And when Enoch Powell is mentioned, not much has changed - as witness the reaction to Daniel Hannan’s reference to Mr. Powell in his Reason TV interview. Mr. Hannan said:
“He was somebody who understood the importance of national democracy, who understood why you need to live in an independent country and what that meant, as well as being a free marketeer and a small government Conservative."Lord Mandelson waded in, and Parmjit Dhanda, Labour MP for
Gloucester, called on Mr Cameron to remove the party whip from Mr Hannan, and said: “When another Tory candidate praised Enoch Powell in 2007, David Cameron criticised him and he was forced to resign.”
The two cases, however, are completely different. The Tory candidate in question, Nigel Hastilow, had said that Powell was right about immigration. But not only did Hannan not praise (or mention) Powell’s views on immigration, he doesn’t even agree with them. Mr Dhanda is either being stupid, or intellectually dishonest.
And this is the thing that depresses me. The level of political discourse in this country should be a little higher than “Nyah, nyah, nyah.” It shouldn't be based on ignorance and dishonesty. And yet members of parliament can come up with pure idiocy, and not face deselection.
Last year, Hazel Blears complained about political blogs:
"Mostly, political blogs are written by people with disdain for the political system and politicians, who see their function as unearthing scandals, conspiracies and perceived hypocrisy. Until political blogging 'adds value' to our political culture, by allowing new voices, ideas and legitimate protest and challenge, and until the mainstream media reports politics in a calmer, more responsible manner, it will continue to fuel a culture of cynicism and despair."I’m sorry, Ms. Blears, but I do despair of politicians, and I am cynical about them. And there is dishonesty, stupidity and hypocrisy among politicians. Political blogging does add value to our political culture. It points out dishonesty, stupidity, and hypocrisy. And it also allows new voices and ideas.
And, at least with most of the blogs that I read, blogging provides a level of rational political discussion that is well above what we often get from career politicians like Lord Mandelson and Mr. Dhanda. If only the result of their silly remarks was a public outcry about the stupidity and intellectual dishonesty that so often characterises political discourse in this country.