He's desperate, Dan
It was not one of those questions that Ted Verity, editor of the increasingly wayward Mail on Sunday, was answering this weekend. Instead, today’s MoS has carried a column from not even slightly celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges which purports to consider the issues around David Amess’ killing, but ends up inciting hatred against another MP.
Hodges’ column is typical of the genre honed by successive Mail editors - first David English, then the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre - that led one former staffer at the titles to tell Nick Davies “Dacre kills with headlines”. The headline and supporting images, their juxtaposition, and the first few paragraphs, contain the intended message. What is buried further down the page provides the excuses when someone complains.
"I don't know why he was killed BUT look whose photo this is!"
So what’s the headline? “I don’t know why Sir David Amess was killed but the visceral hatred of Tories at the heart of Labour has to end right now”. Yes folks, Desperate Dan wants you to know “I don’t know why Sir David Amess was killed BUT”. And this is a big but. A big but that juxtaposes Amess’ death and “visceral hatred” from the Rotten Lefties™.
And just to make sure readers know which lefties Hodges is on about, close to the top of the page is “Though not all of those tributes have been welcomed. As news of the appalling attack was filtering through, a tweet from Angela Rayner expressing her own sympathies provoked anger from several Tory MPs and officials. ‘She was calling us scum a few days ago,’ one told me. ‘She doesn’t get to express sympathy today.’”
Then comes a big photo of Ms Rayner. Boo rotten lefty Angie!! “I don’t know why David Amess was killed BUT here’s a big photo of Angela Rayner”. Quite apart from Hodges being an ocean going hypocrite of the lowest order - he is, after all, the author of “Labour MUST kill vampire Jezza”, the article that depicted Jeremy Corbyn, knives plunged into his body, in a coffin, published 10 days after Jo Cox’s murder - his excuses won’t wash.
When Emma Kennedy passed adverse comment on his column, Hodges did his best to wriggle his way out of it. She should, he declared, quote what he had said that was so objectionable. This is pure sophistry: he’s been at the MoS long enough to know how that paper plays the game. The suitably crafted headline, the accusing finger pointed at the Labour Party, and, oh look! A great big and very obvious photo of Angela Rayner.
The MoS pundit may also be a stinking hypocrite
In the aftermath of Hodges’ “Labour MUST kill vampire Jezza” column, we saw Darren Osborne admit he had wanted to kill the then Labour leader. One man was later jailed for 28 days for violently assaulting Corbyn, an act that had the Tories sniggering with glee. When I last encountered Ms Rayner, she had turned up on her own to a canvassing session in Crewe. After Hodges’ incitement, she might not turn up alone in future.
Because incitement is what Dan Hodges’ latest column is. He can protest all he likes. But the headline and photo placement gives the game away. We see you, Desperate Dan.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at