Some pundits are clued up; many others are anything but. Some are able to admit they messed up; others merely carry on, or pretend it never happened. And some have the cojones to up sticks and leave when they find their paper has abandoned its journalistic principles and fallen into the gutter, while others cling on to their berths, and their obscenely generous paycheques, while keeping their heads down and saying nothing.
He's desperate, Dan
In the “others” category in all three of those examples is the Mail on Sunday’s not even slightly celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges, question mark omitter supreme and floor crosser of no known principle. Desperate Dan is clueless, fouls things up and never looks back, and is so desperate to hang on to his regular paycheque that he will not raise a finger in protest at the MoS’ rapidly becoming a rogue newspaper.
Hodges has demonstrated his lack of political acumen by pontificating on the move, now headed off by the Labour leadership, to remove the party’s Deputy Leader role, at present occupied by Tom Watson. “Jeremy Corbyn really is serious about rescuing Boris isn’t he … I'm genuinely starting to wonder if Momentum have been established and funded by the Tory party. They are their greatest asset”. Usual Dan. Customary cluelessness.
On he droned. “Reports Corbyn didn't know about Watson move. John McDonnell reportedly trying to head off Watson move. Shadow Cabinet going insane over Watson move. Which raises the question - who is actually running the Labour party?” That’s for you to figure, Dan. But do go on. “Incredible. The Corbynite plot against Watson has blown up in their faces. Corbyn forced to back down. Watson emerges stronger than ever”.
He does? “Corbyn's office will currently be like a scene from the Death of Stalin. Without the laughs”. It will? "Claim Corbyn didn't know about the move. It was debated and voted on with him in the room last night. So if he didn't want it to happen, why didn't he speak out about it then”. Because he’d left by the time it was tabled, Dan. Next.
“Hang on. People now claiming it was done after Corbyn left the meeting”. Told you. “Just remember. If Jeremy Corbyn wins the next election the people behind all this will be in charge of your schools, hospitals, police, armed forces and security services”. And?
Then came word from Nick Eardley at the BBC. “Understand Momentum withdrawing motion to get rid of Tom Watson position”. Cue creative Hodges reverse ferret. “Labour insider: ‘John Lansman is going to become the Lee Harvey Oswald of the Watson Plot. Corbyn's office are going to try and set him up as the patsy. The lone nut who was behind it all’”. Except Lansman is supporting Corbyn’s intervention.
A more straightforward and sensible analysis came from Peter Oborne: “The deformation professionelle of political journalism, and I am guilty as anyone, is to convert every argument into an existential crisis. Isn't the real story that Jeremy Corbyn has intervened calmly and expeditiously to sort things out?” Indeed. And there was worse for Hodges.
Jolyon Maugham has told “Just received notification from the Mail on Sunday that, in a week in which I have received death threats, they are tomorrow going to publish my private address”. That’s on top of a Byline Times revelation that the MoS is secretly using the services of disgraced ex-Murdoch wide boy Mazher Mahmood.
Maz, aka the Fake Sheikh, is now too toxic for the Murdoch mafiosi. They had little alternative but to sack him after he was caught lying to the judge in the so-called Tulisa Trial - and then convicted of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
Northcliffe House's little helper
Well, Dan Hodges, he’s working behind the scenes at your paper. Deniably, of course. But still working away. And your paper is about to Doxx Jolyon Maugham, for the heinous crime of being opposed to Britain leaving the EU in a No Deal exit.
Anyone so clueless and unrepentant would at least have stopped and thought for a minute. And anyone finding out their paper was in the sewer, and rapidly becoming a successor to the late and not at all lamented Screws, might consider their position. But Dan Hodges will do neither. He’ll disregard the misbehaviour and keep his head down.
Behold the impeccable morals and high principles of our free and fearless press. Or not.
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