AS they say, “It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.” The attacks on the National Health Service in the United States as part of the Republican and health insurance industry campaign against President Obama's health care proposals have led to expressions of the strongest support for the NHS for a long time. it is one thing for Americans to talk about the “evil and Orwellian” NHS but when a prominent British MEP travels there to rubbish the NHS in a series of TV and radio interviews something has to be done. And David Cameron did it -- the offending MEP was Daniel Hannan whose views were quickly disowned and dismissed as “eccentric” by the Conservative leader before issuing this statement: “We stand full-square (sic) behind the NHS. We back it, we are going to expand it. It will get more money under a Conservative government. It is our No 1 mission to improve it.”

He couldn't say fairer than that, could he? I think the Health Secretary Andy Burnham made a mistake to respond by talking about the Conservative's “deep ambivalence towards the NHS”. This is not the first time that Mr Cameron has made his support for the NHS clear and I think Labour would be wise to take him at his word until there is good reason to do otherwise. In the meantime, though, would Mr Cameron agree that Daniel Hannan's ideas on the Lisbon Treaty are even more eccentric than those he holds on the NHS?


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