Yesterday morning, during the paper review on the Andy Marr Show, the front page of the Mail On Sunday was briefly shown to the camera. There, in big, bold capitals, screamed the headline “EU Bans A Dozen Eggs”.
Thus the ideal story for the domain of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre: the rotten EU is going – via unelected bureaucrats, no doubt – to tell our shop keepers that they can no longer sell eggs, or any other produce, by number. It looks too good to be true – because it’s complete drivel.
Undeterred by the obviously questionable appearance of the story, which also featured in yesterday’s Screws (along with the obligatory range of pejorative terms, such as “Cracked”, “Bonkers” and “Nutty”), Iain Dale, a compliant and reliable conduit for Tory Propaganda, decided to go over the top as well.
Among other commenters who tried to point out to Dale that this was an obvious cod story was me. It didn’t make much difference: Dale doesn’t do listening and correcting himself most of the time, although he does give the Murdoch empire occasional plugs (HERE is one for the lamentable Trevor Kavanagh, and HERE is a plug for Sky’s tacky football coverage).
Fortunately, with characteristic directness, my old sparring partner John B has nailed the story on Liberal Conspiracy this morning. As I tried to tell Dale, there is nothing in the proposed legislation that bans the selling of eggs, or anything else, by number. And, of course, it’s only a proposal: nothing has been decided as yet.
Which diminishes the reputation of Iain Dale yet further. Why the clear lack of any objectivity? Why allow himself to be suckered by an obvious scare story? Dale is savvy enough to know what the various parts of the Fourth Estate are about, and he isn’t daft, which suggests that he, like the Rothermere and Murdoch empires, is up for peddling gratuitous Europhobia.
But that puts Dale in the same crowded niche as Fat Dick Littlejohn and Dan, Dan, the Oratory Man, whose Europhobia is much more accomplished. Worse, it takes Dale out of the realm of reliable punditry, with enough wannabes out there to step into any void his declining credibility creates.
Already, a blog ridiculing Iain Dale has been started, and if his credibility becomes tarnished further, broadcasters and editors may decide to look elsewhere for their punditry.
His fifteen minutes may be starting to draw to a close.