After getting the 2015 Labour leadership vote wrong, following that with calling the EU referendum wrong, and ploughing on to call the 2016 US Presidential Election wrong, the Mail on Sunday’s not even slightly celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges might have been best advised not to do too much extra-curricular punditry: after all, he had that hardly deserved and obscenely overpaid weekly column to protect.
But Desperate Dan is not one for thinking first: there is the Labour Party to kick whenever the opportunity arises, and whether or not he is right, he has that need to say something, even though more people read his comments just to take the piss out of them than to bother taking them seriously. So it was with the Fake News Corbyn spy story.
Whatever the merits (or lack of them) in the claims, Labour had to be wrong. Hence “I keep hearing this claim ‘the Corbyn spy pretends he organised Live Aid’. What’s the source for that … So ironically, the claim from the Corbynites that the Corbyn spy claimed he arranged Live Aid is itself false”. Soil the bed. We don’t know whether Jan Sarkocy referred to Live Aid, or the Mandela concert. It matters approximately bugger all.
Dan was on more familiar ground with press regulation: “For a long time, Labour have been pretending press regulation was about protecting ‘ordinary people’. Jeremy Corbyn has finally destroyed that myth tonight. It’s about protecting Jeremy Corbyn … Jeremy Corbyn looked directly at the camera. Cited stories negative about Jeremy Corbyn. Said ‘change is coming’. And yet Corbynites are tonight frantically trying to claim Jeremy Corbyn is not a threat to press freedom”. He isn’t. He just restated a manifesto pledge.
But do go on. “One other thing on Corbyn and the media. He claims to be concerned about ownership and diversity. But he was the guy who had a paid role presenting for the sole broadcaster owned by the Iranian state”. That’s a false equivalence, Dan. Try again. “Have to say, I was skeptical about the significance of the initial Corbyn spy story. But the hysteria of the Corbynites, and the failure of Corbyn himself to answer simple questions on it is very odd”. He’s guilty, really! It’s a fake story but it’s Jezza’s fault! Yeah, right.
Can it get worse? Hold Dan’s beer. “Remember the rule. Russia/Trump ‘very serious, must be investigated’. Russia/Brexit ‘very serious, must be investigated’. Russia/Corbyn ‘nothing to see here, move along’”. Er, Dan, NO RUSSIA-CORBYN CLAIMS HAVE BEEN MADE.
He can’t get any more clueless. Can he? “Question. If Labour does as well as expected in local elections, and London does become a solid red city, how does George Osborne keep the Standard a Conservative endorsing paper?” Shine a light. He can keep the Standard backing who he sodding well likes. He’s the editor. That’s how the press works.
Desperate Dan is vacant, even on the business he works in. Small wonder one observer noted “Logical fallacies aplenty from the Daily Heil's resident soothsayer and tarot card reader”, while another mused “The only explanation for Dan Hodges’s awful takes is that he always works backwards from the same basic premise without any interest in plausibility or consistency from one take to the next”.
And that’s being kind to him. He’s desperate, Dan.