Is Dan Hannan really a libertarian?


2:59 pm - August 27th 2009

by Guest    


      Share on Tumblr

contribution by Soho Politico

As we have all now read, yet another recorded interview with culture warrior Daniel Hannan has surfaced and caused much controversy.

What I’m interested in is the defence of Daniel Hannan over this emanating from the right.

Their claim is that Hannan’s lionising of Powell is benign, because he never associated himself with Powell’s views about immigration specifically, and is in any case personally a ‘libertarian’ on borders.

Guido Fawkes leads the charge, writing:

Guido spoke to Dan to ask him when he gave the interview – about “a month or so” ago was his answer – before the NHS kerfuffle cemented Dan in the affections of Labour’s spin operation. He said it wasn’t the first time he said that, that he wasn’t going to deny his view in the future and that on immigration he was on the record as taking the Friedmanite free market liberal view rather than the restrictive Powellite stance.

Is this correct though? Well, not if Hannan actually believes what he co-wrote with Douglas Carswell in The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain.

Because The Plan certainly does not endorse a libertarian open borders policy. Let’s take a look, starting with the book’s opening paragraph:

The British state is failing. It can’t deliver even the most basic services competently. We have the highest prisoner population in Europe, and one of the highest crime rates. Our pupils compare dismally with similarly aged pupils in other countries and previous generations. Our healthcare system is more likely to kill its charges than any other in the developed world. Our roads are choked, our railways crumbling, our airports unbearable. Our borders are, to all intents and purposes, wide open. (p. 7)

Wait: so, libertarians are enthusiasts for open borders. But Hannan thinks that Britain is ‘failing’ because of open borders. Hmm. On to the next page:

Meanwhile, more than 200,000 Britons emigrate every year; more than 300,000 foreigners settle in their place, many of them illicitly. For the state cannot even discharge its elementary function: to secure the national territory. (p. 8)

It doesn’t sounds like Hannan is very keen on a libertarian approach to immigration after all, does it? Later on, Hannan and Carswell endorse immigration quotas (p. 43), and advocate the extended use of national referendums, partly on grounds that, if the Swiss experience is anything to go by, the public, when asked, are likely to reject ‘generous immigration rules’ (p. 159).

And let’s not omit to mention that the dynamic duo also oppose humanitarian intervention to save people from genocide, out of concern that some of the people rescued might later want to settle in Britain. They write:

Like the doctrine of universal human rights on which it is based, humanitarian intervention is a doctrine with superficial appeal but which is unfortunately wide open to abuse. Interdependence was shown to be a grim reality when intervention over Kosovo in 1999 caused huge numbers of Albanian asylum seekers to arrive in this country. (pp. 72-3).

So is Daniel Hannan a libertarian on borders? Nope.

—————–
Cross-posted over from the new Soho Politico blog.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
This is a guest post.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Libertarians ,Race relations ,Westminster

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


New law, a la Godwin: Anyone who claims to be a libertarian is not one.

You can either have open borders OR a welfare state. For better or worse, the dismantling of the welfare state which is such a draw to the dispossesed is not on the cards as 15-20% of the population is exclusively dependent on it. Ergo, even a Hayekian cannot endorse open borders, though that may be what, in an ideal world he would want.

Too Subtle? He’s a Tory, therefore racist. That fit’s better at lefty conspiracy.

But given that Hannan is against a welfare state, he should be ok with open borders?

Nice try at obfuscation Jackart

Hannan is a communitarian, not a libertarian. He wants elections for everything and rights for no-one.

Sunny, Jackart’s point wasn’t obfuscation. The immigration vs. welfare principle has been around for ages, and only a very ignorant person would pretend otherwise. By all means damn Hannan and all his works, but please do it in a logically coherent way 🙁

The immigration vs. welfare principle has been around for ages

Just because it’s been around in wignut circles for ages doesn’t mean it has merit. You can have a welfare state and immigration – you just ensure that there is an easily accountable and transferable system of insurance and payment for new immigrants (they pay taxes into a specific pot which can be used to offer welfare etc). The question is how much info you want to collect about people coming in and out.

Besides, I didn’t say I was in favour of full movement of peoples without any govt supervision. But then I’m not a libertarian and don’t call myself one.

Can’t get him off your mind eh?

“Can’t get him off your mind eh?”

Can’t stop rushing to his defence eh?

9. Green Socialist

The left should reclaim the Libertarian label. W owned it first!

Where is the evidence that Britain has the sort of super-friendly and generous welfare state that attracts people across borders and hundreds of miles? Isn’t jackart’s dichotomy rather crude?

Hannan seems to be competing with the Spectator in driving people away from the Tories. Given that Brown is less popular than Major, it is a bit of a mystery why Cameron is nowhere near as popular as Blair was.

You can either have open borders OR a welfare state

It is this kind of transparent stupidity that rightly gives the Right a very bad name.

By associating with the decaying US conservative movement, Dan Hannan has made the mistake of many a bar-room loudmouth. He believes his own hype.

He’ll prove very useful for Labour in the months to come.

Just because it’s been around in wignut circles for ages doesn’t mean it has merit.

Wignut or not, the free immigration vs. welfare argument is certainly relevant here. That’s because, despite the use of ‘libertarian’ in the title, and the conclusion that Hannan must be lying/a secret racist because he doesn’t ascribe to ‘libertarian’ policies on open borders, the approach towards immigration that Hannan ascribes to is “Friedmanite free market liberal”.

And what was the Friedmanite free market liberal view? That ‘libertarian’ open borders were incompatible with a welfare state.

Given his performance on the incriminating video, posted on Sunny’s entry, Hannan is fiercely in favour of the type of conservatism that informed the founding fathers of America – is this not a kind of whiggish nexus where, as James Graham (4) has pointed out, ‘elections [are] for everything and rights [are] for no-one[?]’

Hannan must be lying/a secret racist because he doesn’t ascribe to ‘libertarian’ policies on open borders

We’re not ascribing those views to him – his own supporters are claiming that Hannan is entirely innocent in praising Enoch Powell because he’s much more libertarian on immigration.

But other than the ‘rivers of blood’ and ‘black man will stand over the white man with a whip’ rubbish spouted by Powell, Hannan and Powell essentially have the same views on immigration too. One just wants slightly more restrictions than the other.

Other than the ‘rivers of blood’ and ‘black man will stand over the white man with a whip’ rubbish spouted by Powell, Hannan and Powell essentially have the same views on immigration too.

So, other than the fact that Hannan has specifically stated that Powell was wrong on immigration, they have the same views? Remarkable. Hannan isn’t claiming to be a libertarian on immigration, but a ‘Friedmanite market liberal’. He’s in favour of limited immigration, and certainly not in favour of re-patriation (do I really need to tell you that?).

Incidentally, both the quotations from The Plan given above are aimed not at immigration policy but at the failings of the British State. It would be, in fact, entirely consistent to be in favour of open borders but critical of a State that ostensibly had a strict immigration policy but failed to endorse it.

Oh, and in response to the edit: so any policy on immigration that isn’t a libertarian open border policy is ‘essentially the same as Powell’? This is getting really, really pathetic. Hannan’s immigration policy ideas are more liberal than official Conservative policy, and also more liberal than official Labour policy. Smearing him as akin to Enoch Powell on immigration is quite staggeringly dishonest.

Everyone jumps on the band wagon, don’t they?

I wish some of the more vocal ‘useful idiots’ would actually read some transcripts rather than believe whatever anyone ever told them about Enoch Powell.

Firstly his point was not about racism. Yep – he wasn’t racist. Can’t believe your eyes? Maybe you should read the transcript yourself. EP’s issue was nothing to do with colour or race or whatever – it was to do with the choice of the individual being taken away from them by their government. This is exactly what the race relations act did. It stopped you being able to choose who you wanted to do business with. If you didn’t want to deal with a coloured family, – that was now illegal – however, it didn’t take into account why you didn’t want to deal with them. Maybe you didn’t like their attitude, or maybe you thought they would not be doing you the best deal – however, no one was interested – you were being racist!

It is the left who keep jumping up and down shouting racist at anyone who doesn’t want to deal with someone who has darker skin tones them themselves – however, they rarely jump as much when the skin colour in question is lighter – strange that!

They never question the issue of the government removing the choice of the individual – this might be about who they can do business with, what their taxes get used for, or if they want to pay extra for a health service which doesn’t work!

Dan Hannan is exactly what the country needs right now – however, I have a feeling the media is going to have his reputation in tatters through good only fashioned lies, rumour, gossip and general dirty tricks long before he gets into power – just like they did to Powell – after all, it wouldn’t be right for a true libertarian to get into power!

17 – um, Enoch Powell, whatever his other virtues might have been, was quite definitely a racist.

@15, are you seriously saying that if a leftie politician praised Lenin for his revolutionary zeal, but disowned his views on forced labour camps, that’d be fine by you?

20. Matt Munro

I dislike labels but I don’t fit any of the boxes allowable on LC

Liberal: When I were a lad this basically meant let everyone do whatever the fuck they feel like doing as long as it doesn’t harm me. It had no automatic association with the left (in fact pre-war liberals were often chracaterised as benevolent tories) and was very definately not about spreading any particular ideology, or interfering with anything and everything that was not deemed liberal enough. The definition of harm has now become so expanded that it means “let anyone do what the fuck they like except anything that I don’t do and/or don’t approve of”. Being a glorified busy-body is not in my nature, so I can’t be a liberal.

Leftie: I was for a while as a teenager, but you kind of grow up, see the fall of communism, get a career, a mortage, kids and start to realise quite how much of the time you spend at work is for the benefit of other people (some deserving, some not) who really don’t feel any kind of gratitude and would happily laugh whilst screwing you out of your hard earned their whole lives if you let them get away with it. Leftie I am definately not

Progressive. A meaningless term which will not be further considered.

Libertarian The only place left for the laissaiz fair. Do what you like, smoke crack, worship the moon, eat organic vegertables, support crystal palace, just don’t tell me what do do/think/say and I won’t tell you. So that’s my label.

19 – No, absolutely not. And I think it was a daft thing for Hannan to claim Powell as a political influence, because, regardless of what his views might have been on economics, or the politics of the small state, he is synonymous with a racist (and thoroughly wrong-headed) view on immigration.

If he’d claimed him as a hero, as has been reported, then it would have been worse, because Powell’s views on immigration are enough to taint him entirely as a politician. I don’t think that Hannan did say he was a hero though, just an influence.

But that’s a different thing to saying that Hannan’s views on immigration are ‘essentially the same” as Enoch Powell’s when they demonstrably are not.

start to realise quite how much of the time you spend at work is for the benefit of other people (some deserving, some not) who really don’t feel any kind of gratitude and would happily laugh whilst screwing you out of your hard earned their whole lives if you let them get away with it.

Perhaps the main difference between right and left is whether your first thought on reading that sentence is “benefit recipients” or “shareholders”…

“So that’s my label.”

It might be yours, but I can assure you it’s no-one else’s.

So, other than the fact that Hannan has specifically stated that Powell was wrong on immigration, they have the same views?

How does he think Powell was wrong on immigration if they both think that just because lots of people are coming into the country then we’re failing to “secure the national territory”. Perhaps you could elaborate?

As I said above, Powell had all these views on blacks etc. But his end point was – restrict immigration or it’s bad for the country. How does Hannan disagree?

Surprise, surprise – the right-wing as a whole tends to be pragmatic rather than ideological. Absolutely no state intervention – until the bankers need a handout! Open the borders… someday in the distant future, its more electorally beneficial to whip up anti-immigration rhetoric at the moment.

26. Matt Munro

Personally I’d have let the banks go under.

How does he think Powell was wrong on immigration if they both think that just because lots of people are coming into the country then we’re failing to “secure the national territory”. Perhaps you could elaborate?

Are you being deliberately stupid here, or is it an accident? Hannan’s point in The Plan quoted above is that large scale illegal immigration demonstrates the failure of the state to secure the borders – do you disagree with this?

Powell thought that immigration from the New Commonwealth should be stopped on cultural grounds, he was in favour of immigration from the old dominions. Hannan believes that immigration in general should be calculated on economic grounds, and does not distinguish between where that immigration should come from. Is that a bit clearer?

But his end point was – restrict immigration or it’s bad for the country. How does Hannan disagree?

Jesus Christ Sunny! Virtually every politician in this country for over a hundred years has had this policy! You just said yourself in this thread that you weren’t claiming to be “in favour of full movement of peoples without any govt supervision.” So, by your rules, you are “essentially the same” as Enoch Powell on immigration.

28. Matt Munro

“Perhaps the main difference between right and left is whether your first thought on reading that sentence is “benefit recipients” or “shareholders”…

Or “shareholders” or “the state”. I wouldn’t trust either of them but at least shareholders are honest about their motives.

“Hannan believes that immigration in general should be calculated on economic grounds”

In other words, it’s fine for *me* to *bring* a foreigner here to work for me, but rather less fine for a foreigner to come here of his own accord.

Same-old same-old parochial cack, in other words.

The welfare state versus open borders dispute may have been around for donkeys, but unless I’m missing something it doesn’t seem to be the argument Hannan is making. He seems to be claiming, rather straightforwardly, that there are too many foreigners in Britain.

Is Hannan a libertarian? Insofar as “libertarian” suggests sophisticated Hayekian minarchism, probably not. But in its more common usage, i.e a right-wing loudmouth who thinks “libertarian” gives an intellectual sheen to their bog-standard wingnut opinions, I’d say yes he is.

See Jackart at -2- above.

I recall a smart and well-informed Hungarian snarling that the Hungarian government was insane to welcome Romanian-Hungarians into Hungary as equal citizens because the dole in Hungary is higher than the minimum wage in Romania.

One cannot be any sort of nationalist AND a believer in open borders with welfare benefits.

Actually, one cannot be a sane person and believe in open borders with welfare benefits.

Discuss

Hannan’s point in The Plan quoted above is that large scale illegal immigration demonstrates the failure of the state to secure the borders – do you disagree with this?

Err no, the figure he quotes is actually about legal emigration and immigration. He just says ‘many illicitly’. Ergo, people coming into this country even legally is BAD.

Is that a bit clearer?

That is a bit clearer, thanks

Another new rule: Anyone suffixing their bland assertions with “discuss” is a knob.

34. Matt Munro

“Hannan believes that immigration in general should be calculated on economic grounds”

Outragous isn’t it – what other country would be so right wing as to only allow people in if they could make an economic contribution ?

“Outragous isn’t it – what other country would be so right wing as to only allow people in if they could make an economic contribution ?”

But the vast majority do make a contribution: and yet their arrival is still resisted on cultural/nationalistic grounds, often with a newly found concern for the working classes having wages bid from under them.

Philippe Legrain’s work on this is very good.

http://www.centreforum.org/publications/economics-of-migration.html

I doubt that, economically, fierce border controls or quotas make any more sense than Lancashire erecting a border against Yorkshire. People who resist immigration normally have other grounds, either explicit (defend my culture, the weak-assed thing it has suddenly become) or implicit.

Err no, the figure he quotes is actually about legal emigration and immigration. He just says ‘many illicitly’. Ergo, people coming into this country even legally is BAD.

Not ergo at all. Read the section again.

Meanwhile, more than 200,000 Britons emigrate every year; more than 300,000 foreigners settle in their place, many of them illicitly. For the state cannot even discharge its elementary function: to secure the national territory

The 300,000 figure used there includes ‘many’ illegal immigrants. The failure of the state to secure the national borders is made apparent by this illicit immigration. And it’s a comment on two underlying problems for British society – a high emigration rate and an incompetent state. You can disagree with the analysis, but trying to claim that it’s “essentially the same” as Enoch Powell is just dishonest.

And, once again, if putting any restrictions on immigration is “essentially the same” as Enoch Powell, how does that fit with your lack of support for wholly open and unadministered borders? Are you too “essentially the same” as Enoch Powell?

So, Biffo, your argument is that you have to provide a decent standard of living to everyone, or to nobody. I know which I would prefer.

What you are describing is the race to the bottom – the only answer that right-wing nationalism provides is to reach the bottom quicker!

The strikes in the construction industry recently are the perfect example of what the answer is – workers united against the bosses, not each other.

“Outragous isn’t it – what other country would be so right wing as to only allow people in if they could make an economic contribution ?”

So, would you be in favour of the state preventing you from leaving if it was to the country’s economic detriment?

39. Shatterface

There are lots of people calling themselves Libertarian who are no such thing.

We need a legally enforcable definition of Libertarianism with aspiring Libertarians licenced by the State.

Or we could just admit Libertarianism is no more absolute or prescriptive than capitalism, socialism, anarchism or a dozen other political affiliations and represents a cluster of belief systems with a family resemblance.

40. Matt Munro

“People who resist immigration normally have other grounds, either explicit (defend my culture, the weak-assed thing it has suddenly become) or implicit”.

No they don’t. That’s a generalised construction which the left use to justify any objection to “porous borders” as racist. To me it’s entirely pragmatic, there are too many people for the available resources (ask that well known right-winger Jonathan Porrit if you don’t believe me).

Within your paradigm, how do you account for the fact that established migrant comminities are often the most hostile to sunsequent waves of immigration ?

41. Matt Munro

“So, would you be in favour of the state preventing you from leaving if it was to the country’s economic detriment?”

As the old USSR used to ? No.

“Or we could just admit Libertarianism is no more absolute or prescriptive than capitalism, socialism, anarchism or a dozen other political affiliations and represents a cluster of belief systems with a family resemblance”

fine by me

HATE SPEECH! HATE SPEECH!
CLOSE IT DOWN NOW!

Why do you love your children and your grandchildren?

Because of their cleverness and their beauty or because they are yours and not someone else’s?

The poorest claases of Pakistanis in Karachi can be – and have been – easily goaded into fury at the mere suggestion that the thousands of poor bloody Biharis stuck in Bangladesh will come to Karachi and squeeze into their limited and squalid space and start using scarce resources like schools and clinics.

Who can blame them?

The ‘racist’ yelping of goodthinkful do-goodies – who never ever have to bear the burden of a mass influx – is good theatre but of no validity in a sensible discussion.

“To me it’s entirely pragmatic, there are too many people for the available resources (ask that well known right-winger Jonathan Porrit if you don’t believe me).

Within your paradigm, how do you account for the fact that established migrant comminities are often the most hostile to sunsequent waves of immigration ?”

Resources tend to be able to move across borders – unless you are one of those people who feel that 12% of the land being built on means we are “filling up”. Such Malthusian logic wouldn’t work with Yorkshire-lancashire either. Sure, public service delivery can be badly coordinated with population movements -but that is a reason to be better at public service delivery.

Established migrant communities don’t have a monopoly on wisdom/fairness on this issue. I account for it by their being ‘wrong’. So too are people living in new housing estates often NIMBYs. Nouveaux riche are often the worst snobs. Etc etc.

Oh, and J Porritt doesn’t have that monopoly on wisdom either.

45. Matt Munro

But why go to all the hassle of restructuring puclic services (even assuming that its affordable), building more houses and having an ever larger state increasingly uable to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse popiulation ? It’s easier to just let fewer people in. Your argument just sounds like a back door way of expanding the state even further

“Oh look we’ve got loads more people, we needs loads more government”

Again Biffo, it seems you are happy to fight it out for the few crumbs you have with people who have even less crumbs that you, whilst the man with the loaf sits back and laughs.

And lol at Matt Munro who can’t be bothered at all the hassle of doing stuff and would rather build a great big fence. The British economy has been depending upon exploiting cheap labour, both at home and abroad, for decades. Much easier to just restructure the entire economy then isn’t it.

Why do you love your children and your grandchildren? Because of their cleverness and their beauty or because they are yours and not someone else’s?

But your family aren’t my family, any more than a random person from Karachi is my family.

I’ve certainly got more in common with an articulate, well-educated Pakistani than with a knuckle-dragging BNP-ite. Your mileage may vary.

48. Matt Munro

“lol at Matt Munro who can’t be bothered at all the hassle of doing stuff and would rather build a great big fence. The British economy has been depending upon exploiting cheap labour, both at home and abroad, for decades. Much easier to just restructure the entire economy then isn’t it”

Yes Gary because the nu labour state is just great at delivering public services isn’t it ? They can’t even empty the fucking bins anymore. They pour billlions in and – apart from giving all those surplus graduates a few spreadshhets to fiddle with – get the square root of bugger all out. And you expect anyone to believe that the end result of your grand restructuring would in reality be anything other than a country comprised entirely of barrat estates, an even bigger tax burden and an even bigger state ?

But never mind eh – at least it’ll alleivate your hand wringing guilt for a few hours

The failure of the state to secure the national borders is made apparent by this illicit immigration

That’s like saying because some crime exists despite the existence of the police – it demonstrates the complete failure of the police force.

This is stupidity that you can easily rip apart if you spend any time on it.

Because of an unwelcome intrusion of real life, I am late to this discussion, but:

People miss the point if they think that what is at stake here is only whether Daniel Hannan personally is a racist, along Powellian lines. I am sure that he is not. But that isn’t the key issue.

The key issue is that, in heaping praise on Powell, Hannan was attempting to contribute to the rehabilitation of a man whose legacy to racial and ethnic relations in this country is completely toxic. Even if he is not himself a racist, what Hannan did was pernicious. It is damaging to the cause of better race relations and tolerance, not to mention offensive to immigrants and people from immigrant families, to attempt to bring Powell and his views back into the respectable mainstream of British politics.

Now, Guido Fawkes and others said that nobody could ever infer that Hannan was showing approval of Powell’s stance on immigration or race because Hannan is on the record as a free-marketeer on immigration, and so no harm can be done. But as my post shows, Hannan isn’t a free marketeer on immigration. He has co-authored a book which claims that Britain is failing, in part, because of immigration, and which recommends various policies on the grounds that they will curtail immigration – including, strikingly, non-intervention in genocide, so as not to encourage asylum seekers from the persecuted group.

So we have here a politician who believes that Britain is ‘failing’ under current levels of immigration, who wants immigration cut back, and who has also said that Enoch Powell is an appropriate focus of admiration. And given that these are the facts, what Hannan has done in lauding Powell is both irresponsible and harmful to people from immigrant and racial groups in Britain. So it is right that he be strongly criticised.

Outragous isn’t it – what other country would be so right wing as to only allow people in if they could make an economic contribution ?

Since when have Libertarians wanted state planning?!

What a crock, so the state should be minimal, involving itself in as little as possible as it cannot make the necessary economic calculations (pretty much Menger, von Mises, Hayek, Friedman 101). But when it comes to Labour the most fundamental and important input to industry it should intervene massively, violently suppressing the movement of billions of people?

(Also: “Within your paradigm, how do you account for the fact that established migrant comminities are often the most hostile to sunsequent waves of immigration?”

Well, actually a lot of immigrant communities are pretty pro-immigrant. On top of that, some of their pro-immigrant views are tempered by the fact that they don’t want to to ‘kick up a fuss’

There’s also the argument that those that have been oppressed, quite easily become oppressors themselves? If it’s the norm that you have encountered then it is easy to fall into the way of life.)

“As the old USSR used to ? No.”

You want border controls one way, but not the other? Consistency fail.

53. Chris Baldwin

A right-wing libertarian is a contradiction in terms.

That’s like saying because some crime exists despite the existence of the police – it demonstrates the complete failure of the police force.

This is stupidity that you can easily rip apart if you spend any time on it.

If you can find me many people saying that the UK Border Agency are doing a competent job I’d be surprised. Saying that widespread illegal immigration indicates the failure of our Border Agencies strikes me as pretty uncontroversial really.

And anyway, as I was asking, if putting any restrictions on immigration is “essentially the same” as Enoch Powell, how does that fit with your lack of support for wholly open and unadministered borders? Are you too “essentially the same” as Enoch Powell?

He has co-authored a book which claims that Britain is failing, in part, because of immigration, and which recommends various policies on the grounds that they will curtail immigration – including, strikingly, non-intervention in genocide, so as not to encourage asylum seekers from the persecuted group.

I’m sorry still to be defending Hannan here, because as I said, I thought he was daft to cite Powell as an influence, but you really are misrepresenting him here. Both the first two extracts you cite are evidence not of the pernicious effects of immigration but the fact that the state has lost control of it.

Being against immigration is absolutely not the same thing as being against illegal immigration. The failure of the state to control illegal immigration is actually against the interests of migrants as it encourages a Daily Mail-esque ‘all asylum seekers are scroungers’ attitude.

With regard to the Swiss referendum system, which you portray Hannan as saying is a good thing because it prevents ‘generous imigration rules’, Hannan and Carswell certainly acknowledge that referenda make projects that the politicians like harder to pass. But they see referenda as “a guarantee that a party with a transient majority cannot make major changes without popular consent”. It’s not an anti-immigration point, it’s a direct democracy point.

You’re at risk of arguing by extension: Hannan is in favour of referenda; a referendum might re-introduce capital punishment; ergo Hannan is in favour of capital punishment.

If you can find me many people saying that the UK Border Agency are doing a competent job I’d be surprised.

That’s not the point though is it Tim? The point is about logical consistency, not what the Daily Mail has been repeating ad infinitum since day one and therefore must be true.

What logical consistency are you talking about? Hannan’s argument is that the inability of the Border Agency to control illegal immigration is a failure of the state. Which bit about this do you find inconsistent or offensive.

I guess you aren’t going to answer my point regarding the diferences between you and Powell…

Tim J, you are defending an indefensible position. I have offered plenty of evidence that Hannan is not, as he has claimed to be, a Friedmanite free-marketeer on immigration. In fact, he is in favour of immigration quotas, and thinks that Britain is ‘failing’ because of immigration. Not just illegal immigration. Your argument to the contrary rests on seeing things in the text that simply aren’t there.

Neither of the first two quotes I gave support your interpretation. The first says that Britain is failing because of open borders, not illegal immigration. The second is ambiguous, so I see why you have repeatedly returned to it in previous comments: it’s the best you’ve got. But that’s all it is: ambiguous. It could not be used to argue that Hannan is only worried about illegal immigration unless you purposefully ignore the rest of the evidence.

I said that H & C commend the Swiss system of referendums *partly* on grounds that the people, when asked, will be tougher on immigration. I never said it was their only reason for supporting the system. But nobody could read the relevant part of the book and not come away with the impression that the authors think that this is one good thing in the system’s favour that it will lead to less ‘generous immigration rules’.

You have repeatedly failed to get to grips with (even though you have quoted me referring to it) the passage in which the authors argue that humanitarian intervention is a bad thing because it encourages asylum seeking. Not bogus asylum seeking, mind: just asylum seeking. That people fleeing genocide would seek asylum in Britain is a ‘grim reality’ according to Hannan – sufficiently grim that we ought not to prevent genocide.

The inability of the borders agency to control immigration is, indeed, a failure of the state. And, on balance, probably a good thing too.

60. Rob Knight

Let’s try to unpack the debating positions a bit:

The Friedmanite position – that one can have total free movement of people or a strong welfare state, is logically consistent. The argument goes that if there is a cost (in benefits and increase public service provision) associated with receiving immigrants, then we need to limit the quantity of immigration to that which we feel we can reasonably afford. This is the basis on which immigration policy is presently founded. From this starting point, we can debate whether the benefits (in tax revenues, skills, improved demographics and increased social diversity) outweigh the costs (financial costs mentioned earlier and whatever social costs you believe may arise from immigration) in order to decide how many or what kind of migrants to allow.

A Friedmanite on immigration advocates open borders but with no entitlement to citizenship/benefits (cf. Dubai, Gastarbeiter). The belief here is that people will come to the country if they believe that, once they arrive, they will be able to support themselves. Friedman was greatly in favour of this, pointing out that prior to 1914 the US had essentially no immigration controls. He also spoke in favour of illegal immigration to the US from Mexico, on the basis that the very ‘illegal’ status of the migrants – not qualifiying for benefits of any kind – meant that they were operating along the rules that he’d prefer to see for all migrants. They were making their own calculation about whether they wanted to move to the US based on their expectations of being productive once they got there. In Friedman’s view, everyone’s a winner here, including the US which gains a lot of super-motivated people willing to work hard to support themselves and their families.

The alternative is to have more generous welfare provision but place limits on the number of migrants. The latter is what almost every state currently does, at least officially.

So, Dan Hannan. I could well believe that he would like to see Friedmanite policy in place – reduce the welfare state to such a point that each additional migrant adds no extra cost to the system. However, that’s not what his book advocates. To be fair to him, the book is co-authored and perhaps he simply had to compromise on this point – I don’t know.

I think what’s being argued in the book is not that present immigration policy is right or wrong, but that it’s poorly implemented. Britain has a policy of controlled immigration (which is almost universally supported by everyone from Enoch Powell to Sunny) and yet we have illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is a problem not because it’s immigration, but because it’s illegal. Hannan’s view could be that if we’re going to have a policy of controlled immigration, we should at least enforce it. If we end up having laws against lots of things, but those laws are only enforced in some cases, then we end up with arbitrary laws that are only enforced against people we don’t like, or whenever there’s a tabloid campaign for a ‘crackdown’. In and of itself, this is a good argument.

If I wanted to be charitable to Hannan, I’d say that his position is that we’ve got to decide one way or the other: either we let people come to the UK but without benefits for doing so, or we limit immigration and we enforce our laws properly. This is a position that is hard to argue against, mostly because it’s actually pretty boring and uncontroversial. We do need to decide what to do about illegal immigration, and the options do boil down to finding some way of allowing people to come in legally but without the costs that we’re currently afraid of, or stepping up the enforcement of the rules to ensure that they apply equally to everyone who tries to come in. I think he’s accusing the present government of having a double standard; an official policy of restricted immigration, but an implicit policy of insecure borders. On that narrow point, he’s probably right – there’s something pretty weird about the anti-immigration rhetoric (BJ4BW etc.) from Gordon Brown on downwards, when combined with the fact that existing immigration law is poorly enforced.

The thing is, Dan Hannan is no Milton Friedman. He’s not arguing for greater human liberty, he’s arguing for greater democratic control (in other words, everyone who’s already here voting to keep everyone else out). He’s right to say that if we are going to keep people out then we need to do it consistently in order to be fair, but that’s a deeply unremarkable point to make. But hey, if all he needs to do is name-drop Enoch Powell in order to get another round of coverage from his opponents then perhaps he doesn’t even need to say anything interesting about policy.

Good post.

Hannan’s claim to have libertarian views on immigration doesn’t stand up, though he seems to have at different times voiced relatively pro-immigration views compared to many on the right, and also a more populist conventional view as outlined here.

However, not being a libertarian does not make his views on immigration similar to Powell’s, which sounds to me to be what Sunny is arguing.

Even a ‘close the borders’ or ‘zero net migration’ position (which is not Hannan’s) would be at most only half-Powellite, if it is about numbers/resources and not about the cultural essence of the nation, and Powell by 1968 was very clear that his priority was the scale of repatriation of the immigrants or immigrant-descended, with stemming the future inflow being only the minor part of the policy. He also clearly acknowledged that this would, by the 1980s, be quite impossible because the proportion of the British-born descendants of the immigrant population would have settled the issue.

62. Planeshift

“the argument goes that if there is a cost (in benefits and increase public service provision) associated with receiving immigrants, then we need to limit the quantity of immigration to that which we feel we can reasonably afford.”

Or you can limit access to benefits and services.

By the way – immigrants also pay tax and NI when they work. I know – I found that shocking too when I first discovered it.

63. Rob Knight

By the way – immigrants also pay tax and NI when they work. I know – I found that shocking too when I first discovered it.

I know, I mentioned it in the second sentence after the one you quoted 😉

“Or you can limit access to benefits and services”.

Yes but we don’t we do either. We have universal education, healthcare, social services, etc (I’ll leave out housing and benefits as they always cause a row on here)
so it is possible to arrive here, stay years without contributing and still get all of those services, in other words to be a net drain on the economy.
I don’t see anything racist (or even right wing) about wanting to prevent people doing that. Whether significant numbers of people actually do it (the standard defence from the left) is irrelevant, you wouldn’t leave your front door open all night on the basis that most people are honest.

Yes, yes, MM, but it’s also entirely possible to use all of the above services and more, then bugger off out of the country on your sixteenth birthday never to come back again. A net drain on the economy if ever there was one.

But no-one’s calling for a ban *emigration*, are they? Wonder why…

Neither of the first two quotes I gave support your interpretation. The first says that Britain is failing because of open borders, not illegal immigration. The second is ambiguous, so I see why you have repeatedly returned to it in previous comments: it’s the best you’ve got. But that’s all it is: ambiguous. It could not be used to argue that Hannan is only worried about illegal immigration unless you purposefully ignore the rest of the evidence.

I think this has probably run its course, as we are both putting different interpretations on the same text. Very briefly, both of the first two extracts you cite use the failure of the UK Border Agency to enforce the UK immigration laws as evidence of the failure of the state. It would only be the case that Hannan was blaming the failure of the state on our open borders policy if we had an open borders policy. We don’t, it’s simply that the state is not able to enforce the laws it sets. The first and the second quote are making precisely the same point.

I’m not entirely clear what point Hannan and Carswell are making about liberal interventionism, but again, it is the fact of interdependence that is a grim reality – the fact that humanitarian policies that are not designed with their impact on the domestic polity in mind, will in fact have an impact. You can infer from that they are opposed to genuine asylum seekers, but it’s not said. What is said is that liberal interventionism reveals the interdependence of states.

And the reason it has to be an inference, as with the referendum point, is that in a book that puports to offer a 12 step plan to renew Britain (or some such) immigration is hardly mentioned except in parentheses. Rob Knight probably has it closest when he says:

I think what’s being argued in the book is not that present immigration policy is right or wrong, but that it’s poorly implemented.

If Hannan and Carswell think that immigration is ruining the country, and that it should be cut back, and all the rest, you would have thought that in a book that sets out their political manifesto it would have a proper chapter to itself. It doesn’t, and that’s because they don’t really see it as a priority.

Matt M: “Whether significant numbers of people actually do it (the standard defence from the left) is irrelevant”

That seems a bit strange. So if in practise no-one is lunatic enough to travel thousands of miles to squat on our meagre benefits is irrelevant, the point is that this is a theoretical possibility? No, nonsense: when people are debating actual immigration numbers, surely the way people have actually behaved (because the front door is open), is the point?

People don’t come here in order to luxuriate in our welfare system. It may be theoretically rational for some Americans to come here in order to free-ride on our health care system, but since they don’t, let’s not use it to shape policy.

Similarly, many right wing hand-wringers worry about the incentives offered by the housing system to produce babies for a larger house. But it is really incredibly rare, and how things are really (not the normal concern of a libertarian, I’ll grant you), is how policy is actually formed – thank God.

So this terribly important contradiction between open borders and a welfare state ought to stay in the wingnut textbooks, IMHO

Tim J:

I think this has probably run its course, as we are both putting different interpretations on the same text. Very briefly, both of the first two extracts you cite use the failure of the UK Border Agency to enforce the UK immigration laws as evidence of the failure of the state. It would only be the case that Hannan was blaming the failure of the state on our open borders policy if we had an open borders policy. We don’t, it’s simply that the state is not able to enforce the laws it sets. The first and the second quote are making precisely the same point.

But the UK Border Agency is not mentioned in either quote. What is mentioned is the view that ‘[o]ur borders are, to all intents and purposes, wide open’ and the view that, because we have 300,000 migrants coming in, ‘many of them illicitly’, that means the state is not performing an ‘elementary function’. This is not a matter of us having differing interpretations. It is a matter of you inventing things that aren’t supported by the text.

I’m not entirely clear what point Hannan and Carswell are making about liberal interventionism, but again, it is the fact of interdependence that is a grim reality – the fact that humanitarian policies that are not designed with their impact on the domestic polity in mind, will in fact have an impact. You can infer from that they are opposed to genuine asylum seekers, but it’s not said. What is said is that liberal interventionism reveals the interdependence of states.

Rubbish. It is clear that what makes the reality of interdependence ‘grim’ in this case is that it resulted in an influx of asylum applicants. Why did the authors think that the reality was ‘grim’ if they did not think that its result was grim? I find your willingness to obfuscate in defense of Hannan astonishing. You may want to play dumb, but I’m afraid it *is* perfectly clear what he was here trying to say.

If Hannan and Carswell think that immigration is ruining the country, and that it should be cut back, and all the rest, you would have thought that in a book that sets out their political manifesto it would have a proper chapter to itself. It doesn’t, and that’s because they don’t really see it as a priority.

Here is the fairly obvious explanation. The Tories have come to realise, over a period of many years, that railing against immigration at every opportunity has led to their being thought of as a vicious, poisonous force in British politics. The decontamination of the Tory brand has relied, in large measure, on their learning to shut up about topics like this. Carswell and Hannan have ambitions to be thought of as trailblazing Conservative modernisers. If they had written a treatise against immigration they would have been thought of only as the same old kind of boorish, intolerant Tory. So they wrote about other subjects. But they still included enough parenthetical references to the need to bring down immigration to keep the Tory faithful happy.

But the UK Border Agency is not mentioned in either quote. What is mentioned is the view that ‘[o]ur borders are, to all intents and purposes, wide open’ and the view that, because we have 300,000 migrants coming in, ‘many of them illicitly’, that means the state is not performing an ‘elementary function’. This is not a matter of us having differing interpretations. It is a matter of you inventing things that aren’t supported by the text.

Right, final from me, because we’re starting to go round in circles. No, the UK Border Agency isn’t mentioned. However, the fact that we have “to all intents and purposes” an open border isn’t a criticism of UK immigration policy, because that isn’t UK immigration policy. It’s a criticism of the failure of the UK state (and since the UKBA is an arm of the state, the performance of one can be used to assess the performance of the other) in enforcing its own policies. That’s why it comes in a series of points regarding health, education, crime and rail/roads that highlight the failure of the adminstration of the state. To move from that to a suggestion that Hannan thinks that the UK is failing because of immigration is a ridiculous overstretch.

In fact, from those first two points it is impossible to discern anything about Hannan’s opinion about immigration policy, other than that it is currently badly administered.

Look, if you really think that Hannan is a hardline immigration nut, who wants to close the borders then that’s your prerogative. But you won’t find much support in his writing. He is an immigrant, for God’s sake.

No more from me – so I give you the author’s right to the last word!

NO MORE HANNAN POSTS PLEASE!

I DO NOT CARE WHAT THE FUCK THE LITTLE LIZARD FACED MAN BELIEVES IN!

Cheers.

PS: sorry Soho Pol, just had to get that off me chest, as I though maybe Lib Con would have a post on Ted Kennedy and crossing partizan bounderies and all that, you know, a piece on an actual Liberal rather than the Hannan twat.

Peace out.

More Hannan, just for Dan H-G

*weeps into his real ale*

No more, please…

*yelps like a broken dog*

Tim J:

No more from me – so I give you the author’s right to the last word!

I am worried about Dan H-G’s mental well-being, so perhaps we ought to leave it at that. The prosecution rests. 🙂

I’m actually alright, pretty chipper todaym had some great news and living the dream and to be clear Soho, it is nowt personal.

Anybody remember Neil Hamilton’s pro Enoch Powell rant in the Express? http://bit.ly/XZItx

Is it the Tories’ ‘Praise the racists’ week? Michael Portillo praises Charles ‘Bell Curve’ Murray http://bit.ly/V2sz9

If I wanted to be charitable to Hannan, I’d say that his position is that we’ve got to decide one way or the other: either we let people come to the UK but without benefits for doing so, or we limit immigration and we enforce our laws properly.

Everyone is talking about “immigration” and “immigrants” as though there were only one type. There aren’t.

There are two types of immigrant to this country: EU citizens and non-EU citizens.

EU citizens—through EU law—must be allowed all of the same benefits as the natives. That means that they can claim the same benefits, use the same services, etc. and have complete freedom to move or settle in any EU country.

As some people may know, over the last six months or more, I have been dealing with the British government’s disgusting and inhuman attitude to the second set of immigrants—the non-EU citizen.

Non-EU citizens are not allowed any benefits, despite paying full taxes. Non-EU citizens are often not allowed to stay in the country if they have no job—the most common Tier 2 visa is tied to an immigrant’s job: if they lose the job, they have to leave the country immediately (it doesn’t matter whether they can still support themselves, through savings, etc. They have to leave).

The problems that we have are not with the latter group: it is not they who are putting a strain on public services. The problem is with the EU citizens, mainly from poorer parts of the EU, who we must treat as though they were natives.

Now, whichever of the two approaches above you consider to be right (or, like me, you might consider that the both of them are completely stupid) doesn’t tremendously matter—but any debate on immigration must acknowledge the fact that not all immigrants are equal in this country.

DK

Enough of this nonsense about Enoch Powell being racist. Do you know what his greatest ambition was? To be Viceroy of India. And no, he didn’t want to tread on the brown masses, he wanted to rule over them benignly because he loved India (this is NOT a pro-Empire argument, I’m just saying that the man’s motives were honourable). He spoke Urdu by the way.

Powell wept in the Commons when describing the British atrocities against the Mau Mau in Kenya. His central point? That all human beings should be treated with dignity, and that the apologists for the Kenya horridness – whose core argument was ‘this is an African solution to an African problem’ – were wrong. Does this sound like the rantings of a racist?

Bear in mind that Powell was totally cast out of the Tory party and had ample opportunity to join the BNP or other racist group. It would have ruined his reputation no less. But he didn’t. Why? Because he was a Tory to his core and despised narrow-minded racists.

His vision of Britain was of a devout, historic country and yes, a white one. He loved Britain for its uniqueness and India for its uniqueness. He was (mostly) wrong about immigration. His views on race were mostly romantic nonsense, but they were not racist in the sense of believing in racial superiority.

I remind you also that Tony Benn has praised Powell, with whom he was firm friends, as did a certain Tony Blair. Are they racists?

Powellite:

That’s one generous interpretation of Powell’s legacy but I wouldn’t consider it accurate or fully refelctive of the man.

80. Passing Libertarian

Fucking pathetic. Why don’t some of you inform yourself about libertarianism. It has absolutely nothing to do with advocating a no-border policy. A no border policy would evidently be counterproductive to any libertarian agenda since importing large numbers of uneducated third-world immigrants only creates a constituency for massive levels of statism and welfare. Thats exactly why libertarians are against mass immigration and why left-liberals and socialists support it.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    : Is Dan Hannan really a libertarian? http://bit.ly/h5Bqp

  2. Liberty Ideals

    Is Dan Hannan really a libertarian? #libertarian http://bit.ly/TUzOI

  3. adamnaranjo

    Is Dan Hannan really a libertarian? #libertarian http://bit.ly/TUzOI (via @libertyideals)

  4. Liberal Conspiracy

    : Is Dan Hannan really a libertarian? http://bit.ly/h5Bqp

  5. Liberty Ideals

    Is Dan Hannan really a libertarian? #libertarian http://bit.ly/TUzOI





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.