I wonder how many of the people who were enthusiastically posting Hannan's smackdown of Gordon Brown will also be linking to these two blog posts of his. They are in exact agreement with two of my themes here, so I'm delighted.
The Parliamentarians were right during the English Civil War:
In their own eyes, the Roundheads were conservatives, preserving traditional English liberties against the dangerous innovations of a foreign-influenced court. As Robert Ashton showed in his brilliant study The English Civil War: Conservatism and Revolution 1603-1649, the parliamentary cause was rooted in the defence of local freedoms, property rights and English particularism. Its advocates believed, with justice, that they were fighting to protect a way of life against the absolutism that was then spreading on the Continent.Incidentally, that also applies to the Levellers, who were called by that name by others as an insult, and found it insulting. The Diggers called themselves "the true Levellers" because they were indeed the equivalent of socialists, whereas the Levellers were what we'd today call classical Liberals.
Back to Hannan. The American Revolution:
Forget subsequent flag-waving histories of the War of Independence, and go back to what the colonist leaders were arguing at the time. They saw themselves, not as revolutionaries, but as conservatives. In their eyes, they were standing up for what they had assumed to be their birthright as freeborn Englishmen. It was Great Britain, they believed, that was abandoning its ancient liberties.Yup.
And here, my friends, is Britain's tragedy. The things those colonists feared - the levying of illegal taxes, the passing of laws without popular consent, the sidelining of Parliament - have indeed come about. They have come about, not as the result of Hanoverian tyranny, but in our own age, driven by rise of the quangocracy and the EU.
To put it another way, British freedoms thrive best in America, and British patriots should be campaigning to bring them home. I'll be staying here, Larry, working to repatriate our revolution.