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Farewell again then, Dan Hodges

Dan Hodges chats to Michael Dugher

Dan Hodges chats to Michael Dugher

You know Twitter has reached peak absurdity when someone like Dan Hodges – really only known by super hardcore political people – has become a trending topic. The occasion of Dan’s elevation to internet celebrity is yet another piece of finely crafted miserablism for the Telegraph. His double whammy of likening Jeremy to hard right Tory patrician Enoch Powell and announcing his resignation from the party, again is what sent Dan flying up the Twitter charts as sundry Corbyn supporters luxuriated in a bath of his bitter tears. I’m sure the Telegraph aren’t minding the extra traffic either.

I can understand Dan’s frustration. He is of the view that the Labour Party had 18 years of pain before cottoning on to what needed doing to win power. It meant adopting policies closer to where the majority of voters sit on the political spectrum, it meant appearing strong on the core issues pertaining to voters’ senses of self-security (i.e. the economy and defence), and it meant having a leader that could inspire confidence in those parts of the electorate most likely to cast their ballots. He was of the view that Ed Miliband wasn’t up to it, and so it proved – though I doubt very much his preference would have turned out any better. And now with Jeremy at the helm, he believes the party as a whole have unlearned the lessons of the 80s and 90s. The reality is rather more complex than that, but our Dan has always had a penchant for black-and-white thinking smeared with a dollop of cynical empiricism.

Let’s take his two big points in turn. Likening Jeremy to Enoch Powell was obviously intended to inflame. How dare a lifelong champion of anti-racism be likened to the poster boy for racists. The comparison, however, doesn’t work that well. Whereas Powell was a “principled” and unapologetic champion of patrician Toryism which, nevertheless, was already moving towards the fringes of the party when he made his celebrated anti-immigration missive, you can see that Dan is desperately trying to map Jeremy onto him as someone equally as rigid and out-of-step with modern life. The key difference is that while Powell did and Jeremy does represent a real movement, Powell was ultimately an individualist who turned his back on the Tory Party over Europe and later returning as an Ulster Unionist MP. Jeremy, whatever one thinks of him, is a proper labour movement person who believes in the power of the collective. Corbyn fans threatening to leave if Jeremy goes, take note – the party is always bigger than the individual. So no, Dan’s comparison doesn’t really work – but then any old rope will do.

As it happens, this individualist feature is something Dan shares with the Corbyn supporters he despises: a preoccupation with purity. His whole piece drips with sanctimony, as if the leader, the MPs, the supporters are all morally responsible for the baby killing outrages IS are reportedly committing. Never mind that British jets haven’t flown sorties against IS targets for several days, or that the whole campaign is a joke taking place solely for appearance’s sake. Just like Jeremy’s legion of keyboard warriors, Dan’s participation in politics is almost entirely virtual. He, like they, sit on Twitter permanently aghast. He soaks up the media coverage and cannot understand why other members and, occasionally, the public are indifferent to the appalling coverage the leader attracts. Difference being he gets paid to write up his sense impressions of this rarefied world. That and occasionally worried Labour MPs and complementary Tories phone him for a gossip. Having imbibed and contributed extensively to the media characterisation of the party, he believes his own propaganda and holds the party to be unclean and repugnant. His stated intention to “stay and fight”, which is why he rejoined in June, was somewhat undermined by his complete lack of party activity or attendance at meetings – you know, where the real action and debate in the Labour Party takes place.

Dan is a columnist who makes his living by writing comment. Nothing wrong with that. What Dan is not is, like celebrity members such as Robert Webb and Matt Forde who’ve made similar huffy exits, an activist, someone who voluntarily gives their time to fight for the politics they believe in vis a vis the public and/or fellow party members. Ultimately Dan’s repeat resignation is symptomatic of centrist narcissism that says less about the Labour Party and more about him, his political immaturity, and his total lack of fortitude.

30 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    Corbyn supporters aren’t preoccupied with purity, we just want a return to real Labourism.

    New Labour had nothing in common with anything the party stood for prior to Kinnock becoming leader. It was a complete sell out that achieved nothing of value.

    1. John P Reid says:

      it archived power

      1. Chris says:

        So did plenty of other people in history.

      2. Robert says:

        Yes and now it’s gone, the leader has departed and the party left power, more then likely for longer then it was in power. While you wait for the return of Blair the rest look at the Tories and see a clone of Blair in power with Cameron.

        1. John P reid says:

          better than heaving a thatcher clone in power, and what do you mean labour will be or of power for years, a corbyn is a election winner

    2. Sandra Crawford says:

      Absolutely.

    3. Sandra Crawford says:

      Corbyn bashers do not really believe that his supporters are puritans.
      What really scares them is Corbyn himself. No man is perfect of course, but Corbyn is a good man, a principled man, and very unlikely to ever take the King’s shilling.
      That is very very scary to carpet baggers.

  2. SimonB says:

    Given Dan’s record I’m surprised he was allowed back into the party in the first place.

    1. John P Reid says:

      or Livingstone or Shawcroft

      1. Ric EUTENEUER says:

        And yet you and your ilk were more than happy to welcome back former SDP members and defecting Libs and Tories…

        Oh, but that’s different.

        1. John P reid says:

          when have I ever been happy to welcome Tories, or libdems men voters for those parties yes,
          In 1996 some labour supporters in a constituency where lsbour was so far behind the Tories in third place,tactically voted Libdem, to oust the Tories, they were rightly expelled for 5 years,

  3. The picture which you claim is Michael Dugher actually looks as though he is talking to Jon Cruddas. But as I have no idea who Michael Dugher is he might be a Cruddas look alike. Can you clarify this please and let us know who these two largely unknown people are? Cruddas is of course a serious politician. The other two…. who are they?

    Trevor Fisher

    1. John P reid says:

      Dugher was a 2010 intake labour MP, the picture is from a year ago,as Hodges has had a beard since January,vduther wanted the Tories to apologize for winning the miners strike, organized Burnhams campaign

      Maybe he should apologize for organizing Burnhams campaign, which was embarrassing.

  4. Mukkinese says:

    something that is apparent with those, like Hodges, who claim they know what it takes to win elections, the very same people who declared that Corbyn stood no chance in the leadership election, fail to acknowledge that they lost that election spectacularly.

    A result which somewhat undermines their argument to be the holders of the arcane knowledge of winning elections…

  5. Sandra Crawford says:

    Dan Hodges gets his salt from a corporate paper that tax dodges like mad and hates Labour.
    His analysis and journalism are at the “Sun” level, all based on anti Labour bile and prejudice.
    He is bought and paid for and not bright. He was cherry picked for this.
    It needs pointing out loudly by the left that very few papers on on the side of the people.

    1. John P reid says:

      The sun level, Ken Livingstone wrote a column in the sun 92-99 and do you mean intake tautly at sun level,or that they have a prejudice?

      1. Ric EUTENEUER says:

        Hodges political analyses are slight and not evidence based. And, unlike Livingstone, whose actions and politics have actually improved people’s lives, Hodges has neither done nor every said anything of any value.

        If you know different, do please let me know what.

        1. Robert says:

          John is to the right and a firm believer in Blair’s return.

          1. gerry says:

            Robert – your endless sniping at JohnP Reid is really tiresome: how about some proper political debate?

            John is a loyal Labour party member and deserves to be listened to respectfully, even if you disagree with his politcal line. OK?

            And for your information, many of us on the Labour left were overjoyed when Blair won us 3 elections in a row – most of us had feared that we were facing permanent Thatcher/Major/Tory rule in the UK.

            And for all the dreadful things Blair did, I will always prefer a Labour govt, even a Blairite one, to a Tory govt. Though I am pleased that we have moved on from New Labour – of course!

        2. John P reid says:

          Had Hodges managed to seize power in a coup,like Livingstone did,he could have done stuff like the GLC, although Hodges hasn’t done anything like Livingstone,although he voted for him,as a Independent in 2000′
          But then Hosges has never been responsible for a thatcher dismantling the GLac,or labour doing worse in London in 87′ than 83′ the way Livungatine gave a Thatcher ammunition to disband the GLC

  6. David Ellis says:

    `you can see that Dan is desperately trying to map Jeremy onto him as someone equally as rigid and out-of-step with modern life.’

    Yes it fails completely because if anything Corbyn does not even begin to reflect the real anger and fervour of the masses and the labour movement at the austerity that is being imposed on them to the benefit of the rich. He has no clue, or perhaps he does which is why he is really leaving, just how completely irrelevant, hated, finished the old New Labour right is. In fact the only reason Jeremy keeps them around is to make himself look even more radical than he actually is. The Corbynistas are obsessed with the old irrelevant New Labourites but in reality they themselves are the real new right of the party. Radical socialists needs to start demanding they put some socialist flesh on the anti-austerity bones and start being the radicals they claimed to be. The country is split between pro and anti-austerity. Corbyn will never be unseated from the right. The question is will he lead the left or simply oversee the continued disintegration and pasokification of the Party by not sufficiently challenging Cameron. He has already failed to do what was necessary in Scotland.

    1. James Martin says:

      Lolz, thought you’d given up all the ‘pasokfication’ nonsense out of sheer embarrassment following the failures of all your previous mystic meg predictions, but no, after the Party has reached around 400,000 full members (and rising), pulled in tens of thousands of young people new to politics following Jeremy’s campaign, your silly sectarianism just has to get the better of you again. If you really don’t see what a serious threat the right forces inside Labour (with their media and state allies without) are then you understand nothing of us, but of course if you now think that it is the Labour left, Corbyn and his supporters that are the real problem and the real enemy then of course you are beyond any hope at all.

      1. David Ellis says:

        Why would I give up on it. The only person who could stop the pasokification out of the leadership candidates was Corbyn. That does not mean to say that he will. If he does not follow through with a radical agenda then the resurgence will prove to have been every short-lived indeed and the disintegration of the party will resume.

  7. Mick Hall says:

    Phil complains about Jeremy’s legion of keyboard warriors, I fail to see the problem myself given the mainstream media has all but barred favourable comment about Corbyn. So good luck to them the more the merrier.

    As to Hodges, he is nothing more than a neo liberal gofer. He is following a long tradition of lefty sellouts who move right when the boss class waved a cheque book. None of them turned out to be a great loss, although I would say Danny boy is not in the same league as Hitchens or Cohen. One got a US passport the other we must wait and see;-)

    My guess is Dano will get a redundancy notice when he employers have rung him dry. He is best ignored.

    1. James Martin says:

      Phil’s still very upset following his own favoured candidate for leader Yvette ‘I don’t have a policy for anything’ Cooper only got 17% of the vote so he likes to get the insulting digs in against the actual Labour Party left that voted for Jeremy where he can.

  8. Idrath Ernot says:

    This is bloody great. I dislike Hodges, and Corbyn and his legion of challenged cyber bullies even more so: your characterisation of them as “sit[ting] on Twitter permanently aghast” is just beautiful. They not only deserve each other, but need each other.

  9. stewart says:

    have to admit,cant stand corbyn,but dan hodges is becoming one annoying bastard with his constant self superior sniping at corbyn and mcdonnell.

    1. John P reid says:

      he called the election result right though

  10. Patrick says:

    As we are now omov party does this mean we are all equal
    happy xmas

    1. John P reid says:

      some of us are more equal to others, when, cliques take local ClPs use block votes to oust others

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