. I remember Roger Helmer, another Tory Eurosceotic MEP, making a remark in similar vein to Rawnsley's at a local meeting I attended. We even have Norman Tebbitt and Stuart Wheeler advising voters not to vote LibLabTory. Will they be discplined and kicked out of the Tory party? No they won't. The Tories know a political party has to accommodate a diversity of views and retain its talented people, not force them out to play for another team as Farage's UKIP does.
Hannan is not frightened to challenge the sacred cows of British politics like the NHS. He speaks his mind and is not governed by what he thinks the voters want to hear. His was the attack on Brown at the EU talking shop that made the major US news channels and had millions of Youtube hits. Farage's rant against Brown in identical circumstances had hits measured in tens of thousands!
Why can our UKIP MEP's not have a similar independent mind and the courage of their convictions? Well, they have seen what happens to those who contradict Nigel and they want to hold on to their MEP sinecure. To be brutally frank none of them have the talent or intelligence of Hannan. The ruling cabal ensures anyone of intelligence capable of independent thought joining UKIP and prepared like Hannan to speak their mind is soon smeared and expelled. How long can UKIP continue as a political force with these self seeking people in control of the party? Not long I fear and all UKIP will be left with is a group of increasingly irrelevant MEPs in a foreign capital collecting a lucrative pay check until June 2014.