[Updates, two so far, at end of post]
Some figures out there on the right enjoy a popularity within their chosen constituency greater than mainstream politicians. Some also enjoy a freedom of expression that belies the inconvenient fact that they owe their elective success to membership of a mainstream party. One such is MEP Daniel Hannan, much loved by the “stars” of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).
Hannan is also a valued member of the bear pit that is Maily Telegraph blogland, where yesterday he joined the chorus rubbishing the protests outside the London Stock Exchange and St Paul’s Cathedral. Look at all the tax the top 10% are paying, urged Dan, not telling that the BBC article from which he nicked his graphic said something about taxation that didn’t fit his agenda.
That something was that “most people actually pay a similar share of their income in taxes when all taxes are taken into account, even up to the top 10 per cent as a whole”. In other words, the top 10% pay more of the total income tax take because they have a lot more income, not because they’re being unfairly squeezed. Dan’s being selective with his facts.
Note Fox rhetorical question at foot of screen
And that should surprise no-one who saw Hannan playing patsy for professional loudmouth Sean Hannity on Fox back in 2009, a performance that has gone down in infamy, not just for his obsequiousness, but also the jaw-dropping level of dishonesty he displays. Dan’s first porkie is to characterise health care reform in the USA as a “Government takeover of health care”.
This assertion became PolitiFact’s Lie Of The Year for 2010, with four associated rulings, one False and three Pants On Fire. Hannan then made it back to back whoppers by telling of that same Government having power over whether citizens live or die: this is the “Death Panels” one, PolitiFact’s Lie Of The Year 2009, with an associated Pants On Fire ruling (not the only one for Sarah Palin).
Once in porkie dispensing mode, Dan can’t stop: those who buy their own treatment have their NHS care cut off, he tells Hannity. Not according to the guide on NHS patients’ rights, they don’t. Then comes the waiting time whopper, which has already been debunked by Richard Blogger (video HERE). Then come the smears: it’s like Eastern Europe was, or Cuba, or North Korea.
The Hannity and Hannan NHS hatchet job is truly desperate, but nevertheless should be required viewing for anyone in any doubt as to just how trustworthy and honest this man really is. And having viewed Hannan on Fox, nobody should take him on trust again. Ever.
[UPDATE October 20: Hannan has been at it again, this time on the subject of his pet hate, the EU. On the subject of referenda, Dan has told that "since 1997 ... there have been a further 49". Wrong. The correct answer is eight, only one of which, the AV referendum earlier this year, was UK-wide. When a few minutes' Googling is all it takes to debunk such claims, one might think that those who Robin Day so memorably - and correctly - called "here today and gone tomorrow politicians" might desist from telling such blatant whoppers]
[UPDATE November 22: Hannan just can't help himself. In his latest Maily Telegraph blogpost, he asserts "Spending is above 50 per cent of GDP". Wrong. For 2010 it was 45.45%, and 2011 figures are for obvious reasons not yet in. And this is someone who has been entrusted with writing that paper's leader columns]