Once again, MEP and nominal Conservative Dan, Dan The Oratory Man has taken to Twitter to peddle his uncritical fanboy view of the USA, something that on the latest occasion has led him to be called out for misleading his audience. Hannan has decided to tell the world that the US is the world’s most compassionate country - ahead of the Netherlands, Canada, Japan - and Britain. Except it isn’t.
Well, not on the figures Dan puts forward, anyway. He has taken the percentage of GDP spent on “Voluntary Private Social Expenditure” and declared that this translates directly into how compassionate the countries concerned can be claimed to be. The figure for the USA is over 10%, with the Netherlands languishing well behind at 6%. Hannan’s conclusion was to Tweet the chart with the message “Those selfish, greedy Americans”.
But there was one inconvenient problem with these figures: they included the cost of health insurance premiums. Well, paying those sums is not a matter of compulsion in the States, although (a) your standard of health care will suffer if you don’t, and (b) it is not an act of charity to pay them. Hannan had misled his audience, and might have got away with it, had it not been for his old bête noire Jonathan Portes.
Portes had this figured out in short order, and tweaked Hannan’s tail in the style of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump: “Even for @DanielJHannan this level of ignorance/deceit beggars belief. Figures include *private health insurance*. Sad!” Was it ignorance, deceit, or both? We didn’t get to find out before help arrived for the MEP.
Mark Reckless, whose Commons career was distinguished only by his once becoming so ratarsed he couldn’t get to the Commons chamber to vote, and then joining UKIP and losing his seat in the last General Election, was on hand to sooth Hannan’s nerves: “@jdportes As a professor, is trolling @DanielJHannan your top priority?” he sneered.
Nothing like playing the man rather than the ball, eh? Portes replied in kind: “@MarkReckless @DanielJHannan You don't think a Professor of Economics should correct distortion/misuse of statistics by politicians?” The fact of the matter was that Hannan had indulged in an act of deceit. But The Great Man wasn’t done yet.
“@MarkReckless I muted @jdportes yonks ago, but I think he's still sore about the PCC ruling against him when I wrote about his EU funding” was Hannan’s masterstroke. Sadly, he had doubled down on his deceit - the PCC in fact did not rule against Portes on the main accusation Hannan levelled at NIESR - that as it was in receipt of EU funding, it was therefore OK to claim that it was a pro-EU body. It was not.
Not even the PCC would wipe Hannan’s backside for that one. The claim was deemed to be a breach of the Editor’s Code, and the Telegraph, which had published the claim, issued a suitably detailed correction - as well as an apology.
Daniel Hannan has now achieved the rare double of deceiving his readers, and then doubling down on the deceit in trying to excuse himself. Portes was right - Sad!