Having left his berth as editor of the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs, Damian Thompson, clueless pundit of no fixed hair appointment, might have been expected not to be so keen to revisit the less successful part of his time there. But that thought would have been misplaced, as Dames has pointlessly rekindled his dispute with NIESR Director Jonathan Portes, which he lost first time around.
The way he was
This was as a direct result of a blogpost written by the serially dishonest Dan, Dan The Oratory Man titled “The almost unbelievable pomposity of BBC favourite Jonathan Portes”, which included the false assertion that NIESR only obtained EU funding because Portes was pro-EU. Even the PCC declined to defend that one, although they wiped Hannan’s arse on his claim that Portes was pro-EU.
All of this was concluded more than six months ago. But Dames was still promoting Hannan’s not-very-meisterwerk yesterday evening, claiming that the post’s “analysis” was “mostly spot-on”, which means Hannan got the words more or less in the right order. Thompson will concede only that it was “misleading”, because the PCC allowed him to make that claim, rather than that Hannan lied.
Portes put Dames on the spot: “That was simply false, wasn’t it? Yes or no?” Well, no, as in Thompson was unable, or unwilling, to deviate from the approved line. Hannan’s claim was a deliberate lie, a calculated smear. And, as to Portes “bearing out what Dan said about you”, this means that he is prepared to stand his ground and call out falsehood and misinformation. Dames isn’t keen on that.
He certainly wasn’t keen on answering Portes’ point about approving a post that contained at least one assertion that was not true. In being suitable evasive, Dames lets us know that he was not making the key decisions at Telegraph blogs – at least in this case – and that he is prepared to deflect by accusing Portes of doing what his star contributor Hannan was shown to be doing (lying).
Sadly for Dames, Portes was in possession of that inconvenient thing called factual evidence: “I said you approved [the] article, after my complaint, and emailed me to that effect”. And that is a lesson for all who have to deal with the likes of Dames: make sure you have it in writing, and don’t trust the SOB any further than you can usefully chuck him – or any Telegraph blogs contributor.
Dames’ most revealing admission was saved for last: “our response was in the hands of our lawyers, who won the case for us. I took no decisions”. An editor who takes no decisions, and a “win” that consists of the PCC forcing a climbdown on one point, while allowing the Telegraph to use its own facts on the other. Small wonder that Telegraph blogs continues to function without his presence.
Damian Thompson: still playing the game, and still losing it. No surprise there.