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Thursday 26 August 2021

Peter Hitchens And Alternative Facts

Some observers laughed at the idea that the Trump White House could have its own “alternative facts”. After the 2020 Presidential Election, the January 6 insurrection, and with a third of US Citizens believing that Joe Biden didn’t win, many are no longer laughing. The decision by Trump, his followers, and his media cheerleaders to do away with facts is what leads down the rabbit hole where reality can be conveniently ignored.

Hang on, there's been a hitch

The idea that we can disagree on issues of the day, and indeed on recent history, but keep our disagreement rooted in a common respect for facts, is still powerful enough this side of the North Atlantic for some in the media establishment to try and respect it, whatever the pressures and diversions of their profession. But one of their number has no problem stretching facts beyond the bounds of elasticity in order to satisfy his own vanity.

To no surprise at all, that one individual is the unfeasibly egotistical Peter Hitchens, contrarian supreme and specialist in the art of arguing in his spare time. Hitchens occasionally gets something wrong. But this weakness cannot possibly be conceded by The Great Man, and so, when Jonathan Portes of King’s College London corrected him, this was an affront to Hitchens’ omniscience which could not go unpunished.

Where Hitchens went wrong can be put directly: he got the date of UK accession to the Treaty of Rome - joining the EEC, as it then was - wrong. He claimed it was 1972; it was January 1973 (see HERE, HERE and HERE). Hitchens, though, decided he knew better. “For Jonni Portes … The day in January 1972 when Britain formally joined the Common Market (unlike Jonni, who was at nursery school that day, I watched it on TV)”.

Note the combination of appeal to authority, and patronising over-familiarity (“Jonni”). This, like Hitchens’ recall, didn’t work, as Portes fired back “That article literally says that membership ‘took effect on 1 January 1973’. As does the Parliamentary website, the Commission website, etc. We know you think your ‘opinion’ overrides actual, verifiable, objective facts. But you won't convince anyone”. And there was more.

The hill on which [Peter Hitchens] has chosen to die on today is that - contrary to what the history books and the law say - the UK joined the EEC in 1972 rather than 1973. Because he says so. Time to stop giggling and do some work I think”. Cue the Tweeter known as Steve Analyst. “Article 1(1) of the Accession Treaty 1972 explicitly confers membership on the UK ‘hereby become members of the European Economic Community’, and Article 1(1) does not come into force until January 1st, 1973 as per Article (2)”. It’s still 1973.

So I pointed this out. By now, others would have said “sorry, my bad” and moved on. Not him. “Actually … there is an interesting argument over the significant moment, varying from the Parliamentary vote in 1971 to the coming into operation in 1973. I wouldn't quarrel with any of them. But Bloviating Jonni … told me that I was *wrong* to use 1972”.

Because accession happened in 1973. But Hitchens was, by now, off and running. “This epitomises .. Jonni’s problem, that he mistakes his opinion for fact and cannot disagree rationally, or accept that anyone else might make a judgement different form his on the same facts. Hence his frequent resort to dishonesty in debate”. Projection, much?

Peter Hitchens epitomises the sickness of our media class. Alternative facts, indeed.

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J said...

I think he should be called Pooter Titchins from now on... I realise its very stupid and a bit childish, but then I'm not trying to pass myself off as some kind of intellectual while mis-naming Mr Portes.

And lets be honest, we all know Mr Tit got his - Mr Portes - name wrong once so now until time ends he has to use the incorrect name as if its some genuinely clever and cutting thing (its not!) when in reality he can't bare to admit he made a mistake by correcting himself.

Titchins really has become an old gammon of late, sad really. He used to me mildly interesting, but now seems to be in full Qloon KBF fuckwit mode.

Steve Woods said...

Arrogant in his ignorance and ignorant in his arrogance.

Daz from Brum said...

Hitchens and numbers, not good……

Anonymous said...

He's a worthless pompous old fart.

Which is why he's employed by the Heil on Sunday.

iMatt said...

Anyone read the latest ed of Private Eye? In the letters pages, we have an overly long letter from Hitchens itself a response to the Eye highlighting an article he wrote on the wearing of wearing face masks. Within this letter, he whines:

"You rejoice at the IPSO ruling on my eight-word mention of the Danish mask study. This is because you and your increasingly leftist readership don't like me and I don't like you either".

Not enough time, space or inclination to reproduce the rest. Suffice to say it's a perfect mix of Hitchen's pompous self-importance mixed with more than a hint of self-pity.

Anonymous said...

He's irrelevant. Always (a) has been. That's why he's increasingly crackpot in his old age. That, plus his grotesque hairy nostrils. Yeuk.

Mr Larrington said...

If Victor Lewis-Smith didn’t say “the Hitchens brothers are dying in the wrong order”, he should have. Although Hitchens, C, was in favour of the Iraq police action so he doesn’t get a free pass either.