As the London Mayoral election draws near, the time has come for a final desperate attempt by now former Labour loyalist Dan Hodges, given a berth at Telegraph blogs for the sole reason that he would use it to damage the party, to pretend that he still supports the Red Team while putting the boot in on their candidate. To no surprise at all, he has today endorsed occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
Just three days to go now ...
Moreover, this endorsement has come suitably hedged, as Hodges stresses he will also vote for his local Greater London Authority (GLA) candidate, and vote Labour in the top-up. He has even been slagging off Mil The Younger a little less of late, but in his case, “two out of three ain’t bad” might not be good enough, and his sloppy and spiteful attack on Ken Livingstone merely underscores this.
Hodges dismisses the Livingstone manifesto as a “myth”, and goes on to make this statement: “The mayor cannot set the price of the Oyster card independent of the train operators”. Very good, Dan. This is truly meaningless: the Mayor can sign off on fares set by Transport for London (TfL) and has done on several past occasions (The train operators also cannot set the price of the Oyster card!).
Maybe Hodges means “fares on National Rail services”. If he does, he should say so (both Livingstone and Johnson have indicated that they would explore bringing more of these services within TfL control, expanding the “Overground” network, and you can read my take on the possibilities HERE). And from there, Dan veers into forthright dishonesty in short order.
“He will not convince David Cameron to hand him responsibility for the benefits system or London’s health service” asserts Hodges. But those two items are not in the Labour manifesto, so using that statement to then denounce that manifesto as a “false prospectus” is being more than a little economic with the facts. And on top of that, Dan occasionally comes over all selective.
This is shown magnificently as readers are told of Livingstone’s “assertion that the Jewish community would not support him because of their wealth”, although he did not say that, and met with the London Jewish Forum last week, the outcome being that several of those who had previously expressed reservations about Livingstone in a letter to Ed Miliband are now backing him for Mayor.
And Hodges’ support for Bozza? This, he tells, is because Johnson is “closest to being ... a unifying figure”. No mention of his faux pas over the Stephen Lawrence murder case, of “watermelon smiles”, of his accommodation of the odious anti-Semite Taki while editor of the Spectator, and of his courting of the Murdochs while dismissing Phonehackgate as “codswallop”.
Some might see Hodges as an embittered hypocrite. I couldn’t possibly comment.