Wishing himself an early redundancy over at the bear pit that is Telegraph Blogs today is a familiar figure: step forward occasional Tory and MEP Dan, Dan the Oratory Man. Hannan has decided to combine his flair for selective quotation with a little propaganda selling as he makes a pitch for a new book called The EU In A Nutshell, whose author will be familiar to Zelo Street readers.
That’s because the book was written by Lee Rotherham, who you can tell as he’s a Doctor. Rotherham is the EU pundit for the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), for whom he authored the supremely dishonest “report” Britain And The ECHR, which claimed that the latter body had cost the UK almost £43 billion over the years, a figure which was largely made up.
Much of Rotherham’s Very Big And Scary Number came from assuming that the compensation culture was all down to the ECHR, and that over five years this cost £25 billion. No citation of any kind, reliable or otherwise, was provided. And he is being lauded by Hannan, whose ability to tell the most flagrant whoppers can be seen from his appearances on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).
Note that Hannan does not contest the claim by professional loudmouth Sean Hannity that the state of healthcare in Canada and the UK “isn’t pretty” before reeling off a series of totally untrue statements: the “State takeover of health care” and “Death panels” ones were PolitiFact’s “lie of the year” for 2010 and 2009 respectively. The NHS “cutting off funding” for drugs was another.
Add to the serial dishonesty the strange episode where Hannan journeyed to Spain to encourage expat Brits to cast their European Parliament (EP) votes for a fringe party called Alternativa Española, which turned out to be run by a Franco apologist. Yes, he makes headline grabbing speeches in the EP and at CPAC, but Hannan suffers from questionable judgment.
So when he asserts that the Rotherham book contains “facts and anecdotes”, this should be treated with care. In a previous incarnation, Rotherham was at Open Europe, where he claimed a figure for EU “propaganda” that was wildly exaggerated. He did this by taking any budget item that included publicity, adding them all up and declaring that the result was something it was not.
Maybe Rotherham should remember the fictitious volume of incorrect facts devised by the Monty Python team and change his name to Hackenthorpe. It would hardly hurt his credibility, as he has none to start with. One could say the same about Daniel Hannan: there’s little point in garnering adoration from a small circle of right leaning and like minded folk, only to be ridiculed by all others.
Never mind, though, the money’s good on the US chat circuit.