As befits an impeccably right-leaning publication, the Spectator has celebrated the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez by ritually trashing his reputation. The country’s oil wealth is held not to have prevented a “wrecked economy”, and the Government is characterised as authoritarian and prone to imprisoning its citizens. And then you see the name on the by-line.
You gave the job to Rod Liddle?
So who d’you think Fraser Nelson got to write this brief but reliably caustic hatchet job? Rod Liddle. Er, hello? Nelson got Rod Bloody Liddle to sit in judgment on another human being? Well, we should not be surprised: after all, the Speccy also gives houseroom to the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, tame gofer to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog.
So, given that the mag employs someone whose journalistic qualifications are limited to saying he is one honestly, one should expect Liddle to fit right in. After all, he was the editor of the BBC’s Today programme who roped in Andrew “transcription error” Gilligan and thus brought the opprobrium of the Hutton Inquiry down upon the Corporation, which was right to dispense with both of them.
It got worse: Liddle later took the Murdoch shilling and told the readers of the Super Soaraway Currant Bun exactly what the paper’s less than benevolent owner wanted them to on the subject of disability. He was going to “become disabled” as it was “incredibly fashionable”. His drift to the right was confirmed by the support of this view by James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole.
And there is worse to come: Liddle dutifully labels Chávez an “anti-semite”, yet this is the pundit who posted to the Millwall Online forum that it was “outrageous that you can't smoke in Auschwitz. I had to sneak round the back of the gas chambers for a crafty snout”. That resulted in his having to explain himself to the Jewish Chronicle, and probably cost him the editor’s chair at the Independent.
Indeed, the Speccy already has experience of Liddle’s waywardness, having been landed with a £5,625 bill after The Great Man penned a comment piece claiming two of those accused of the murder of Stephen Lawrence would not get a fair trial. The only saving grace for Fraser Nelson and his boss Andrew “Brillo Pad” Neil is that this is a lot less than they had to pony up over Mad Mel’s libel of Alastair Crooke.
So when Liddle proclaims “Hugo Chávez dies. Pillocks mourn”, he has first-hand knowledge. A backsliding anti-Semitic hypocrite, a seasoned demoniser of the disabled, a liability to broadcast journalism, and someone so ignorant of contempt law that he dropped the Spectator in the mire, Rod Liddle is an ideal candidate for the honour of becoming the pillock’s pillock.
As for his taking the moral high ground on any subject, don’t make me laugh.