by Stephen Tall on September 8, 2006
Christopher Hitchens is a fantastic polemicist. Today his polemic is just fantasy. The first sentence of his Comment Is Free article for thegrauniad today, Losing the faith, tells us:
In early 1999, Paddy Ashdown, then the leader of Britain’s Liberal Democratic party (and since then, as Lord Ashdown, Europe’s envoy in Bosnia), was found with a woman not his wife and forced to resign his post.
Initially, I thought this was satire, that Hitch was hinting at an ‘affair’ between Paddy and Tony Blair. But no. Turns out neither he nor thegrauniad could be arsed to check their facts. (Paddy’s affair was, of course, exposed by The Sun before the 1992 general election. He voluntarily retired as party leader a mere seven years later.)
I know thegrauniad is desperate to be part of the phenomenon called blogging – that’s ‘a phenomena’ to a Grauniad sub-editor, naturally – but, really, I expect better from the dead tree press. They could at least try Wikipedia.
I wouldn’t normally deign to mention such trifles as factual accuracy. But given that Hitch then proceeded to repeat parts of my post from Wednesday I feel a sense of grievance, like some virtual Amundsen to his Scott.
PS: by 5.00 pm someone at thegrauniad had noticed, and corrected the first sentence.