In which the word 'irony' is used so ironically that it ceases to mean anything

I have already ranted about former-broadsheet-turned-caky-rag The Daily Telegraph‘s increasingly hypocritical, unjournalistic and exploitative content, in a blog post which caused one petulant reviewer to suggest that I have a ‘tin ear for journalistic irony’.

Perhaps I do. It would certainly explain my confusion at the Telegraph‘s apparent pride at what they call ‘disclosures’ that there are some Lib Dem MPs who don’t like all the decisions the coalition government have made, or who don’t necessarily like David Cameron. Is this actually another example of supreme journalistic irony? Perhaps we’re meant to be in tears of laughter at the hilarious suggestion that we could possibly be surprised by such a revelation.

Maybe we’re also supposed to find the breach of MP/constituent confidentiality delightfully ironic. It would make more sense of their laughable use of the word ‘investigation’ instead of ‘stitch-up’, or their use of ‘undercover’ instead of ‘underhand’.

But for me the ultimate irony comes with the news that the four MPs in question have apologised. Apologised for what exactly? They were perfectly entitled to say what they did in the context of a private conversation. The only people who ought to be apologising are the ‘undercover’ ‘journalists’ involved (my use of inverted commas indicates irony, in case you have a tin ear), not to mention Tony Gallagher, the paper’s editor, who presumably condoned their actions (which has incidentally undermined one of the fundamental foundations of trust in our democracy). If Santa dumps a sack full of shit down each of their chimneys this Christmas it’ll be no more than they deserve – and no, I don’t mean that ironically.

The magnanimity and eloquence of the completely unnecessary apologies made by the MPs in question does credit to both the Lib Dems and the government, for which I now find myself feeling both sympathy and respect. After the last few weeks, that really is ironic.

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