There are in this world of shifting political sands a few certainties, constants to which one can return on occasion in order to get one’s bearings. And one of those constants is the serial cluelessness of obscenely overrated self-appointed conservative “guru” Tim Montgomerie, who was clueless back in 2009 when he fouled up over the then nascent phone hacking scandal, and is still clueless today.
Yes, you got it wrong. Again
Monty’s reassuring wander through Blunderland was underscored by his response to Rob Burley, editor of The Andy Marr Show (tm) drumming up Twitter enthusiasm for the last edition before the Christmas break, telling “At 9am a great #marr coming up with review of 2017, today's news discussed by @ShippersUnbound @Emmabarnett and @RachelSJohnson plus @HackneyAbbott @DavidGauke @jginorton and @BBCSingers BBC1 in forty minutes time”. So far, so inoffensive. But not for Monty.
The Great Man (for it was he) decided this was not to his liking, and so to register his displeasure replied “#Marr not even trying to represent Leavers anymore”. Wait, what? Did I imagine the platform given to former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage the other Sunday? There have been lots more Leavers, too.
Burley tried to refresh Monty’s memory: “As long as you don't count people like Nigel Farage, Kate Hoey, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Camilla Tominey, Michael Gove, Isabel Oakeshott, all guests in recent weeks. . I mean I could go on”. He most certainly could.
For starters, who can forget multiple appearances for the perma-tan and rigid smile of Richard Tice from Leave Means Leave (clue in the name there, Leave fans) who believes that if we could only be more optimistic, all would be well.
Then there is the Not-Conservative-At-All-Honestly regular presence of Talk Radio host Julia Hartley Dooda - another fervent Leaver. There has been a first appearance for Rob Oxley, formerly of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance. Another from the alphabet soup of right-leaning and anti-EU Astroturf lobby groups has been Kate Andrews of the IEA, who has appeared on the paper review sofa twice recently.
There is more. Spectator editor Fraser Nelson, as well as dispensing flagrantly dishonest propaganda on press regulation, is a Leave backer, and has appeared recently. So has his pal, the loathsome Toby Young, who brought to the paper review the use of “Remoaner”, the less than totally subtle term of abuse for those who disagree with him.
Two Leave-oriented Iains have appeared: Iain Martin, he of “A clear public interest justification”, but not if it’s John Whittingdale, has been on the paper review, and so has LBC host Iain Dale, who is unequivocally on the Leave side.
And that’s before the representatives of the Murdoch, Rothermere, Desmond and Barclay Brothers press, who know which way they must jump when instructed to do so. Finally, to paraphrase the late Leonard Sachs, there is “chiefly yourself”: Monty is not exactly an unknown presence when it comes to the Marr Show paper review.
As I said, Tim Montgomerie was clueless in 2009, and he’s clueless today. End of story.