Anyone still wondering why Private Eye calls Peter McKay – aka Peter McHackey or Peter McLie – The World’s Worst Columnist need look no further than the lead item in yesterday’s Daily Mail Ephraim Hardcastle column, written, or perhaps that should read “cobbled together from stuff already published elsewhere”, by the appalling old has-been, and for which he actually gets paid. In real money.
Wake up Peter, you've been fired
“Leveson breaks the rules by taking pictures at Buckingham Palace garden party” tells the headline, before explaining “Press inquiry judge Sir Brian Leveson, 64, attended the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday. Another guest saw him take pictures with his mobile phone, although photography is discouraged. ‘Those attending are asked not to bring cameras,’ says the palace”.
Has Her Maj invited McKay round to her place? Well, no she hasn’t: McHackey lifted his lead item directly not from another paper, but a blog at the Spectator, and the author of that hadn’t been round to Buck Hise either. Step forward the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, tame gofer to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, who writes the Steerpike blog for the Speccy.
I can't get ripped off, cos I'm on telly!
Under the headline “Sir Brian Leveson’s invasion of Her Majesty’s Privacy”, Master Cole span the magnificently dishonest assertion “Mr S attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace yesterday afternoon, where a strict ban on photography was in place. But who should be spied snapping away on his phone? The President of Queen’s Bench Division, Sir Brian Leveson himself”.
So McLie had lifted his lead item from someone who was himself publishing what was, at best, hearsay. But at least Cole had come up with something moderately original, if over-egged with his characteristic pretentiousness. So where were the protests over the Mail’s lazy magpie? From the Steerpike Twitter feed, Cole’s own account, and the Fawkes rabble’s Media Guido, there was not a peep.
Gone are the days when Staines would routinely upbraid the likes of Andrew Pierce for alleged plagiarism, and, it seems, there is no protest from Speccy editor Fraser Nelson to the Mail’s copy theft, either. Such is the rank fear generated by the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre that his most desperate hacks can just nick what they want from elsewhere and nobody says boo about it.
Heck, McHackey’s last item, about Labour MP Chris Bryant getting caught off guard by Andrew “Brillo Pad” Neil, had been picked up by @liarpoliticians back on Wednesday. And there was no acknowledgement of that, either. Nor, it appears, was there any protest. But then, given that anyone who knows the media knows that McKay really is the World’s Worst Columnist, perhaps they make an exception.
Yes, there goes superannuated has-been Peter McKay, on his way ... out.