Brilliant: See why Daniel Hannan serious contender to be UK’s PM one day

While the leader of the UK’s “Leave” campaign Boris Johnson is deservedly favourite to become Britain’s next Prime Minister, a former 10 Downing Street insider whispered he’s definitely no betting proposition. It has been decades since the Conservative Party members plumped for the favourite and if that tradition continues, two other names are fast emerging as prospects. Home secretary Theresa May is a popular alternative for the “anyone but Boris” group and given the post-Brexit remorse, her quiet support of the Remain campaign won’t hurt. My source also suggests we keep an eye on former European Parliament member Daniel Hannan – if not this time around then in future; and on the strength of this brilliant speech to the Oxford Union promoting Brexit, were it a debate he’d be a shoo-in. Articulate, witty and super smart, Hannan also has the advantage of age (44). Even if you have little interest in the subject, it’s well worth watching Hannan in action. The closest thing I’ve seen to a modern day Cicero. – Alec Hogg

I now look to Daniel Hannan from Oriel College to continue the case for the proposition.

Mr President, ladies, and gentlemen, every campaign generates its truisms, it’s hackneyed phrases, it’s clichés, and this one is no exception. One of the great clichés that defines this campaign is ‘head versus heart’. Of course, clichés become clichés for a reason and I think a number of us feel tugged between ‘really one way’ and intellectually, the other – including me. I absolutely get the emotional appeal of Europe. I speak French. I speak Spanish. I’ve lived and worked all over the continent. Seventeen years, I’ve been in Brussels. I have some very dear friends there among the Eurocrats. Of course, being Eurocrats, they all want Europe to be a single country with a federal system and all the rest of it but that doesn’t stop them being decent people, kind neighbours, and loyal friends.

But you can’t be ruled only by your heart. Saying ‘I am supporting the EU because I like Europe’ would be rather like saying ‘I am supporting FIFA because I like football’. We need to look, not at a fantasy European Union that is all about peace and collaboration among nations, but rather look at the one that has in fact, taken shape under our noses. A racket which, far from benefitting the least well-off (as the Treasurer was just saying), takes money from low and medium income people and gives it to the most privileged and to the big corporations. In fact, if you listen… Never mind what the Leave side is saying. If you listen to what the leaders of the Remain side are saying, Lord Rose has said – in a considered and measured way before Commons – “If we vote to leave, wages will increase.” Lord Ashdown has said, “If we vote to leave, food prices will fall.”

I fail to see how either of those things is bad from the point of view of someone on low income. Of course, both Lord Ashdown and Lord Rose regarded these as terrible and undesirable developments. Just ask yourself why it is that the megabanks and the multinationals are pouring money into the Remain campaign. Why is it that Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, City Bank, Morgan Stanley, and all the rest are funding the people campaigning not to let us recover our independence? I’ll tell you why. The biggest surprise to me when I was a newly-elected MEP was the extent to which these giant corporations wanted more regulation. I had simply supposed, being elected as a Conservative, that being private enterprises they’d want freedom of action. I was disabused of that within about a week of arriving. They loved regulation because they can afford the compliance costs more easily than their smaller rivals.

They have captured the Brussels machine and used it to raise barriers to entry. Very good news for the cartel of established multinationals. Very bad news for the innovator, the start-up, or the entrepreneur. That’s why the European Union is falling further and further behind in the world. The year we joined (1973), the 28 countries that now make up the EU were 36 percent of the world economy. Last year, it was 17 percent and falling. This is a maritime merchant country. We don’t sit on great natural resources in this green, damp, exquisite island home of ours. We have to make our way in the world by what we buy and sell. That means we have to be where the customers are and it’s increasingly clear that the customers are not in Europe.

That’s why, despite being (myself) in that privileged cast of Eurocrats with large salaries and tax-free expenses, I am inviting you to fire me, in a moment. I’m inviting you to fire me. I would not be doing that if I were not convinced that the country as a whole will be better off, that the economy as a whole will grow after Brexit and therefore, incidentally, there’ll be some kind of job for me to go to afterwards as a newly-unemployed MEP. I may be even doing something a bit more useful than regulating everybody else. Yes, sir.

You asked the question where Britain’s trade is…50 percent of its imports and exports are with the EU. Small countries in the EU still make up (thank you) part of the G20. Do you see that changing?

Well, let’s look at what’s already happened. Ten years ago… You say ’50 percent of our trade’. Let’s look at the actual figures. Ten years ago, the EU was taking 55 percent of British export. Last year, it was taking 45 percent. Where is it going to be in 2030? Where is that figure going to be in 2050? How low does it have to go before we drop this bizarre idea that we need to merge our political institutions with those of neighbouring countries in order to have a minority say over common standards in a declining block – in the only declining block in the world? Over the last ten years, every continent has grown, except Antarctica and Europe. In fact, if you count the cruise ships, it’s only Europe because the Antarctica economy (on that measure) is booming so we are really in the wrong place.

Why am I confident that life will be better outside? Two things. First is democracy. Contrast this union (the Oxford Union) with the European Union. The people who take the decisions here are elected. Actually, I’m now learning that they’re not often elected. They’ve become semi-Eurocrats in the sense that they rig the elections. At least, in theory, you have the right to remove as and when you will. Now I say this in no belittling spirit. I had a lovely time when I was here. I spent a lot of time at the union. I had a massive crush on the foxy librarian from Somerville. I was very happy here but I hope that members will not take it amiss when I say that this union doesn’t aspire to administer half-a-million Europeans. It’s ambitions and its scope are somewhat more limited and yet, it’s democratic. Now, contrast that with the European Union.

Well, we just heard from my honourable friend from New College what Jean-Claude Juncker thinks of democracy. “There can be no democratic choice against the Treaty.” Ponder those words. “There can be no democratic choice against the European Treaties.” Dominic made the point that the European commission is undemocratic. Actually, he slightly understated the case. Uniquely, we have fashioned a system that is anti-democratic in the sense that you generally only get to go there when you’ve lost an election. It’s only when Chris Patten, Neil Kinnock, or indeed now Jean-Claude Juncker… It’s only when you’re expressly rejected by your voters that you are invited to come and legislate for them anyway. Let me submit, my friends, that opposing that system doesn’t make us anti-European. Right?

If Britain were run this way…if we were governed by 28 unelected British commissioners who, as a result of being invulnerable to public opinion and immune to the ballot box, had come out with such spectacular failures as the Common Fisheries Policy, the Euro, or the Schengen zone, I’d be against that. I hope most of you would be. It wouldn’t make us anti-British. It wouldn’t make us Anglo sceptics. It would make us Democrats.

Given our media figures and content all around the world [inaudible 0:07:57.8] and the training scheme was at least EU. By your ignorant paradigm, what exactly has this abstract conception of democracy done to save the people whose jobs will now be lost as a result of loss of deals, loss of employment, and loss of [inaudible 0:08:14.2]?

I’ll tell you. We have no abilities besides independent trade deals with countries outside the European Union. It’s very important to grasp this. When you join the EU, you give Brussels 100 percent control of your trade policy. We don’t have a Trade Agreement with India. For nine years, the EU has been discussing it and has shelved it. Is there a country in this part of the world that stands to gain more from unfettered commerce with India? India is English-speaking for commercial purposes, certainly. It’s common-law. There are 1.4-million Brits of Indian origin. We are the third-largest investor in India. India is the third-largest investor here. We can’t sign a Free Trade Agreement because Italian textile workers don’t want the competition and the French farmers don’t like the idea. We don’t have a Free Trade Agreement with Australia. Why? It’s being held up by some Italian tomato growers.

The Italian tomato growers may be right or wrong. I don’t enough about the case, but how on earth is it in the interest of our country to be prevented from pursuing global trade, exploiting our links of language and law, of culture and kinship, and migration that connects us to every continent and to tie ourselves to the world’s only shrinking trade block? And, by the way, to pay for the privilege of belonging to the tune of £20bn growth/£10bn net every year. My friends, the European Union is obsolete. We just heard from the Treasurer that there was a very famous televised debate here in 1975. Well, since few of us can remember 1975 other than perhaps Lord Heseltine in between creating the Purple Turtle and running the Department of Trade, I can tell you that 1975 was not a good time for this country. Three-day week, prices and incomes policies…

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We were in a bad way. We looked across Europe. We said, “These chaps are doing something right.” Does it feel that way today? When we look across the Channel now, we see the European Union convulse in the twin Schengen and Euro crisis. Does this look like a project that we would be rushing to join if we were not already in, held there by the vested interests and the sum costs of a few civil servants, politicians, and large multinationals? I am urging you to vote to leave because of the world as its becoming, not as it was then. If you think about, it’s classic Helen Lovejoy, isn’t it? ‘Who will think of the children?’ Well, I’ll tell you. I am thinking and voting for my children. That foxy librarian from Somerville is now the mother of my two little girls and as you see, she’s quickening in her womb. After an indecent delay, it’s out third time.

One of the many things that I want for that child is the right to grow up in an independent country where we can hire and fire our own lawmakers. Edmund Burke said, “For a nation is a partnership between the people who have died, the people who are alive now, and the people who haven’t yet been born”. Being a nation means that we’re not just a random set of individuals born to a different random set of individuals. It imposes on us a duty to keep intact, the freedoms that we were lucky enough to inherit from our parents and pass them on securely to the next generation. In 1944, my late father volunteered to defend with force of arms, our right to live under our own laws and our own people in our own sovereign parliament. I don’t want his grandchildren to lose that portion of their inheritance so don’t let anyone scare you out of voting to do the democratic thing.

We’re not just the fifth-largest economy in the world. We’re not just the fourth military power. We’re not just a member of the UN Security Council. We have the world’s most widely-spoken language. We have the world’s capital city. We export naan bread to India, kayaks to Inuit, and tea to China. We are a great country and our song is not yet sung. We still have more to give. Though much is taken, much abides. Though we are not now that strength, which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are.

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