Andrew Gilligan, one hack who will not be appearing anywhere in the BBC’s output any time soon following his transcription difficulties leading up to the Iraq adventure, has for a while now been “London Editor” for the Maily Telegraph. This, more or less, includes frequent hagiographies of Bozza, along with a routine slew of abuse aimed at Ken Livingstone – and Lutfur Rahman.
Rahman, the democratically elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets, has been the target of several salvos aimed from the bear pit that is Maily Telegraph blogland, where Gilligan has suggested financial impropriety, cronyism and of course lots of things involving Muslims. Rahman recently tired of the tirade and complained to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).
Given the PCC’s recent track record of excusing the likes of Littlejohn and James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole on the basis of their columns only being opinion pieces, and in the latter case taking selective interpretation as fact, one might have thought that Rahman would be on a hiding to nothing. But that thought would have been misplaced.
Because the PCC has upheld the complaints in regard to two Gilligan posts, “Lutfur Rahman councillor charged with fraud” and “Lutfur Rahman: all his controversies in one place”. The complaint was that the posts concerned breached Clause 1 of the Editors’ Code of Practice, which is all about accuracy. Gilligan’s blog has had to carry the adjudication in full.
Gilligan, however, has been unable to let this one drop, and has been spinning for his own defence, telling that he has been allowed to call Rahman “extremist-backed”: indeed, he captions a photo of the Tower Hamlets Mayor “closely linked to Islamic extremism”. But Gilligan concedes that he will have to start also reporting Rahman’s denials of the supposed extremist links.
This, though, does not stop The Great Man from accusing Rahman and his “cronies” of mounting an “aggressive campaign” to supposedly stifle criticism. That’s a real slice of brass neck: Gilligan has the bully pulpit of the Telegraph for his views, while Rahman has, er, his blog. And, as to whether Rahman’s mayoralty is the “car crash” that Gilligan alleges, well, that will be down to the electorate.
Or does the Telegraph’s London editor have a problem with democracy?