The lack of courtesy, increasing use of insensitive and even violent language and imagery, and the sneering knowingness of so much political discourse nowadays has at its root many causes, although the more obvious influences, sad to relate, are from our free and fearless press, and especially who and what their editors allow to be published.
He's beyond desperate, Dan
One of those who keeps being published, no matter how execrable and misinformed his copy, is shameless floor-crosser Dan Hodges, bunged a six-figure salary by the Mail on Sunday for a weekly column which today has ventured beyond the pale - for a reason that both Hodges and his editor could have addressed, but chose not to.
As has happened before - remember “Labour MUST kill vampire Jezza” - Hodges resorts all too easily to violent imagery as he sneers knowingly about what is soon to befall Jeremy Corbyn. “'The ice-picks are being sharpened,' a Shadow Minister tells me … The ice-pick analogy is a grim reference to the fate that befell Leon Trotsky, assassinated on the orders of his former comrade Joseph Stalin”. So that’s all right, then. Do go on.
“Things became so desperate that Corbyn's communications team began actively stoking a row over civil servants briefing that he was too frail to be Prime Minister in an attempt to generate sympathy and throw a smokescreen around the deteriorating political position”. This is so detached from reality that it surprised even me. And I’ve seen some weapons-grade drivel from Hodges over the years. That story was a cheap smear, nothing more.
But where Hodges shows his total insensitivity to those he is attacking, and that he cares so little that he couldn’t be bothered to go back and correct his copy, is when he starts on Corbyn aide Karie Murphy: “But it is the removal of Murphy and Milne that will represent the first major phase of Operation Ice-Pick. Murphy is currently on leave dealing with a family illness. But such is the toxicity of Labour politics that there is active briefing she may not return to her role”. That was published at 0152 hours this morning.
Moreover, the online copy was updated at 0926 hours. So why is that so bad? Simples. Karie Murphy was at the bedside of her mother when she died on Friday night. Friday night. That’s more than 24 hours before Hodges’ column was published. Nobody on this earth is going to convince me - or indeed anyone else - that Hodges’ copy could not have been sensitively amended in the meantime. It wasn’t. Because he didn’t care.
Dan Hodges is more than happy to reprise his “Labour MUST kill vampire Jezza” imagery with tales of ice-picks being sharpened, and equally happy to extend the ice-pick imagery to Corbyn’s aides, but he can’t be arsed toning it down when the sick Mum of one of his targets dies more than 24 hours before his column goes to press.
That’s the level to which the attacks on the Labour leadership have sunk. The news that Ms Murphy had lost her Mum was out there on an open Twitter feed before 0900 hours yesterday. Hodges and his editor had 17 hours to amend a couple of lines of text. They cared so little about the welfare of their targets that they didn’t lift a finger.
Damn you Dan Hodges. Damn you and everyone who sails in you. That is all.
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