Dan Hannan: Cameron’s Militant Tendency?

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Dan Hannan appears here on the Sean Hannity show on Fox News. It seems that he’s become something of an overnight hit in US conservative circles. He spends the latter half decrying the NHS as a “failed experiment”, and urges America not to follow the UK down this failed socialist road.

We used to think that there was a left and a right wing in the Tory Party, and that it was their right wing that lost them the last two elections: moves such as Michael Howard’s removal of the whip from Ann Winterton over racist jokes were transparent attempts to eradicate a nasty, proto-racist, right-wing element in the Tories and try to make them more palatable to a public which had left such attitudes behind.

To an extent, this has worked: I’m pretty sure that there are very few racists, hangers and floggers left, at least in the tory Parliamentary Party. the new frontier for the Tories, it seems to me, is the rise of the ultra-libertarian right amongst them – Dan Hannan being an example.

Of course, Hannan and his fellow travellers are not hate-filled, like the racists the Tories struggled for a long time to rid themselves of. Nevertheless, in their own way they pose a threat to the Tory Party: I do not believe that their values are shared by the majority of British people, and should this become more apparent, the Tories will have a major problem.

Cracks should already begin to show when we compare Hannan’s tirade here with David Cameron’s speeches to Tory conference – should Cameron win the next election, what will happen if there are real show-downs over the NHS? The NHS isn’t as much of a hot-button issue for the commentariat as race, integration and law and order (the old issues that divided Tories), but it sure as hell affects a lot of people.

Hannan and Carswell - Camerons Militant Tendency

Hannan and Carswell - Cameron's Militant Tendency

Hannan and his co-ideologist, Tory MP Douglas Carswell, have already collaborated on “The Plan” – a frankly potty screed about how to strip away the state and hand all power to local, directly-elected representatives from self-financing local councils. On the face of it, this seems to sit well with Cameron’s “New Localism” – but in actuality, they are worlds apart. For all of his talk of “localism”, Cameron doesn’t actually want to decentralize any more than he needs to (and for good reason – the public will always condemn “postcode lotteries” and inequalities in provision between areas far more than they will criticize a “democratic deficit” when it comes to decision making).

I don’t wish to let Cameron off the hook through this comparison – far from it. Cameron’s plans for Britain, particularly on the economy and welfare state, would be disastrous. However, I believe he understands far better the electorate’s limits when it comes to certain constants of British public policy than do the real head-bangers within his own Party.

David Cameron may well – alas – win the next General Election (although that is far less certain than a lot of the right-wing blogosphere make out: a lot can happen in 12 months). Labour people need to start taking a good, critical look at how the Tories would handle power, including how far Cameron would be able to pursue his own path in government unfettered by some seriously weird elements around him.

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3 Responses to “Dan Hannan: Cameron’s Militant Tendency?”

  1. Righteous Left Fury Says:

    What a deeply unpleasant man. He can’t seriously think that Fox is injecting “sanity” into public debate. He must realise that the US spend more on healthcare but still provides worse coverage than the NHS. We should start a petition calling for the unpatriotic twerp to be exiled.

  2. Making me iller: an open letter to Daniel Hannan « Frank Owen’s Paintbrush Says:

    […] As I said yesterday, you and the other fundamentalist libertarians in the Tory Party pose a real threat to the Cameron project. […]

  3. Dan Hannan’s hatred of the NHS « Frank Owen’s Paintbrush Says:

    […] Once again, here is Dan Hannan contributing to the red baiting and scaremongering in the US over health care reform: […]

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