The Daily Mail’s Ephraim Hardcastle column may have a fictional by-line, but as any fule kno, it is penned by the appalling Peter McKay, aka Peter McLie, who is renowned as being The World’s Worst Columnist. McHackey has been past his sell-by date for some years now, but inexplicably is retained by the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre to rehash a mixture of state titbits.
And, although now blessed with the new title “Britain’s Most Acerbic Diarist”, the McHackey outpourings are as tedious and poorly researched as ever, with just the odd dash of sour bitterness, which today’s column illustrates superbly. First off, McKay goes in to bat in support of the Mail’s assertion that someone was allowed to remain in the UK because they had formed a bond with a cat.
Although the Mail has tried to spin this affair in its favour, the cat story has been debunked (most recently by Tabloid Watch HERE), but McKay ignores such inconveniences as facts as he homes in on Justice Secretary Ken Clarke, a favourite Mail target who is held to be insufficiently tough on, well, anything that the Vagina Monologue decides he should be tough on.
But McKay can’t be bothered doing his homework: he claims that Clarke fired Young Dave back in 1993 after Cameron’s then boss Norman Lamont was sacked by “Shagger” Major. He wasn’t: Cameron remained very much in favour within the Tory Party and there were many at the Treasury who would have liked him to stay, but Michael Howard stepped in and recruited him.
And of course calling out Clarke as “wrong” is, well, wrong. But it is just what he has been ordered to do. In recognition of his good behaviour, McKay is then permitted a swipe at his former berth, Private Eye, telling that Radio 4 is allocating half an hour to “publicising” the magazine, which must be A Bad Thing as the BBC is involved. Especially as Michael Crick is “a chum” of Eye editor Ian Hislop.
Why does this item merit inclusion? Simples. McKay, along with Nigel Dempster, another hack beyond his sell-by date, tried unsuccessfully to derail Hislop’s appointment as editor of the Eye and both were subsequently sacked from the magazine, which has not suffered at all from their departure. McKay has never got over his dismissal and remains bitter over it.
Which is a strangely tetchy way to behave for a passed-over Major who is still permitted to make a good living producing a tedious column of drivel by an editor who may not be far off leaving. McHackey won’t survive into the era after Dacre, and should accept his lot with good grace.
After all, who wants to endure the stigma of employing The World’s Worst Columnist?