Daniel Hannan: Brit Con with Int’l Audience

![Hannan has been especially critical of Prime Minister Brown. (Press Association via AP Images) ](/content/uploads/Westminster.jpg)
Hannan has been especially critical of Prime Minister Brown. (Press Association via AP Images)
“Who is this Hannan man?” asked an exasperated former colleague of Daniel Hannan after Hannan made a rather unpopular stand in a meeting of British and European Parliament members. Two months ago, millions asked the same question as British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Daniel Hannan became an Internet phenomenon when a three-minute video of him verbally tearing down British Prime Minister Gordon Brown rapidly made the rounds on YouTube, blogs, and conservative talk shows here in the U.S.

In his speech, the 37-year-old Hannan confronted Brown for extreme deficit spending, nationalizing industry, and placing Britain in a poor position to handle the recession. He stated, “Prime Minister, you cannot carry on for ever squeezing the productive bit of the economy in order to fund an unprecedented engorgement of the unproductive bit. You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt. And when you repeat, in that wooden and perfunctory way, that our situation is better than others, that we’re ‘well-placed to weather the storm’, I have to tell you that you sound like a Brezhnev-era apparatchik giving the party line. You know, and we know, and you know that we know that it’s nonsense!”

But stating opinions is nothing new for Hannan. He has been a leader writer for  The Daily Telegraph since 1996, maintains a blog there, and has many more videos posted on YouTube. 
Hannan, an MEP representing Southeast England since 1999, is a member of the Conservative party. As one of 785 members of Parliament, Hannan can be a bit of an outcast. Labeling himself a “Euroskeptic”, he opposes the European Union’s (EU) overreaching into strictly domestic affairs and he favors British withdrawal from the EU.

As he is such an outspoken member of a body he opposes, one might question why he continues as a member of the European Parliament in Brussels. One might question why he does not just channel his popularity at home and take a seat in the British Parliament. Well, as Hannan puts it, “If there weren’t people like me in Brussels, we would be conceding the principle that only Euro-integrationists could be MEPs”.

In a show of his willingness to fight, Hannan in early 2008 made headlines after fiercely contesting the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in the European Parliament and likening it to the German Enabling Act of 1933 that placed the Nazis in power. The comment earned him headlines and expulsion from the moderate-right European People’s Party-European Democrats (EPP-ED) group in Parliament.

As much of a headache as he causes his opponents, many admit that Hannan is a gifted orator. His tone is crisp, his rhetoric biting, and his demeanor confident. And he does not need a teleprompter. These are all qualities that have proven sufficient for swaying people in the past.

But there is something else about him—something refreshing—that impresses audiences. Perhaps it is his willingness to stick to his beliefs, whether they are unpopular (as they often are) or not, that makes Hannan unique among today’s politicians. Or perhaps it is that he articulates his beliefs in an efficient and clear manner that lends him immense appeal to readers and listeners around the globe.

While Hannan maintains that being in the minority so often “can get quite disheartening at times,” it would appear that he is dedicated to doing a job that so many others are not willing to do. So, disgruntled Americans will continue to look to the internet and conservative media for glimpses of the Brit who speaks his mind and says what their own Congressmen will not. Daniel Hannan may very well have the determination and ability to craft a very large political future for himself, and he may very well have an international audience as he does it.

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