Opinion Politics

Dan Hodges: just where do you begin?

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I try my best to avoid the work of the commentator, Dan Hodges. I must admit though, it can be an arduous task.

His work is akin to a car crash, or a drunken couple knocking-boots down a dimly-lit back alley on a Friday night. You cannot help but strain your neck for a gander. You know that you shouldn’t, but you can’t help it. Despite the instantaneous feeling of detestation and subsequent resolution to never again debase yourself in that manner – you know deep-down, that you will.

The stink of his literary clostridium envelopes the nostrils as though you have thrust your face into a bag of rancid mutton offal. Hodges is addictive; not because he gives you a high, or feelings of euphoria, but because he is a an unpleasant curiosity. Inhale, disgorge, repeat. It’s a vicious circle.

Hodges may well be the most ‘lumpen’ of the current breed of lumpen-commentariat suckerfish that feed in the darkest recesses of Westminster punditry. Laughably, when he left the Torygraph and took up residence at the Mail on Sunday, his new employers declared him to be “Britain’s best political columnist”. Even the full-of-himself Hodges must have cringed at such lofty and unwarranted praise.

Hodges is nowhere near the top table of political commentators. His bratish diatribes have just about earned him a spot sat with the likes of Julia Hartley-Brewer, Harry Cole, and other such inane, second rate political scribblers.

There are several problems with Hodges. Not least his objectionable personality. His sneering, entitled, and bitter disposition exudes from every article and from every pitiful utterance on social media. His Twitter feed is a cavalcade of conceited and sarcastic spewings. He argues with anyone and everyone; launching straw man after straw man, gratuitously twisting words, meanings, and events with obligatory retweet invitations to his fedora-sporting fanboys to attack his detractors.

Hodges loves conflict. You can picture him arched over a desk (at his £2m Blackheath home) in a dimly-lit room, door locked from the inside, and clutching a box of Kleenex – desperately trying to reach fever pitch from the latest exchange with a random supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. This literary degenerate has as much savvy and gravitas as the cold, stale, lumpy ejaculate he festoons his workstation with. Some of his Twitter spats are so ludicrous it would lead you to believe that he may have tasked his anus with tweeting on his behalf.

When it comes to getting things wrong, Hodges is a recidivist offender. He predicted that UKIP wouldn’t achieve more than six per cent at the 2015 General Election; he predicted that David Miliband would win the Labour Party leadership in 2010; he predicted Corbyn would not win the Labour Party leadership in 2015; he predicted that the UK would vote to remain in the EU referendum; he claimed to have the inside story on Michael Dugher’s sacking and he claimed to have the inside story on a spat between Corbyn and Andy Burnham. He was wrong on absolutely everything. The mystery of where the Mail on Sunday get the brass neck to call this reverse-barometer ‘Britain’s best political columnist’ is up there with what happened to Lord Lucan and Shergar.

Hodges UKIP prediction was part of a tweet in which he stated that he would run naked through Whitehall if they managed to poll over six per cent. They did achieve the required level of votes, and Hodges did run (semi) naked across Whitehall. The sight of his pasty cadaver-like figure in ill-fitting Calvin Klein briefs, running through London in the early hours of the morning, will unfortunately live long in the bowels of my memory. In fact, if I ever suffer with premature ejaculation, I will divert my mind back to that Paul Gadd look-a-like stumbling awkwardly through Whitehall, all for the back-slapping praise of his fellow, posh, media brats.

Hodges has built his entire career in journalism on attacking Ed Miliband and Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. His smears, twisting of words, meaning, and context, is child-like with an irritating smug petulance. Yet of course, any suggestion that the media may have an in-built default bias against ‘the left’ is met with sniggering, accusations of conspiracy theories and retorts about tin-foil hats. This, despite the entire recorded history of demonstrable mainstream media bias towards left wing politicians of all stripes. Maybe Hodges knows better; or maybe he is voluntarily dad-dancing to the tune of the media barons who pay his bills; or the political elites he relies on for backstairs gossip and tawdry fables. All of which is rich source material for the curriculum at the ‘Dan Hodges School of Falsification’.

Hodges is one of those journalists – and I use the term in its loosest possible sense – who is forever tweeting about a text he has just received from an MP, a cabinet insider, or an unnamed staffer. Without these unverifiable tit-bits – which invariably turn out to be wrong or irrelevant – Hodges would have very little to talk about. While a silver-spoon and family connections can get you the gig – they can’t write the words for you.

The craven hypocrisy of Hodges knows no bounds. While he rightly called-out Ken Livingstone for his disgraceful attacks on the mental health of Labour MP, Kevan Jones, Hodges is not averse to using an array of mental health slurs, both in print and on social media. Maybe his beef with Livingstone was more about Hodges losing his six-figure salary job writing press-releases for TfL when Livingstone was London Mayor. Hodges subsequently supported Boris Johnson to be the next Mayor. How very fucking Labour of him.

When raising the issues of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party he disgracefully attacked a Jewish supporter of Corbyn by referring to him as a “useful Jewish idiot”. Consistency isn’t Hodges strong-point, and he is more than happy to take a wage packet from a newspaper that actively supported fascism and anti-Semitism at home and abroad. Even today, The Daily Mail is an active propagator of racist narratives. Hodges couldn’t care less. Then why would he? He defended the MP, Phil Woolas, from the “Liberal mob”.

Hodges – who once claimed that David Cameron was the new leader of the left – claims to be a lifelong Labour man, yet his membership has had about as much stability as Paddy Ashdown’s trousers. He uses his membership status as an opportunist prop for whatever vacuous screed he is penning at the time.

Despite everything I have written I will no doubt continue with this ruinous self-flagellation by reading Dan Hodges. However, it doesn’t mean that you should debauch yourself in a similar way.

You should do something more useful and rewarding with your time. Such as, descaling the kettle; cleaning crumbs from the bottom of a toaster; or scraping faeces from the bristles of your workplace toilet brush. Whatever you do, don’t read Dan Hodges.

In fact, fuck Dan Hodges.

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