Because the Spectator apparently doesn’t believe in the right to reply

Because the Spectator apparently doesn't believe in the right to reply

In response to a piece on Left Foot Forward questioning Labour’s links with the Henry Jackson Society, Douglas Murray attacked ‘certain critics’ in a piece for the Spectator. One of our writers responded to Murray’s attack but the Spectator chose not to print it. We’ve reproduced the letter here as we do believe in the right to reply.


Douglas Murray’s personal attack on me (Spectator, 10 May 2013) involves a string of falsehoods. He claims ‘It is no one’s fault if they have not heard of Hoare. His opinions are largely self-published.’  Yet the outfit of which Murray is currently Associate Director, the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), published one of my reports on its website every month for most of the period that I worked for it (2005-2102); they were all erased a few months after Murray was appointed to the post. He accuses me of having ‘an unquenchable animus’ against him, and claims ‘This has been demonstrated in an endless stream of blogs and tweets.’ Yet I have mentioned Murray in only five of the 251 (at the time of writing) posts on my blog; one of these was only in passing and one was only in response to attacks on me by his HJS colleagues. He accuses me of ‘frequent abuse’; I have never abused him once, much less ‘frequently’.

Murray claims that my problem with him is ‘my [Murray’s] insistence on expressing my own opinions rather than his [Hoare’s].’ I have no problem with him expressing his own opinions; I simply frequently find the opinions he does express repellent, and exercise my right to say this. It’s called ‘freedom of speech’. He claims I object to his use of the term ‘white British’, and suggests ‘if he wants to continue his attempts to insinuate that I am racist because of this usage then he really ought to go the whole hog and accuse the authors, compilers and most participants in the 2011 census of being racists as well.’ But the problem is not his use of the term ‘white British’; it is his claim that ‘London has become a foreign country’ because ‘in 23 of London’s 33 boroughs “white Britons” are now in a minority’. This suggests the problem lies in there being too many British citizens with black, brown or yellow skin, or with white skin but whose families originate outside the UK. I don’t believe the authors of the 2011 census were saying anything like that.

Finally, Murray claims I was never a leading member of the HJS but merely ‘a freelance contributor to the website’. Yet as Greater Europe Co-Director, then European Neighbourhood Section Director, I appeared on the HJS staff list on the website from 2005 until the start of 2012; a screenshot of this staff list from around March 2008 can be found on my blog. I have documents in my possession proving that I was centrally involved in the organisation long before Murray joined, and helped formulate its leadership strategy in conjunction with its current President Brendan Simms, its current Executive Director Alan Mendoza, and others whose names have vanished from the website.

11 Responses to “Because the Spectator apparently doesn’t believe in the right to reply”

  1. Alan Mendoza

    It’s very revealing that you feel the need to endlessly puff up your former position as a freelancer at HJS when that is what you were. Your obsessive behaviour on this point is disturbing.

    You were not staff, you were a freelancer. Both the Director and the Associate Director of HJS have called your nonsense to account on several occasions (e,g. and your seemingly inexhaustible appetite for repetition of the point means I must once again (reluctantly as this is very boring now) reciprocate with the truth.

    The HJS ‘Staff list’ page includes freelancers, of which you were one at one point. It did in the past and it does so today. Congratulations on managing a link to a past screenshot – I’ll go one better and here’s one of the current list to prove my point: Yes, there are freelancers on there. Just like you.

  2. Marko Attila Hoare

    If you are claiming that your website was lying when it listed me as ‘staff’, and that it is lying today about who its staff are, then it only reflects extremely badly on you. Personally, I don’t believe any objective person would take your denial that I was staff at face value, given your confessed dishonesty. But people are free to draw their own conclusions.

  3. Alan Mendoza

    think-tanks in the world lists people on their staff pages who are not
    employed by them but are Adjunct Fellows, Associate Fellows,
    Non-Resident Fellows or some other title. According to your warped
    logic, they are all liars then. Hoare v Brookings, AEI, Atlantic
    Council, Chatham House etc etc. I know which side I’m happy to be on!

    understanding or knowing this rather deflates your foolish claim to
    have been an insider though once again, doesn’t it. Laughable that you
    can pretend to know anything about how think-tanks operate given even
    the basics have eluded you.

  4. Marko Attila Hoare

    I suspect the directors of the august institutions you mention aren’t in the habit of posting comments on internet chat-rooms trying desperately to deny that their former staff members were really staff. They simply would not find themselves in such a situation. That’s because theirs are respectable bodies, while the HJS is not.

  5. Alan Mendoza

    That’s because they don’t have loons like you obsessively stalking their every move! There is one moral of the story – we must be more careful who we allow to have even a tangential connection with us.

    Your peculiar behaviour is the perfect example of why it was so important for us to professionalise our previous structure and formalise freelance contributions through an editorial process – which I am now delighted that we did even though I was sorry at the time that you took it so badly and tried my best to nurse you through the change.

    It just goes to show that no good turn goes unpunished.

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