Just in time for the return of Westminster politics, and Westminster politics coverage, has come confirmation from one long-serving broadcast host that the media establishment are rather less well-informed than they would like us to believe. And to the considerable embarrassment of the BBC, the admission has come from none other than Andrew Neil.
Neil has, despite his continued participation in programmes where he is supposed to demonstrate even-handedness, been joining in with the right-wing wolfpack to kick those on the left whom he dislikes, and one on the left who Neil dislikes above all others is pundit and campaigner Owen Jones. It is here where The Great Man has come unstuck.
Neil has got it into his head that Jones is not merely disliked, but despised by the Labour leadership. So after he sneered “Frank Field = Enoch Powell. Modern McCarthyism at its finest/worst, depending on your point of view” at Jones’ pointing out the Birkenhead MP’s tendency to xenophobia, things rapidly went downhill from there.
Jones tried to warn Neil that he was batting on a sticky track: “I quoted a Bishop who compared Frank Field to Enoch Powell - who Field praised - because of his anti-immigration bigotry. But given you hired the Holocaust denier and Nazi apologist David Irving, and your magazine publishes defences of Nazis, I’d stay out of this one, old chap”.
The Spectator has indeed defended the Nazis, via the less than good offices of Taki Theodoracopulos, self-confessed racist, virulent anti-Semite and Golden Dawn supporter. This thought was not allowed to enter as Neil sneered “I admire how you do JC’s work, tirelessly and, so far, without reward. Everybody close to Mr Corbyn still despises you. It’s so unfair. Maybe adding to your MCarthyite litany by calling Mr Field a bigot will make them see sense. I do hope so”. A Brillo idea, but not a brill one, sadly.
Labour Party chair Ian Lavery treated Neil’s drivel with the contempt it richly deserved. “What a load of nonsense from @afneil, think you need to get yourself some fresh sources. @OwenJones84 is and always will be a close friend and true comrade. He is an assiduous supporter of the mass movement of people power we are building”.
He was not alone. Matt Zarb-Cousin also weighed in: “Andrew Neil talking shit again is it. What this mess of a man doesn’t seem to realise is when he steps out of the Daily Politics studio and away from the comfort blanket of his studious researchers, he just comes across as another clueless right-wing idiot”. And there was more.
Mike Segalov felt the need to point out “Aside from being a baseless accusation, this is incredibly unprofessional from someone employed to, impartially, present political programmes on the BBC, isn’t it?”. You might wish to ponder thus, I couldn’t possibly comment. But where had Neil got this dubious information?
Simples. As Zelo Street pointed out earlier this year, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have been peddling this totally untrue idea for some time. Staines’ former tame gofer, the odious flannelled fool and pretend “journalist” Master Harry Cole, has also pushed the claim. It’s still a pack of lies.
Andrew Neil loves to call “liar” on others. He should get his own house in order first.
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