After confirmation that the singularly unpleasant Iain Duncan Cough had been awarded a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours list, the dismay from those who wished someone in the Tory Party had engaged brain beforehand was palpable. The architect of Universal Credit, that most cruel of welfare reforms, had been given a K. Honoured for tipping hundreds of thousands at the bottom of the pile into yet more poverty.
Those passing severely adverse comment on the new Sir Cough included Faiza Shaheen, who had stood against him in Chingford and Woodford Green at the General Election. “Iain Duncan Smith is going to be knighted. Knighted! After all the pain, poverty and hunger his policies have caused. Knighted! After running a campaign filled with lies and misinformation, + with a known Islamophobe at its heart. Knighted!!!The system is truly morally bankrupt” she exclaimed. But someone very righteous was watching.
LBC host Iain Dale (for it was he) was that righteous person, and there are few broadcasters and pundits whose righteousness exceeds his. “This lack of graciousness is one reason you lost. A better reply might have been: ‘I disagree with [Duncan Cough] on everything but I would like to extend my congratulations to him on this honour.’ I know how painful electoral defeat is, but this is no way to react” he pontificated.
So, in the spirit in which Dale has engaged, perhaps his own back catalogue of congratulating those whose Knighthoods he might not have personally endorsed given half the chance should be examined. So I have. And it does not make for edifying reading.
Take this less than congratulatory response to a K for former Financial Services Authority head Hector Sants, back in 2012. “Knighthood 4 the man in charge of bank regulation at FSA @ the time of the credit crisis. F**k me gently with a giant strap on. Astonishing”. Sants had remained at the FSA at the request of then-Chancellor George Osborne, so Dale’s opinion was not universally held. No congrats from him, either.
More recently, another K which failed to secure the Dale congrats was that given to Tory MP John Hayes. “Perception is more important than reality No 94 … It doesn't matter whether John Hayes' knighthood had anything to do with the Brexit vote or not. Everyone thinks it does. Read my blog on it” he commanded his followers.
This was backed up with a post titled “Tory MPs Go To War Over John Hayes 'Utter Cock' Knighthood”. No congrats for Hayes, either. Anyone might think that Iain Dale has no room to call out anyone else for lack of graciousness. But then, as the Tweeter known as Ben Claimant has pointed out today, Dale is above parlaying with mere mortals.
“Iain Dale has a blog listing his 250 favourite tweeters of 2019. Of those, only 7 of them are from ordinary accounts. Two of those are parody, two are about nature, two are listeners of his radio show. He doesn't take much notice of ordinary people”.
I have news for Iain Dale: many ordinary people don’t take much notice of him, either.
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