While Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party continues, and continues to attract significant hostility from the generally right-leaning press, his very presence is taxing some pundits to the extent that they veer over the reality line. There is no pundit more susceptible to this tendency than the not at all celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges, who has brought forth an excellent example of his craft today.
He's desperate, Dan
Whether or not Hodges is still a member of the Labour Party - he flounced out during the Miliband years, only to come back last year - is not known. But he really, really cares about it, so much so that he will take the money from the Mail On Sunday while putting the boot in. “Reckon he's a nice, decent bloke? Well let me show you the dark, menacing reality behind 'The Great Corbyn Myth’” is the all-revealing headline.
Firstly, Hodges frames his attack: “The last time I talked to Jo Cox she was scared. It was 12 days after she had expressed her regret at nominating Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership. Her office had been inundated with phone calls. Many of them were aggressive, some were openly abusive”. Remember Jo Cox? Well, that Corbyn and his followers were rotten to her! So believe what you’re going to be told, right?
And under cover of this sympathy blanket, Dan drops his first whopper: “On Thursday, Jeremy Corbyn formally launched his re-election bid. ‘I hold out the hand of friendship,’ he said. Then he announced all Labour MPs would be facing mandatory reselection”. Except that wasn’t actually what he said, was it? Corbyn merely reiterated the party’s rules, which allow for reselection. He was also talking about how things will look in 2020.
The next General Election will almost certainly be fought on new constituency boundaries, which will mean some MPs - sometimes of the same party - competing for seats, as there will be fewer of them. So how else would Hodges want to see such disputes settled, other than by some kind of democratic process? Still, Desperate Dan could always fall back on the claims of bullying and intimidation, especially when it concerned other Labour MPs.
Typical of this tactic was “it was announced that police had advised Angela Eagle to cancel all her public surgeries on safety grounds”. Two things here. One, the Police do not comment on advice they give to public figures. And two, Ms Eagle has not cancelled “all her public surgeries”. She has cancelled walk-in surgeries, but will still meet constituents by appointment, and will attend constituency events. Still, details, eh?
Plus there is always the old chestnut of name-calling to fall back on: “Jeremy Corbyn is not a nice or decent man. He is a coward. He is a hypocrite. He is a bully. And he is a fraud”. Coming hard on the heels of his shamelessly milking the memory of Jo Cox, deliberately misrepresenting the bloke he’s attacking, and telling a whopper about Angela Eagle and her Police advice, that is, as one recent Labour leader might have put it, a bit rich.
Dan Hodges doesn’t like Jeremy Corbyn leading the Labour Party. We can figure that out without the deflection and dishonesty, thanks.