Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Right-wing warriors James Delingpole and Dan Hannan plus a rockabilly outro - podcast heaven!

James Delingpole produces a regular podcast ("Radio Free Delingpole - broadcasting to you from Occupied Europe") for the American conservative Ricochet website, consisting of a 40 minute telephone chat with another right-winger. The latest edition, which you can listen to here, features the Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan. If you don't read the Guardian and you're not a wet, pseudo-Conservative social democrat, it'll act as pick-me-up after six looooonnnnngggggg days (with even more to come) of uncritical, swivel-eyed, semi-mystical Mandela-worship.

Most of the podcast had me roaring approval, but I particuarly enjoyed Hannan's answer to the question of what - if he had the power - was the one thing he'd change in the UK. As Hannan is convinced Britain won't in any case remain a member of the EU for much longer, he suggested abolishing PAYE, which would mean every employed person having to write a cheque for income tax to the government every year, rather than having their earnings pre-looted. There's nothing quite like being self-employed and having to hand over money that was already in your bank account to make you concentrate on just how fecklessly the government wastes the money you've worked so hard to earn: it's like having a joint bank account with a degenerate gambler.

Asked the same question about America (where Hannan has a relatively high profile), his answer was, "I would try and restore the balance between state and federal authorities as it stood before the Civil War." (I know at least one regular reader of this blog who will enthusiastically concur with that proposal.)

One of the other issues our two doughty rightist warriors address is the strain of pessimism inherent in conservatism: you know the sort - everything was better in the past, the country is going to hell in a handcart, and there's absolutely nothing we can do about it. I've been pondering this tendency a lot recently. I'm a right-wing blogger (albeit a very minor one), and I know how easy and satisfying it is to gnash one's teeth and rent one's garments while wailing "We're doomed, I tell you - doomed!" This performs a similar cathartic function to imagining - just before facing some unpleasant ordeal - the very worst possible outcome, knowing that it's unlikely to transpire: it somehow takes the edge off one's fear. But this sort of approach on the Right leads either to the weary appeasement of leftist sensibilities by traditional "managing decline" Tory toffs or masturbatory, apocalyptic, survivalist doom-mongering. Personally, I prefer a mixture of Delingpole's angry, don't-give-an-inch, sarcasm-laden, street-fighter aggression and Dan Hannan's civilised, clear-headed, optimistic espousal of right-wing principles based on hard facts and the evidence of history. If we on the Right are going to get the next generation to see things our way (and I think we will) we need the likes of both Delingpole and Hannan - people who think we can actually win - making the case for us.

Finally, I was delighted that Delingpole chose to end his show with a homage to his guest in the form of Gene Summers & His Rebels cheerful rockabilly classic, "Fancy Dan". I'll follow his excellent example:

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