As I noted the other day, Telegraph blogs has all but passed into irrelevance: the number of posts has been as little as one on some days, and last weekend nothing at all was posted there. One reason for this is that some posters, as I suggested, have had their contributions upgraded to the status of Real Proper Comment, for which the reader is expected to pay. In money.
One so blessed is Dan Hodges, formerly the Colonel Nicholson of the Labour Party. The standard of his output has not improved – although he hasn’t directed a mardy strop at Mil The Younger for a couple of days – but nevertheless he has been deemed fit to “monetise”. This will no doubt bolster Hodges’ fragile ego; he has great difficulty taking forthright criticism on board.
And there has been plenty of that criticism of late, with every outburst of petulant whining directed at Miliband bringing comments which often run not merely into the hundreds, but the thousands, many asking why he cannot drop this particular bone and suggesting ways in which his dubious talents could be otherwise employed. This, it seems, has hurt this sensitive flower.
So now, it seems, the nice people at the Tel step in from time to time and shield Dan from all those horrible people outside the Westminster bubble: when he came late to the party over UKIP and their desperation to hold together their group at the European Parliament (EP) in order to trouser More And Bigger Paycheques For Themselves Personally Now, comments had been turned off.
This may have been a wise move: not only had most of what he wrote been covered elsewhere (Zelo Street began following these particular exploits of the Farage Fringe last week), but he also passed severely, if justified, adverse comment on Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his tendency to run UKIP as some kind of personal fiefdom (surely “semi-mobile pub crawl”? – Ed).
That kind of opinion, when so many of those who drift around the comments sewer labour under the belief that the Kippers are actually the answer to the UK’s problem, is likely to provoke serious blowback for its author. But, strangely, the Tel has decided against the usual clickbait strategy and rush to Dan’s aid instead. Sadly, though, this state of affairs is not allowed to continue indefinitely.
So today, back came Hodges with another freshly minted pile of tedious Kipper bashing, and with it came around 1,500 comments, mostly not in agreement with his argument, and often pointing out how wrong he keeps calling it. But, as Colonel Ross said to Harry Palmer at the end of The Ipcress File, when the latter pointed out the hazards of his occupation, “That’s what you’re paid for, isn’t it”?
Stop whining at the criticism, Dan. Protesting about it won’t make you a better writer.