March 26th, 2009

Hannan: bloody well-spoken, sir

Yesterday Daniel Hannan was just a backbench member of the European Parliament from South East England, probably known only to his constituents, some Conservative fans, and some Labor enemies. Today—although this may just be his obligatory Warholesque fifteen minutes of fame—he’s known to a lot more people than that, including me.

As Hannan describes in his blog, the cause of all the commotion was a little three-minute speech to the EU that “went viral” through You Tube and bloggers. As of now, the You Tube video has about nine hundred thousand views and 6,800 comments, and it’s only been posted there for two days.

In case you’ve missed it, here it is:

What’s the appeal? First of all, the relief of seeing true eloquence rather than false. Compare this to Obama’s much-praised oratory (we needn’t bother with Bush’s) and you’ll see the difference: wit, bite, pungency, and an emotional connection with the words being uttered. Hannan appears to be genuinely enraged rather than mouthing words of anger. And it’s all delivered in that exquisite British manner that is no less powerful for being tightly controlled.

But the words, and Hannan’s delivery, would mean nothing if they were merely clever or well-delivered. What struck a deep chord in his country and in this one—and, for all I know, around the world as well—is that he is saying what so many of us have yearned to hear said or to say ourselves, what we see as the unvarnished and plain truth (truth to power, by the way). Although he is speaking to the British Prime Minister, the parallels to our own possible fate under Obama are only too clear.

[NOTE: I heard that Hannan was going to be appearing on Sean Hannity's show this evening and so I watched it. He was no less articulate in his extemporaneous answers to Hannity's questions than he was in his speech, and no less commonsensical as well. Hear, hear!]

[NOTE II: The title of this post is not mine. It was one of the 6,800 comments on the video at You Tube.]

[NOTE III: It turns out that, astonishingly enough, Mr. Hannan was a somewhat tepid Obama supporter during the US election, and still hasn't entirely given up on him. This is difficult to understand, since most of the US kudos for Hannan's speech came from people who think he should have also delivered it to Obama.]

[NOTE IV: Hannan, an Oxford graduate, is only 37 years old. He was the youngest Britisher elected to the EP, back in 1999.]

39 Responses to “Hannan: bloody well-spoken, sir”

  1. strcpy Says:

    That is the type of thing I heard in the 1994 elections with the contract with America – it spoke to me then and speaks to me now. If there was a party in this country (and I imagine in most) that was made up of those types of individuals then it would sweep elections.

    I’ve seen talk (recently on this blog and in other places) talking about how our (US) founding fathers were no different than todays politicians. Elites that sought the higher roles of governance. No, they were a body of people that spoke *and* believed just like what we saw there. I am continually amazed when reading history that we somehow got that many people who *truly* felt that way in a position to do what they did. It is not hard to imagine how it would feel to hear them talk and then see them follow those actions up both on the battle field and in office.

    However, having been betrayed there I guess I’m a cynic too. Right now (as in 1994) that is an easy idea to both feel and express. The real question is if enough of those types of people win will they do as our founding fathers did (and what truly made them Great) and *keep* those ideas in the face of immense pressure and, like it or not, the greed associated with such power? Or will they go the way of the Republicans and succumb to the baser feelings of Man.

  2. Tom Says:

    The camera cut for a fleeting moment to catch a wry *grin* on the face of the hunched-over PM, in response to Hannan’s scathing indictment ! How perverse our wretched leaders are. A grin!

  3. JennyR Says:

    Oh, how I adore this man!

    Funnily enough, I actually quoted him in a paper I wrote a few years ago reviewing the EU Constitution in the context of the Anti-Federalist writings. I referred to Hannan while discussing the alarming degree of national sovereignty already ceded to Brussels:

    “Additionally, integrationist-minded Brussels bureaucrats have a tendency to present the people of Europe with a fait accompli. Even the MEPs are periodically surprised to discover what has passed from national control. Daniel Hannan, a MEP representing Britain, cynically describes it as a four-stage strategy: “Stage One is mock-incredulity: ‘No one is proposing any such thing. It just shows what loons these sceptics are that they could even imagine it.’ Stage Two is bravado: ‘Well, all right, it’s being proposed, but don’t worry: we have a veto and we’ll use it.’ Stage Three is denial: ‘Look, we may have signed this, but it doesn’t really mean what the critics are claiming.’ Stage Four is resignation: ‘No point complaining now, old man: it’s all been agreed.’” Brutus raised the same concern with the US Constitution: “And if they may do it, it is pretty certain they will; … it is a truth confirmed by the unerring experience of the ages, that every man, and every body of men, invested with power are ever disposed to increase it, and to acquire a superiority over everything that stands in their way.”

    The quote from Hannan: “The EU’s Four-Stage Strategy to Reduce Britons to Servitude,” Daily Telegraph, 01/26/2006.

    The Brutus quote can be found in: Siemers, David J. The Antifederalists: Men of Great Faith and Forbearance. Lantham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

    Many people have read the Federalist Papers (good stuff!), but few have read anything by the anti-Federalists. For a couple of centuries their concerns seemed overwrought, but it begins to seem they may have been prescient, after all.

    Anyhow – my new fantasy GOP includes Hannan as well as Australia’s former PM & minister, John Howard and Alexander Downer. Why don’t we have these sorts here? The hour cometh – where’s the man?

  4. csimon Says:

    JennyR,
    You’re on to something. Noble, engaged, passionate — and most importantly, living in the practical here and now vs. planning and implimenting the confiscation of all of our citizenry’s resources in the name of promised Utopia…..if only we remain patient…….. oh yeah, and believe….everything we’re fed.

  5. Don Janousek Says:

    neo-neocon: I’m glad to see that such persons as this still exist within the political realm. Perhaps the spirit of Sir Winston does live on.
    To me, his remarks call to mind what Leo Amery said in the British Parliment in May 1940 to Neville Chamberlain, quoting the statement made by Oliver Cromwell to the Long Parliment: “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go”.
    If a Kenyan can become President, why not a Britisher? Wonder if he’s interested.

  6. Rose Says:

    The good news is this is getting a lot of play – and EVERYONE gets it that every word could be directed at Obama and our punch drunk Congress.

    Particularly telling – the children are born in debt and the service of the debt will cost more than it costs to educate the child. Says it all.

    Great post, neo.

  7. Lucius Says:

    Neo, I too heard this gentleman on WABC Radio NY, via the internet. The circumstances that the USA and the UK face today, and Mr. Hannan’s cheeky critique, bear a striking similarity to Margaret Thatcher’s summation of the then Labour Government of 1979. Her speech was thoughtful, concise, and brutally efficient in sizing-up Labour’s policies. Would that the Republicans were as courageous and honest. P.S….I cannot quite understand Mr Hannan’s Obama love. Please check out these Thatcher videos everyone. Thank you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okHGCz6xxiw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jNMdDvXI2c http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGVOFrPnFWU&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9diiBdQ3bI4&feature=related

  8. expat Says:

    Lucius,

    My guess is that he has not spent the hours on the internet that we have. Consider how little of the character- and achievement-revealing information on Obama has made it into the MSM. Also, endorsements from the likes of Chris Buckley, David Brooks, and Peggy Noonan may have carried carried some weight. He may attribute Obama’s flips and flops to pragmatism because he lacked the information to downgrade them to the status of outright lies and an extremely distorted philosophy based on narcissism.

    None of us started out as total foes of Obama. It was the repeated observance of the missing emotional connection that led us to dig deeper, but our observations took a lot of time and blogosphere research.

  9. sergey Says:

    The problem is that: very few people in the West, on both side of the pond, understand how soft totalitarism works. Most of them even can not imagine that such thing exists. If they see not gulags or brutal repression, they feel themselves free. This is a very dangerous illusion. I insist on the term “soft totalitarism” instead of authoritarism, because this is what it is: everyday government control of people lifes in a thousand ways, of their minds, emotions, convictions, etc., by “hate speech” laws, imposed PC, false accusation of racism, sexism, by harassment at jobplace, control of promotion, tenures, by intimidation in press, slurs, and so on. I was 6 when Stalin die; the next 10 years were of gradual lifting of repressions and of direct control, but in parallel of inventive use of more “mild” methods of brainwashing and intimidation. Peoples were fired from their jobs and denied membership in elitarian organizations, like Writers Union, Artists Union, Academy of Sciences, which implied their careers were ruined; they can not enter post-grad schools, if their political views considered not loyal enough, or if they refused to subscribe to propaganda campaigns of demonization of other dissidents, or if they happened to be Jews (after 1967).

  10. sergey Says:

    The worst ideological gimmick of this “dictatorship of the nice” is absolutization of so-called “human rights” and using of these ever expanding “rights” as a bludgeon to harass political opponents. Since rights of different groups are always in conflict, those who posess authority to choose which group to defend always can demonize everybody they chose to. When rights of groups are expanded, the rights of individuals shrink. No wonder, these “Human rights” advocates and activists are now almost exlusively consist from cultural Marxists, imposing their agenda on everybody using this pretext. Only vigorous defence of individual liberties, property rights, freedom of speech can prevent this creeping imposition of liberal fascism.

  11. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    Given the extreme anti-americanism of much of the British press, it does not suprise me that he was a “tepid Obama Supporter”. Many English, especially those with a Public School education are also taught that the US is the cause of British decline, by delaying our entrance into WWII. This is a good example of how public opinion in it’s widest description and overwhelm basic good sense and logic.

  12. Paul Dennett Says:

    Regarding Hannan’s (tepid) support for Obama, you need to understand that there is a strong strand of isolationism in British Toryism which basically regards the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars as Blairite abominations. George W. Bush is less admired among British Tories than you might expect (to their discredit).

  13. Lucius Says:

    Dear expat. Thank you for responding to my comment. I concur that Mr. Hannan has far more constructive endeavors to pursue than trolling the internet. However, considering the enormous publicity of the Obama campaign, and Mr. Hannan’s position as an MEP, I am of the opinion that prudence would have dictated some investigating into Obama if only to know for whom you may potentially be dealing with. It then is a matter of directing a staff member to see what they can find. Even a modicum of research into Obama’s family, associates, employment/voting records, etc. reveals that he is dangerous and incompetent. The last two months prove this out, hence my bewilderment. We are all human and therefore can fall prey to our passions instead of heading our heads. But, ladies and gentlemen, our thinking needs to be less like Hamlet (is he a Marxist or isn’t he?…I believe he is) and more like Joe Friday (just the facts ma’am).

  14. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Encouraging.

  15. Artfldgr Says:

    In the real world when the mouse roars the cats pounce

  16. Artfldgr Says:

    Sorry off topic, but i just came across this and thought neo would love it… or at the very least find it as interesting as i found the all male version of swan lake on broadway… :p

    a huge collection of stuff like this exists in a folder on my mem card for when people say that the infirm should be aborted, or euthanised…

    forgive the off topic. i hope you found it was worth it.

    Ballet
    http://www.youtube.com/v/LnLVRQCjh8c&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0

    and for those that missed one of my prior favorites: team hoyt i can: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afv5jTrC7nM

  17. Helen Says:

    As someone who has known Hannan for some time (and I quite like the guy) I can explain what is puzzling his over-the-top American supporters: he is not the Messiah, he is a politician. It is actually his job to attack Gordon Brown and the venue, the European Parliament, is not a particularly important place. Though most of our legislation comes from the EU, it is not done by the European (or Toy) Parliament, which is a place for empty speeches, high salaries and even higher expenses.

    An excellent speech was made by the UKIP leader as well, but, somehow that did not get promoted on the Daily Telegraph site. I wonder why not, says she grumpily.

    So yes, Hannan thinks it is OK for Obama to spend his way out of the recession but when it comes to Gordon Brown, it is a crime, especially as he can get maximum publicity this way. By the way, I predict that the Conservatives will use Hannan as their best weapon against the real eurosceptic parties like UKIP in the European election in June. (Sorry to go into boring details of our politics but I didn’t start it.)

  18. Artfldgr Says:

    Daniel Hannan on Glenn Beck

    taken from gates of vienna: On his program last night Glenn Beck showed clips from Mr. Hannan’s speech at the EU Parliament, and then interviewed the man himself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIAlYslBdu8

  19. expat Says:

    Lucius,

    I agree completely that Hannon could have and should have investigated more thoroughly before endorsing Obama. I just doubt that he did. He really didn’t risk much by his endorsement and he probably was concentrating on other matters like the EU parliament and upcoming elections.

    Despite the fact that the US is omnipresent in European news, I don’t find many European (my experience is mainly with Germans, but I do follow a bit of other commentary) pols or pundits who have a gut understanding of America. Most experience it via a professional bubble and they form rather simplistic opinions. If you take just the Jeremiah Wright association, very few Europeans would be aware of the context of black liberation “theology,” black power, acting white, the race card, or the Duke lacross team; nor would many be aware of the effects of these things on racial relationships. So Wright says a lot to Americans that is oblivious to Europeans.

    I remember a few years ago that the German government’s coordinator for US/German affairs, Karsten Voigt, said that despite his long experience in the field, he still didn’t understand how Americans tick. I’m not sure any of Hannon’s staff would either.

  20. expat Says:

    Helen,

    Don’t apologize. The more insight we have into one another’s systems, the better off we will be. And even if Hannon’s speech was politics as usual for the EU, it was still a breath of fresh air.

  21. Mr. Frank Says:

    I’m surprised that no one mentioned the lack of a teleprompter. I was also impressed with the elegantly crafted and extended metaphor. Some Brits sure have a way with words. Compared to this guy, our pols look pedestrian at best.

  22. Jim Rose Says:

    On his tepid Obama support, we need to remember that he is British. British conservatism tends to run a bit more liberal than U.S. conservatism, even if he does sound like Milton Friedman in these soundbites. He says he’s giving Obama a chance, which is fair, but I think we all know Obama isn’t going to do anything to win Hannan over in the next few months, so we can pretty much count on Hannan to be with the good guys in the next few years.

  23. Artfldgr Says:

    An aide says to Obama, “Comrade General Secretary, you wear today one shoe black and the other brown.”

    “Yes,” Obama answers, “I’ve noticed it myself.”

    “Why didn’t you change?”

    “See, I went to change, but when I looked in the closet, there was also one shoe brown and the other black.”

  24. Tom Says:

    sergey: THANK YOU.

  25. Artfldgr Says:

    A doll; it is a small figure of Obama. If one turns a key, it starts moving, first one step back, then two steps forward, pronouncing the words, “What to do? What to do?”

    [these are all soviet era jokes]

  26. Artfldgr Says:

    Brezhnev gives a speech at a Party congress, and says, “Comrade, the Planning Committee reports that next year we’ll have no meat. Your suggestions?”

    The audience is silent. Then a lone voice from the audience sounds, “We’ll work ten hours a day!”

    Brezhnev continues, “The planning Committee reports that in two years we’ll have no milk products. Your suggestions?”

    The audience is silent, then the same voice sounds, “We’ll work twelve hours a day.”

    Brezhnev continues, “The Planning Committee reports that in three years we’ll have shortage of bread. Your suggestions?”

    The same voice says, “We’ll work day and night without rest.”

    Tears appear in Brezhnev’s eyes. “Thank you, dear comrade for your patriotic initiative. Let me ask you, where do you work?”

    “In a crematorium.”

  27. Artfldgr Says:

    I kind of like this one the best…

    since it shows that the concept we talk about was a common joke..

    A CIA agent was sent to Russia during the cold war with a task to inflict as much damage on the Russian adversary as possible. For several years the CIA did not hear from him. Then one day he showed up at the CIA, and reported to his superior, “I believe I did a really good job.”

    “If you mean all that happened in Chernobyl….”

    “Oh, no, boss. I was not involved in minor damages. I accomplished something much more efficient. I succeeded in putting one Mikhail Gorbachev in the position of their main honcho.”

  28. Artfldgr Says:

    and how much obama is like breszhnev :)

    i updated it for fun..

    all these words… words that kept people going through all these times..

    During Obama’s visit to England, ex Prime Minister Thatcher asked the guest, “What is your attitude to Churchill?”

    “Who is Churchill?” Obama said.

    Back in the embassy, the Amerikan envoy said, “Congratulations, comrade Obama, you’ve put Thatcher in her place. She will not ask stupid questions any more.”

    “And who is Thatcher?” Obama said.

  29. Artfldgr Says:

    Obama summoned Emanuel and said, “I know you spread jokes about me. It’s impertinent.”

    “Why?”

    “I am the Great Leader, Teacher, and Friend of the people after all.”

    “No, I’ve not told anybody this joke.”

  30. Artfldgr Says:

    A new postal stamp was issued with a likeness of Obama. After a while, Obama inquired whether everything was in order with the new stamp.

    “Mr President, this stamp is not much in use.”

    “Why?”

    “The people complain it wouldn’t stick to the envelope.”

    “So what, is the glue bad?”

    “No, the glue is good, just they spit on the wrong side.”

  31. Artfldgr Says:

    just remember that many of these could get one jailed or killed if one told them… yet there are hundreds..

    [i went through more than 16 pages of them to find the nuggets]

    do remember too that these give glimpse into how extreme these state behaviors get. they wouldnt be funny if they sadly were not true…

    words do have power… and tot he side that thinks they are magical (the left), they take it so seriously you have to watch waht you say, do, move, or anything… because everythign is a message.

    Jokes of armenian radio… i am changing it to armerikan radio… :)

    This is Amerikan Radio answering your questions!!!

    Question: “Will people have money when communism is built?”
    We’re answering: “Some will, some will not.”

    Question: “Is it possible to build communism in Amerika?”
    We’re answering: “It’s possible, but who will we buy grain from?”

    Question: “When the final phase of socialism, namely communism, is built, will there still be thefts and pilfering?”
    We’re answering: “No, because everything will be already pilfered during socialism.”

    Question: “Was comrade Obama a scientist or a politician?”
    Were Answering: “Of course, a politician. If he were a scientist, he would’ve first tried his theories on dogs.”

    Question: “What is the most permanent feature of our socialist economy?”
    Were Answering:”Temporary shortages.”

    Question: “What is the difference between capitalism and socialism?”
    Were Answering: “In a capitalist society man exploits man, and in a socialist one, the other way around.”

    Question: Is it possible to make ends meet on salary alone?
    Were Answering: We don’t know, we never tried.

    Question: What is the greatest achievement of the Soviet agriculture?
    Were Answering: Sowing in the USSR and harvesting in America.

    Question:Is it true that American cars are the fastest in the world?
    Were Answering: Yes, it’s true, but on the other hands, our Soviet watches are the fastest in the world.

    Question:What is Sholokhov writing now?
    Were Answering: A crime novel titled “How I received the Nobel price in literature.”

    [sounds like amerika now]
    Question: Should an eighteen years old girl go to bed at eight pm?
    Were Answering: Yes, if her parents expect her to be back home not later than ten.

    Question: Is it possible to buy a man who is deeply honest and principled?
    Were Answering: To buy is impossible; but it’s possible to sell.

    Why the symbol of the Republicans in the US is an elephant, but that of the Democrats is an ass?

    Because no ass can symbolize two political parties at the same time.

    What is the difference between Russian and English fairy tales?

    The English fairy tale start with “Once upon a time…., and ours with “It will be soon…”

    Can a man rape a woman while jogging?
    No, because a woman with a skirt up is always running faster than a man with pants down.

    We are told that the communism is already seen at the horizon. Then, what is a horizon?
    Horizon is an imaginary line which moves away each time you approach it.

    Will the police still exist when communism is built?
    Of course, not. By that time, all citizens will have learned how to arrest themselves

    What to do if a man you don’t know takes a seat at your table in a pub and starts to sigh?
    Immediately demand to stop the anti-Soviet propaganda.

    Is there a problem of racism in the USSR?
    No. In our country both the whites and the blacks are counted among the red.

    Is it possible to build socialism in Switzerland?
    It’s possible, but why? Did Switzerland really do something wrong to you?

    Is it possible in a socialist country to end up under a bus?
    Easier that on a bus

    What shall we do if suddenly we feel a desire to work?
    Just rest for a while on a sofa. It will pass.

    What is the easiest way to explain the meaning of the word “communism?”
    By means of fists

    Are the bedbugs also builders of socialism?
    Of course, in their veins flows the workers-and-peasants’ blood.

    When the elections were first held using the Soviet method?
    When Adam was electing his wife, and Eve her husband

    What is the difference between a pessimist and an optimist?
    Answer: A pessimist maintains that the things are so bad, they can’t become any worse; an optimist believes they can become even worse.

    What is worse than a young pessimist?
    An old optimist

    Why Lenin wore regular shoes, but Stalin wore boots?
    At Lenin’s time, Russia was still only ankle-high in s**t.

    What is an exchange of opinions?
    When you walk into your boss’s office with your opinion and walk out with his.

    and on the issue of promoting the nasty in the population over the good.

    Is it true that Tchaikovsky was a pederast?
    Yes, but he is liked not only for that. Some also like his music

    [this could be directly applied to the radio host who was just murdered by a 16 year old]

    Why did our scientists photograph the backside of the moon?
    At the request of the gay community

    Will there be the third world war?
    No, but the struggle for peace will reach such degree that there will be no stone left intact on the earth

    this is a bit prescient and explains much about our current state

    Question: Is it true that there are two kinds of people serving as deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, as members of the Supreme Court, and as Soviet diplomats?

    Answer: Yes, it is a true. One kind is those not capable of anything at all, and the other, those capable of anything whatsoever.

    incompetents and sociopaths…

    is the difference between the Constitutions of the USA and USSR? Both guarantee freedom of speech.

    Yes, but the Constitution of the USA also guarantees freedom after the speech

    and this is timley given recent articles comparing ny times and natnionalization of our news

    Question: Why do we need two central newspapers, Pravda (Truth) and Izvestiya (News) if both are organs of the same Party?

    Answer: Because in Pravda there are no news, and in Izvestiya there is no truth.

    Question: What is it that starts with an R and never ends?
    Answer: Reorganization.

    Question: Is it possible to build socialism in one stand-alone country?
    Answer: It’s possible, but better to live in another country.

    Question: Are there questions you can’t answer?
    Answer: No. We approach our job in accordance with the Marx’ dialectics. To any question we can give any answer.

    guess they knew moer about these two wars than most americans.
    Question: What was the main problem our pilots encountered during Korean war and during the war in Vietnam?

    Answer: In both wars, our pilots had to operate their planes with one hand only, the other hand busy pulling the corners of their eyes to keep them slanted.

    and i just like this one…

    Question: Can a woman serve as a diplomat?

    Answer: No, because a woman and a diplomat use differently the words Yes and No. If a diplomat says Yes, it means Maybe. If a diplomat says Maybe, it means No. If a diplomat says No, what kind of diplomat is he? On the other hand, if a woman says No, it means Maybe. If a woman says Maybe, it means Yes. If a woman says Yes, well, what kind of woman is she?

    Question: What is permitted and what is prohibited?

    Answer: In England, what is permitted, is permitted, and what is prohibited, is prohibited.

    In America everything is permitted except for what is prohibited.

    In Germany everything is prohibited except for what is permitted.

    In France everything is permitted, even what is prohibited.

    In the USSR everything is prohibited, even what is permitted.

    I guess the soviets visited their kind of women on us…

    Question: How can it be that ugly cocoons convert into beautiful butterflies?

    Answer: What is unusual about it? For example, all young girls are so pretty and nice, but where do all those ugly witches of wives come from?

  32. Artfldgr Says:

    the hammer and tickle
    http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=7412

    an interesting thing… its on jokes, but it also discusses the words, what they meant, and what effect and signs they showed…

    like finding out that simon wiesenthal collcted and created a volume of nazi jokes under the name of mishka kukin…

    jokes, the power of fools over kings..

    and the jokes for obama and leno… how bush was joked…

  33. Artfldgr Says:

    hit enter before the excert..

    Graham gestures towards the Orwellian notion of the joke as “a tiny revolution.” Jokes were an essential part of the communist experience because the monopoly of state power meant that any act of non-conformity, down to a simple turn of phrase, could be construed as a form of dissent. By the same token, a joke about any facet of life became a joke about communism. There have been political and anti-authority jokes in every era, but nowhere else did political jokes cohere into an anonymous body of folk literature as they did under communism. With the creation of the Soviet bloc after the war, communism exposed itself to Czech and Jewish traditions of humour—mutating viruses to which the system never developed the right antibodies. Some jokes that were traceable back to the Austro-Hungarian empire found their apotheosis under communism—like this one about the Hungarian communist leader Matyas Rakosi: Two friends are walking down the street. One asks the other “What do you think of Rakosi?” “I can’t tell you here,” he replies. “Follow me.” They disappear down a side street. “Now tell me what you think of Rakosi,” says the friend. “No, not here,” says the other, leading him into the hallway of an apartment block. “OK here then.” “No, not here. It’s not safe.” They walk down the stairs into the deserted basement of the building. “OK, now you can tell me what you think of our president.” “Well,” says the other, looking around nervously,”actually I quite like him.”

  34. Artfldgr Says:

    and think of hate speech laws today and pc correct, and other such things when you read this

    Historian Roy Medvedev looked through the files of Stalin’s political prisoners and concluded that 200,000 people were imprisoned for telling jokes, such as this: Three prisoners in the gulag get to talking about why they are there. “I am here because I always got to work five minutes late, and they charged me with sabotage,” says the first. “I am here because I kept getting to work five minutes early, and they charged me with spying,” says the second. “I am here because I got to work on time every day,” says the third, “and they charged me with owning a western watch.”

  35. Obi's Sister Says:

    He should run for POTUS. Obama’s already set the precedent that you don’t need so stinkin’ colonial birth certificate!

  36. MAS1916 Says:

    Catch Mr. Hannan’s interview with Sean Hannity. He is as eloquent when speaking unscripted as he was in delivering this powerful message. One of his skill in the US would be front runner for Republicans in 2012

    We need to send GOPers to the UK for political finishing school. Nobody handles English as well as the English.

  37. Helen Says:

    We need to send GOPers to the UK for political finishing school. Nobody handles English as well as the English.

    I remember you guys got quite excited about Blair as well. It’s what our politicians do – they speak well. Nothing else. Just that. Oh and if you went to what we call a public school, which is really a private independent school, then you are way ahead in the game. It’s what they teach you there. Sometimes other things as well, but articulacy above all. Oh and did any of you catch any of the other attacks on G. Brown? Thought not.

  38. Paul Dennett Says:

    Have to agree with my compatriot Helen on this. You Americans are suckers for this kind of thing. Even George Galloway ran rings round a U.S. Senate Committee.

    Talking the talk has never been our problem…

  39. sergey Says:

    I suspect people were swayed not by his eloquence, but by substance of his speech. Obama with teleprompter also is eloquent, but with no substance at all.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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