Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Thursday 27 August 2009

Daniel Hannan's opponents are using playground tactics

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

Tory MEP Dan Hannan is in trouble again.

In an interview with (an internet TV channel) he cited Enoch Powell as one of his political influences stating that he:

Understood the importance of national democracy, who understood why you need to live in an independent country and what that meant, as well as being a free marketeer and a small government Conservative.

Of course the reason why Mr Hannan's remarks could be construed as contentious is because of what Enoch Powell is so famous for, his "Rivers of blood" speech in 1968 which did much harm to race relations in the UK. It also comes hot on the heels of his comments about the NHS (although the reason interview was actually conducted before he made his NHS remarks - they have only just come out now).

But what he says is true. Powell was all of the things that Hannan claims, and frankly given Powell's visceral opposition to the European Common Market and Hannan's visceral opposition to the EU, it's successor, it's hardly surprising that he considers him an influence. Indeed it would be odd, and he would be pretty obviously lying if he claimed otherwise.

None of this matters to Hannan's political opponents though who have leapt upon this latest revelation with absolute glee. Here's Lord Mandelson:

Yet again, we are seeing the two faces of the Conservative Party. The one they want to present to the public and the one which attacks the NHS and praises Enoch Powell.

I have seen plenty of similar reaction on Twitter and elsewhere from all sorts of levels within the Labour party.

The reason I despair here is because of what episodes like this do to politics in general. People often compain that most politicians are like automatons who rigidly stick to a predefined script and don't say anything interesting. That's because of what happens when they step outside these ridiculously defined bounds that the political class as a whole sets themselves.

Why should Mr Hannan not be allowed to be honest about who his political influences are? He is not saying he agrees with everything that Powell said and did. He has been very specific about what he admires in Powell and there will be many in the Conservative Party (and also some across the political spectrum) who actually agree with him.

In fact, here are some comments from Prime Minister Tony Blair after Powell died in 1998:

He was one of the great figures of 20th-century British politics, gifted with a brilliant mind

Does that demonstrate the two faces of the Labour Party and of Mr Mandelson's protege?

Time and political debate would be better spent by his opponents arguing against what Dan Hannan believes and the reasons for it. Not trying to smear him by association when he is just being honest about the formation of his political views.

Of course that would involve detailed discussion and debate and is more difficult and nuanced than the sort of response Peter Mandelson has put out.

I should probably end by making it clear that I hold no candle for Daniel Hannan. There are things he thinks that I strongly disagree with. However I also think he makes a good contribution to debate in this country and our politics is richer for having people like him involved in it.

The playground tactics being deployed in this latest spat however make me wonder how much longer people like him will bother, and the march of the automatons continues unabated.


Alex Wilcock said...

I have to disagree with you here, Mark. I know Liberals should see the best in everyone, but either you or Mr Hannan are being very naïve here – and I find it difficult to believe that a man who’s already been plastered all over the news on two continents for incendiary statements that just happen to signal ‘I am the new leader of the Tory Right!’ didn’t know what he was doing when he made yet another ‘back to the future’ comment.

Of course he didn’t praise Mr Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech – that would have lost him the Tory whip! But it’s hardly a subtle dog-whistle, is it? Sometimes you get Tory thinkers saying something like ‘There were many issues on which Enoch was ahead of his time, though of course he was a deeply conflicted man and I wouldn’t agree with all his views…’ to hint that ‘Enoch was right’ while still covering themselves. There was no such equivocation in Mr Hannan shouting ‘ENOCH WAS RIGHT!’ from the rooftops. It shows all the mixture of swivel-eyed hard right and self-publicising political calculation that’s marked out so many of his actions.

It’s near-impossible to believe that he didn’t select his hero – after all, there have been dozens of others who fit the bill, and who are far more relevant today – to send that very special message.

Mark Thompson said...

I understand what you are saying here Alex but I am trying to put political calculations to one side and look at what he actually said. I am also thinking about what Hannan actually really thinks and I reckon it is what he said. It would have been very easy for me to criticise him and if I felt what he said merites that I would not hesitate.

I agree he didn't come out with the standard caveat but then again, why should he? His words were quite specific.

I don't think I am being naive. I am trying to take head on what he said rather than filter it through what it could be construed that he is trying to say.

Also, I think the fact that this interview was several weeks ago is important. At that point he hadn't been plastered all over two continents so your initial comment doesn't quite stack up.

Alex Wilcock said...

You’re right that politicians in general are often prevented from thinking out loud, which is a bad thing, and also that Mr Hannan’s NHS lies were actually spoken after he recorded this ‘later’ interview, which makes his remarks on Enoch Powell slightly less calculated than they appear at first glance – but you’re quite wrong “to put political calculations to one side” (he certainly isn’t!), and to say that “At that point he hadn't been plastered all over two continents”. Did you miss how he got the Fox (and, presumably, the “Reason TV”) gig? He’d already been plastered over two continents for his European Parliament attack on Gordon Brown. This is not a shy, retiring abstract thinker who shuns self-publicity. He was already a political ‘celebrity’ – that’s why he was doing both interviews.

Mr Hannan is 37 years old, the same age I am. By the time he was born, Enoch Powell’s career was already finished. He died over a decade ago; he’d ceased to be important for his political activity at least three decades ago. His legacy is that “Enoch” is a totem, a rallying cry for a particular kind of bigotry – it’s hardly esoteric enough to be called a ‘code’.

So why did Mr Hannan pick Enoch Powell as his hero – he wasn’t asked ‘What do you think of Enoch Powell’ and this taken out of context – rather than the Conservatives he’d grown up with? He knew exactly what he was saying. I’m sure he agreed with Mr Powell’s free-trade / nationalist (confused) views, as he said, but it can’t be said to be a subtle signal.

You say, “I agree he didn't come out with the standard caveat but then again, why should he? His words were quite specific.” Again, I’ve already answered that. By mentioning “Enoch,” everyone already knows what someone means. And saying that he didn’t explicitly endorse those views on immigration is absurd – the Conservative Party of over forty years ago finished Enoch Powell’s career for saying what he did on immigration. I dislike the Conservative Party, I disagree with them, and I think they have a lot of vile views, but I still think anyone claiming they’ve not changed since 1968 would be bonkers. Mr Hannan couldn’t explicitly back Mr Powell’s views, or he’d be sacked instantly. And the whole point of an ambitious self-publicist is that he’s ambitious. But by praising “Enoch,” like everyone else who does the same, he doesn’t need to say ‘I’m a racist’.

I don’t believe for a second that Mr Hannan’s views mean that Mr Cameron has secret plans to implement them all. He’s not ‘the true face of the Cameron project’. But he is, at the very least, the true face of Mr Hannan.

Mark Thompson said...

Alex - I didn't miss the coverage he got from the Brown bashing incident in the European parliament. I actually thought that was a good example of use of rhetoric and he rightly eviscerated Brown, and I wrote so at the time - it deserved wide coverage. I thought you were referring to the NHS thing which is why Hannan is so newsworthy at this precise moment.

From your comments it does seem that you think Hannan is trying to use dog whistle politics to indicate to those of a racist bent that "nudge, nudge, wink, wink, you'll be alright with me".

I just don't see it like that. I repeat my earlier point, I think this is what Hannan actually thinks, i.e. that Enoch Powell was correct in his approach to the EEC and the free market and he was a formative influence on him. Just because he was born after Powell's fall from grace does not mean he won't have been able to form a rounded opinion of him and genuinely be influenced without agreeing with his racist stuff.

I guess we are coming at this from two different directions. I am deliberately pushing the baggage out of the way and saying "what if he is genuine here?" and can easily see how that could be the case. You are filtering it all through the prism of Powell's other remarks and what he is most reputed for.

My general point though, as I have been banging on about for ages is that we should engage in proper debate with our opponents. I am happy to debate Hannan on his views regarding the NHS, the EU etc. and would like to see that happen. Instead what we get is the #WeLoveTheNHS stuff hijacked by Gordon Brown, trying to close down the debate and attempts to impugn him with accusations of closet racism. In what way is this engaging with the debate?

Here's an example. I was listening to Radio 2 earlier on and they were discussing the NHS. There were a succession of calls and letters which were anecdotal and were either massively in favour of the NHS because they had had a good experience or massively against because they had had a very bad experience. That's where this sort of response gets us. No attempt to engage with the substance, should we look at the US, Europe, Singapore or is our funding model the best etc. Just "I love the NHS", "I hate the NHS".

This is what I am trying to get away from.

Garbo said...

Hannan knew exactly what he was doing when he associated himself with Powell. The man is a self publicist who craves the attention. But that does not mean to say he doesn't believe it.

Hannan clearly does think the NHS is bad, the EU is wrong and Powell was right. He has every right to express that opinion too.

But he also knows that he will upset Cameron in doing so and still does not give a damn. He does it because he resents the Tories move to the centre ground. He also knows that Cameron can't do much about it - because Hannan is not a rambling loner, he in good company in the Tory party from grassroots to Westminster.

While it is nonsense what Mandelson is saying this is the true face of the Tories, it would be right in saying that Hannan's views are one the faces of the Tory party.

If Cameron tried to tackle it head on there would be plenty of Hannan supporters. Take the EU, immigration, healthcare and so on. I do not doubt for one second Cameron wants to tackle the big issues, he is not the nice PR man covering up the true face of the Tories - but people like Hannan are holding one of his hands behind his back.

Hannan may not be the Tory party, but he is not alone either. He is also a rather large thorn in Cameron's side that will prove tricky to remove.

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

I think I would steer a middle way between the both of you. On the one hand I don't doubt that for Hannan, supporting Enoch Powell is an iconoclastic posture designed to ruffle lefty feathers and (possibly) send a dog whistle out to dodgy racists. I also think that his attack on the NHS warranted a response and won't lose much sleep over the fact that the backlash put the Tories on the back foot.

On the other hand, I am somewhat bored of the kneejerk attacks on Hannan. He's a clever person who warrants a smart response. Tribalist mudslinging is like water off a duck's back for him. What's more, there are bits of the Hannan-Carswell agenda that the Lib Dems actually have a lot of common ground with.

Every time I hear Hannan speak I seethe, not because everything he says is nonsense but because he mixes the nonsense up with common sense (and, for that matter,Common Sense). For example, on one of the YouTube videos he compares the EU constitution with the US one and concludes that the former is wanting. Yet if the EU constitution was a facsimile of the US constitution he would be the first to denounce it! He keeps lauding the US Founding Fathers as great democrats, despite the fact that in a large number of respects they were anything but. It is a very clever mix of truth and lies.

I'm very aware of the fact that a lot of Labour supporters view the sort of smearage and outright lies that is now the norm within US Republican circles as a blueprint. RedRag was an attempt to replicate this in the UK. Even the relatively sensible Sunny Hundal has called for the left to adopt such tactics.

The result of such tactics in the US is not progress but the illusion of it; a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Frankly, if that is all their opponents have to offer the Tories deserve to win.

Mark Thompson said...

James - also, in his Fox interview he wasn't clear about his views on the NHS, as I pointed out in a previous post.

If you watched his Sean Hannity interview, you would be left with the impression that he thinks the US system of healthcare is the way forward but actually it isn't. If you read "The Plan" he actually favours a sort of hybrid Singaporean system.

Shamik Das said...

And your motivation for writing this post is?!

Clearly not playground tactics to dredge up what Tony Blair said 11 years ago; pot, kettle, black...

Little Black Sambo said...

I should like to congratulate MR on a very fair-minded and sane post. All this nonsense about dog-whistles, lies and racism does nothing to help the discussion. DH makes serious points that deserve a serious response (and so did Enoch Powell, for that matter).

Mark Thompson said...

Shamik. My motivation for this post is as I have tried to make clear, to try to draw attention to how nobody seems interested in debating the proper issues, just throwing mud at each other.

I quoted Tony Blair to demonstrate the hypocrisy of some in Labour who are screaming about how Hannan's remarks are unacceptable and show the "true face" of the Tories. Well if that is that case how do they reconcile their former Prime Minister's remarks? Do they show the "true face" of Labour?

I would like to see some posts debating the substance of Hannan's remarks. You know, the stuff about his feelings about the EU etc.

I don't want to debate this playground stuff any more than you but I seem to be surrounded by a sea of it.

Oranjepan said...

The best description I ever heard of Enoch Powell was as the most clear thinking and logical mind of his generation. It just so happens that started from the wrong premises, so he typically ended up with the wrong conclusions.

In this Hannan is his reincarnation. Clear-thinking and articulate, but flawed from the outset.

While I agree Hannan is blatantly positioning himself as the 'true' leader of ideological conservatism, I think it is less clearcut whether he is indicating his support for a more extreme ideology.

However, I think Hannan's threat to Cameron will actually work well for the LibDems if we can clearly define our position as pragmatic reformers, and not ideologically motivated by a particular course of action - particularly as Labour are now supporting the failing status quo.

So basically I'm more concerned that Clegg and our front bench are not setting the agenda: where has his promise to stir things up gone? and why are we letting our debate be conducted on the terms of our prime opponents?

asquith said...

In fairness to Blair (not often you'll hear me saying that!) he was obliged to speak at Powell's death because he was PM & someone prominent died on his watch. It is also customary not to speak ill of the dead, so this statement isn't in any way akin to Hannan's effusion of praise. For all we know, Blair could have gone behind closed doors & said to Cherie "I fucking hated him actually".

On about Powell. Yes, he did raise some issues that deserved to be raised. Going out of my way to be scrupulously fair, Simon Hefferlump's biography of him is quite reasonable (& in no way resembles the utter shite he writes in the Telegraph).

I will laugh at all the Tories complaining about Cameron not being enough of a right-whinger for them- the defections to UKIP, probably led by Hannan, will be a pleasure to watch.

This is all just a delightful circus really. But I think the real moral is the emotional attatchment to the NHS, which in my view is a very bad sentiment as it stifles innovation. At the same time, though, Hannan should be slagged off for raising his doubts on Fox "News" & thus giving credence to Republican lies (Don't know about you but I am broadly supportive of Obama & will be voting Democrat in 2010 & 2012, or would if I was American- also worthy of note is that Obamacare doesn't actually resemble the NHS at all).

As a little aside, playground tactics can be defended in this case because I would give him a slap on the grounds of his fucking ugly face & enraging mannerisms causing me grave offence.

asquith said...

"If you watched his Sean Hannity interview, you would be left with the impression that he thinks the US system of healthcare is the way forward but actually it isn't. If you read "The Plan" he actually favours a sort of hybrid Singaporean system"

True but irrelevant. Insannity listeners aren't going to read his books, they're going to get the messages Insannity wants, which we all know all about.

Hannan knew this when he went on the show. He didn't speak at a fringe meeting at the Tory conference, he chose to appear on Fox "News" & say it. He should take whatever discipline Cameron imposes on him without complaint.

Mark Thompson said...

asquith - I understand your first point, he did have to say something but did he really have to be that effusive? "One of the great figures of 20th century politics"? "Gifted"? "Brilliant mind"? There are plenty of other forms of words he could have used.

That's why I brought it up because Labour are giving absolutely no quarter on this (you praise Powell, you therefore by implication agree with everything he said) in which case Blair is also implicated.

Garbo said...

All this talk about whether Powell or Hannan was/is racist is missing the point somewhat, surely?

Hannan is very deliberately trying to rock the boat for Cameron while at the same time shameless whoring himself about the US television networks.

As for Hannan being the politician of clear thinking and logical mind of his generation, what a load of hogwash. I have nothing against Hannan holding his beliefs, I do not agree with most of them, but that is irrelevant. What is most objectionable about the man is he tells complete untruths to make his point. He has done it with the NHS and he has done it with the EU.

If he hates the NHS, well fair enough. But don't go on US television and make up a load rubbish. Hate it for real reasons, not made up ones. The same can be said of the EU.

He is more concerned with winning the argument by any means than stating the facts. Hannan does not make serious points, he makes up serious points.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article dummed down unfortunately by a welter of biast,left wing comment that frankly proves that virtually none of them have read,listened or watched either Powell or Hannan in depth and are merely picking up on the equally ill informed slime emanating from their favourite Downing Street "smear a tory a day club"

Duncan Stott said...

What Tony Blair said was surrounded by caveats. The full quote is:

"However controversial his views, he was one of the great figures of 20th-century British politics, gifted with a brilliant mind. However much we disagreed with many of his views, there was no doubting the strength of his convictions or their sincerity, or his tenacity in pursuing them, regardless of his own political self-interest."

Dan Hannan provided no caveats. To compliment a politician who is primarily remembered for a racist speech, and to not address this whilst expressing admiration for him, is foolish at best.

Mark Thompson said...

Yes, Blair did caveat what he said as most politicians do when they talk about Enoch Powell. I quoted the specific part that I did because it illustrated my point that he praised Powell - exactly the thing that Mandelson attacked Hannan for.

My point is that Hannan made clear what he was agreeing with Powell about. You can argue about whether he should have caveated the mention of Powell as an influence. Maybe talking to an internet based TV channel on the other side of the world, he didn't feel the need to as most people there wouldn't know who Powell was. Maybe he just slipped up. Maybe he did it deliberately. I don't know and neither do you.

I am giving him the benefit of the doubt because from what I can tell and have read, I think they are his real views.

Anonymous said...

Also remember that Hannan is himself an immigrant. He was born in Peru and brought up there.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Great post, Mark.

"I would like to see some posts debating the substance of Hannan's remarks"

Same here, but it might be a long wait. The knee-jerk reaction to dissent is always the same from the left unfortunately. Tackle the man, not the ball.

OBC News said...

Have to agree with Anon, there are some frighteningly ill-informed comments here from people who apparently know nothing about Hannan and even less about Powell. The ease with which propaganda embeds itself in the minds of the unsuspecting is illustrated perfectly here, not only in the old Enoch=Racist chestnut but the hogwash about Hannan being a traitor for being honest about his views on the NHS's shortcomings (and in a foreign country too, gasp!). Playground tactics indeed.

Great post though Mark. For me it would not count as over-effusive to describe Powell as a 'great political mind', 'fiercely intelligent' etc. But them again before Brown was anointed PM we were told similar things about him; and incredibly 20-odd percent of people apparently still believe it!

Alan Douglas said...

Gasp, shock, horror, a right wing member of the public (me) admits to being inflenced by the New Statesman as a teenager ! Quick, let's ask Mandlebum for a quote, this so clearly shows the true feelings of this right-winger !

Actually I was, it was the first publication I found which had thinking, and got me thinking too.

And the result of my thinking was that I discovered that I disagreed with absolutely everything it stood for.

Hannan was quite specific as to what of Powell's he agreed with. Mark, you make a reasoned case for allowing debate, those who want to shut all debate are afraid of it.

And as to Powell and Hannan being wrong on the NHS and the EU, well ....

Alan Douglas

Tigers v Munster tonight - hurrah said...

Gracious! Thank you Mark for being perhaps the only left winger to be honest about Hannan. Good on you for standing up against the unthinking commentors on here.

If I may, Hannan has said, more than once, that he disagrees with Powell about immigration. As has already been said on this blog, he's an immigrant himself; an immigrant, moreover, who adopts the position of people like Ayn Rand who favour unrestricted immigration. But, hey, Alex Wilcock don't worry yourself about what he says or thinks, just lay into him because he doesn't agree with you.

Also, I'd suggest reading his recent blog in The Telegraph where he says that his speeches and beliefs pretty much rule him out of having any power in this country. The current Tory party is having none of it and is unlikely to.

Ambitious self-publicist, wanting to be leader of the right? This is the worst twaddle of all - as well as being the most sinister. He is simply putting forward his views, which are shared by many, on the EU and economy. Can anybody tell me why he shouldn't please? It couldn't be because modern liberalism is not very liberal at all, could it?

On, and Duncan Scott, might I say that Hannan was VERY specific about admiring Powell's views on democracy. It is only the perversion of debate (or playground politics as our blogger puts it) which demands that everybody says hedges when talking about Enoch Powell. Why? Hannan brackets his subject perfectly and it is Labour and the left (and you) who blew the dog whistle, when they said, "look at Hannan, he's trying to get racist votes". Not so and you know it I suspect.

Anonymous said...

Well said. If anyone is two faced it is Mandelson

Sam said...

We are also forgetting that Hannan mentioned Powell as ONE of the influences on his political beliefs, along with Ayn Rand and others. Hannan's actual views on immigration are pretty much the opposite of Powell's, as far as I know he is more of an open borders type.

Also, all this about Hannan trying to get media attention is total bollocks. He's been saying all these things (especially about the NHS) for years. It's just that for once people listened. That isn't being a media whore - that's plain luck!

Anonymous said...

How hilarious that centre right liberal Mark has been called a "leftwinger" by someone (who by definition therefore has to be a right wing extremist) who then goes on to pretend that everything in the Hannan garden is rosy.

Hannan is a Sarah Palin for the UK-or maybe the next Widdecombe: an ill informed, self serving, no mark low key representative whose bonkers ideology is going to win him unconditional adoring support from the bonkers wing of the hard right.

I'm as opposed to the politics of the playground as anyone but avoiding it requires adult interaction, not mendacious attention seeking and thats why the disloyal Hannan deserves every bit of bile thrown at him

Sean said...

So glad I found this blog. Good to have a place where one can discuss the issues.

Little Black Sambo said...

Anon at 1.20 p.m.
When the word "hilarious" appears in a comment, everything that follows can generally be ignored - a matter of observation, and true in your case.

Mark Thompson said...

Just to briefly address the left/centre right labels that some commenters seem to want to foist on me.

When I did the political compass test back in February I came out in the bottom left quadrant (i.e. left wing libertarian) although I dispute the validity of the methodology and think I should be much closer to the centre on the horizontal axis.

I suppose the truth is I am a bit left-wing on some issues and a bit right-wing on others although I think those labels are quite outmoded now anyway.

Anonymous said...

Alex, you seem totally unaware that Hannan is a liberal on race and immigration who would relax immigration restrictons, not increase them. Try reading what he says before attacking him blindly.

asquith said...

I am sceptical about the political compass test because most people seem to come out on the libertarian left (those who are apolitical seem to fall by default into this category) whereas most politicians are on the authoritarian right.

What I am most doubtful about is the criteria by which they decide where to put these politicians. I have not seen any explanation of such.

I have done the test today just out o' interest.

Economic left/right- -1.38
Social liberal/authoritarian -3.34


Graeme Archer said...

Excellent post. The same politicians who exhort each other to "reach out and reconnect with the public" use their space in the media to repeat artificial dividing lines (i.e. made-up rubbish). Everyone wants "grown-up debate", apparently, until someone utters a sentence which is capable of more than one interpretation (as they all are, other than the redundantly banal ones, in political discourse), at which point the sentence becomes a "gaffe" and hordes of Labour (I display my bias) MPs take to Twitter to "communicate" with their eager electorates by posting 140 characters of malign, deliberate, misinterpretation. I find this nonsense more depressing than most other aspects of modern political life and I thank you for writing this lucid post which increases my faith just a tiny wee bit that not everything is lost!

dazmando said...

Well Mark, I could not agree more although that is because I am a liberal and do see the best in everyone lol. But this example really demostrates that its hard to be different within your party just because you have the same thoughts as the voters out there.

Adam S said...

Excellent post Mark.

I am a conservative, and I'm sure you and I would disagree on many thing, but you are correct - Dan Hannan has plenty of things to legitimately criticise, but to suggest that his admiration for Powell makes him a racist absurd.

Saying that liking Enoch Powell means you must hold his views on immigration is like saying that those who are currently drooling over Ted Kennedy support leaving a girl to drown in a car submerged in a river.

I hope that some of my fellow conservative bloggers (myself included) would act with the same courage in defending a liberal, as you have done today in defending Hannan.

neil craig said...

When you bear in mind that the LibDems are, apparently without exception, enthusiastic supporters of openly genocidal racist (ex-)Nazis like the Croatian & Bosnian Moslem leaders the hypocrisy of pretending that Powell is too right wing to be discussed is pretty disgusting. Personally I think politicians like Ashdown, who supports child rape & the dissection of living human beings by his KLA friends would receive infinitely more condemnation by any decent human.

Oranjepan said...

I always enjoy reading your calm, moderate and considered comments. You've obviously thought very hard about what you're saying and why you're saying it and the relevant links you provide are very helpful in establishing the factual basis of what you say.

But I have one small complaint - rather than tell the people on this thread who are LibDem members what we each believe, why don't you ask us?

I can reassure you that I for one don't support going out of my way to create suffering, and I'm glad you're prepared to show your forgiving nature in giving the benefit of the doubt to people you don't know, have never met and avoid direct engagement with.

Clearly you are one of God's children who always tries to think the best of everyone and sets a high example in trying to improve the world.

asquith said...

Have given further thought to this matter.

Hannan seems to know what he is doing & to have some plan, which is sometimes obscure but some of which can be discerned.

He will of course be aware that Powell was at best a semi-detatched Tory, ended up leaving the party altogether, & even advocated voting Labour on one occasion because the party was amore anti-EU & it meant SO much to him.

Is this not the strongest indication yet that he is on the way out?

As I said- this is more an amusing spectator sport than owt else for me.

Mark Thompson said...

Very interesting theory Asquith. You may well be right.

I have sometimes wondered if Hannan would be more comfortable in UKIP than the Tories and I know I am not the only one.

neil craig said...

Seeing him & Farage on TV on election night it was clear they disagreed on nothing except that Farage thought Hannan isolated in the Tories & Hannan thought UKIP isolated (& both right). Because the EU is proportionally elected he could certainly move & not lose votes. I am sure Cameron knows this & while he might not mind him going would hate to be seen pushing him. I think he is better where he is because it means liberal minded people in both parties can still talk to each other.

Voter said...

I have commented before about the desirability of getting smart people
into power, despite the difficulties in doing this.

Someone suggested Lord Mandelson as an example of a smart person already
in power and I disputed this. I think this reaction by Lord Mandelson
shows that he is not the smart person some people think.

In fact, he just seems like the standard politician looking for an open
goal but failing to score once you see the action replay.

I hope we can see a move towards substance in political debate.

neil craig said...

Oranje the problem is that it has been officially decided that opposing racial genocide is "incompatible with membership" of your party so while i do indeed give everybody the benefit of the doubt until a case is proven, the case against party members, of supporting genocide, has been proven.

Alternately, if you claim not to be a supporter of genocide, perhaps you could link to where you, even once, have denounced British politicians complicit in these war crimes, genocide & dissections?

Oranjepan said...

anyone can play a game of 'you do not condemn enough'

But it is a childish exercise, as the same inverse logic infers anytime you did not condemn the past before it happened you are therefore automatically a supporter of it.

So I'm a supporter of the massacre of the innocents however many thousand years ago, and I'm a supporter of Attila The Hun, and I dream of the reincarnation of Pol Pot, do I?

Frankly your methods of deduction are nothing of the sort, and they make you sound like a crank.

However, if you are prepared to draw up a questionairre of all the incidents in history which you'd like to ask whether anyone thinks they regretable and should have been avoided I'm pretty convinced you'll find very few people who disagree with each other.

So perhaps you can be advised that your grudge-bearing can be put to more productive effort by trying to work out what should be done and how it should be done under the conditions which exist.

I'm not about to justify tragic occurrences, but it must be appreciated that there are no ideal situations where decisions are so clearcut as to be uncontestible and that this is something which has to be dealt with - it is the burden of office to carry the responsibility for situations which you cannot ultimately have complete control over.

So while you sit there complacently expressing outrage at what you disliked about somebody elses actions and choices, you have not said what you proposed at the time, what you did to further your proposal and nor have you explained why it was wrong that your proposal was not implemented. Were you not given a fair hearing? Were you not given due consideration? If not, why not.

And why do you persist in your endless cycle of bitterness and recrimination long after the event? I'm sure it can't be healthy for you at a personal level to continue to obsess so strongly over these events, and if you're still finding it difficult to deal with then maybe you'd like to ask where you can get effective therapy.

The internet is not a forum where it is easy to make direct human contact, so it can sometimes feel like you're running up against a brick wall. If that's the case and you find this causes frustrations, then you may find it helpful to reassess your strategy.

Knowing when and where to be more or less serious is a skill very few people have perfected, but nonetheless it is invaluable. An occasional sign that you also have a sense of humour can be very helpful in establishing your credentials.

Speaking personally, I enjoy a vigorous exchange of views, and I welcome fair criticism. So keep it real, huh?

Voter said...

I find it hard to believe that opposing genocide is incompatible
with membership of the Lib Dems.

Do you have evidence to back up that claim?

Anonymous said...

I'm old enough to have met Mr Powell, he left far less an impression on me than Tony Benn, but both were on the fringes of their party because they dared to speak their mind, and hold views that were imcompatable with the party message.
How desperately we've needed people prepared to that over the last 20 years ~ I welcome men like Hannan and Frank Field, and even to an extent Robin Cooke, we need more people of believe in politics.


Alex said...

I'm no conservative (big or small 'c'), but there are many conservatives who:

"Understood the importance of national democracy, who understood why you need to live in an independent country and what that meant, as well as being a free marketeer and a small government Conservative."

that he could've said he admired. Why did he have to pick Powell, unless he was either:

1. Stirring up trouble for Cameron.
2. Trying to associate himself with Powell's more controversial views.


It's also rubbish as most seem to be suggesting, that Daniel Hannan is libertarian and therefore is fine with immigration. This is wrong, as this post shows:

neil craig said...

Voter if you check you will find Norman Fraser saying that, though the official reason for my expulsion was economic liberalism & support of nuclear power the actual "main thrust" of the reason for expulsion was that I objected to genocide, child sex slavery etc.

Since Norman fronted the expulsion activioty he clearly knows & has no reason to lie in a way that makes him & the party look worse.

Opposing genocide is therefore proven to be incompatible with LibDem membership.

Oranjepan while there are relatively few situations on which right is clearly on one side, when you are supporting (ex-)Nazis publicly committed to genocide & helping them to do so as well as rewarding them by letting them, acting as your police, kidnap children & sell them to brothels & kidnap adults & sell them as organs I submit that we have found one.

I may not do rib tickling humour very well but sometimes I do irony.

Anonymous said...

Neil, I read your post and it is my view that you are a crackpot with a grudge.

neil craig said...

But not an anonymous one.

Also one who puts up facts rather than just ad hominum attacks.