The devalued Dan Hannan

26th March, 2009 9:36 am

UPDATE: Sunder has responded to your comments at length.

By Sunder KatwalaDaniel Hannan

Dan Hannan, polemical Telegraph journalist turned polemical MEP, journalist and blogger is the hero of the hour for the right-wing blogosphere for his rant against Gordon Brown.

I note three interesting things about this:

1 – Many people got many things wrong about this crisis. I have yet to find anybody who was quite so extravagantly wrong as Dan Hannan. Let us not forget Hannan’s paean of praise to the prosperous, deregulated Eurosceptic utopia that was Iceland: a model for Britain and us all.

Hannan loves Iceland dearly, having spent his stag night there to celebrate the fact that it had stayed out of the EU. (His best man, Tory PPC Mark Reckless, had been desperately keen to go to Greenland, as the only territory which has seceded: obsessive just doesn’t cover it).

But I suspect the Hannan YouTube clip might be playing slightly less well in Rejkyavik now despite Hannan’s 2004 Spectator piece ‘Blue Eyed Shiekhs’.

“In the ten years that I have been travelling to Iceland, I have watched an economic miracle unfold there. Today, Icelanders are absolutely rolling in it. A people two generations away from subsistence farming have become international tycoons.

Look at the City of London, for heaven’s sake, which Brussels is doing its best to asphyxiate with its financial regulations.

Icelanders understand that there is a connection between living in an independent state and living independently from the state. They have no more desire to submit to international than to national regulation. That attitude has made them the happiest, freest and wealthiest people on earth.”

So Dan Hannan surely ought to be the most devalued commentator or politician in Britain, Europe and beyond.

(Michael Lewis has a really interesting piece of reportage on the psychology of the Icelandic boom and crash in Vanity Fair).

2 – The truly impressive YouTube numbers have been driven by this going viral through being made the lead by Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh and the US right-wing blogs (whose help Hannan generously acknowledges). Since the US right have not had much to cheer them up since Sarah Palin, we ought not to begrudge them this entertainment.

3 – If the right will take Hannan’s popularity as further evidence that it has the blogosphere cracked, does it matter that all of their energy is on the anti-ProgCon right?

Hannan is perhaps the most strident Eurosceptic, wants no regulation, as little state as possible voice in the Tory party. (Though note that Hannan is very confident that David Cameron is privately much more Eurosceptic than anybody has realised, and campaigned for him to be leader on that basis. And Hannan won his vocal campaign against betraying the pledge to leave the EPP: after a heated internal argument, Cameron has divorced the parties of Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy in Europe).

So Hannan’s new found online fame will not help David Cameron persuade his party not to bang on about Europe. It is leading to questions about why Cameron does not himself turn into Mr Angry and just let rip too.

Are there shades here of the Bennite insurgency within the Labour party? At the risk of starting another Trot-off with Mr Luke Akehurst, isn’t Dan Hannan something of a Tory Trot?

This article was first posted on the Fabian Blog, nextleft.org.

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