Foreign policy : David Cameron's treatment of Tory dissidents

This was posted on the Progress web-site
Spot the difference
David Cameron's differing treatment of two Tory dissidents tells us a lot about where his priorities lie
17 August 2009
What is the difference between Daniel Hannan and Edward Macmillan Scott? Both are long-serving Conservative MEPs and were re-elected in July 2009. Both are true blue Tories. Both are eloquent communicators. Macmillan Scott has more seniority as he led the Tory MEP group in the 1990s when the majority of MEPs were Labour. Hannan represents south east England where UKIP is popular. Macmillan Scott represents Yorkshire and Humberside where Tory MPs have been thin on the ground since 1997 so he has had to carry the Conservative flag in the north of England during the long decade plus of Labour hegemony in Westminster. Both are Eurosceptics, opposed to the Lisbon Treaty, free marketeer and open traders.
But there the similarity stops. Hannan has gone on American television to trash the NHS to the delight of the American right. Macmillan Scott is concerned about the rise of what he calls ‘respectable fascism' and thinks that the Conservative party would be better advised not to enter into alliance with right-wing extremists in Polish politics.
Cameron's response to Hannan was a friendly cuff over the head describing his attack on the NHS on US television as ‘eccentric'. A few months ago Cameron described Hannan as ‘brilliant' and on the whole most British citizens would consider the adjectives ‘eccentric' and ‘brilliant' as rather warm endorsements.
Macmillan Scott's opposition to the homophobic and racist right in eastern Europe and his criticisms of the anti-Jewish remarks made by a Polish politician Cameron particularly favours has met with a different response. Cameron has suspended Macmillan Scott's membership of the Tory MEP group. Propagandists like Tim Montgomerie of ConservativeHome have called for Macmillan Scott to be expelled from the Conservative party like some dissident in the 1970s or 1980s who had dared defy the official party line.
The brutal treatment of Macmillan Scott is in sharp contrast to the language used about Hannan. Macmillan Scott is cast into the outer darkness of the party he has loved and served with distinction. Hannan can now continue his work of whipping up right-wing sentiment in Britain, Europe and America with the endorsement of being ‘brilliant' if ‘eccentric' from David Cameron. This tells us something of Cameron's judgment. He allows an NHS-hater away free. He punishes someone who is critical of extremist positions by rightwing European politicians.