Calling out MEP and occasional Tory Dan, Dan the Oratory Man for flagrant dishonesty is nothing new: this, after all, is the man who went on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) and span three blatant porkies in five minutes on the subject of health care. But Hannan is sharpening up his act – not to remove the dishonesty, but to turn it into the drive-by e-shooting genre instead.
To see the effect of this at first hand, one need look no further than his latest less than Magnum Opus at the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs, where Dan bemoans the number of MEPs. This, he concludes, is too large, although whether he would consider putting himself at the front of the queue for compulsory redundancy is, for some reason, not told.
Under the headline “One group of public sector workers could be sacked tomorrow without anyone caring”, he tells that there were 410 MEPs in 1979, but that a quarter of a century later, this had risen to 732. See, that bureaucracy just keeps on growing! Of course, Hannan does not say that there were only nine member states in 1979, and that by 2004 this had grown to 25.
But he’s got a superb false equivalence to counter this: “It is perfectly true that the EU has expanded throughout this period. But consider that the US Congress, also legislating for a growing population, has remained at 435 members for over a century”. Two things here: the USA is, in case Hannan had missed it, one country. And populations in EU member states are also growing. So what?
This shameless ability to pitch questionable facts also extends to Hannan’s use of Twitter, and here he was yesterday aided and abetted by Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell, who believes that parents should school their children at home to prevent them being indoctrinated with socialist propaganda. Both pitched in when the Tel’s Damian Thompson discussed a bizarre Saudi Arabian punishment decision.
After Carswell managed to wriggle out of being seen criticising the heir to the throne, Hannan said of the Saudis “I’m not comfortable with the way they have bought so many MPs and officials involved with defence” to which Carswell added “And ex-Foreign Office types” before leaving the hashtag #DodgyDefenceProcurement. To no surprise at all, neither were prepared to elaborate.
So, Dan, perhaps you would be so kind as to pitch a few names, given your assurance that there are “so many MPs and officials” involved. But enough of this – Hannan won’t be divulging any names any time soon. It’s another example of his appetite for the drive-by e-shooting, where he pitches a thinly disguised pack of lies and swiftly moves on, hoping not to be taken to task.
And we’re paying him £70k a year plus expenses for this. Pass the sick bag.