“In one of the more bizarre developments of silly season 2017, it has emerged that Daniel Hannan, the Conservative MEP and author of Brexit manifesto What Next, shared stock images of Wales and the US while claiming to be walking in the English countryside.
In May 2016 the MEP for South East England wrote that he was going on a walk and stopping for a pie at the Vine at Hannington, a “traditional country pub serving home cooked food and real ales”. “15 miles up and down over Hampshire’s sloping fields, pausing for a pie @VineHannington. God, I love England in May,” he declared in a now deleted tweet. He shared an image of a gate, a Hawthorn hedge and some rolling hills.
Unfortunately, that idyllic scene is nowhere to be found in Hampshire, which falls within Mr Hannan’s constituency. It is an image of Godre’r Graig, Glamorgan in Wales, and was taken by keen photographer John Ball in May 1998.
John Ball told the blog Zelo Street, which first spotted the tweets, that he had taken the photo 150 miles away from where Mr Hannan claimed to be. “The photo used by Daniel Hannan on 6 May 2016 is a copy of the photo in the ‘Images of Wales’ feature on my website. I took the photo myself eighteen years ago on 20 May 1998,” he said.
Mr Hannan wrote on Twitter some months later that he was walking in the Home Counties and enjoying the scenery. “And then, suddenly, the dandelions. Ah, the sweet sounds and sights of summer and the sun,” he wrote above an image of a field filled with dandelions. The tweet has since been deleted.
This image is actually of a field in Barre, Vermont, has been taken by a professional photographer, and is used by a blogger, Ruth Kassinger, to discuss the merits of the dandelion plant as a source of rubber.
i has contacted Mr Hannan for comment to see if indeed he downloaded random pictures from the internet of different places after returning from a walk to “give us a [very general] sense of what he’d seen” because he was too civilised to do so whilst actually walking.”
The newspaper failed to ask the question that is interesting Owl: was he REALLY in the English countryside when he says he was and, if not, where was he?