One rule for his mates, one rule for others – this storm raises real questions of direction and leadership

Shamik Das

CameronBy Shamik Das / @shamikdas

Tory MEP Daniel Hannan’s cowardly and unpatriotic attack on the NHS, in which he told American TV viewers he “wouldn’t wish” our helathcare on anybody, represents a real challenge of leadership, real leadership, for David Cameron – perhaps his most significant yet.

In choosing not to discipline the über-Thatcherite shill, describing him merely as “an eccentric“, Cameron risks undoing all the hard work he and his Shadow Cabinet colleagues have done over the past four years to drag the image of the Tory party away from the heartless, selfish individualism epitomised by Hannan towards the caring, compassionate Cameroonian Conservatism that has served them so well in the polls.

It also shows up Cameron once again as having one rule for his mates, and one rule for others – as witnessed by his handling of the expenses crisis: forcing out one-nation Tories like Douglas Hogg and Sir Peter Viggers while refusing to sack the likes of Michael Gove and Alan Duncan for their own misdemeanours.

Although Viggers and Hogg may not elicit any sympathy, spare a thought for Edward McMillan-Scott, the pro-European MEP dismissed by Cameron for having the temerity to oppose the ill-conceived Tory alliance with far-Right factions in the European Parliament – in particular McMillan-Scott’s defeat of Polish extremist Michal Kaminski in the Brussels vice-presidential elections.

That’s the Michal Kaminski described by former Europe Minister Denis MacShane as a “right-wing politician whose views on Jews, on gays, on immigrants, on President Obama would place him at the very rough end of BNP politics in Britain.”

And this is a man Cameron would rather were vice-president of the European Parliament than one of his own?!

Yet more hypocrisy, yet more double standards; stand by the man who talks about the NHS being a “relic” that it’s “impossible to get rid of” and which “we’re stuck with”, while removing the whip from a centrist Tory MEP who wouldn’t walk by on the other side while his party jumped into bed with the repellent Polski Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc party.

It’s time for Cameron to show some leadership, grow a backbone and dismiss the vile Mr Hannan.

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