Obsession can become self-destructive, consuming the obsessive to the exclusion of all contact with reality. It can do more than merely cloud judgment, blinding those thus possessed to their distance from credibility. It can be a sad sight when played out in public. That is where the Mail on Sunday’s not even slightly celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges is right now, not that he is yet prepared to realise it.
He's desperate, Dan
Desperate Dan’s obsession is anti-Semitism, and in particular its presence within the Labour Party. Where more rational political observers see a handful of heavily publicised cases in a party of half a million members, Hodges has already extrapolated this to become an infestation which most in the party support, accept, or even participate in. He has become immune to reason on the subject.
Hence The Great Man’s Twitter meltdown yesterday, where reasoning with him proved impossible, even for the likes of Ian Dunt, whose exasperation showed as he observed “you've jumped from a tweet on Tories to basically accusing me of making excuses for anti-semitism”. Hodges’ reply was real stuck record stuff: “You said the Tories are an affront to civilised values, and Labour aren't. Labour are, unless you view virulent anti-Semitism as acceptable”. Now it’s not only present, but virulent.
It got worse: Hodges then claimed “Most on the Left support or tolerate it”. Who is this “most on the Left”? Does he have anything to back that up? As if you need to ask. We must take his word as reality, or at least the reality which he inhabits.
Dunt was yet more exasperated at that claim. “Jesus Dan” he exclaimed, to which Hodges just kept droning on: “You're not seriously now going to try and argue that Labour anti-Semitism isn't tolerated within the party”. Dunt tried reasoning (not, as it turned out, a good idea): “You just said ‘most of the left’ support or tolerate anti-semitism. Do you know how nuts that sounds?” Would Hodges see sense? “So if that's not the case, why is the Labour Party infested with anti-semitism. If it isn't tolerated”. So that’s a no, then.
Another Tweeter tried his luck. “I'm against any form of discrimination, and this smear against Corbyn being antisemitic has no substance”. No, Dan wasn’t having that: “‘I'm against any form of discrimination. Except Labour anti-Semitism. Which I will dismiss as a smear’”. So he was challenged to pony up some evidence. “Provide me with ONE form of evidence”. What say Dan? “He doesn't support it. But he tolerates it”. Record’s stuck.
But, helpfully, Matthew Black was on hand to burst the Hodges bubble. “Re anti-semitism, how come you shared a platform (The Spectator) with rabid anti-semite & Golden Dawn supporter, Taki Theodoracopulos?” On top of that, how come he writes for the Sunday sister paper of the Daily Mail, which wheeled out a shed load of anti-Semitic tropes to attack the reputation of Ed Miliband’s late father?
Dan Hodges’ obsession is eating up his credibility. His hypocrisy is consuming what’s left. But he’s getting an obscene amount of money for peddling that obsession, so that’s all right, then.