After the BBC Newsnight appearance of Dan, Dan The Oratory Man, and Evan Davis’ clear exasperation that the Vote Leave crowd were now saying there might not be any reduction in immigration following Britain’s departure from the EU, the disquiet started. Many had voted Leave precisely because they were given the impression that immigration would be reduced, especially that from eastern Europe.
One only slightly used fire extinguisher, what am I bid? Yes, it's with you Sir, you in the front row
Hannan was now calmly saying this might not only not happen, but that he didn’t have a problem with it continuing. All those who did have a problem with it continuing, and who thought that in him they had found a champion for their cause, began to realise they had been taken for fools, something which Zelo Street has been telling anyone prepared to listen for some time - that Hannan talks well, but lies badly.
How would he broach the issue? Simples. By lying again: “A lot of Remainers are now raging at me because I *don't* want to cut immigration sharply. There really is no pleasing some people”. No Dan, it isn’t “Remainers”. IT’S YOUR OWN SIDE. Daniel Knowles - one of his fellow journalists - put him straight. “They're raging because your campaign - your allies if not you - promised that to win”. Bit obvious, really.
And Martin Gentles had to point out something else that was rather obvious, if not to Hannan: “he may find many on his side are not as relaxed with that proposition as he is”. Quite, especially, as Rupert Evans also had to point out, “It's the reason for a third of the Leave vote. Depressing, really”. A third of that 17 million were motivated to put their cross in the Leave box because they believed that would cut immigration.
So the backlash was all too predictable: “They are raging at you because you lied and lied and lied and lied about it”. That seems to cover all the bases. Would someone care to second that emotion? “Yeah it was the lies, mate”. It’s a wonder that Hannan doesn’t have permanent access to a fire extinguisher, what with all the burning trousers.
We even had someone giving the impression they were a Star Trek fan: “I am, and have been, highlighting your deliberate lies”. They may not have been his friend, though, not now. One Tweeter told The Great Man “As a rule it's not good form to lie before a crucial irreversible vote. PS about that £350 million a week …”.
Another put it equally directly: “'We can't cut immigration if we're in the EU' was taken as a promise to cut immigration. You tore the country apart with lies”. What the electorate was given to understand was that there would be a cut in migrant numbers. So one Tweeter’s suggestion was all too predictable: “I know, Twitter needs a special ‘Dan Hannan Liar Notice’ extension. 12 million characters should be enough”.
Daniel Hannan was OK when he was a fringe character. Nobody got affected by all his lies then. Now he’s been pitched into the mainstream, he’s discovering that not only does power bring responsibilities, but also that actions have consequences.