'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Sunday 3 July 2011

Johann Hari: two sides to every story.

I wrote a pretty hard criticism of Johann Hari earlier this week and his 'mea culpa', such as it was, didn't make me feel very different about the whole incident. But I have been troubled by the fact that most of the criticism of Hari has come from the right, led notably by Guido Fawkes, while much of the defence of Hari has come from the left and been frankly peurile - here's a good example of the nonsense being written from the usually sensible Peter Preston. And all this has made me wonder if perhaps this wasn't just turning into a left/right spat, when in fact there is a serious issue at stake.

So it's great that Martin Bright, who most certainly sits on the left, has now come out on his Spectator blog with a pretty stinging critique of Johann Hari's actions (although I have since found this piece in response, criticising Martin for letting Hari off the hook!).

(I should also declare an interest - I was at school with Martin Bright, though the year below him, and I doubt he remembers me).

I then found this piece from Mark Lawson in The Guardian - which for the first time made me consider whether all the criticism had gone over the top. It's reasoned, well balanced, doesn't forgive Hari - but does make the case against excessive criticism rather cogently. It knocks the Preston article into a cocked hat.

I still think Hari was completely wrong and I don't think much of his apology. But it's good to see some non partisan views and some balanced opinion entering the debate.

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