Saturday, August 12, 2006

Dan Hannan Asks: Are You a Roundhead or a Cavalier?

Tory MEP and 'A' Lister Dan Hannan is an interesting writer whose articles provoke two rather different reactions in me. The usual one is nodding agreement, but just occasionally when I read his articles I faintly hear the sound of howling dogs at midnight.

Dan is deservedly seen as one of the leading Conservative writers of his generation but he is perhaps too obsessed by the European issue for his own good. The publication of the excellent Direct Democracy book last year indicated a desire on his part to build up a domestic policy agend and move away from being pigeonholed as a doughty campaigner against all things EU.

Today's article in the Telegraph (HERE) is a fascinating thesis, detailing Hannan's view that supporters of Israel are mostly of a Euro-sceptic disposition, while Tory Arabists tend to be Europhile.

I am sure it is easy to point to example that prove the theory, but the argument tends to fall at the first fence when you consider that both the current and previous chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel (James Arbuthnot and Gillian Shephard) could hardly be descrbed as chest-beating Europhobes. But let's leave that inconvenient fact aside. He goes on to make this assertion...

Then there is the question of whether Britain belongs with Europe or with the Anglosphere. Europhiles understandably want to align our stance with that of the EU, which refuses to list Hizbollah as a terrorist organisation, and sees a degree of equivalence between the paramilitaries and the Israeli Defence Force. The English-speaking democracies, by contrast, are not shy about taking sides.

I may have missed something but I do not recall a single Conservative politician putting forward a serious proposal that we should ally ourselves with the EU on this, although I am sure that would probably be the view of Chris Patten, were he to be asked. This quote leads Dan Hannan to ask the question: Why, though, do some Conservatives look at the globe through New World eyes, while others remain rooted in Europe?

For Dan Hannan it is simple: The Euro-sceptic/Zionist Conservatives are heirs to the Roundheads. They believe in democracy, however messy its outcomes. They distrust elites and their opinions, and want power devolved to the lowest practicable level.
The Euro-enthusiast/Arabists are Cavaliers. They think that democracy sometimes needs to be tempered by good sense, order and seemliness, and worry lest the wisdom of generations be overturned by a transient popular majority.

He then goes into a lengthy comparison of the two Tory traditions and concludes: Cavaliers call their opponents "neo-cons", and accuse them of contracting out their views to Washington. Roundheads retort that their critics are in thrall to Brussels, and often anti-Semitic. Both charges are unfair: the two traditions are indigenous, patriotic and, at their best, high-minded.

It's a very interesting thesis but one which I think is far too simplistic and flawed. But Hannan is absolutely spot on in his concluding paragraph...

The current controversy isn't only about Israel. It is about whether sovereign states can act unilaterally, whether we trust the UN and other supra-national bodies, whether the West is prepared to use proportionate force in defence of its values and, ultimately, whether democracy is worth having.

Do read the whole article HERE and tell me what you think in the Comments section.


Anonymous said...

Haven't read the article, but I can definitely say if you got through that many words without making a dirty joke your euphemisms are not the same as ours over in Canada.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, read it this morning, fulminating over my toast.

Roundheads, Cavaliers, who gives a toss.
It's much simpler than that.
Do you believe that a sovereign state should be responsible for it's own decisons/policies/defence, etc?

Yes = anti-Europe and contempt for a corrupt and toothless UN.
No = A supra-national Nanny will solve all our problems, 'cos they really know what's best for us.

And if you fall for that one, then I've got this bridge in London you might like to buy.

Benedict White said...

The premise of the article is wrong in many ways.

Firstly I doubt I am about to be accused of being pro Israel, but I am a bit Euro sceptic.

Secondly from what I have read of the article he seems to have glossed over the fact that the Middle East is far more comlicated than an us V them situation.

Lastly, the Neo cons are just too damn stupid to understand war, and empire bulding. If you are going to build an empire, idealy you get people to invite you in. We did that quite successfuly. A bit of prodding, some military force, offers of protection from other Empires and trade. We did not have the resource to build an Empire by force and neither does America.

Further more, by not resourcing the invasion and early occupation of Iraq, America looks ineffective and beatable.

Tell me Iain, have you joined the Nuke Mecca brigade?

Anonymous said...

History lesson:

The Whigs (and hence Liberals, Lib-dems, Labour) are the direct linear descendants of the Roundheads

The Tories (and hence Conservatives) are the direct linear descendants of the Roundheads.

Anonymous said...

The Tories (and hence Conservatives) are the direct linear descendants of the Roundheads.

Woops: that should have said:

The Tories (and hence Conservatives) are the direct linear descendants of the Cavaliers.

Benedict White said...

BT the UN is "tooth less" because it is a grouping of nations who frequently pass resolutions they then can't be arsed to impliment them. The UN has no army to do the Security Councils bidding, nor can it on its own carry out the diplomatic arm twisting required.

It needs nation states to back it up.

George Bush went AWOL on international diplomacy untill post September 11th 2001. No the USA frequently resorts to shouting at people it should be talking too. Post Iraq, the USA looks weak as well. It could have looked lots stronger.

Anonymous said...

2br02b - but didn't most of the Whigs end up in the Tory party after the Liberals splintered in the last 19th century? Which is the point Dan Hannan is making, if you read his article.

Anonymous said...

Dan Hannan has cut to the heart of the Tory splits with his Civil War analogy. As everyone knows , the cavaliers were "Wrong but Wromantic" whilst the roundheads were "Right and Repulsive". It is refreshing to see Eurosceptics characterized as hard headed pragmatists and the 'philes as woolly headed idealists when the spin usually turns the other way.

GB's foreign policy needs to be based on a detailed analysis of what lies in the best interest of this country. This requires great foresight, education , stamina and intelligence. I have seen few signs of this in our politicians for many years.

For my part, I think GB's best interest lies with maintaining our alliance with America. My predecessor as PM, George Canning, supporting the Monroe Doctrine in 1826, said, "I called the New World into existence to redress the balance of the Old". If we needed help then we certainly need it now.

Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr 2br02b is quite correct.

Mr Hannan would have been manifestly more accurate and apposite had he drawn the analogy using Tory-Europhiles and Whig-Eurosceptics. That is a very cogent thesis, and has been covered by some Conservative theorists in recent years.

Since when has Mr Hannan been on the A-list? He does not appear to feature on the ConservativeHome listing.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:23 PM

... and didn't most of the Tories end up in the Whig party over the Corn Laws early in the 19th century?

So your (and Don Hannan's) point is...?

The history remains:

Whig/Liberal/Labour = Roundhead

Tory/Conservative = Cavalier.

And by the way, goederich, John Quincy Adams, US Secretary of State and real author of the Monroe Doctrine, told Canning (then Foreign Secretary, not PM) to get lost when he tried to muscle in on the idea.

(Yet without the Royal Navy in the North Atlantic, the fledging USA could not have stopped European adventurers.)

Croydonian said...

I tick all the boxes - Zionist, Eurosceptic, Atlanticist and a lifelong republican. There are precious few of our crowned heads who deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as Our Chief of Men.

Anonymous said...

The Euro-sceptic/Zionist Conservatives are heirs to the Roundheads. They believe in democracy, however messy its outcomes.

Um - no, they don't. They don't respect the democratically elected Palestinian government, nor that of Lebanon. They do believe there's a source of absolute correctness and authority, they just have the hubris to think that it is their own opinion.

The euorphile side is just as bad, with their repeated referenda, but there's no moral high ground for anyone here.

Anonymous said...

Stephen t
Glad you made that correction. I was thinking my comprehension had gone AWOL. However very much agree with the central point.

The UN, as someone has already indicated, is a good theory, which unfortunately has been tried before and failed in the end. When the League of Nationals failed we got World War II. The UN has failed which is why we now have World War III.

These current problems Europe,Britain,America and the world have seen before. Letts just hope we win this time as well. I think we will. Although I would brush of that old bi-cycle in the shed, just in case.

The world will be a more peacefull civilised and prosperous place if we win. For hopefully a period of 30-40 years at least.

Anonymous said...

"Benedict White said...
BT the UN is "tooth less" because it is a grouping of nations who frequently pass resolutions they then can't be arsed to impliment them. The UN has no army to do the Security Councils bidding, nor can it on its own carry out the diplomatic arm twisting required.

It needs nation states to back it up."

We should thank heaven for small mercies.
The recent history of the UN (Secretariat/UNIFIL/any other alphabet soup you like), is so awful (bribes, nepotism, Iraqi oil contracts, even food for sex) that one dreads to think what would happen if they had their own permanent army.

Theoretically they pass democratic resolutions, but it's a pity that of the 192 member states only 89 are classed as democracies by objective criteria. Besides, moral suasion doesn't work with immoral people so don't be surprised if the 21st century is much like the 20th, only with lots more mushroom clouds.

Ineffectual, expensive, corrupt. No wonder there've been whispers that My Little Toni hankered after the Gen. Sec. job, it'd suit him down to the ground; lots of gesture politics, pay off the mortgages and it wouldn't be his fault when his cunning plans to save the world go tits up.

The EU is slightly different, being malignant, expensive and corrupt.

Fortunately both are rotting from within and are unlikely to be around in anything like the same form in 20 years time. Pity that the Foreign Office hasn't got the message.

Putting your trust in either organisation would be the credulous triumph of hope over experience.

Anonymous said...

They don't respect the democratically elected Palestinian government, nor that of Lebanon.

This peurile argument keeps popping up. It is nonsense.

We didn't respect the democratically elected German government of 1933 to 1945 either, and for fundamentally the same reasons:

Being democratially elected is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for being respected.

The government in question must respect the rights of minorities; it must respect free speach; it must act within the law; it must not conduct agressive war against it's neighbours; it must not murder people, either its own or others.

If it fails these tests, it is not a true democracy but the dictatorship of a possibly transient majority.

In the case of the Palestine territory, we have a government that has as its stated goal the obliteration of six million Jews (Does that number ring any bells?) which certainly puts it way beyond the pale.

In the case of the Lebanon we have a political party (Hesbullah) which also has as it's declaired policy the murder of six million people and is currently doing the best it can to implement this with rockets full of ball-bearings fired from between apartments full of Lebanese women and children with the express purpose of murdering as many Israeli women and children as they can while not giving a damn for the Lebanese either; is a member of the governing coalition; and has its own private army that is clearly more powerful than the official Lebanese army -- just like the Nazis and the SA were, actually.

Neither government is worthy of a moment's respect as presently consituted.

Sorry; it's time someone said this out loud.

towcestarian said...

Sorry for lowering the tone and all that, but is that the best photo of Dan that Central Office has? He looks like a complete geek. At least airbrush out the shaving rash.

ps. I'm sure he is a wonderful person and can charm the birds from the trees, but this is the 21st century and image IS important.

Prodicus said...

The EU 'dominated by the Catholic Church'? Don't make me larf. The last Catholic candidate for office in Brussels to say out loud that he was actually in favour of that church's teaching was hounded out of office. The EU is Secular with a capital S if not Anti-religion (in general)with a capital A.

There are plenty of EU sceptics who see the EU as inimical to Christianity (in all its forms, including Catholic) and to all national cultures, despite its oleagenous and hypcritical 'celebration' of 'diversity'. Yech.

Anonymous said...

"diversity" is the religion of Princess Tony, the Blairina and the EU nomenklatura. "Diversity" translates as "votes for the left" in English or any European language.

Oh, BTW, when's Saudi Arabia going to get into "diversity"? Different clothes for different cultures - for example, miniskirts and tank tops for some, for others, burqas ... uh huh. Bleached blonde hair for some, for others ... if it's under a burqa, who cares? Islam for some, for others, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism ... uh, no. Islam for some, for others, death.

Why on earth are the British tolerating being lectured by these adherents of an alien religion in our country?

I keep saying, cold lockdown of mosques for a minimum of two months while the police go over them with a fine tooth comb. Some may qualify for re-opening. The ones that don't - no licence to re-open.

Cold lockdown means total. No one except police in or out for any reason whatsoever. No exceptions. Electricity turned off. Gas and water turned off. For two months, non-functioning building while police and whichever authorities are involved go through it with a fine tooth comb.

My guess, most of them would never be given a licence to reopen.

Anonymous said...

So the EU is both a religious cabal and an athiest clique, depending on whom you ask, eh?

Sounds like a pretty good definition of a reaonable, moderate, central position, actually -- which is to say, one that extremists at both ends of the spectrum disagree with.

Congratulations. Between you, you've just delivered one of the more convincing arguments in favour of the EU for a long time, guys.

Terry Hamblin said...

Although Hamas won the Palestinian election they did so with a fraudulent manifesto. Sure, they promised better social conditions and an escape from the corruption of Fatah, but they neglected to say how they would pay for it. Since their onle source of income was from the US and EU, neither of whom would be likely to continue paying a government that espoused a foreign policy that demanded the destruction of Israel, they mislead an unsophisticated electorate. When faced with a referendum instigated by the Palestinian President that would have exposed the dishonesty of their manifestor and probably would have led to restoration of aid and eventual settlement of the coflict, Hamas captured the Israeli soldier and began this current mess.

Respecting the result of an election is not the same as supporting thevictorious party. Sometimes it means allowing a country to accept the consequenses of their folly.

Anonymous said...

2br02b (10:20PM), I could not agree with that comment more.

I think that too many people get confused between a democratically elected government and a democratic government.

A democratically elected government is exatly that, nothing more. It was elected by the people. Normally the people have no further involvement.

A democratic government actually respects the rights of the people who are likely to be much more involved.

Anonymous said...

Cranmer, all MEPs are automatically A listers for the region they represent.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what has been said regarding democratic and democratically elected governments.

However, what people seem to ignore is that when democracy is first introduced, such as in Palestine, Lebanon, just you wait for it in Iraq, and even to a certain extent in Hong Kong, there is always a tendency toward extremism.

The reasons for this are: Firstly, none of the parties can present themselves as a safe pair of hands with an experience of government. Secondly, the public often uses their vote as a protest vote, after so long without a say.

The only problem with the current policy in Israel and beyond is that they are surprised when this happens, and choose to in the case of Hamas simply ignore them. This is hardly a way to encourage a democratic government.

Anonymous said...

Hannan also appears on the list of supporters of the Freedom Assoc's Better Off Out campaign, along with representatives of the BNP:

Cicero said...

I must say I often wondered whether Daniel Hannam was in fact a real person. I think that you have given the game away: this picture is surely Tin Tin, the fictional cub reporter, and not a real person after all.

And of course the Tories are the Cavaliers- they lost in 1649 and then finally and for ever in 1688.