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Monday 4 July 2011

Dan, Dan, The Retelling Man

As this blog keeps on pointing out, there is little reason to try and re-write events when it is so easy to do a little research and demonstrate that whoever is doing the creative retelling is talking out of the back of their neck. Yet, over in Maily Telegraph blogland, MEP and occasional Tory Dan, Dan the Oratory Man is doing just that, in an effort to celebrate his favourite US President.

Hannan’s fave Prez is of course Ronald Reagan, now represented in London’s Grosvenor Square by a statue which was unveiled today. This means that the initial US reaction to the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentina – which was to seek a solution through mediation – is forgotten. Also not in Dan’s script is the potentially greater assistance given by the French in stopping the Argentines from getting their hands on any more air launch Exocet missiles.

So Hannan’s retelling only has the US offering “immediate logistical and intelligence support”. Wrong. He’s no more clued up on Franklin Roosevelt, whose New Deal policies he blames – as with all respectable modern right leaning pundits – for lengthening the Great Depression. Hannan tells that FDR “joined the Second World War only when Hitler ... declared war on the United States”.

FDR’s financial support for Britain (and for China against the Japanese) is forgotten, as is Lend-Lease, and its extension to the USSR after Nazi Germany tore up the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and invaded. Hannan chooses not to consider that FDR could not move faster than Congress and the people would let him: the USA was already rearming, and there was resistance to any involvement in what was seen, until Pearl Harbor, as a purely European matter.

Dan’s third retelling concerns Dwight Eisenhower, and Suez. Hannan manages once more to selectively retell the tale, omitting the role of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, whose actions in stopping a loan to Egypt to facilitate building of the High Dam at Aswan left Gamel Abdul Nasser with little room for manoeuvre. The nationalisation of the Suez Canal followed.

Hannan also glosses over the small matter of Britain and France being singularly dishonest about the Suez intervention. The idea that Ike could have supported such behaviour, and during a re-election campaign while being portrayed as a man of peace, is not credible.

And the Hannan hagiography on Reagan misses those aspects of his Presidency which are less appealing to the right. Fortunately the people at ThinkProgress have put together a reminder.

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