Guido saw Hannan’s interview with the Reason Foundation’s Michael Moynihan pop up in his feed reader this morning.
Not really paying attention Guido let the video play in the background and got on with other things until he heard “Enoch Powell” mentioned. Uh oh, was the immediate reaction. Hannan said he admired Powell as “somebody who understood the importance of national democracy, who understood why you need to live in an independent country and what that meant, as well as being a free marketeer and a small government Conservative.”
This could get interesting Guido thought, and sure enough within hours a Labour contact asked what my opinion of the Reason Foundation was – the Foundation is a West Coast libertarian outfit which is respectable and cerebral – well as respectable as right-wing Californian dope-fiends are ever going to be.
Guido spoke to Dan to ask him when he gave the interview – about “a month or so” ago was his answer – before the NHS kerfuffle cemented Dan in the affections of Labour’s spin operation. He said it wasn’t the first time he said that, that he wasn’t going to deny his view in the future and that on immigration he was on the record as taking the Friedmanite free market liberal view rather than the restrictive Powellite stance.
Dan asked how did Guido think it was going to play out. “Well there is no news about and if Labour get Liam Byrne or Mandelson to put the boot in…”
Sure enough Mandelson has popped up: “Yet again, we are seeing the two faces of the Conservative Party. The one they want to present to the public and the one which attacks the NHS and praises Enoch Powell.” Predictable.
The usually fair minded Mark Hanson of LabourHome has written a very poor piece of analysis – claiming that it is dog-whistle stuff. He also reckons Hannan is deliberately provoking “the Notting Hill set” to stoke up “his fan base” in the Conservative Party. Two problems with that analysis are Hannan has been on holiday in France for the last fornight and the interview was filmed weeks ago, before the NHS kerfuffle. The first Dan knew about this blow-up was when Guido called him this afternoon. The dog-whistle is fatally undermined in that Powell was cited by Hannan in a list of influences which included Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek – all of whom were ideologically opposed to immigration restrictions. The fact is that Hannan and his ideological fan base (such as it is) are more liberal on immigration policy than the official Labour Party position…