One columnist for The Mail on Sunday, Dan Hodges, tried to take the public for a ride on 19 April. But they very quickly made him eat his words.
Better the devil
Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that the UK will hold a general election on 8 June. And Hodges decided to add his two pennies’ worth on what impact opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn would have on the country should his party win:
There is not a single thing wrong with this country that would be improved by installing Jeremy Corbyn as its Prime Minister.
— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) April 19, 2017
But Hodges didn’t find many people who agreed with his assessment. Instead, he inadvertently gave commentators a platform to list the many things they do believe would improve under a Corbyn government:
@DPJHodges NHS, Foreign policy, education, wealth redistribution, poverty reduction, bolstered public services, tackling tax evasion….. to name a few
— Olly T (@Olly__thomas) April 19, 2017
— John Metcalfe (@JohnMetcalfe28) April 19, 2017
— Joseph Allchin (@J_Allchin) April 19, 2017
— Tricia Murray (@TMurrayKent) April 19, 2017
Hodges describes himself as a “tribal neo-Blairite”. And he is very critical of Corbyn. The columnist, for example, wrote an article after the tragic murder of Jo Cox that called on the Labour Party to “kill” its leader. So it’s no surprise that a potential Corbyn victory doesn’t fill him with enthusiasm.
But his statement was so sweeping that it didn’t sit well with some who don’t support the Labour leader either:
@DPJHodges I'm no fan of his, but the private school VAT policy would certainly improve the social fabric.
— Dominic Carter (@DomCarter90) April 19, 2017
@DPJHodges I'm no Jez supporter but that statement is plainly bollocks
— Michael Branson (@MichaelLeam) April 19, 2017
Meanwhile, some commentators stated that they didn’t believe a continued government led by May would fare any better:
@DPJHodges I suppose the question then is name one single thing that will be improved under Theresa May?
— Ben Pringle (@BPringle13) April 19, 2017
@DPJHodges There isnt a single good thing in this country that couldn't be ruined by giving May a blank cheque / no parliamentary opposition
— Schlist (@Schlist) April 19, 2017
Shooting your own foot
The public believes that Corbyn will make these improvements because he has consistently worked in parliament on those issues, first as an MP and now as the Labour leader. And his latest round of pledges confirms his commitment:
Let me remind you of Labour's Easter Policy Blitz. We were ready for this moment. pic.twitter.com/UWhctyoYeu
— Eoin Clarke (@LabourEoin) April 18, 2017
And that’s not an understanding that Hodges could have missed. But in his mad dash to convince the public that they should not vote for the Labour Party at the general election, he ignored this completely. His deception, meanwhile, backfired and ended up making him look like a fool. Because people wouldn’t fall for the con.
That’s a lesson all media outlets and politicians would be wise to learn quickly. Because many of the public are now acutely aware of the spin machine, and their tolerance for it is diminishing. So it’s time for honesty not spin. As Hodges just found out.
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Featured image via Kerry-anne Mendoza