Daniel Hannan MEP: The devalued Prime Minister of a devalued Government
GLENN: We have now Daniel Hannan on the phone. He is a member of parliament for the European community. He's the representative of the U.K. and he was on television last night and just a plain spoken guy and has a lot of credibility because, you know, he's got the English accent and that always works. Daniel, how are you, sir?
HANNAN: Glenn, it's great to talk to you. I mean, what a brilliant introduction. I think we should just call it quits there, don't you think?
GLENN: You said last night on the program, and we barely even touched on anything. You said the conversation that we had on television you couldn't have in the United Kingdom on the BBC.
HANNAN: Well, this is because organizations that are owned by the states generally tend to be on the left, and the BBC is I'm afraid no exception.
GLENN: So is this why what you said and there's a YouTube video and we'll send it out in our newsletter today. Is this why when you went to parliament and you said a couple of things that we're going to play here, that it wasn't really covered in the U.K.? It's bigger over here than it was over there?
HANNAN: Yeah. I mean, I think you've got, you've got a bit of an alternative media in a way that there isn't really in Europe, and I think what happened, what I was doing was attacking the money that's being fire hosed at this financial crisis, you know, the bailouts, internationalizations and the subsidies and all the things that you guys are doing as well, the bailout of the auto industries and all this. The things that everyone within what we call the Westminster British, I guess what you would call within the Beltway kind of agreed on this in the early days, the pundits, the commentators, the politicians and obviously the bankers themselves. And so there was nobody really to articulate the view of those kind of 80% of people who said, well, hang on, wait a minute; why should I hand over more money and tax so that the government can give it to the banks, so that the banks can lend it back to me, if I'm lucky, for interest, you know? And that was that turned out to be a pretty widespread view, but it just didn't have any articulation.
Now, I guess in the U.S. where you've got, you know, you've got programs like this one, you've got things like the Fox News TV, you've got a bit more of an outlet for those things.
GLENN: Yeah, a bit more, but they are trying to silence and discredit anybody that speaks out against it. Could you please
HANNAN: Never forget that you are the majority. I remember when I was 15 years old, I was at school and a guy, a conservative philosopher called Roger Scruton came to do a talk and I said to him, what do you think is the role of a conservative philosopher in this day and age? And he thought for a bit and he said, the role of a conservative thinker is to reassure the people that their prejudices are true. And, you know, I think that's what you should never, ever forget that what is called a kind of kooky, weird position by some of the political elites very often turns out to be very widespread support which is, of course, why you guys don't like democracy, why they don't like referendums, why they don't like elections.
GLENN: Daniel, what do you see happening to England? You guys are out of money. The Bank of England, which, correct me if I'm wrong. I don't know your system of government very well but it's my understanding that that's kind of like our treasury secretary, and he doesn't say things like that. He doesn't come out and make political statements. True or false?
HANNAN: No, I mean, it's very, very unusual.
HANNAN: It's almost unprecedented and it shows how serious things have got that he says this publicly. I mean, I'm sure he says them privately.
GLENN: And reestablish what he said this week.
HANNAN: He well, initially we reacted to the financial crisis as you did by spending a lot of money. The first instinct of a lot of politicians in a moment of crisis is to reach into somebody else's wallet and ours were no different than yours and for a while people went along with it. It's become clear it didn't work. On all of the measures that bailout was a failure. But rather than admit that, Gordon Brown is stuck in this thing of saying, "Okay, I spent all this money and it doesn't work. Oh, I'll spend even more money. Maybe that will work even better." Now, it got so serious that the governor of the Bank of England who is a kind of, how can I say it, he is a discreet figure, he doesn't do interviews very often.
GLENN: He's English.
HANNAN: When he comes out publicly and says, look, we can't do this, we are out of cash, I think that's very serious and I think we can assume that he's been giving that message privately for a long time without success and so he feels he has to come out and say it to a wider audience.
GLENN: Daniel, here's what I'm concerned about. I have been concerned about the patterns that we have here in America. They have been going this way for a while. You are in are you still in France or are you in England?
HANNAN: You know what, at the moment I am in Switzerland. I'm in one of the few truly sovereign democracies in Europe.
GLENN: You know, our founders wanted us to be like Switzerland and, gosh, I wish we were. We would have had the hot chocolate and everything else. In France right now there are boss nappings. These unions are now kidnapping their bosses and holding them until they change their severance or their pensions or any other terms that they want. I am real concerned that there is a revolution that is on the we're on the edge of a worldwide revolution where people think that they are fighting for the little man but it is actually a power grab after we have just tubed all of our economies. I mean, your people in England have been warning about, what do they call it, the summer of rage.
HANNAN: And that could well happen. And the reason it's going to happen is people just don't feel that the Democratic system is working. You know, this thing, I hear it all the time when I'm knocking on doors as a politician and I suspect congressional candidates do that as well, this constant thing of it doesn't matter how I vote, nothing ever changes, they are all the same. Now, in Europe that's pretty true because the decision making power isn't really vested in any elected representative, whatever. It's in the hands of the European commission and the rest of the kind of sending bureaucracy. And so what you are seeing with, what do you call this explosion of rage, what it really is is people feeling that the constitutional and Democratic mechanisms that are meant to articulate that point of view have failed and so they are going directly to the streets to do it in a different way.
Now, this is a remedial problem. There are a lot of things you can do to make the Democratic system work. There's still time to avert this problem. But ultimately if you don't give people any legitimate voice, they tend to take it out directly to the country in an angry and bellicose way.
GLENN: There doesn't seem to be here in America a lot of people that understand this except the people, and when I talk to actual people, they all say the same thing, that this is getting out of control, that there is too much control, that they are disenfranchising us because they are not listening to us, they are not doing the things that as in England they are spending money and the vast majority of Americans say this is a bad idea; don't do this. And yet they are doing it anyway. Is there any in Washington there seems to be very few people that understand what's bubbling up underneath the surface. Do the people in your position in England understand and the rest of Europe understand what's in their future?
HANNAN: I mean, I think in Britain we still have a system that's kind of more or less Democratic and more or less it's got a lot in common with yours and I think there is a lot of sensitivity. When you say Europe generally, if by Europe you mean Brussels, then absolutely not. Public opinion is seen in the EU as an obstacle to overcome, not as a reason to change direction. If you think that sounds extreme, you think I'm exaggerating when I say that, look at how they reacted to these no votes. You know, they have got this Constitution to give themselves more power to take more power away from the national capitals and it was put to a referendum and people kept voting no. France voted no, Holland voted no, Ireland voted no and the reaction in Brussels was, yeah, they didn't really mean that. They were voting on something else. They misunderstood the question. So let's just go ahead and implement it anyway. It's like that scary poem which ends with the lines, wouldn't it be easier to dissolve the people and elect another in their place. I mean, that could be the that's the slogan of the EU.
GLENN: So Daniel, what is what is your best advice here? I mean, we have eight million people listening here in America all across the country and you guys are ahead of us on everything. What is your best advice? What should Americans be looking out for? What should Americans, when we hear our politicians here say this is the solution, this is the direction, what have you learned through experience? Don't do that.
HANNAN: Yeah, you should learn from our mistakes. I mean, the single biggest area where I could see you making this mistake is on this thing of the nationalized healthcare system. I mean, I hope that sanity is going to prevail. I know it's been kicked around before and it hasn't happened. I love my country even more than I love yours, you know, but god, I would love to get rid of our system and have something that puts patients in charge rather than putting doctors' unions and bureaucrats in charge. That's the single biggest thing. More widely than that, you know, you can spend your money better than politicians can. You've got a better idea of what to do with it than governments have. You know, we have this thing for 10 years in the U.K. which is saying the current government that we've got. Of people feeling that it was kind of mean for us to think that. You know, if you said I don't want to pay any more tax, that was taken not as an intellectual critique of whether the government was better placed to spend the money than you were. It was taken as a sign that you didn't want to because you didn't care about the poor or, you know, you were greedy. And people who should have known better kind of got right along with that and talked themselves into this kind of wanting to wrap themselves in this great warm duvet of national solidarity. And, of course, the only beneficiaries of that are the state bureaucrats who take the money and laugh all the way to the bank.
GLENN: Daniel Hannan, I wish you the best of luck and we would like to stay in touch with you. You make an awful lot of sense and it's easier to hear from one of our brothers in England and I think people I think you have a way of penetrating with a clearer voice because you are speaking about your country and we can see the similarities.
HANNAN: You've got a great system there. Think long and hard before you toss it away.
GLENN: Thank you very much. We'll talk again, my friend.
HANNAN: Thank you.
GLENN: Wow, is that kind of sobering, Stu? Just amazing.