In the first week of April this year and just after his second debate with Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage had an hour-long phone-in session with Telegraph readers. Around the six-minute mark, Farage brought up the NHS. What followed was a line uttered by the UKIP leader: not a throwaway, not a wisecrack but a statement of intent – to cut the NHS – so blatant, so shameless we couldn’t believe no-one had picked up on it before today.
You wouldn’t believe it if I just gave you a transcript, so here’s the video, timestamped at 6:40.
For those with no audio, here’s the transcript.
“I genuinely do think, when you sort of occasionally hear of a big businessman that says he’d like to run the national health service and streamline it, and get better value for money, I think that’s the approach we’ve got to take.”
Words that are eerily similar to the rhetoric used by the Conservatives about the NHS during the 2010 General Election campaign and the first year of Coalition government. We all know that ‘streamlining’ means cuts, and for a leader of a political party to use such rhetoric, while also flirting with the idea of marrying big business and public service, is quite shocking in its brazenness.
So pray do tell, how are UKIP NOT the mini-Tory party again?