Sometimes - but only sometimes - one has to feel sorry for the Mail on Sunday’s not at all celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges, whose increasingly tedious - and often wrong - rants about how the Labour Party is going to hell in the proverbial handcart under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership tell us more about how many of those wrong calls he makes, than about the current state of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.
He's desperate, Dan
This week, Desperate Dan is pretending that Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger really did face a deselection threat last week - she didn’t - while suggesting that the threat she didn’t receive was because she is Jewish, despite there being no evidence for the claim (and still no threat), and that she was on maternity leave at the time, despite being present at the CLP meeting where the threat was not made.
Meanwhile, Hodges is seemingly becoming paranoid about The Andy Marr Show (tm), and to this end has taken to Twitter in no style at all to vent his frustration at not being invited on, oops, sorry, the supposed undue influence of Corbyn Supporters. After Sky News’ Beth Rigby had replied “‘Civility is one of the casualties of all of this’ > too true. I'm all for a new, kinder Twitter discourse” to the HuffPost article on Marr Show editor Rob Burley facing a constant barrage of criticism on Twitter, Hodges was off and running.
“Isn't a more troubling issuing [sic] the fact that @RobBurl is now using twitter to inform his editorial decisions” he asked, still having problems finding the question mark. And while Ms Rigby reasoned “All political programmes should have Corbynites on - that's not about Twitter, that's about representing the power base in Labour”, Dan was having none of it. “Correct. But Marr did do because of Twitter. And that's the problem”.
Twitter. Some people find it hard to talk about. Others find it difficult to do. But, as Clive James might have observed, I digress. Burley ventured “So we didn't change anything because of Twitter or tweets from [Matt Zarb-Cousin] , we just noted and listened and thought”. Hodges was not placated by such rational thought.
And when the Marr Show’s editor then countered Hodges’ ranting with “You imply we caved. In fact, we listen, weigh other evidence (e.g an election!) & adapt constantly. Be ridiculous not to frankly”, The Great Man’s frustration with not being asked on, er, sorry, the alleged preponderance of those sympathetic to Jeremy Corbyn, boiled over.
“I'm not implying you caved. I'm saying explicitly you caved. As you've just admitted. You said you do react to criticism”. Reacting to criticism is not the same as caving in to pressure, it’s just an honest attempt to take that criticism on board. That attempt does not have to mean any change in the paper review or guest line-up, but it might. It’s just one of many variables the BBC has to weigh up in fine tuning its politics coverage.
That, though, cannot lift the dark clouds (probably marked “GLOOM” in very large letters) hovering over Dan Hodges’ head. He knows the reds are not only under the bed, but have now infiltrated the official BBC sofa. Or it could be another hopelessly wrong call.