Party conference season is over for another year. But politics goes on, and going on (and on and on) on his pet subject – slagging off Mil The Younger for the purpose of garnering More And Bigger Clickbait For Himself Personally Now – is the sad and embittered Dan Hodges. As in Winshton’s assessment of Austen Chamberlain, Dan always plays the game – and he always loses it.
Hodges makes three key mistakes in his career mardy strop at the Labour leader: he trusts his own judgment, which is, right now, not good, he believes what the Maily Telegraph publishes is factually correct – not a good idea for a paper that will splash on any old rubbish to prop up the Tories – and, worst of all, believes what anyone called a Labour MP tells him.
The Tories got an opinion poll bounce from their conference. Their press supporters went rather OTT gorging on it: Miliband was “under pressure”, then the party was supposedly in open revolt, and from there came the combination of logic leap and false assumption to suggest that he would be gone before the General Election. The all-too-suggestible Hodges drank this Kool-Aid in one go.
And off he went yesterday: “My understanding is that [Alan] Johnson has told allies he would be prepared to accept the leadership as part of a ‘coronation’, but will not be part of a contest”. No Dan, someone saw you coming and told you what you wanted to hear. Remember what you said about Corporal Clegg? “He may announce [resignation] in his conference speech”? That was wrong, too.
Why don’t you actually look at what was said to Ben Riley-Smith in the article you cite, Dan? “One former Labour minister”. Ooh let me guess, how about David Blunkett, with Jack Straw as an outside bet? Who else spoke to the Tel man? “Another Labour MP” who described Johnson as “a straight talking sort of guy”. So that’s a disgruntled Blairite, then. That “number of Labour MPs” was just two.
The article was mere speculation, biased further because Riley-Smith either didn’t ask anyone on the Labour front bench – or they wouldn’t comment. It was produced to conform to the Telegraph’s political stance, and to its agenda. Any pundit with brain engaged and a hole in their jacksy should know this. Not Dan Hodges. Any excuse to whine at Miliband and he loses all reason.
What is worse for all those feeding the 24-hour rolling news speculatron is that the storyline is already unravelling. A new set of rumours now suggests that there may be a Labour reshuffle next week – impossible if Miliband were indeed under pressure to go. And the latest rolling YouGov poll – the one that set the speculation off in the first place – has Labour back in the lead.
Hello Dan Hodges – you goofed again. It’s getting to be a habit, isn’t it?