Dan Hannan calls for a return to sanity in the public finances and a revolutionary dispersal of power at the Brighton Tea Party
It was standing room only at the Boston Brighton Tea Party organised by the Freedom Association early this evening at which Dan Hannan was guest speaker. He said that it was time to "bring sanity and order back to the public finances" an that had to be done by reducing expenditure rather than increasing taxes.
He referred to the time when Ronald Reagan was asked how he could justify cutting taxes when the deficit was so large, and he recalled the President's reply:
"I'm not worried about the deficit - the deficit is big enough to look after itself".
In other words, if you bring down taxes there will be economic growth, revenues will rise and the deficit will be reduced. Reagan took a massive gamble, he recalled, and it worked, with Margaret Thatcher doing much the same thing in Britain. "We have lost sight of that wisdom," he lamented.
Mr Hannan noted that in each of his first two terms as an MEP, the EU had a five-year aim. In 1999-2004 it was harmonisation of legal affairs, crime and justice, and immigration policy; in 2004-09 it was passing the European Constitution.
Now, he said, the EU's five-year agenda is tax harmonisation. He prayed in aid - for once - the words of Keynes: "He who controls the currency controls the country".
He noted that the cry at the original 1773 Boston Tea Party was "No taxation without representation" and that today in the US tax may be too high, but that it is not levied by people who are immune to public opinion. In Europe now, he said, there is the danger that we are going down the road towards a pan-European tax system, which was taxation without representation.
To those who might criticise him for aping a foreign idea in Brighton today, he said that there is nothing foreign about meeting to say that we as a people should have a say over what revenue is taken from us. Mr Hannan repeated his oft-made call for a complete rethink of the role of the state in Britain today and said that it was vital that minsters push powers downwards and outwards and restoring democracy.
The Boston revolution led to power being dispersed, he concluded, and whilst he intended drinking tea this afternoon rather than dumping kegs of it in the Channel, he hoped that this would be the start of a revolution that will "restore honour and purpose to the act of voting, dignity to our legislature and freedom to our citizens".