Daniel Hannan – Euro MP and the most influential politician on the Internet – has been finding the election campaign pretty stressful. Fortunately, he’s an early adopter of what I am told is the latest new television sensation from across the Atlantic:
In the evenings, Mrs H and I unwind by watching The Wire which is, for my money, quite the best cop show around. Spreading itself comfortably over five series, it uses the space to develop its characters. There are no straightforward goodies or baddies here, any more than in Shakespeare’s plays. And the dialect is addictive. Several times, on the campaign trail, I have had to force myself to say “yes” rather than “true dat” or “mos def”.
This is much more than just downtime though.
Jimmy McNulty – in real life an Eton boy like David Cameron (“I didn’t know him then but I do now. I know his wife a bit because my best friend used to be crazy for her. When she wound up marrying Cameron, we were like, ‘Why do you want to be with that fucking Tory boy?'”) – has endorsed the Conservatives, sending Toby Young weak at the knees (“Dominic West is a genuinely cool famous person – a fantastically gifted actor and a movie star in the making. It was almost as if Jack Nicholson had come out for George W Bush.”)
Not only that, Hannan reckons that The Wire provides a model for policing Britain’s lawless streets:
The programme doesn’t immediately look like an endorsement of the Tory policy of elected police commissioners. On the contrary, it often shows honest rozzers being made to do the wrong thing by vote-grabbing politicians.
Then again, perfection is not of this world. An elected sheriff might make the wrong call, just as an unelected chief constable might. The difference is that we can’t get rid of the unelected chief constable… The last word ought surely to go to local people.
And you know what? Unless The Wire is lying, those Baltimore coppers are out patrolling every day. They have to, you see: their bosses answer to local voters. Messy as it can sometimes be, democracy is a pretty good idea.
As the man says, true dat. Mos def.
MEP and internet superstar, Daniel Hannan is up in arms at what he sees Barack Obama sucking up to ‘Peronist Argentina’ on the Falklands.
“When matters last came to a head,” he writes, “Ronald Reagan had no difficulty backing Margaret Thatcher: the Gipper knew who America’s friends were.”
Of course, it wasn’t nearly as simple as that, as I am sure Hannan (a huge Thatcher fan) knows well. Michael Moynihan (no foe of Hannan’s, by the way) sets the record straight:
Before the British took military action in 1982, the Reagan administration was, to the consternation of the British foreign office, very much on the fence and, initially, wedded to the neutrality position… In a letter to Thatcher, Reagan said that his government would take a neutral position on the matter—again, causing great anger—but would come out in favor of its ally if the Argentinians decide to start shooting…
It was only a communications error that prevented the United States from abstaining, rather than vetoing, a United Nation Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire—which Britain strenuously opposed.
Hannan’s fudging gives me a chance to plug James Rentschler’s superb Falklands diary. Rentschler was the Reagan official who ended up responsible for US policy on the islands after Argentina invaded. He was nonplussed by the task:
Never heard of [the Falklands], right? Me neither at least not until last evening when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sent an urgent message through the Cabinet Line requesting the President to intercede with the Argies. 1800 British-origin sheepherders, pursuing a peaceful life on some wind-blown specks of rock in the South Atlantic, now targeted by Argentine amphibious assault units – who, in turn, may soon be attacked by the largest naval armada ever to steam out of British ports since Suez? Yes indeed, the thing certainly does sound like Gilbert and Sullivan as told to Anthony Trollope by Alistair Cooke. But what started out as comic opera now looks to become not only quite serious, but exceptionally nasty. The Argentines have clearly misjudged the British temper, and this guy Galtieri, speaking first in broken mafioso-type English before the State Department interpreter tactfully intervenes, sounds like a thug. (more…)