The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Hold On Hannan

Posted by The Futility Monster on July 15, 2009 @ 01:31

Not really sure what he's looking so pleased about...

Not really sure what he's looking so pleased about...

A few months ago, Conservatives were in awe of their new hero: Daniel Hannan MEP. Right-wing bloggers and journos “knocked off” (to use Boris Johnson’s curious turn of phrase) various articles and hyperventilated about how Mr Hannan was the future of the Conservative movement – even going so far as to say he should be the next leader.

Well… things have certainly calmed down a little since then. The immediate impact certainly owed more to the fact that the Americans, for some strange reason, lapped it all up – as the story here was further perpetuated by our own awe at how the world was paying attention to a small-time MEP with very little influence.

In some ways, Conservatives fell into the trap of believing their own hype. That this was the moment Gordon Brown was fatally wounded by a full-frontal assault (as if Cameron hadn’t already been battering Brown every week in PMQs). But we all knew Brown was damaged goods anyway. All Hannan did was seize upon a wonderful opportunity to deliver a short, razor-sharp barb that Gordon Brown had no chance to respond to.

Not very fair in some ways. It’s easy to attack an opponent who has “kick me” stuck to his forehead and his hands tied behind his back.

In all honesty though: I didn’t entirely see what the fuss was about. As a piece of speech-writing, it was excellent. It had rhetorical flourishes, plenty of soundbites (and a good one to finish on) and lots of lovely, though a little well-worn, imagery.

But as a piece of oratory, it was far from the top of the class. It felt a bit too wooden. It seemed a bit scripted. In truth, the forum wasn’t right. European Parliamentary speeches have to be very short. That meant Hannan increased the pith to incredible levels. There was little time to stop for breath. Little time to pause and let a point settle in. No time to stretch out words and key phrases in the way Obama does with consummate ease. No time to employ the glory of subtle repetition: “Because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.”

Instead, it was all a bit “wham, bam, thank you ma’am”. In fact, Gordon Brown has been accused of a rather similar method of delivery in the past. Thunder through the detail and hope your opponents are knocked out by the impenetrable bluster.

So let’s not get beyond ourselves here. OK – maybe Hannan can do better if given a different environment to deliver a speech. But it was not that special. His timbre is a little too stilted and over-pronunciated. Very well-educated. These aren’t bad things… but in the class-conscious United Kingdom, they give the listener a hell of a lot of stereotypes to work from before they even begin to listen to what you’re saying.

But in any event, it was nice to see someone else on the political scene. Even if only for a short while. Variety makes politics more interesting.

And that is a not so subtle plea for Cameron not to go on public spending cuts for today’s final PMQs before the summer recess. Pleeeeease!!


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