Michael Dugher - who won't be missed
Dugher has been built up - by the same pundits, remember - as some kind of man of the people, a connection with Labour’s working class roots. Yet one only has to listen to him speak to realise that this is another who talks like a Blair clone. His man of the people credentials extend to spending the nine years before becoming an MP as a Westminster insider, initially as a SpAd. This was, in the heat of yesterday’s moment, ignored.
From the moment Dugher Tweeted “Just been sacked by Jeremy Corbyn. I wished him a happy new year”, the cluelessness kicked in. The Sun’s alleged “Westminster Correspondent” Harry Cole grumbled “Corbyn PPS Steve Rotherham [sic] emerges and refuses to be drawn on Dugher's sacking, says he's more interested in football”, not realising he’s damn lucky Rotheram [note correct spelling] will talk to him at all.
The Telegraph’s not at all celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges had to have his ninepence worth: “Dugher sacked. Eagle reportedly sacked from defence. Falconer sacked. We'll now see that show of solidarity from their colleagues”. So he didn’t know what he was talking about either. The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog left it at “Michael Dugher Confirms He's ‘Sacked’ In Reshuffle”.
A wise move for once, unlike all those who read Andy Burnham’s comment “.@MichaelDugher is Labour to the core & has served our Party with distinction. He can leave the front-bench with his head held high” and mistook it for dissent from Corbyn’s decision. My good friend Peter Jukes was left to break the bad news: “Two senior sources suggested Dugher was vulnerable as shadow culture minister a while back, mainly because seen as too close to News UK”. I’ll go further: Dugher was viewed as useless.
Why? Jukes again: “I thought he was almost invisible at DCMS given importance of Leveson, BBC Review and Channel 4 privatisation”. And once again I’ll go further: the identity of both the sources Jukes mentions is known to me. And how the assembled pundits missed the view of at least one of them really beggars belief.
Even the usually reliable Kevin Maguire was off the pace, with “Unsurprised Dugher backed by his Labour colleagues. Sacked Shad Cab Min is shrewd, able, popular Northern street fighter. Corbyn will regret”. No he won’t. The Sun’s Steve Hawkes was more predictably clueless: “Can Andy Burnham stay in his post after the public flogging of the man who ran his leadership campaign?” Er, yes he can.