Is there a more smug, dislikable, appallingly partisan, congenitally dishonest and blatantly hypocritical individual than Andrew Pierce? The Daily Mail’s for-hire glib motormouth and rabid Brexiteer, who can also be seen regularly (why?) on ITV Good Morning Britain, is always ready with an opinion, whatever the subject. And as befits his Twitter handle (@toryboypierce) he will support any Tory policy, however wrong or cruel.
Smoke from burning trousers must have been edited out
Pierce gets away with many of his more blatant lies, as the ones he slips in to his GMB appearances don’t get fact checked at the time, and whatever he gets into his Mail columns, he knows that even if there is a complaint, press non-regulator IPSO (celebrating five years of abject failure next month) will wipe his and his editor’s arses for them.
But Pierce came unstuck yesterday when he made a claim about the cost of rail travel which was blatantly untrue. That’s the problem with open tickets: you can look on National Rail Enquiries and check the claim against reality. And when Pierce’s claim was checked against reality, it revealed that his pants were well and truly alight.
“On rip-off [Virgin] train from Wilmslow to Euston. £338 off peak. Could have gone to Paris & back for less”. His Tweet was helpfully timed at 1011 hours. And yes, there is a 1011 hours service from Wilmslow to Euston. The problem for Pierce is that (a) as he says, this is an off-peak service, and (b) even if it had not been, the return ticket price would not have been £338. Oh dear! So, soon afterwards, back came the ridicule.
Michael White wondered how Pierce had gone on with his expense claim. “You must have worked really hard to bill Lord Rothermere for such an expensive ticket, Andy. Was it first class too? Hope Lord R doesn’t notice!” Another Tweeter gave him a gentle reminder about the Mail’s contribution to the exchequer: “At least the tax-free earnings from your employer's holding company will compensate for your sad loss”.
One of several people to consult NRE hinted, via the use of Pinocchio emojis, that Pierce may not have been honest about that fare. As the train was an off-peak one, the return fare would have been just £87.20. Also, had he been returning from a trip where the outward leg (from Euston to Wilmslow) was on a peak service, then he could have done it with a peak single and an off-peak one, for £209.10.
Only both ways on peak trains would get near his claimed fare, but would not reach it (the peak return fare is £331). Moreover, this was the sell-off railway which his paper no doubt encouraged at the time the Major Government did the deed. Hence Hugh Barnard’s reminder “Well the 'market' has decided for you, you should support this, no?”
On top of that, it is pointless Pierce tagging the Virgin Group in his Tweet, as their interest in what is more prosaically called Inter-City West Coast is about to end. And the new operator, a First Group and Trenitalia joint venture, won’t be cutting fares any time soon.
Andrew Pierce will discover there are some subjects about which he cannot lie and get away with it. He could, of course, just stop lying. But old habits clearly die hard.
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