|British politician and Member of the European Parliament, representing South East England for the Conservative Party.|
GLENN: Daniel Hannan is on from Europe how are you sir?
DANIEL: Glad to be here.
GLENN: First of all, I want to talk a little bit about a tea party, is it this weekend in England.
DANIEL: Tomorrow in Bryson. But obviously this being England, we'll be serving tea at it rather than dumping it into the channel.
GLENN: Yeah, it's like we shouldn't listen to those Americans.
DANIEL: Here's a funny thing, your listeners may find this weird. But we've got a pretty long history of tax revolts in this country, too. And your patriot leaders at Boston, they didn't just come up with these ideas in a vacuum. They were drawing very heavily on English political thought and the idea that.
GLENN: Now you're trying
DANIEL: That it should be only imposed by people you can vote for. We've got a worst problem than you now.
PAT: Listen to him how to spin this. It's all British thought.
GLENN: Just like a Brit to say and we were the ones who came up with your revolt. We were the ones that wanted you to break away. John Locke, blah, blah, blah.
DANIEL: I would argue that the taxpayer's revolt that began your revolution started on this side of the Atlantic. At the end of the war against the French we were paying 25 schillings in tax the average Englishman. The average American was paying six pence. It was because our parliament was reluctant to try and get that money from this population. But we started to impose all these new levies and stamp and tea duties on you guys. So on both sides of the Atlantic there was a pretty strong feeling that taxes were too high and were being imposed by people you really couldn't do anything about. So I think that's a pretty universal thing within the anglo tradition.
GLENN: Daniel, in the great American tradition, we're taking credit for it. It's ours.
DANIEL: Sure. You can take credit. I'm just saying your guys
GLENN: We were just trying to get away from any money that involved six pence.
DANIEL: Your patriot leaders, they saw themselves as free born Englishmen standing up for their rights, what they understood to be their rights, against what they saw a revolutionary court. In their eyes they were conservativists. Our countries moved more parallel than sometimes they realized. Because at the moment they were starting from a pretty similar place.
GLENN: How many people are you expecting to show up at the English this is the first time this has ever happened, a tea party, if you will, in England.
DANIEL: First time we've ever done it in this way. I don't huge it to be huge, honest. As I understand it as the case in the U.S. when they started in 2008 they began initially as a trickle. Then they became a flood. But I'm confident that they will grow. We have a government, this is the amazing thing, you're protesting with nothing like as much to protest as we have. We have a government that has taken a trillion pounds in additional taxation since they took office. More than we would have done if my party had been in power at the same rate. 111 tax rises since 1997. And this is unbelievable, with all these extra tax rises, we're running a deficit of 12.6% of GDP. We have the same deficit Greece has. Where has all the money gone? And that's something that you don't have to be kind of a strong conservative to have concerns about.
GLENN: In the EU, Daniel, because you are a member of the EU parliament, right?
GLENN: How concerned are you about I mean this is a domino. Man, you've got Greece, Spain is in this mix. Portugal is in this mix. Ireland. All of Europe and the United Kingdom seems to be in real peril.
DANIEL: Well, we would be if we had joined the Euro. Thank heaven we kept the pound. Because, like I say, Greece's deficit is 12.7. Ours is 12.6%. The only thing that saved us from a Greece like collapse is the fact we were able to have a devaluation of our currency instead of having that devaluation in output and jobs. You guys wouldn't want to swap your problems for Europe, as severe as your problems are with the way things are going there. But I'll tell you another thing. We've got, when you say we're stealing your idea about the tea parties and stuff. The warcry of tax without representation doesn't really apply so much these days in the U.S. Yes, your taxes are too high and they're rising but at least they're set by people you can vote for. Increasingly, the European Union is starting to levy, if you like federal taxation, and so the protest of no taxation without representation is now much more relevant in Europe, because we feel that we have impulse being levied on us that we can't get rid of.
GLENN: What's going to happen to you see the hedge funds today. They're all coming out against the Euro. They're going to decimate the Euro. What do you think is going to happen to the European Union?
DANIEL: It's always tempting in journalism to say that there's going to be some massive immediate crisis. Often the worst thing is not to have the big blow up, but the slow grinding posit of not having the crisis. The tragedy here is not that Greece is going to leave the Euro, but that Greece can't leave the Euro. Greece will be condemned to stagnation and deflation and lack of growth for decades for years to come. And these are able, young Greek people unable to find work in Greece, they'll work as laborers in the Germany and the United Kingdom. That's the real tragedy.
GLENN: Are Europeans the type of people that will just put up with that? I don't see we just did an event here in America called CPAC. Here we have the youth of America going splitting off going progressive Marxists, but you also have the conservative movement, the right moving much more like our Founding Fathers and they're 20-25 years old. The youth I don't believe are going to put up with this type of non-sense. You have the invisible committee, you have the coming insurrection, the forces of actual communists in labor movements over in Europe. Do you really see that they're not going to plant unrest. How about this do you think that the Islamic extremist movement wouldn't kick up additional unrest when they see that Europe is right for the taking?
DANIEL: Well in both countries I think there is popular feeling that against big government and taxation. I mean if you did an opinion poll in the US or in the UK and said do you think your level of taxes too high too low or just about right, you'd get a similar answer in both cases. The difference is that you've got I think a more decentralized system, a system where people can express themselves more effectively through the ballot books. I mean, the Massachusetts result was a huge thing because your taxes are set by legislators, all of whom could find themselves in a Massachusetts type situation if they think, if they fall out with their voters. That's the difference. The decision makers are so remote that it's much harder to capitalize on a large majority of public opinion that is against additional taxation and additional regulation and additional borrowing because we have weaker systems of democratic accountability. That's the big challenge for an incoming conservative government here. We've got to devolve power, decentralize power, repatriate our revolution, go back to the British ideas which formed the constitution in Philadelphia but what we're forget in this country.
GLENN: That's what I'm asking you specifically, because there's no valve to relieve steam and pressure over there, here we do have elections. And we have been relieving the steam through tea parties and relieving the steam through elections. Because you don't have that, what stops a radical from starting on the left or the extreme right a neo Nazi movement to a communist movement and a movement towards a revolution there, or at least massive civil unrest?
DANIEL: I think we're some way from that. Obviously you do get those things when there's a complete breakdown of democracy when people feel they're completely unrepresented. I don't want to be misunderstood here. I'm not saying there are no elections in Europe. We have elections all the time. But it's just that the decision, the decisions are made by people who are not subject to those elections. We have those massive standing official dom, this nomenclature of bureaucrats who are not elected and make all the big decisions. Yeah, you're absolutely right. Justin said this in his inaugural address that democracy is the pressure valve. He didn't use the pressure valve because it's an an anachronism. But that's what we've got to get back to. Just to come back to what you started with when you said what am I doing having a tea party movement in Britain. If you had run an opinion poll in 1775 in Britain you would have found pretty much the same level of sympathy for the colonial grievances in Great Britain than North America. But the difference it was a much more restricted franchise in Britain. No way to assert itself in parliament, that's the real thing. You're lucky because you've got this system that allows laws and taxes to be passed only by the people that you vote for. I was against your stimulus package. I was against Bushes and Obama's and if I was a Congressman I would have voted against it. But at least the decision was taken by elected representatives who knew within a year or two they would have to go back and explain to their voters who are also the taxpayers. In the UK Gordon Brown decreed a much larger stimulus package in per capita terms with not so much parliament, in recesssive time. Not only was there a no vote, there wasn't even a debate about it. And this is something we've come through a Civil War to establish the principle that only parliament could raise taxes.
GLENN: Daniel Hannan is with us. And one last question. You keep saying that the tea party and it's about taxes and about taxes. That is, I think, one of the, you know, the misunderstandings of the tea parties here. It is about taxes, but more about the coming taxes that we know will have to be coming. There was a CNN poll today. The majority of Americans now feel our government is a threat to our rights. And that's really the basis of the tea party. It is a growing, out of control, all powerful government. Is it the taxes over in Europe, or is it the growing out of control scope and size of government?
DANIEL: It's both of those things. And more immediately than either of them it's the deficit that our argument is that we should close the deficit by reducing spending rather than by raising taxes. And it can be done. People sometimes say, you know, Hannan you're complaining about all this, the fact that we've got a 12.6% deficit that Gordon Brown has doubled the national debt how can you argue for tax rises. My favorite modern U.S. president was Ronald Reagan he was asked a similar question. When the deficit is so big how can you be talking about tax cuts he came out with one of my favorite Gipper lines in a crowded field. He said I'm not worried about the deficit. It's big enough to look after itself. You know what, in a funny way he was right because he made this calculated gamble if you cut taxes, revenues would go up, there would be growth in the economy. The government, over time, would get more money out of people because tax rates were lower and there were more incentives and the deficit would look after itself. And that's exactly what happened. And that's exactly what Margaret Thatcher succeeded doing at the same time in the 1980s in the United Kingdom. That's what we've got to rediscover. The idea that you get rid of this huge unfunded debt, not by raising more money from people, but by giving them more money to keep and spending less as a government.
GLENN: Daniel, may I give you a starting point for your speech tomorrow at your tax party, your tea party. If you will look up the depression, the American Depression of 1920 and look at what Calvin Coolidge and Harding did to solve it. Nobody in America even knows, the Depression in America in 1920 was bigger in some ways bigger in scope and deeper than the Depression of the 1930s, it was solved because they cut spending in half and they cut taxes from 74% to 25%. It is the answer. Daniel, thank you very much. And best of luck at your tea party over in Great Britain tomorrow.
DANIEL: Thank you.