Thursday, March 26, 2009
Dan Hannan seems to have become viral. For the uninitiated this means he has acquired a protein coat around a small bundle of DNA and cannot reproduce outside the host organism. He seems to have infected the entire internet. He was born in Peru and is a member of the European Parliament, two attributes that would normally ensure a lifetime of impenetrable obscurity. But he delivered a remarkably fluent speech, telling Gordon Brown to his face that he is an economic cynic or illiterate, take your pick. This has made him a hero of the Drudge Report, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and a probable Tory leader who will take the party back to the right once they tire of nice lefty Cameron. What is interesting about the speech for the Americans is that it suggested to the Republicans a form of right-wing rhetoric that gets them off the Bushist hook. Basically, the neocons didn't care about the economy. Cheney said the deficit doesn't matter and, as a result it expanded massively even as, for the benefit of thicker voters, the party kept talking about small government and tax cuts. The evident absurdity of this made it hard to base any political reconstruction on the same rhetoric - of course, they tried but also had to chuck in loads of cultural and moral stuff and, as a result, they ended up sounding as mad as Limbaugh or Palin. Anyway, nobody was - or is - sure that big government spending is not, in fact, the way out of the recession. There's no economic law that says the right or left has any special wisdom on this matter. What Hannan did was clear out the moral and cultural garbage and say it is, indeed, the economy, stupid. He did it with the kind of clean-cut manner that the Americans love and a fluency and articulacy which they seldom hear from their own politicians. Not bad for a Peruvian and absolutely terrible for Brown.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:10 am