The confused world of Daniel Hannan, aged 6 and a half.

I have often described the Tories as a party of xenophobes and the ample evidence for this lies in their words and actions over the course of the last 40 years.  Thatcher, for instance,  was a notorious xenophobe as were many of her cabinet members. While I know there are Europhiles on the Tory benches, a number of Tories are Eurosceptics. The xenophobic streak of the Tories is best exemplified by the Monday Club, whose knee-jerk hatred of anything foreign or foreign-sounding is legend.

But hello, what is Hannan up to? Hannan has a selective take on what xenophobia means.

Lefties habitually use the word “xenophobia” to mean “opposition to European political amalgamation”. Indeed, the two things are becoming so interchangeable in their minds that they usually fail notice how rude they’re being.

There’s a wee bit of sophistry on Hannan’s part, but he doesn’t want to ask the real question: why do ‘lefties’ (or non-Tories) see the Tories as xenophobic?  Is it really all to do with their opposition to the EU or is there something else at work here? It also seems that Hannan and his fellow-travellers still regard the Labour Party as a ‘socialist’ party. Should someone wake him from his slumber? Nah, just let him lie there – someone will come along and eventually  sweep him into the bin.

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60 Comments

Filed under Government & politics

60 responses to “The confused world of Daniel Hannan, aged 6 and a half.

  1. Paul Giles

    “Have you got some real concrete proof for that…?”

    The real concrete proof is the rest of your article. The first paragraph quite clearly treats ‘xenophobe’ and ‘Eurosceptic’ as synonyms.

    • Have you got any proof that the Monday Club is the leopard that has changed its spots?

      • Neil

        That’s not how proof works. It’s impossible to prove a negative. The onus is on *you* to produce recent evidence that the Monday club are xenophobic, and that evidence must be stronger that “they remain Eurosceptic”, otherwise you’re making a circular argument.

  2. IMarcher

    The logic you use means that you think that the word xenophobia means opposition to European political amalgamation – you said that Tories are xenophobes because “[w]hile I know there are Europhiles on the Tory benches, the majority of Tories are Eurosceptics”.
    Ergo, Hannan is right.

  3. Nizinskyj

    I hope it was your cat who wrote this, because otherwise it’d be majorly embarrasing for you!

  4. Neil

    Buddyhell: “I have often described the Tories as a party of xenophobes… the majority of Tories are Eurosceptics”

    Hannan: “Lefties habitually use the word ‘xenophobia’ to mean ‘opposition to European political amalgamation’”

    Buddyhell: “Have you got some real concrete proof for that?”

    Condemned by his own words.

    • It’s a trope. I still challenge Hannan’s contention that the word xenophobia is being used consistently as cryptic way of saying “Eurosceptic”. Have you also forgotten that there are also Labour Eurosceptics? It isn’t a simple left/right issue, though clearly left-wing Eurosceptics oppose the EU for quite different reasons to the Tories.

      • Neil

        Since you yourself use “Eurosceptic” and “Xenophobe” interchangeably when discussing the Tories, I struggle to see how you can possibly challenge Hannan’s contention to that effect while retaining any pretence to rationality or logic.

    • Nice bit of elision. No one could accuse you lot of dishonesty. Eh?

  5. Steve Tierney

    “Lefties” = People to the left of the political centre ground.

    Generally, you don’t need “real concrete proof” for an opinion, although you are providing a great working example.

    • Opinions are what they are but they ought to be well-informed opinions , no? So Labour aren’t a party of the centre…is this what you’re saying? I would still like to know who these ‘lefties’ are…or is it the case that a ‘lefty’ in Hannan’s case is anyone that is position to the left him? Would this include certain members of the coalition government too? Is Ken Clarke to the left of Hannan?

  6. libertarian

    What a complete load of bollocks.

    The labour government just blew nearly £1 trillion of taxpayers money on creating public sector employment and you don’t think they’re socialists, twat.

    As to the stuff about not liking Johnny Foreigner, what juvenile, prurient claptrap. Get a brain, engage with the world and join us in the 21st century, the class war is over, the working class won by becoming derivatives traders

    • There’s nothing socialist about that at all, nor is there anything ‘socialist’ about retaining Trident. I could go on. But “prurient” claptrap? Oh dear.

  7. Benjamin Constant

    Quite respectfully, this post makes absolutely no sense. What I believe Mr. Hannan was saying in his original post is that the Conservative Party has a longer history of supporting minority candidates, for instance, Conservative Politician Mancherjee Bhownagree in 1895.

    However, Labour critics disregard these facts and mistake Tory opposition to the Euro as being some sort of xenophobic position. The two positions have nothing to do with one another.

    One can eschew the concept of the Euro and still support immigration and internationalist policies.

  8. ds

    I have often described the Tories as a party of xenophobes and the ample evidence for this lies in their words and actions over the course of the last 40 years. Thatcher, for instance, was a notorious xenophobe as were many of her cabinet members.

    Have you got some real concrete proof for that instead of engaging in ideological mud-slinging?

    You deliberately confuse Euroscepticism with xenophobia -why?

    You describe the Monday Club, in another post, as being out of the “Tory fold after having their links with them severed in 2001 by The Quiet Man.” yet you say here that they are representative. Where’s the proof?

    You state that “Hannan has a selective take on what xenophobia means.” but from the quote you have included, it is quite clear that Hannan is not defining xenophobia but, rather, commenting on how others have misdefined it (like you, above).

    To answer your question, lefties are the kind of person(again, like you it seems) who engage ideological mud-slinging without bothering to properly consider the other half. Where Hannan actually tries to work out what those he comes up against think, others (like you) resort to ridiculous caricature and insults….

    Debord’s cat? I’m sure you’ll be happy at university…

    • The Little Englander mentality is prevalent in the Tory Party. They are the ones who make the loudest noises about Europe and they are the ones who scream the loudest about immigration.

      Your definition of “lefties” amuses me but then I suspect it comes from the same location as your other prejudices.

      You would do well to remember your own history.

  9. Mr. X

    “Who are these “lefties”?”

    You, judging by your first paragraph.

  10. Leave the planet at once.

  11. Sevad

    This is the first post of yours that I’ve read and I’m tempted to read your archives to see if the rest are as bad. Temptation successfully resisted…

  12. Chochoooo

    No one likes a sore loser

  13. Nizinskyj

    Seriously, how old are you?

  14. Ben

    Seems to me like buddyhell lost this one quite conclusively. I’m sure there are people out there who are still xenophobic (although it is strange that the BNP mainly picks up votes in Labour areas), but Hannan’s (and the vast majority of Conservative voters’) opposition to the EU is its lack of democracy, its corruption (accounts still not getting signed off, are they?) and its insistence that whatever the question, the answer is always more integration.

    I have lived abroad and come to realise that while all countries have their good and bad people, there is no one-size fits all solution. The EU isn’t in Britain’s best interests so we’re better off out. Not race, nationality or ethnicity; just economics…

    • So there are no xenophobes in the Tory party, is this what you’re telling me? Do the words, “Law and Justice Party” mean anything to you?

      • Neil

        Law and Justice Party? As in PiS, the Polish party? If that’s who you mean, your example sucks, since (a) they’ve been accused of homophobia, but not xenophobia and (b) they are not Tories, so it would be irrelevant even if they were.

        I don’t see any comments here that deny that there are some xenophobes in the Tory party; statistically speaking, there must be, just as there must be some in the Labour party. However, you started this thread because you took exception to Hannan’s claim that Lefties habitually use the word “xenophobia” to mean “opposition to European political amalgamation”, and for some reason you decided that the best way to rebut him was… to continually assert, without providing evidence, that when Tories oppose European political amalgamation, it’s because they’re xenophobes.

        Your logic fails hard, and all you’re doing is proving that Hannan’s statement is accurate.

      • You’re tying yourself up in knots here. Do the Tories have an arrangement with the PiS? Yes or no? So I take it you’re telling me that there are no xenophobes in the Conservative Party? How odd.

      • Blueglasnost

        So what if they have? Socialists of all stripes never miss an opportunity to team up with the far left, why should it be any different on the right of the political compass? Also, no-one has ever said there were no xenophobes in the Conservative Party, however, that is not a feature specific to that political party. You would be well-advised to remember those who supported eugenics on the cusp of the last century, including Fabian socialists such as Sydney Webb or H. G. Wells. My point is xenophobes do not pander to one party in particular but are found everywhere, including unconscious xenophobes.

        Secondly, xenophobia is defined as an irrational fear of foreigners. One who opposes Euro-integrationism or, for example, (mass) immigration, is not necessarily a xenophobe if those beliefs rest on facts and rational arguments. Then, I assume you are going to say the fear is underlying, and I reply that there is absolutely no evidence pointing to that.

      • I’m well aware that the Webbs supported eugenics (as did members of the Libs and Cons). But I’m not and never have been a fan of so-called Fabian socialism. How could I be a supporter of the weak-willed compromises of Fabianism? But how many parties of the ‘far-left’ are homophobic? None, I think you’ll find. By the way the PiS under Lech Kaczynski, held a “Normality Parade” in response to the Gay Pride march that they’d banned. What is ‘normal’? What I find odd about defences and explanations such as yours is that you tend to ignore the open hostility to foreigners that exist on the Tory benches. Indeed, the Monday Club has always been pretty hostile to foreigners. I can’t recall hearing Labour politicians speak of foreigners in the same way as they do. But before you suggest it, I am aware of working class xenophobia too but we need to ask ourselves where this comes from.

      • Neil

        “So I take it you’re telling me that there are no xenophobes in the Conservative Party?”

        My exact words were “I don’t see any comments here that deny that there are some xenophobes in the Tory party; statistically speaking, there must be.”

        Critical reading fail.

        The Tories and PiS are members of the same European Parliament party group. Just as years sitting in parliament with John Prescott does not make Gordon Brown an adulterer, so sitting with PiS in no way implies xenophobia in the Tories, *especially* since there’s not even any proof that PiS are xenophobic!

  15. Joseph Blough

    We only have 2 political parties. 1. The rich guys who say they don’t want your $$$ but take it anyway and 2. the rich guys who say it’s unfair you have any money and take it away to give to the slackers and layabouts who don’t/won’t work for a living.

    You guys talk about xenophobia like it’s a bad thing….
    I miss Britain. What happened to you guys? Did Prince Chuck take you to the vet and have your collective Bollocks chopped off?

    • Xenophobia is a bad thing or perhaps you think a fear of foreigners is a good thing? This is the same fear of foreigners that leads to ethnic tensions. Then there’s Arizona…

  16. Paul Giles

    How did it ever get to be a ‘leftie-rightie’ slanging match? The left/right spectrum being about attitudes to the economy and to the size of the state, in what way does that equate to the variety of attitudes on European integration? It would be equally logical for either a left-winger or a right-winger to favour a federal Europe as it would be for either of them to favour free trade between independent nation states. Looked at from the other direction: federalism, souverainism, and their half-way stage, Euroscepticism, are all equally compatible with either socialism or capitalism.

    • I agree and in the 1970′s many members of the Labour Party were avowedly Eurosceptic. For the Tories it was always about notions of sovereignty. For Labour it was always about bankers and unelected others calling the shots.

      • Paul Giles

        “…in the 1970′s many members of the Labour Party were avowedly Eurosceptic. For the Tories it was always about notions of sovereignty. For Labour it was always about bankers and unelected others calling the shots.”

        You could oppose federalism from either the left or the right – because you thought the EU was too capitalist or too socialist. Likewise, you could approve of it from either the left or the right, because you thought the EU was more socialist or more capitalist than your own government was likely to be.

        I oppose it from a souverainist position, that has nothing to do with socialism or capitalism, and everything to do with the right of a nation-state to sack the people who make all the laws that they have to obey. It’s quite likely that this position is more common in the Conservative Party than in the Labour Party – that’s irrelevant, as it isn’t the policy of either party. You continually assert – though seem to have no interest in proving – that this concern for sovereignty is the same as xenophobia. It isn’t.

        If it were, then you would have to argue that every anti-colonial movement and every resistance to invasion has been motivated by xenophobia. Is that, in fact, your position?

      • If the Labour Party cared about “unelected others calling the shots”, they wouldn’t have denied us their promised referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

      • What is it with you people? Anyone who disagrees with you or criticises your party is automatically a Labourite. You’ll have to do better than to rely on crude binary arguments

  17. Yury

    Wow, Paul Giles, you ended this thread perfectly.

    buddyhell, you are not a Liberal. Not because your political beliefs are out of line with Liberalism, but because the accidental conclusions you reach are not based on logic. Seriously, stop embarrassing yourself.

  18. No Tory xenophobes, eh?
    http://kemptownben.blogspot.com/2010/06/brighton-kemptowns-new-tory-mp-is.html

    As for issue of sovereignty, which is wrapped up with patriotism, didn’t Dr Johnson once say that “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”?

  19. The majority of Tories (at least Tory MPs) are not Eurosceptics; they are people who, either through dishonesty or delusion, say that the EU has problems, but that instead of leaving it we should try and change it from within. As the whole purpose of the EU is integration and harmonization, in practice this view makes no difference.

    Whether Labour is still socialist or not is a separate matter of debate, but Hannan’s main point is this: If left-wing people applied to the EU the same “progressive” standards they apply to domestic issues, they would not want to be part of the most backward and anti-democratic project of our age.

    You are refusing to confront this point, and, as several comments above have already pointed out, you are proving his point about lefties using the words “xenephobic” and “Euroscpetic” interchangably by doing exactly that. Small wonder I’m not the only commenter who isn’t convinced.

    • So you didn’t bother to look at the link then? Why am I not surprised?

      Whether Labour is still socialist or not is a separate matter of debate,

      So why do your fellow commenters continue to bring it up at every opportunity? Furthermore, you and others seem to feel that the Tories have some kind of monopoly on democratic values. You don’t.

      If left-wing people applied to the EU the same “progressive” standards they apply to domestic issues, they would not want to be part of the most backward and anti-democratic project of our age.

      A trope.

      I find this obsession (because that’s what it is) with Europe and the EU a little silly, if not one-dimensional. Don’t you people have other interests?

      You are refusing to confront this point, and, as several comments above have already pointed out, you are proving his point about lefties using the words “xenephobic” and “Euroscpetic” interchangably by doing exactly that. Small wonder I’m not the only commenter who isn’t convinced.

      Well, to tell you the truth I’m not entirely convinced by yours or anyone else’s ‘arguments’. Most of those who commented could only muster invective as a means of reply. Pretty cheap. No?

  20. I’m more concerned about what isn’t being said; the hidden discourse. What do you people mean by “sovereignty”?

  21. Oh and one more thing, what is so bad about protecting human rights?

  22. Paul Giles

    Johnson also said:
    “A patriot is he whose publick conduct is regulated by one single motive, the love of his country; who, as an agent in parliament, has, for himself, neither hope nor fear, neither kindness nor resentment, but refers every thing to the common interest.”
    and:
    “He that wishes to see his country robbed of its rights cannot be a patriot.

    The “last refuge of the scoundrel” remark is generally held to refer to false claims of patriotism. That’s by-the-by, in my case. Patriotism is a feeling, and I don’t argue on the basis of my feelings. If anything, my xenophilia gets in the way of intense or consistent patriotism.

    Nationalism, on the other hand, isn’t a feeling but a political position. It’s the belief that the nation – “a group of people conscious of unity and willing to be governed in common” – has the collective right to sack all the people who make the laws they have to obey.

    “I find this obsession (because that’s what it is) with Europe and the EU a little silly, if not one-dimensional. Don’t you people have other interests?”

    That’s what the thread’s about, isn’t it?

    “Most of those who commented could only muster invective as a means of reply.”

    I can only see one or two examples of ‘excessively robust debate’, certainly nothing extreme by the usual standards of intrnet debate. Perhaps you’re being just a little too delicate about it.

    If you ever have time to answer the question from my post of June 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm, I’d be grateful.

    • You said
      If it were, then you would have to argue that every anti-colonial movement and every resistance to invasion has been motivated by xenophobia. Is that, in fact, your position?

      That’s clearly facile. Anti-colonial movements are not motivated by “xenophobia” at all. That is what I would expect from a defender of empire as a means to justify the suppression of those movements. It is a case of the oppressed versus the oppressor. Or perhaps you don’t see it that way. You’re comparing apples with oranges. Britain’s membership of the EU cannot be seen in the same way. Is the EU oppressing Britain? If so, in what way is it oppressing this country?

      That’s what the thread’s about, isn’t it?

      No, that’s what you think it’s about. I’m interested in the hidden discourse that lies beneath your Europhobia/Euroscepticism – and there is a hidden discourse.

      I can only see one or two examples of ‘excessively robust debate’,

      You have a rather peculiar understanding of the words “robust debate”. In fact, those abusive comments are quite revealing from a purely psychoanalytical perspective.

    • Nationalism, on the other hand, isn’t a feeling but a political position. It’s the belief that the nation – “a group of people conscious of unity and willing to be governed in common” – has the collective right to sack all the people who make the laws they have to obey.

      That’s a pretty selective take on nationalism. Nationalism is a form of romanticism. Nationalists have very fixed ideas of [national] identity and some people are viewed as inferior because they don’t fit in with the narrative of national identity. The language used by many nationalists is used to demonise the Other. Like it or not, nationalism and patriotism are bound together.

  23. Paul Giles

    The opponents of empire and super-states consider ourselves to be nationalists. We act in the name of national independence. A situation in which the people cannot sack those who make the laws they have to obey, or impose the taxes they have to pay, is an offence against national independence, and is equally wrong, both in the cases that you approve of, and in the ones that you don’t.

    You point out that “nationalism and patriotism are bound together.” Of course they are. So are eating and breathing. That doesn’t mean that they’re the same thing.

    I’ve forced myself to re-read your opening text, and the thread is indeed about your belief that opposition to the European Union is motivated by xenophobia. Talking about the non-xenophobic reasons why we oppose the EU is in no sense obsessive, and if it seems so to you, then you shouldn’t have raised the subject.

    I hope you’ll allow me to excuse myself from the debate – I only read assertions, not arguments: it’s a futile occupation.

    • The opponents of empire and super-states consider ourselves to be nationalists. We act in the name of national independence.

      How so? Britain is still an independent nation. The EU is merely an institution – albeit an imperfect one. It is not a “superstate” as you so histrionically suggest. Any comparison with former colonies that fought wars of independence is entirely fallacious and an insult to those former colonies.

      You point out that “nationalism and patriotism are bound together.” Of course they are. So are eating and breathing. That doesn’t mean that they’re the same thing.

      I never suggested that they were the same. Have you ever read Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities?

      I’ve forced myself to re-read your opening text, and the thread is indeed about your belief that opposition to the European Union is motivated by xenophobia.

      You “forced yourself”? Quelle dramatique! No, the thread, or rather the blog, is about Tory xenophobia that often manifests itself as Euroscepticism.

      Talking about the non-xenophobic reasons why we oppose the EU is in no sense obsessive, and if it seems so to you, then you shouldn’t have raised the subject.

      You appear to have forgotten your own recent history. You didn’t bother to read the link. Did you? Why am I not surprised?

      I hope you’ll allow me to excuse myself from the debate – I only read assertions, not arguments: it’s a futile occupation.

      Typical. If you can’t get your own way, then take your bat and ball and storm off the pitch.

  24. Funny how Mr Giles demanded I answer his question but failed to reciprocate. I wonder why?

    Next!

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