Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely quarter, and so it has proved for Labour’s London Mayoral challenger Ken Livingstone, who has been subjected to a supposedly withering attack by Dan Hodges, who claims to be a member of that party. Fortunately for Ken, any thrust by Hodges conforms more or less to the Denis Healey characterisation of Geoffrey Howe.
Moreover, whenever Hodges proclaims someone’s career to be in its death throes, this guarantees the opposite effect, such is the sureness of his touch, or lack thereof. This was demonstrated by his reaction to the Bradford West by-election, as he proclaimed “George Galloway has exposed the void at Labour’s core and left it fighting for its life”. This was mere fantasy.
And there were plenty of folks to stress that the Bradford West result would have been no different whoever had been Labour leader, but Hodges is in permanent mardy strop mode, so much so that he is more than willing to do whatever damage he can to the Labour Party. Why else would he have accepted a berth at the Telegraph? They have taken him on to do just that.
That this is happening has even drawn favourable comment from those who are far enough to the right to despise Young Dave: step forward James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole, who has professed his admiration for Hodges. You don’t get that kind of approval by saying anything positive or helpful to Labour. But redemption may yet come if his latest kick at his party is typical.
“The end of the road for Ken Livingstone” proclaimed Dan, getting the detail of the Newsnight debate wrong (Ken agreed to release his tax details before Bozza joined in), calling a limited company a “tax vehicle” (Dan still hasn’t taken my advice and asked an accountant to explain things so he knows what he’s talking about), and saying Livingstone only disclosed paid dividends (wrong).
He tells that Livingstone didn’t say “what the company actually took in” (we already knew), assumes that Silveta was established “just so Ken’s wife could work on the proofs of his book in their attic, and he could employ a personal press officer” (no it wasn’t – try again) and asserts that Livingstone’s wife has been paid dividends by the company (we don’t know, but what the heck, eh?).
Then he suggests he has been taken in by the Guido Fawkes blog on tax rates – not a good move – and starts making comparisons with Mitt Romney. At this point he would have done better to put two sticks up his nose and say “wibble”, such is the evaporation of his credibility. With this kind of attack, Ken Livingstone should feel duly reinvigorated. But for Dan Hodges, the decision is looming.
And that decision is to walk away before Labour kick him out. Game over.