The man Dan Hannan seems to have put his foot in it again – or has he?
Tory MEP Hannan is now seen by the left as the archetype of frothing rightwingery since his tour of the US denouncing the National Health Service. And now he has popped up on a TV station citing Enoch Powell as a political hero.
Powell, of course, is persona non grata in British political history because of his famous anti-immigration “rivers of blood” speech.
However, Hannan was careful to praise Powell only for his views on the free market and the advantages of a small state.
Critics are trying to draw comparisons with Nigel Hastilow, a former Tory PPC who was sacked for praising Powell’s views on immigration.
By contrast, David Cameron will not be drawn into commenting on this incipient row. His aides say that Hannan did not mention Powell’s opinions on race/immigration so it is not the same issue. Let’s see whether this one has legs or not.
Guido has written to point out that Tony Blair led the tributes to Powell after his death in 1998.
“However controversial his views, he was one of the great figures of 20th century British politics, gifted with a brilliant mind,” said the Labour leader.