Wednesday 8 October 2008

Dan Hannan's Icelandic utopia

Daniel Hannan loves Iceland. He even spent his stag night there so that he could pay tribute to its refusal to join the EU. So this Tory MEP, who is among the most committed advocates for getting Britain out of the EU is naturally maddened by the idea that Iceland could respond to its financial crisis by joining up.

But was it not this very same Dan Hannan who penned an October 2004 paean of praise to Icelandic Euroscepticism in the Spectator, bolstering his better off out case by celebrating the sceptic land of the blue-eyed sheikhs as a model of Thatcherite prosperity and freedom for us all?

Being outside the EU, Iceland has been able to cut taxes and regulation, and to open up its economy. For 70 years the Althing has been dominated by the splendidly named Independence party, which has pursued the kind of Thatcherite agenda that is off limits to EU members
Icelanders understand that there is a connection between living in an independent state and living independently from the state. They have no more desire to submit to international than to national regulation. That attitude has made them the happiest, freest and wealthiest people on earth.

Well, never mind. (Though if you are looking for somebody to blame, note that Hannan had "never come across such a high density of Spectator readers as in Reykjavik"). By contrast, Hannan suggested

Look at the City of London, for heaven’s sake, which Brussels is doing its best to asphyxiate with its financial regulations.

But, even as the facts change, Hannan certainly won't be changing his mind. His latest post-crisis blog still holds out the Icelandic utopia as the model for us all.

Don't do it, Iceland. Your current status gives you the best of all worlds. It made you rich and free. You're better off keeping the door open for us, and for the other liberal, Atlantic European states who will one day leave the EU and join you in EFTA.


Anthony Z said...

I was just saying earlier today that one of the positives of the crisis was that the Eurosceptics would have to stop going on about how wonderful and perfect Iceland's economy is.

Thanks for providing chapter and verse.

DavidBrede said...

I guess now that the Tories have separated from the rest of the right in Europe they can become much more eurosceptic.