At least not in the European Parliament. There may be irony in a Conservative Eurosceptic delivering a brilliant and blistering fusillade against a British Prime Minister in the European legislature in Strasbourg, but Daniel Hannan, MEP for this region, did so on Tuesday. You do not have to agree with his sentiments to appreciate the economy of his language and the panache of his delivery. This is the sort of speech that makes politics fun. Watch and enjoy it here courtesy of YouTube. The Prime Minister must have hated every second of it. At Westminster he is surrounded by Loyal Labour MPs when the Opposition goes for his jugular. Hannan was listened to in respectful silence until the quality of his performance stirred applause. Poor Old Gordon.        


The interesting dimension to this story is how it has come to public prominence by going "viral". Completely ignored by the mainstream media initially, it has now been viewed more than a million times on You Tube. I must admit that we only looked at the story once it had become a You Tube phenomenon although I was aware of it beforehand through a number of blog postings. Just shows how news is broken in lots of different ways these days.I agree though - great bit of political theatre. Not the sort you're likely to get at County Hall on Monday, I fear...

"The devalued Prime Minister of a devalued government" is a great way to end what was a brilliant speech. For all of the politicians who shirk questions and waffle on without direction, "Dan The Man" lays the facts out and then verbally undermines Brown - someone who is meant to know about the economy - about how he has handled the global crisis. Although Hannan doesn't offer solutions to the problems (forgive me if I'm wrong, but how many politicians do?), he addresses them with style and in a forthright manner. Nice one Dan.  

I think there is an element of myth-creation behind Dan the Man's insistence that this story spread entirely by viral communication. Note that my original post is dated 26/3 - and rested unremarked on this site until the story was widely covered elsewhere.  I heard about the story from conventional media and then watched it on YouTube. A lot of other people did the same thing. Dan Hannan was interviewed on Fox and Rush Limbaugh. He wrote about his speech in the Telegraph. The speech was covered on C4 News and in the Daily Mail before the YouTube hit-rate went stellar. I accept that YouTube has made the speech available and that's a tremendous boon. But a politician who believes he is under-reported by the BBC, ITV and many newspapers might have an ulterior motive for highlighting its absence from terrestrial broadcasters and the traditional press. And several traditional outlets have reason to treat the story as a YouTube triumph because it diverts attention from their own myopia.       

To be fair to Dan, he refrained from having a go at the BBC and ITV over their failure to cover or pick up the story when I spoke to him on Friday although various other Conservatives have tried to stir that pot.

I think the interesting aspect is that it became  more of a story on the back of the You Tube hits; the media focused in on that rather than what he said.

He even said that had he been a commissioning editor, he would have not bothered with covering the speech either! Incidentally UKIP leader Nigel Farage also  "kebabed" Brown during the same session. Also worth a look.

Parliamentary oratory is not dead