Monday, August 24, 2009

You should take Daniel Hannan seriously

'Why we should take Hannan-ism seriously

by Sunder Katwala
August 17, 2009 at 8:43 am

Here are three reasons why Hannanism matters rather more than some of its slightly more moderate supporters will want to admit last weekend.'

There is such a thing as Hannanism? Ok. This is a very well written piece of analysis, and I got all the way down to '...Boris Johnson’s London Mayoralty, with its equality strategy and centrist noises, demonstrate the difficulties of Hannanism in power' before I found something to disagree with. It is hard to say what, if any, school of political thought Boris Johnson associates himself with, but Hannanism would be the last one I'd associate him with. He is definitely not a conservative, and most of the opinions I've heard him express would place him squarely in bizzaro-eccentric-liberal territory. The policies he has pursued in London, such as his campaign against bendy buses, are trivial wastes of time and mainly done to spite Red Ken. What do they signify about Hannanism? Absolutely nothing.

'Cameron is something of a dispositional Conservative: he doesn’t want his party to become narrowly libertarian, fearing that a Toryism “that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing” is inadequate.'

Of course, a Toryism that doesn't understand structural issues like public versus private ownership, and doesn't act to counter the remorseless growth of bureaucracy and state monopoly, is much worse than inadequate.

I would not disagree with Katwala's analysis on any substantive point, but conclusion is shaky. '...So Dan Hannan has dug in for the long-game. He surely knows that he will never entirely prevail. But that may be to miss the point. He can already claim to be the party’s most influential backbench voice, all the more impressive when billeted between Brussels and Strasbourg and not in Westminster.'

British politics, and discussion of British politics is mired in what I would call 'process obsession'. Katwala presumably believes Daniel Hannan is in this 'game' to further himself and his agenda, like some political chessmaster. But this is my guess as to the truth: Daniel Hannan knows that on one side of the political debate is a huge mountain of evidence that the traditional principles conservatives hold dear produce wealth, freedom, good governance and a healthy society; and that on the other, the one that David Cameron is flirting with, is an equally huge mountain of evidence that the statist/socialist/communist principles beloved of Labourites produce poverty, slavery, terrible governance and a sick society. And he is probably equally firmly convinced that David Cameron has about as much chance of finding the ludicrous Third Way as Tony Blair had.

A good read though.

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