I attended the Centre for Independent Studies 2018 John Bonython lecture the other evening. Daniel Hannan was the speaker. A preamble: I watched the BBC immediately after the Brexit vote and found myself shouting at the tele when Hannan, who was an important part of the Leave campaign, seemed to go to water and preach compromise. Nevertheless, we can’t afford to remove prominent people from the good-guy side because of occasional lapses. So, I looked forward to his address on “How Identity Politics Are Undoing the Enlightenment.”
Let me say without qualification that Hannan’s speech was magnificent in content and in delivery. It was the best speech I have ever heard on identity politics and among the best speeches I have ever heard on any topic. It deserves to be celebrated, published and distributed in written and audio form to all schools and universities and, most assuredly, to all journalists and politicians. I’d love a copy. Maybe the CIS will publish it. I hope so.
Have you ever attended a movie or play or anything when things go pear-shape in the second half? It is though the director or writer or participants simply ran out of steam. An evening in two halves applied to my experience. It was going so well and my spirits were lifted; even the FAQ wine tasted like a fine vintage. Question time arrived. This was all done via on-stage dialogue, with Tom Switzer leading the questioning. I forget how exactly, but, alas, Hannan was given a platform to disparage Donald Trump and boy did he go on and on. And, but for that, it could have ended so well.
Hannan is an archetypal elitist anti-Trumper. As public-school boy and Oxford graduate, he is offended by Trump’s style. Sorry, being the son of a motor mechanic and trade unionist in the working-class town of Liverpool, my shoulder chip is showing. But there is a point in there. Trump appeals to ‘deplorables’. They are the ones who have suffered as a result of thoughtless free-trade deals which have taken no account of localised effects; of mass low-skilled, culturally-clashing, immigration; and of the latest fad of global warming. Elitists who have orchestrated or been complicit in this globalist bombardment of Western civilisation haven’t suffered in the slightest. They have their precious principles and the common folk can go hang.
Apparently, according to Hannan, Mike Pence is a better kind of person to be US president. I like Pence too but, give me a break! He is there on the coattails of Trump. He could never have made it on his own. I seriously doubt he has the same strength of character, as does Trump, to take on the Establishment and the leftist press, to shepherd through massive tax cuts, to deregulate the economy, to stick at building that wall, to nominate and stand by two originalist Supreme Court justices, to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, to give the military discretion to defeat ISIS, to bomb Syria, to get out of the Paris agreement and the Iran deal, and to impose tariffs on China and others in an effort to get better deals to protect US workers. And there is much, much more if you would like to consult Conservapedia.
To bring it close to home we are surely seeing now that Scott Morrison would never have had the bottle to stop the boats. You might recall that it ‘couldn’t be done’ and, in any event, would risk war with Indonesia. It needed a streetfighter like Trump — and we all too briefly had one in Tony Abbott. Mind you, people of discernment didn’t like his manly style. Save us, please, from these pusillanimous prigs.
The worst of them is that coterie of conservative journalists like Hannan, and George Will in the US, who appear willing to sacrifice Western civilisation in the cause of politeness. They represent an impotent rump of conservative political thought which rude, crude and unscrupulous leftists will crush. They are used to being (and are prone to being) good losers, content with playing a principled game. We cannot afford them on our side. Adhering to Marquess of Queensberry rules is fatal in a street fight.
The latest figures from the US put unemployment at 3.7% with real average weekly earnings beginning to grow, having languished for years. GDP grew at an annual rate of 4.2% in the second quarter of this year and by 3.5% in the third quarter. Significantly, job growth in the US since Trump has encompassed manufacturing and mining. Jobs that Obama pronounced wouldn’t come back. “What magic wand do you have,” he sniped at Trump on the campaign trail in 2016. Well Trump had three magic wands: tax cuts, deregulation and better trade deals. We have yet to see anything like the full benefits of Trump’s magic wands.
None of these economic benefits, which would be extinguished under Democrat policies of open borders, higher taxation, re-regulation and renewable energy madness, convince the Never Trumpers. Jobs for unemployed workers in West Virginia, jobs for blacks and Hispanics in the inner cities – what are these when put against the anguish elites suffer at having to endure some crass Trump tweets? If these Never Trumpers ever mixed with people who struggle to make enough to feed, house and educate their children they might begin to put Trump’s style into perspective.
Trump is uniquely fitted and desperately needed for our time, as Churchill was for his. I don’t care that Trump ungallantly referred to Stormy Daniels as “horse face”; at least he didn’t call her a blackmailing trollop. Or if Churchill, accused of being drunk at dinner, was ungallant enough to suggest to unprepossessing Liverpool Labour MP Bessie Braddock that while he would be sober in the morning, she would still be ugly. In the scheme of things, saving our way of life (and our children’s and grandchildren’s) is more important. Don’t you think?