Looking at Twitter this afternoon/evening, there are (literally) thousands of people with Twitter handles like 'Despise the Tories' or with '#FBPE' after their names or who more generally identify themselves as supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and/or the Labour Party who are joining together to sing an exultant hymn of praise to a BBC interviewer - namely Andrew Neil.
It's amusing (to me) just how many of them begin their praise for Andrew Neil by writing 'I've been critical of Andrew Neil in the past but' and 'I'm no fan of Andrew Neil but...' or 'I confess to not being your greatest fan, but...' or 'I don't particularly warm to AN but...' (and many other variations thereon) before immediately going on to say 'I applaud you today' or 'this was very good' or 'fair play to him with this interview' or 'Biff! Take that, Baker' or 'or 'this is brilliant journalism from him here in skewering Steve Baker' or 'this is a lesson in political interviewing - well played!' or 'credit where it’s due'. (And 'credit where credit's due' is proving particularly popular).
From zero to hero, it seems!
And this is why:
Can someone pls fetch a bodybag for Steve Baker we have a casualty here pic.twitter.com/mzp4p1IYGy— Alan White (@aljwhite) February 21, 2018
Naturally, Rob Burley has seized the moment:
Alan White: Can someone pls fetch a bodybag for Steve Baker we have a casualty here.Sianushka: "The real scandal is the outright lies and disinformation that your Tory colleagues are spreading". I rarely say this, but well said Andrew Neil.Rob Burley: Some welcome converts to Andrew Neil's interviewing skills. Will be good when people praise him when it's their side being put under pressure by him. He does it to everyone, irrespective.
Rob Burley: Those who oppose BBC covering "Czech spying" story should watch back Andrew Neil interviewing Steve Baker on The Daily Politics today - scrutiny of a story, even one that is apparently damaging to "your side", helps reveals whether there's any evidence and can be hard for your opponents.
James Mills: I have criticised Andrew Neil in the past, but here he does a v. good job pointing out the absurd unfounded smears being made at Cabinet level.Kevin Schofield: So he’s only OK when he’s giving Tories a hard time? Andrew Neil is equally tough on politicians from all parties.Rob Burley: This. Exactly.
And so has Andrew himself:
Tory Fibs: Full credit to Andrew Neil. He just demolished the Tories for sinking to new lows in their Corbyn "Soviet Smears".Mo Ansar: Fair play to Andrew Neil. I've been a staunch critic when I don't agree. I cannot deny him when he's on the money. This is how you cross-examine. Fearsome.Andrew Neil: I’m on the money even when you disagree!