However, beyond the question of whether Hannan was using the name of Enoch Powell as a codeword or dog whistle for various people on the hard right, there’s an interesting question of what his overall aim is. Is he just riding the fifteen minutes of fame he got from his YouTubed rant about Gordon Brown, grasping all the wingnut welfare he can before the short attention span moves on to someone else, or is he trying something more?
It’s interesting to note that Hannan is remaining as an MEP, with seemingly no designs on going to Westminster in the near future – one certainly can’t imagine Conservative Central Office risking the furore that parachuting him into a seat for the next General Election would cause – yet will that necessarily harm him? Being an MEP rather than an MP offers him a lot more freedom to build his profile and champion the causes of the Tory Right without getting sidetracked by constituency business or being silenced by becoming Under-Secretary of State for Grass Clippings in a Tory Government. He can keep capitalising on his fame – and doesn’t have to resort to the rubber chicken circuit of speaking to local parties anymore – and build himself a reputation as the true standard-bearer for the Tory Right, the King over the water waiting for the call from his people, especially if/when Cameron fails in office. (He’ll certainly have noticed that one of his fellow former South East MEPs was a challenger for his party’s leadership less than a year after being elected to Westminster.) He can get adulation without power or responsibility, and if all else fails there’s always Fox News.