Some years ago during a Have I Got News For You broadcast, Ian Hislop mused on the upcoming legal battle between the deeply ambiguous Mostyn Neil Hamilton and his former benefactor Mohammed “you can call me Al” Fayed. For the Private Eye editor, this was a genuine win-win: they were both worthy of being humiliated in court, so whichever way proceedings went, he was happy.
Mandelson, Guv? 'E's bent, so 'e's fair game, innit?!?
That contest came to mind this morning when perusing the latest drivel from the Daily Mail’s million pound churnalist, the tedious and unfunny Richard Littlejohn, who has selected for his latest target Baron Mandelson of Indeterminate Guacamole, who has just been made head of ethical banking at Lazards. Dick is not at all happy about this, because, well, Mandelson once lied to him.
So readers are treated to the usual spectacle of the serially dishonest Littlejohn – memorably the author of the sentiment “any Afghan climbing off the back of a lorry in Dover goes automatically to the top of the housing list” – whining that Mandelson, along with Tone and anyone else he can think of, used their political careers as a means of launching themselves into further money making pursuits.
That would be totally different, of course, to those hacks and pundits who have used their journalistic careers as a means of launching themselves into further money making pursuits, like, oh I dunno, Dick being handed a long-running series on Sky, or given the opportunity to make the occasional documentary, or being asked to appear on a variety of media outlets to dispense his all too questionable wisdom.
Still, Dick’s got Mandelson bang to rights on the property business. After all, the former minister bought a house recently near Regent’s Park, which means, er, that there must be something to do with all those Russians he knows, because Dick says the sums don’t add up. Then he tells readers that Mandelson trousered a million quid a year from Lazards as an advisor. So the sums do add up, then.
And anyhow, if we’re talking ostentatious property acquisitions, there is always Dick’s purchase of that luxury pad in the gated Florida compound, which was no doubt facilitated by his trousering, er, a million quid a year from the largesse of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, demonstrating that if it takes one to know one, Littlejohn is the right bloke to turn to here.
And get a load of this: “His political stock in trade has always been dissembling, distortion and downright dishonesty” moans Dick. That’s from the hack who routinely demonises the disabled – by use of, er, dissembling, distortion and downright dishonesty. Richard Littlejohn has absolutely no room to call out Peter Mandelson, or anyone else, on that score. His glasshouse is well draughty right now.
Still, it keeps his editor happy and the money coming in. So that’s all right, then.