When Iain Dale noted in his ConHome diary “Trouble at t’mill at The Commentator where Raheem Kassam has upped sticks and left ... Kassam was somewhat tight lipped when I called, but it seems he has had a falling out with the owner of The Commentator, Robin Shepherd. It seems that My Learned Friend has become involved”, it did not quite tell us the scale of animosity involved.
Pretentious? Who, moi?
The appallingly humourless Shepherd not only lost Raheem “Call me Ray” Kassam, but several other contributors, who took the opportunity to leap from the sinking ship and join Kassam at the pretentiously-titled Trending Central, which “Ray” grandly calls a “multi-authored commentary platform”, or for those of us using plain English and not having head up jacksy, a group blog.
Hint of a smile? Nah, he's got wind
What stage any legal action has now reached I do not know, but after Shepherd had a very public meltdown last weekend after being wound up by an anonymous commenter, we know that The Commentator’s head man appears to be in a bitter, vengeful and paranoid frame of mind. We also know that Kassam does not possess the common sense to leave well alone.
After Shepherd had deployed a straight bat to the first wind-up, telling that “We like ‘forensic’ analysis. And all the good writers know which way to go, and why”, matters went swiftly downhill. One more prod from the anonymous commenter – who, folks, was not Kassam, and not me – and he replied “Clink clink”. Er, what?
It got worse. “Who said ‘prison’? The frightened little thief runs away ... all the evidence is written down. And he wrote it ... The intimidation will no longer be taken. Let the criminal feel the potential force of the law. He is a criminal ... he believes he will get away with it ... He has no idea of the amount of evidence that has been accumulated against him, and mainly from his own written word. Clink clink”.
Kassam’s reaction suggests that, whatever the suggestions of paranoia in Shepherd’s rant, he does indeed believe he will get away with it, as instead of keeping schtum, he mocked his former boss: “Wow. Everyone check out the comments section on this post. A certain someone has truly lost the plot”.
And just in case he hadn’t got Shepherd into a sufficiently radged state, “Ray” followed up with “He’s convinced I have somehow ‘hacked’ his Twitter feed and ‘stopped’ RTs. (Not even possible) Mental. Truly”.
Shepherd later deleted the comments, but he was too late. One publicly minded soul captured them for posterity and news of their presence was then relayed to Zelo Street. Which of the two protagonists is in the right doesn’t fuss me: I’m reminded of Ian Hislop observing Neil Hamilton and Mohamed “you can call me Al” Fayed scrapping – I just wish they could both lose. They deserve it.