Sunday 22 August 2010

Daniel Hannan’s quaint love of Europe

Languages other than English may be better suited, if you want to gain a deeper understanding of European integration, I argued yesterday.

Daniel Hannan MEP, while professing a love for Europe, misses few opportunities to punish a good word about the European Union, or even a suggestion for greater interest in European affairs generally.

At least Hannan rushed to diminish the Guardian article by Martin Kettle about being trapped by the Anglosphere, I mentioned in the aftermath of the Eurogoblin blog post on the roots of European integration.

In 2009 the current account of the United Kingdom with regard to the European Union was GBP 277 billion and with New Zealand GBP 1.35 billion, but Hannan seems to imply that his constituents are better served if they stay in their comfort zone, the Anglosphere:

The Internet makes it as easy for my constituents to do business with a company in New Zealand as with a company in Belgium. Easier, indeed, because the Kiwi company shares our common law, accountancy practices, commercial traditions and language.

Hannan prefers to look for “folk of our blood and speech” in the Antipodes, as long as he can bypass Europe.

If Hannan had used German, he might as well have said “Blut und Boden”.

The Internet will finally turn the United Kingdom away from Europe. This will democratise something Hannan leaves unmentioned.

Hannan has produced another quaint declaration of love for Europe.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Comments relevant to the topic discussed in each Grahnlaw blog post are most welcome. However, the number of spam comments has skyrocketed. This is the sad reason for comment moderation, so it may take a while before your valued comment appears.

It is easier to understand a language than to use it correctly. As Eurobloggers we could and should promote interaction among Europeans across borders and between linguistic communities. Grahnlaw has adopted a multilingual comment policy:

I do my best to read comments in Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish, even if the Grahnlaw blog and my possible replies are in English.

Antonia on the Euonym blog (Talking about the EU) tells us that the European Commission in the UK arranges a Day of Multilingual Blogging on 26 September 2010, and the UK Representation has been joined by the multilingual aggregator and individual Eurobloggers. Join the event page on Facebook, spread the word through social media and personal contacts, begin preparing your blog posts and start learning a new language.


  1. It seems that Hannan has found the lure of "Blut und Boden" rhetoric hard to resist, though judging from his idealised view of being "British subjects" and his civic idea of British identity, I think he's more "Kultur und Boden".

    The attacks on the civil law system as somehow inferior are common strands in his arguments (it never seems to be explained why this is the case, or supporters of the view rely on the strange idea that the key difference is that in civil law systems, things are illegal until they have been legalised). Hannan comes across as some kind of "Kulturkampf" warrior, forever insisting on the superiority of Anglophone culture (which in itself is a strange why to show love for Europe).

    Daniel Hannan likes to claim that those who support the European project are less likely to know another language, and about other European countries. It's telling that he's now cheering on a narrowing of cultural horizons, and a lack of interest in the UK's nearest neighbours.

  2. Eurocentric,

    Usually Hannan manages to feed the appetites of his supporters for self-adulation without getting his own hands too dirty, even if basically everything seems to build on perceptions of British superiority.

    Now he went farther in the "Blut und Boden" direction and in inciting contempt for Europe (not only the European Union) than usually.

    Your Kulturkampf parable is interesting, but why not reflect on the possible similarities between Hannan's politics of ethnicity and the history of Nazi propaganda?

    With regard to the civil law systems, in a few recent posts I have looked at the structural inadequacies of human rights protection in the UK in comparison with many other EU member states, which happen to be civil law countries.

    Hannan's popularity is a sad sign of the political and media climate as well as educational standards and public opinion in England, with regard to Europe.


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