8 October 2010

Daniel Hannan interview

"Tea Across the Pond: a warning from someone whose present resembles your future", in NRO today, confirms my impression that Hannan speaks for me in a way that no other British politician ever has.

Possibly it's because we were both born and brought up in Latin America; funnily enough, before he was born I did a year of VSO in Montero, Bolivia, which cannot have been far from his family's cotton plantation.

His views on the English origins of US exceptionalism are pretty well identical to those I wrote in Rebels & Redcoats, except that I think Jefferson is grossly over-rated.
I know Americans like to see their Revolution as a national struggle, a war of independence. But this reading depends on disregarding much of what the patriot leaders were arguing at the time. They saw themselves not as revolutionaries, but as conservatives. All they were asking for, in their own minds, were the rights they had always assumed to be theirs as freeborn Englishmen.
Yes. Then there's the EU:
In 1970, Western Europe accounted for 36 percent of the world’s GDP. Today, it’s 25 percent; in 2020 it will be 15 percent. Over the same period, the U.S. share of world GDP has remained, and is forecast to remain, stable at around 26 percent. As my American friends say, go figure.
On having supported The One:
I thought his victory would serve to silence some of America’s critics; and, in the short term, it did. I had also become disillusioned with the GOP. The longer the Republicans stayed in office, the less Republican they seemed. They had become a party of external tariffs, of federal spending, of contempt for states’ rights, of the surveillance state, and, latterly, of bailouts and nationalizations.

 I was taken aback by the vehemence of the personal attacks on Obama. Leftists are forever judging people’s worth by where they are placed on the political spectrum, and I feel we conservatives should hold ourselves to a higher standard. Your president may be mistaken, but he is not wicked. His children are old enough to read and remember what is written about him. His critics would perhaps be more convincing if they remembered this.
On anti-Americanism (with a veiled comment on the Tory variant):
There is a market for anti-Americanism on the left in most countries, including the U.S. itself. In parts of Europe, the market isn’t confined to the Left. But my constituents, in the southern counties of England, feel far more affinity with the Anglosphere than with Europe. They see the U.S., and the other free, English-speaking democracies, as our obvious and permanent allies. They understand that we have a stake in your success.


  1. Washington is underrated since he was a much better (and more innovative) farmer than he was a general. But his Fabian tactics may have served the Continental Army better than the dash and brains of a Benedict Arnold would have.

    Jefferson was the child of a surveyor father of very limited means. The range of his interests was superior to most educated men of his time and he was what the new nation needed to help chart its course. Horses for courses!

  2. I don't under-rate GW at all! Nor did George III, who pronounced him ‘the most distinguished character of the age’ after he refused to stand for president a third time, unlike FDR