Tom Harris talks nonsense
I entirely agree with Alex Massie here: Tom Harris is being an idiot. He is, obviously, entirely entitled to find Dan Hannan’s (masterly, excoriating etc) speech obnoxious. You wouldn’t expect a Labour MP to enjoy it. But this is preposterous.
What was truly repugnant about his speech was the total absence of any sense of patriotism. Some Tories on the extreme right of the party share the problem of some Republicans in the States: they don’t regard the head of government to be the nation’s leader unless he or she is also a member of their little party.
Gordon Brown isn’t just Labour’s prime minister; he’s Britain’s prime minister, and for any UK politician to launch such a disgraceful, personal attack on his country’s leader — in a foreign country — is nothing short of disgraceful.
Well there are a few points to be made in response to this nonsense. The first is that not regarding the head of government to be the nation’s leader in the States is not the preserve of the Republicans – he’s obviously not been watching for the past eight years. The second is that the old American convention of politics stopping at the waters edge is based on the fact that the President is not merely the head of government, but also the head of state.
That’s not the case in Britain. We have a much better Head of State thanks, and the notion that Gordon Brown is my ‘leader’ is rather nauseating. Hannan is an elected MEP and he was making a speech in the European Parliament in response to a speech made by Gordon Brown. Brown is a politician, no more and no less. He is not and should not be immune from criticism, wherever that criticism comes from.