Byline: James Morrison, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
MR. SMITH IS BACK
Daniel Hannan - the erudite conservative British politician who burst to international fame in March with a plucky rebuke of Prime Minister Gordon Brown that has drawn 2.4 million hits on YouTube - said Thursday that he is awestruck when he comes to Washington.
He told an admiring audience at the Heritage Foundation that he sometimes feels like the Jimmy Stewart character in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the 1939 film about an idealistic young man appointed to fill a vacant seat in the U.S. Senate. He visited the Jefferson Memorial this week and admired the statue of the author of the Declaration of Independence.
Mr. Smith, that's me, he said. I cling to my idealized version of your history.
Like Mr. Stewart, Mr. Hannan says he has a mission in Washington - to save Americans from themselves. He says he is alarmed that Congress is moving toward nationalizing health care and repeating Britain's mistakes.
You do not want to go down the road we went, Mr. Hannan said. The horror stories .. We are no longer shocked by them
Mr. Hannan said long delays in medical treatment are routine in Britain's National Health Service, operations are sometimes denied and some drugs that prevent pain are off the market because of costs.
The system is economically inefficient and morally coercive, he said.
Posing a question to himself, he asked why do the British continue to live with a system that is so bad? The answer is that they are used to it.
It's almost like battered-wife syndrome, he said. The British people cling to a system that abuses them.
Mr. Hannan said the National Health Service, established in 1948, is one of the world's largest employers, with 1.4 million employees. However most are bureaucrats.
There are more managers than doctors and nurses put together, he said. …