Ed to Staggers: Rid Me of This Turbulent Hodges

The NewStatesman’s party on the Sunday of Labour conference usually sees the party leader turn up and glad-hand the great and the good. This year Ed walked in one door and walked out the other door barely stopping to shake a hand. On his way out he muttered dismissively that this was his “thirteenth event of the night”. Ed’s people let it be known that it wasn’t bad luck that he snubbed the Staggers, the primary reason for his minimal technical attendance was Dan Hodges’ article that morning attacking Miliband’s strategy as “bold, brave, and politically suicidal” calling Ed the “Ralph Nader of British politics”. You can see how that might hurt.

This brought about a managerial crisis of confidence in editorial plurality. Friends of Hodges say that he thought the understanding was that “Mehdi licked Ed’s arse and Dan kicked him in the balls”. In the Thursday edition published during party conference Dan Hodges’ article about the booing of Blair was spiked and didn’t appear in the magazine – in fact it ended up being published on IainDale.com. Hodges was told he would be rested from the magazine for a few months but allowed to continue to blog for the magazine. Friends say Hodges was told explicitly that the Staggers’ relationship with the Labour leader’s office was important and he was damaging that relationship. Hodges has now resigned.

Could Hodges end up writing for the Spectator? When Martin Bright was pushed out after pressure from Gordon Brown he shifted from being the Staggers’ political editor to writing for their more successful rival. All in all it reflects pretty poorly on the Statesman that it has caved into pressure like this again. The Speccie positively revels in poking party leaders in the eye…

UPDATE:

Well they would say that, wouldn’t they…

Mehdi Hasan, the political editor at the Staggers and sympathetic biographer of Ed Miliband has just tweeted, “For all of you asking me to #SaveDanHodges … I don’t want to”.  Hmmm…



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Andrew Neil on the dying Dead Tree Press

“I read more bloggers now than mainstream columnists, because they’ve got more interesting things to say. Too many columnists today make you think, ‘Yeah, I think you’ve said that 10 times before and I’ve just noticed your column has not go a single fact in it’”.

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