Hannan: I’m a reformist now

 Dan HannanHannan: The Judas de nos jours?

The Captain regrets  having to take up arms against Dan Hannan so soon after the last time, but it is possible to discern a subtle public shift in his position that strongly hints at his buying into mainstream Tory dogma rather than opposing it as he has purported to do for so long.

Today we have a new blog post at his Telegraph perch. In it he waxes lyrical, as he is wont to do, at some seminal moment in our history and claims it as proof of our divergence from the Continental dirigiste model of government. On this occasion he plumps for Marston Moor, the 370th. anniversary of which falls today

It would be idle to get into the debate about whether he is right or wrong on that point. Each of us has our own moment to which we could ascribe our abjuration of absolutism.

Hannan, when he plonks his bottom on the blue benches of the European ‘Parliament’, sits as a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group. Note the word ‘reformists’. Hannan would have you believe he is in favour of withdrawal.

But today, j’accuse.

Hannan is no longer a withdrawalist, but has decided to toe the Party Line that you can reform the EU and remain within it.

The evidence, shipmates?

The aforementioned blog has this as its last paragraph:

Parliament remained sovereign until 1 January 1973, when Sections 2 and 3 of the 1972 European Communities Act came into effect, giving EU law primacy over British law. If I had to pick just one reform that would right our relationship with the EU, I’d repeal that part of the Act, so that EU Directives and Regulations were treated as advisory pending an implementing decision by our own elected representatives. Grant that, and much else follows.

This, it seems clear, is to advance the position that we could remain in the European Union, provided this one reform (which would have, of course, to apply to each of the other 27 Member States) was introduced. He is, in short, a reformist not a withdrawlist – which all understand to mean a complete withdrawal from all the Treaties and the repeal not just of the 1972 Act but all Acts of Parliament which have over the years sold our birthright to Brussels.

Even if this reform were to be made (think ‘snowball in hell’), this would still mean that Parliament would be asked on a daily basis to agree to the cession of this power or that to the Brussels Diktat. In many cases, especially, but not exclusively, under a Labour or Labour-LibDem government, would so agree. The Directives and Regulations of the EU routinely demand the cession of power.


Sovereignty-slicing the Dan Hannan Way: 

death of a nation by a thousand cuts

So, instead of a periodic wholesale transfer of sovereignty by way of Treaty as has been the case hitherto, Hannan would give Parliament the power to slice off our Sovereignty much as one would slice a salami: piece by piece. But when you get to the end of the salami, there is, of course, nothing left. And once the Brussels gourmand has eaten the tasty dainty, it is gone forever. Under his proposal, Brussels could still propose and a pro-EU Westminster could still dispose.

The clue is in the title of the political group to which he has sworn allegiance and the pan-European political party which he runs, the titles of which refer to ‘Conservatives and Reformists’. Hannan has plumped for reform, but of a type that will still lead us by way of the elective dictatorship that Westminster has become to a complete loss of sovereignty.

Remember, when it comes to membership of the EU, there is no such thing as being ‘slightly pregnant’.

Only a nation which has completely disengaged itself from the Brussels Diktat can call itself a free, sovereign, independent nation. Only a removal of the power of Parliament to give any sovereignty (which belongs at all times to The People) away will our freedom be guranteed. And only UKIP promises this.

As to Hannan’s proposal: No! No! No!


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Upside-Down Cake



Well now, here is an interesting thing. Like the cake above, it seems that the self-aggrandizing Toadies in the European Parliament have a very upside-down view of priorities when it comes to the size of its committees, which merits a vote in the first session of the newly-elected European ‘Parliament’ at Strasbourg.

 Here is the proposal:

  • Committee on Foreign Affairs: 71 members,
  • Committee on Development: 28 members,
  • Committee on International Trade: 41 members,
  • Committee on Budgets: 41 members,
  • Committee on Budgetary Control: 30 members,
  • Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs: 61 members,
  • Committee on Employment and Social Affairs: 55 members,
  • Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety: 69 members,
  • Committee on Industry, Research and Energy: 67 members,
  • Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection: 40 members,
  • Committee on Transport and Tourism: 49 members,
  • Committee on Regional Development: 43 members,
  • Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development: 45 members,
  • Committee on Fisheries: 25 members,
  • Committee on Culture and Education: 31 members,
  • Committee on Legal Affairs: 25 members,
  • Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs: 60 members,
  • Committee on Constitutional Affairs: 25 members,
  • Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality: 35 members,
  • Committee on Petitions: 35 members,
  • Subcommittee on Human Rights: 30 members,
  • Subcommittee on Security and Defence: 30 members;

The biggest committee, despite the EU’s clout in Foreign Affairs being nugatory, is Foreign Affairs at 71.

Some might think that Budgets was rather important. But that weighs in at 45. Others might opine that Budgetary Control was a tad important…..30 members, so that Budgets and Budgetary Control together have the same number as Foreign Affairs.

Agriculture and Fisheries consume together the lion’s share of the EU budget. You might have thought they would have big committees. Er, no……AGRI  gets 45, PECH (fisheries to you and me) gets 25. That’s 70 all told, one less than Foreign Affairs.

International Trade (that is why we thought we were going into the old European Economic Community – the EEC – in the first place)…..41

Internal Market and Consumer Protection……40

The list above tells its own story. The European Parliament (of which few in the developing world will have heard) thinks that its role in Foreign Affairs must be the most important, so it merits 71 members. What a warped sense of values! But what did you expect?

It could not have anything to do with all those Foreign trips the Committee seems to make, could it?

No, perish the thought.

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The Captain writes this with some regret, for he has hitherto been an aficionado of the writings of Dan Hannan MEP, the soi-disant Eurosceptic of the Tory delegation to the European Parliament. But every now and again there comes a moment in the affairs of men when keeping a polite silence in the face of terminological inexactitude simply won’t do any more.

Hannan has written a blog, “For the first time, the European Parliament has a Eurosceptic opposition” to greet the dawn of a new day and the first sitting of the new European ‘Parliament’ in Strasbourg. This will be Hannan’s fourth Parliament – he was first elected in 1999 – and this blog suggests that he has begun to go native.

But let us first go to that business of the terminological inexactitude. As part of the Euro fantasy that the Federasts peddle, MEPs from various countries have to form themselves into political groups in the Parliament. This brings extra resources and enhances the speaking time of individual MEPs, helps secure committee chairmanships and enables group members go off on Jollies all around the world, paid for by you, the Taxpayer. But the trick is that you have to get above the bar that the European parliament sets: To form a political group, a minimum of 25 MEPs elected from at least one-quarter of the EU’s Member States (currently seven) is required.

After the announcements of the election results on 25th. May 2014 for the Parliament which starts sitting today,all the existing political groups began the process of establishing the numbers to get over the bar. In addition Marine le Pen of France’s Front National told us she was also going to form a new group of hard-right neo-fascists as an extra group.

In the event she failed spectacularly so to do and will now sit up in the bleachers of the new Parliament.

The group of which the UK Independence Party is a member, the Europe of Freedom and Democacy (EFD) has also reformed with a new name: Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD). This was a process fraught with difficulty and the EFDD has only just squeezed across the line.

The Tory group – the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), meanwhile, set about peeling off as many existing or potential partners of the EFD as it could. The Danish People’s Party which did very well in the Danish elections, returning four members, was first to go. This was despite the Tories having refused them previously on account of the policies of the DPP and the fact that its EP delegation leader, Morten Messerschmidt was convicted in 2002 for publishing material that appeared to link a multiethnic society to rape, violence and forced marriages. That latter fact had caused the Tories in 2009 to shun the DPP but after the passage of five years, this has conveniently been swept under the carpet. Dan Hanna observed:

“Would you want to be judged on something you did in your 20s?” he said, adding: “if the Danish electorate move on and decide he is a mainstream popular politician, it seems a bit unfair that the rest of us shouldn’t make that same judgement.”

Which, of course, is the modern Tory way. We all remember how our Prime Minster ducked any questions as to whether he had ever possessed  Class ‘A’ drugs by invoking the ‘we all do things we later regret’ when a simple ‘No’ would have sufficed to end the thing there and then. The absence of that simple ‘No’ told you all you need to know. Possession of Class ‘A’ drugs is a serious matter,which often attracts imprisonment. But we mustn’t let something like that or Mr. Messerschmidt’s conviction get in the way of the Tories’ ambitions, must we?

Then the Finns Party decided, at the very last minute, to make the move. The ECR then set about hoovering up every possible MEP from small delegations and also persuaded the Alternative für Deutschland party from Germany to join, reportedly in the teeth of overwhelming grassroots support to go to the EFDD group.

To achieve all this Dan Hannan has been crisscrossing Europe for the last eighteen months or so. The Tories have known for ages that they were going to get a hiding in the European Elections and sought to try and destroy the EFD group so that UKIP might be seen humiliatingly to have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. There would have been a useful by-product. As a group co-president, Nigel Farage sits up close and personal with the President of the European Council (when he can be bothered to appear) and Jose Manoel


Herman van Rompuy, an affront to Bank Clerks everywhere

Barroso in the Plenary Chamber. The sight of these and other EU lackeys taking a lashing from Farage from short range has contributed enormously to the huge viewership of his YouTube uploads. Sitting on the back row of the Unattached members would have cut that avenue of publicity at a stroke.

We know Hannan was engaged in this process. We have evidence of the meeting he held with the Finns party over lunch in Brussels with a member of the EFD staff present. And the intent was quite clear.

Of all this Hanna observes:

Mainstream Eurosceptics are gathered into two blocs. One is Nigel Farage’s Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD). Some Ukippers have got it into their heads that I wanted to prevent their group from attracting enough nationalities to qualify, but they’re wrong. I never doubted for a moment that Ukip would find the numbers it needed, and I’m happy to see the EFDD up and running.

Sadly, this is just not the truth and everyone should know it. Hannan went about this with – to be fair – skill and determination. By all accounts more than one minor European politician got the invite to Number Ten, doubtless there to savour the moment of having their photograph taken with the British Prime Minister (which does not have quite the same cachet as having you photo taken with Margaret Thatcher).

But the worst of it all is that Hannan has become a pan-Europeanist. He heads up the European Political party associated with his group, the AECR,  and campaigns across Europe in the Federast elections as a pan-European:

I spent part of the recent campaign criss-crossing Europe in support of free-market, Eurosceptic candidates.

He has bought into the pan-European thing big time and really rather likes poncing about the very Europe from which he says he wants to withdraw. He may say all that, but he is a voluntary participant in a Federast enterprise, a pan-European political party.



It is true, he does say that he wants to withdraw. But he remains a major player in the Conservative Party, the official policy of which is to remain in the EU. He takes the Cameron shilling and the Cameron whip.

The word ‘hypocrite’ comes easily to mind.


The Captain understands UKIP’s position on such matters to be:

UKIP fundamentally disagrees with the existence of pan-European Political Parties and their being funded from taxpayers’ money. UKIP also disagrees with any move by LibLabCon to introduce such funding for UK political parties.

In both cases, however, UKIP reserves the right to form, join and operate a European Political party and its associated foundation if it considers that this is necessary in order to be able to function on a level playing field with its political opponents.

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And whose fault is it? Humbug, by John Major


John Major, traitor and adulterer and candidate for the worst Prime Minister of post-war Britain (all right, all right, it is a crowded field:….Eden, Wilson, Heath, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron) has opined on the subject of the ‘elite’. He has just noticed a phenomenon of which most of us will have been aware for some time. The UK is still being run, despite the best efforts of Guardian readers, by white, middle-class, privately-educated men (and women). This, he says, is “truly shocking”.

Oh, please…….

If he had not spotted it before, one is bound to wonder upon which Planet he is currently lodged.  Frankly, the man is a nincompoop.

The Daily Telegraph reports thus:

The dominance of a private-school educated elite and well-heeled middle class in the “upper echelons” of public life in Britain is “truly shocking”, Sir John Major has said.

The former Conservative Prime Minister said he was appalled that “every single sphere of British influence” in society is dominated by men and women who went to private school or who are from the “affluent middle class”

More than half of the Cabinet, including David Cameron, the Prime Minister, George Osborne, the Chancellor, and Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, are thought to have gone to private school and are independently very wealthy.

In the speech to Tory party grassroots activists on Friday evening, Sir John – who went to a grammar school in south London and left with three O-Levels – said: “In every single sphere of British influence, the upper echelons of power in 2013 are held overwhelmingly by the privately educated or the affluent middle class. To me from my background, I find that truly shocking.”

Sir John blamed this “collapse in social mobility” on Labour, which despite Ed Miliband’s “absurd mantra to be the one-nation party they left a Victorian divide between stagnation and aspiration”.

It is the blame-apportionment that catches the eye.

Some fifty years ago we saw the beginnings of the Comprehensive School system. We are now looking at the baleful record of that truly awful system of education.

It was a Labour idea, of course, which saw its early burgeoning from 1965 onwards. As it spread to all parts of the land, local authorities progressively destroyed one of the greatest vectors of social mobility that there was: the Grammar Schools.

Today 90% of children go to comprehensive schools. Some of these schools are every bit of good as were Grammar Schools. But the vast majority are simply a tribute to the  Great God of Equality: children emerge from them equally ill-educated, equally ignorant and equally stupid.

Meanwhile the private sector has kept up and even improved its standards. Is it any surprise that they dominate?

Just take one example. the teaching of foreign languages has been progressively trashed. It is an insignificant part of any curriculum you care to name. The private schools teach it from an early age and most Public schools teach a wide variety of languages. Whereas  French, German and Spanish were the staples, one may find Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Arabic these days. Result: privately-educated job-seekers will usually have at least one if not two languages to go armed into the jobs market.

The process of comprehensivisation of schools has been pursued by all governments, Labour and Conservative. Tory policy has been hostile to Grammar Schools for years. They are equally guilty in this case.

John Major is a hypocrite.

There is one party in the UK, however, that would restore this vector of social mobility: UKIP. Whilst eschewing selection, UKIP would allow local authorities to open new ones or restore old ones.

They could happily sit alongside comprehensives or Free Schools. Then let us see which does best, not merely at providing education but in creating social mobility.

Proof of the pudding, you see, is in the eating.

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Lest We Forget?

ImageThe 11th. hour of the 11th. day of the 11th. month.

These are the most mournful days of our year. To stand in some corner that is, truly, ‘forever England’ just now is to bring fresh salt tears to the eye……

The Captain was not there but was lucky enough to have known veterans of The Great War. Almost to a man they felt it very difficult to talk of the events in which they had taken part, of the scenes which they had witnessed. But enough was said to make a profound impression.

Fifty years ago, when the sneering classes were hard at work denigrating their sacrifice, the number of visits to the Western Front and to the battlefields of France and Flanders in 1940 and the liberation of 1944-45 had dwindled.

The Captain was a visitor, but it was noticeable how few people seemed to be there. Mostly the visitors were in twos and threes and were either veterans or their families. It had become fashionable to forget.

Now, however, and not just at this time of Remembrance, we see an entirely different phenomenon. The places where our kith and kin lie buried or whose death in battle is commemorated now teem with life.

Young people, in particular, have discovered the likes of Tyne Cot and Thiepval. They come in coach loads and their enthusiasm for knowledge is quite gratifying.

Those of us who believe that the two world wars of the 20th. century were just and righteous wars fought against the aggressive German desire to have hegemony over Europe and that the United Kingdom deserves a place of honour at every table which matters for the blood and treasure she selflessly sacrificed for the freedom and independence of others, should not automatically assume, however, that the motivation of our young people is borne of a similar sense. That may play some part. But we should guard against the natural curiosity of young people to understand these conflicts being used by leftist teachers to spread another message: one which peddles pacifism, the canard that the Great War was a war fought to preserve capitalist interests, that these were ‘lions led by donkeys’ (and the ‘donkeys are still with us’), or using the Second World War to bleat on yet more about the Nazis whilst the Marxist teachers conveniently forget about the fact that the Communists killed far more people than Hitler ever did and carried on suppressing freedom for, in the case of Russia, seventy years or, in the case of Eastern Europe, for more than forty years.

Our Freedom and Independence are threatened once more. We must defend it once more. The message of Tyne Cot, Thiepval, of Dunkirk and Normandy is that we in the United Kingdom are at our best when we are free to defend those things.

Today we watch as Germany reverses the decisions of 1918 and 1945 by economic muscle. Germany remains the motor of the European Union which it will ruthlessly use for its own economic and political ends. If you doubt this, just note who it is who has the gift of ‘reform’ of the EU in her hands: Frau Anglea Merkel. Germany is terrified we will pick up our ball and go play somewhere else, leaving a huge hole in the EU accounts (our share is 12 1/2%, folks!) which it and the other net contributors will have to cough up to keep Greek goat farmers supplied with the latest Mercedes.

To allow those decisions to be overturned means that the sacrifice of our kith and kin will have been entirely wasted, particularly if the UK remains in the EU where we shall be but bit players when faced with the Franco-German axis.

We must not fail them. Ever.

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UPDATE 2: More Frigate Captains

The debate rages on:

Frigates go about their work

Fabulous prizes of the real captain of Surprise

SIR – Robert Cutts rightly names Thomas Cochrane as the primary model for the fictional Jack Aubrey (Letters, August 29), a character also inspired by Commodore Rowley, the conqueror of Mauritius, and Patrick O’Brian’s own brother, a Royal Australian Air Force officer killed over Germany during the Second World War.

On the issue of naming the greatest British frigate captain of the age of sail, Cochrane and Pellew are both leading contenders, along with William Hoste.

In sheer financial terms, however, did anyone surpass Sir Edward Hamilton, real-life captain of HMS Surprise, who is said to have realised over £200,000 in prize-money (around £15 million in modern terms) in a two-year cruise?

Arkady Hodge

Continue reading

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UPDATE: Fighting Captains – Henry Blackwood

Sir Henry Blackwood

A letter in the Daily Telegraph opines as to who was the best of the frigate captains of Nelson’s day. Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton might well be thought to be on the money in leaving it to the Great Man himself. This blog gracefully defers……

Medals on the sea

SIR – In the debate about who was Britain’s greatest frigate captain (Letters, August 30), it is fair to say that, were frigate captaincy an Olympic sport, Britain would have dominated the podium in the first years of the 19th century, notwithstanding some fierce American competition. Team GB fielded Lord Cochrane, Sir Edward Pellew, Sir Philip Broke of HMS Shannon (restorer of British naval pride in the war of 1812), Sir William Hoste (hero of Lissa) and Sir Henry Blackwood, all vying for gold, silver, bronze, fourth and fifth places.

But with the distance of 200 years, we surely have to leave it to the great man himself to award the gold. Lord Nelson was in no doubt: it was the commander of his frigate at Trafalgar, Henry Blackwood of the Euryalus.

Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton
Sutton, Suffolk

Seems fair enough………………..

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Hands off Hungary!

Arms of the City of Budapest


Normally one finds Raedwald a modicum of good sense, but on this occasion he has this quite wrong.

Make no mistake, this blog is a fierce opponent of nationalisation which is the ultimate expression of State Kleptocracy. Indeed the State should own very little compared with its present bloated inventory.

But it is, surely, entirely a matter for Hungary as a Sovereign Independent State (for now) and for the Magyars to decide whether or not to nationalise the tobacco retail market. The Government of Hungary was lawfully elected and it is entitled to govern.

Whilst some of what Fidesz has been up to is not to our taste, it remains none of our business if they wish to trash its tobacco market.

Raedwald complains of – and says we should be afraid as a result of – the failure of any EU Member State to register a complaint at what has been done.

Well this blog says: “Hooray!”.

For once the EU bully boys have kept their noses out of other people’s business. That is a change. In the UK most people would infinitely prefer it if the EU never told us what to do ever again.

The UK Independence Party consistently votes against such interference in the European Parliament (with the odd hiccup where voting ‘Yea’ is anathema and voting ‘Nay’ is likewise). If Norway wants to do a deal with the EU, what business is it of UK MEPs?


So, on this occasion, one may welcome this piece of non-interference.

Hungary is bonkers, of course. They have just created a brand-new retail sector in black-market tobacco. Nothing will change save some enterprising people are about to get very rich and Hungary will lose a whole bundle of revenue. But that is their choice and their mistake to make.

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The Importance of Being Right

Oh dear….

One is a considerable admirer of the work of Dr. Richard North and his estimable EUReferendum blog, which has been an inspiration to many and the scourge of plenty of others.

It is thus with some apprehension that one approaches his post on Merkel and Draghi with a view to making the proposition that he has, perhaps, on this occasion, missed a trick and forgotten one of the cardinal rules, that of getting it right beyond reproach of our enemies.

One of the things one has learnt in the great struggle against The Beast which is the Brussels Behemoth is that Eurosceptics must always have chapter and verse to hand, whilst the Euro LickSpittles can get away with murder.

Continue reading

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Bob Crow: A Hypocrite speaks

Where’s my bubbly, then?

The rank smell of hypocrisy lingers like bad B.O. around most Socialists. Whether it is Jonathan Miller ‘agonising’ about paying for his grandchildrens public school fees or Diane Abbott sending her little one to  public school, or Harold Wilson whipping his cigar out of his mouth and swiftly replacing it with his ‘I’m a Man of the People’ pipe as he emerged into the presence of The Little People, Champagne Socialism is always with us. This is an enduring feature of Socialists. They prescribe lots of Comprehensive School education for the masses who cannot afford the fees of an independent school, but when little Oliver is exposed to the vagaries of a Comprehensive School playground for the first time, it is not long before it is ‘Hey-Ho and Off to Prep. School we Go!’.

So it will come as no surprise to hear this classic courtesy of Guido Fawkes and LBC wherein Bob Crow seeks to justify his occupation of a luxury council flat in London.


Bob’s effort is risible. The hypocrisy, even by the standards of Champagne Socialism, is breath-taking.

Bob has but two virtues.

Firstly, he is a Eurosceptic.

Secondly, he reminds us in his pomp of the days when our TV screens were filled with dinosaurs such as he, indeed days when Trades Unions Leaders believed it was they who governed the country. Thankfully, the Blessed Margaret put an end to all that.

Posted in Champagne Socilaists, Hypocrites | Leave a comment