He got the BBC into a shed load of trouble over his legendary Transcription Error - they lost one of their best Directors General as a result - and his appetite for Muslim bashing during his stint at the Telegraph was notorious. His hit-jobs included one on Byline Media, and by association campaigning group Hacked Off, which was so lame that while the Tel was trying its best to defend his efforts, it was busy amending the online version.
Now Andrew Gilligan, the betrayer of David Kelly’s confidence who had rather more to do with the late weapons inspector’s humiliation than he or his press colleagues would like to let on, has turned his attention to Mermaids UK, a charity which provides “Family and individual support for gender diverse teenagers and children”, in another example of the supposedly upmarket Sunday Times being driven into shock horror tabloid territory.
Mr Transcription Error’s schtick was straightforward: “A taxpayer-funded transgender charity has been banned by the High Court from any contact with a family after the mother, who was being advised by the group, forced her seven-year-old son to live as a girl … The latest accounts for Mermaids UK, published last week, reveal it has been granted £35,000 by the Department for Education (DfE) and a total of £138,000 by the national lottery’s Awards for All fund and the BBC’s Children in Need appeal”.
The nudge-nudge machine is working overtime as Gillian ventures into the kind of area usually inhabited by the Mail titles, often aided and abetted by groups like the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance. But, on looking at the Mail’s lifting of the story, it becomes clear that The Great Man has made a claim he is having difficulty standing up.
Mail Online tells “A taxpayer-funded transgender charity which offered same-day hormone treatment for children has allegedly been banned from contacting a family” before going on to say “Mermaids has been 'ordered to have nothing to do with this child following their removal', according to the Sunday Times … But in a statement, Mermaids, which was reportedly granted £35,000 by the Department of Education (DfE), denied it was the subject of a court order”. “According to” and “reportedly” means bet hedging in progress.
Now, Mermaids UK has issued its own statement, telling “Contrary to what is implied in the Times article, Mermaids has not been served with any orders by the high court, and Mermaids was directly referenced only once during proceedings, to state that the mother had been receiving support from the charity … We are disappointed to note that while we informed the journalist of the above facts, they have chosen to publish this article”.
That statement continues “All of us engaged with gender diversity and supporting gender-questioning and transgender youth are familiar with negative reactions based on ignorance, fear and prejudice. This makes it even more important that the UK media report on this subject in a truthful and non-sensational manner”, and concludes “Mermaids is in active discussion with a lawyer regarding misinformation in the Sunday Times article”.