Monday, April 06, 2009

Daniel Hannan gets it

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.

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.


TDK said...

I think it was in "1066 and all that": The cavaliers were (w)rong but romantic and the roundheads right but repulsive.

The Billy Braggs of this world sympathise with the roundheads but are repulsed by the religion. The young Hannan sympathises with the Cavaliers.

What it shows is that the political categories we have today don't map perfectly into those of yesteryear.

Anonymous said...

Some more video delights for you:

Farage vs Brown:

Blair gets busted:

Why failed career politicians end up in heaven:

Show us the money:

dearieme said...

He's a bit muddled. "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." Indeed, they've come about in both the UK and the US, but "the sidelining of Parliament" isn't what the colonists feared, unless he means specifically their own Parliaments/Assemblies/ etc. The colonists' writing is a strange mixture of complaining that their colonies should be free of Parliament's rulings becuause the Colonies are strictly Royal creations, and, presumably propaganda aimed at the bozo in the street, complaints pretending that the source of the trouble was King George.
It's also worth remembering that the Boston Tea party wasn't a complaint about high taxes but a complaint about reducing the import duty on tea to almost zero. That meant that the tea-smugglers couldn't compete with the legitimate importer (the East India Company) which is why the smugglers staged their raid and tipped the tea overboard.

Still, he has the wisdom of agreeing with me that one of the key issues was protecting their British Rights - which were of course Civil Rights, not some drivelly "Human Rights".

Trooper Thompson said...


I was sure you'd turn up to snipe at the Boston Tea Party. Here's another view:

"To save the failing British East India Company, [Parliament] passed the Tea Act, giving the company a monopoly on the sale of tea to the colonies, cutting out our honest American merchants and smuggleres alike. The enraged colonists retailiated by refusing to allow the tea to be off-loaded in American ports.

On Secember 16, 1773, 150 men dressed as Mohawks boarded three British chips in Boston Harbor and,, as thousands watched, dumped the cargo of tea overboard."

Patrick J Buchanan "The Great Betrayal"

As for the Roundheads being 'conservative', a bit dubious I'd say.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dearieme - looked this all up and it shows you are right. It was Benjamin Franklin who proposed the zero reduction! Jesus we got sold a crock of "revolutionary" shite at school in the usual attempt to chalk the British up as bad.