Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street will be familiar with the routine and serial dishonesty of nominally Tory MEP Dan, Dan The Oratory Man. What they may not appreciate is that his propensity for blazing trousers is now causing significant embarrassment to those campaigning for the UK to leave the EU following the upcoming referendum on membership. This, though, does not come as a surprise.
Sidelined in the run-up to the referendum?
The problem with Hannan’s dishonesty is that it has always been blatant, but is now becoming easier to pick apart. And in a long referendum campaign, every time he pulls a whopper, the opposition is going to be waiting for him: rebuttal, along with ritual humiliation, will be swift. He will end up as a figure of ridicule - that is, an even greater figure of ridicule than he is right now.
How blatant is Hannan’s dishonesty? Take his appearance back in 2009 before professional loudmouth Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), when he claimed that the Obama reforms were “this massive state takeover of health care” (untrue), that the UK was “maybe a couple of years behind Zimbabwe” (ditto), and that the NHS, a “relic”, exercising “the power of life and death in a state bureaucracy" (ditto).
It got worse: he then claimed that the NHS was “not going to provide life saving medication to women with advanced breast cancer”, which was a “death sentence”. Those purchasing their own treatment outside the NHS, Hannan claimed, would be “cut off” from any treatment they were receiving. The NHS was compared to North Korea. The combination of eloquence and lies has also been on view more recently.
Dan declared via Conservative Home that Young Dave should introduce a Sovereignty Act, which would show to all the world that Parliament was indeed, er, sovereign. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, Parliament would have to be sovereign in the first place in order to enact the legislation. Mark Elliott of Public Law For Everyone has set out this, and other, reasons why Hannan’s proposal makes no sense.
Yes, dismantling Dan’s whoppers is that straightforward. That may be why Autonomous Mind declared yesterday “EU Referendum: Daniel Hannan’s idiocy is damaging to the No side”. Particular exception was taken to an article Hannan had written for the Mail, where he asked “Will the United Kingdom be an independent nation, trading with its friends on the Continent while living under its own laws? Or will it be part of a country called Europe?”
The post observes that the Mail “give column space of just under 2000 words to a well known person with a bit of prestige who is actually clueless about the EU and single market. They then sit back and let their guest contributor make factually incorrect claims that literally 10-15 seconds of checking expose as utter nonsense”. If that level of frustration is apparent now, it can only get worse if Hannan continues to sound off.
Problem is, how to persuade Dan to shut it. Over to you folks at the No campaign.
Dan is invariably wrong on ECHR points, and he gets the sovereignty of parliament wrong.
But is he dishonest? I have known Dan for 25 years and have followed his political career and journalism closely. Dan is genuinely sincere in his views, and his political actions connect to his public statements of principle more than almost any politician I know.
It is a valuable service to point out that influential politicians and journalists are factually wrong. But getting things wrong - even consistently over time - can have other explanations. It doesn't always come down to dishonesty!
If not dishonesty then it surely must be idiocy? Both seem fair reasons for ridicule.
@ Jack of Kent
"But getting things wrong - even consistently over time - can have other explanations." May be, but should we, or the electorate, be voting for politicians that get things consistently wrong? It's not a great prospectus and some might see it as wilful lack of understanding and/or an inability to learn from past mistakes. In time it does look more like dishonesty, or more mildly being disingenuous unless, as you state, the person is known to you and can vouchsafe otherwise?
I suppose it goes with the territory (Terror Tory?).
@ Jack of Kent
"But getting things wrong - even consistently over time - can have other explanations."
You could probably say the same about practitioners of homeopathy and other woo. They probably believe what they are telling you and refuse to listen to dissenters, no matter what evidence they produce. It is, in my opinion, being willfully dishonest or worse being willfully stupid.
" getting things wrong - even consistently over time - can have other explanations. It doesn't always come down to dishonesty"
I don't think that any of the other possible explanations are any better.
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