Even as the process to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is enacted, and most of those who have caused themselves to believe that life will be non-specifically but wonderfully better outside the EU are in states combining rapture and euphoria, in one corner of the Europhobic punditerati, there is only frustration and gloom at one publication that refuses steadfastly to indulge in the consumption of Kool-Aid.
I'm sorry, I haven't a clue. Again
And that corner belongs to the serially clueless and obscenely overrated Tim Montgomerie, self-appointed expert pundit of no discernible ability who has risen without trace to become one of the Pundit Establishment, and “friend” of politics shows across the whole range of broadcasters, from the BBC to ITV to Channel 4 and of course Sky News (“first for breaking wind”). Monty has a problem with the FT.
Why should this be? Ah well. The FT has covered the Brexit debate and associated political process in a way that has incurred the displeasure of not only the Europhobic part of the Fourth Estate, which is most of it, but also that part of the Pundit Establishment which takes those papers as rather closer to gospel truth than they really are. As a result, Monty, being a good Europhobic pundit, is unhappy with their behaviour.
Hence his grouchy observation that “The FT's #Brexit coverage has become a joke”. Ah, but if it were a joke, rather than just not being what the Europhobic right wishes to be served up, the FT would not have the reach it does. Thus Monty’s inability to distinguish between reality and his opinion. And it gets worse.
“In other words the FT has a serious groupthink problem. Herds and flocks have more independent thinkers” he added later, taking time out to tell the Spectator’s serially dishonest editor Fraser Nelson - the one who thinks sham press regulator IPSO is the “toughest press regulator in the Western world” - “Don't undersell Spectator Fraser. You have @hugorifkind, Matt Parris backing Remain. Real diversity of opinion. The FT? One herd, one flock”. Ein Volk, ein Reich and all the rest, eh? Keine Scheisse.
At this point, Monty watchers may have heard their bullshit detectors go off, and with good reason: Tim Montgomerie has no room to call anyone else for having a “groupthink problem”. It was him, after all, who in 2009 participated in one of the most serious groupthink howlers ever to hit the Pundit Establishment, as he Phone Hacking scandal was first brought to public notice by Nick Davies and the Guardian.
In the very same paper, he penned “This is about revenge, not phone taps”, asserting that this was nothing more than an act of payback by the Labour Party for Damian McBride’s infamous emails. It was not. Monty was not alone: this became received wisdom, and continued to be so until the lid finally came off the scandal two years later.
Neither he, nor the rest of the supposedly authoritative pundits routinely called upon to dispense their “wisdom” over the airwaves, bothered to do the most elementary research before launching their tirades against the Guardian; sucking up to Rupert Murdoch, who soon afterwards rewarded Monty with a job, was more important to him.
Tim Montgomerie went seriously wrong then. Now he is almost certainly going seriously wrong again. The groupthink problem here is not the fault of the FT, but of himself.