Paddy gives short shrift to tyrant-slaying boast attributed to Brexit minister

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In yesterday’s Sunday Times (£) there was a report of an interview with Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. The interview was conducted by Tim Shipman and the report was entitled:

Dominic Raab: I saw off bully Slobodan Milosevic. Michel Barnier needs a softer touch

Now, I should preface this post with the proviso that The Times has form in regard to inaccurate précis via headline. It could be that the Sunday Times has now been infected with that dodgy headline disease.

Here’s what Raab is quoted as saying:

Back in the Hague, when I was doing my war crimes stint, I was in correspondence with Slobodan Milosevic. We successfully saw that off, although Robin Cook died before the subpoena could be properly determined by the court, and Milosevic died shortly after that.

That doesn’t entirely match up with the headline.

There seems nothing else in the article to elaborate on the first part of the headline, save the following box beside the article – and at this stage readers may want to reach for a stout brown paper bag, just in case. The juxtapositioning of Milosevic and Michel Barnier certainly “bigs up” Mr Raab to a ridiculous extent, the implication being that our brave Brexit minister, Dominic Raab, singlehandedly saw off the mass murdering ‘butcher of the Balkans’ so he can therefore easily take on Michel Barnier:


Slobodan Milosevic
Job: Deceased tyrant
Negotiating style: Brute force
Likes: Eliminating Balkan borders
Likely to say: “Serbia and Kosovo are indivisible” (they weren’t)
Unlikely to say: Anything else, since he’s been dead for 12 years

Michel Barnier
Job: Eurocrat factotum
Negotiating style: Suave Frenchie
Likes: Eliminating Irish borders
Likely to say: “The four freedoms are indivisible” (they are)
Unlikely to say: “Another drink, Jean-Claude?”

All this nonsense has received very short shift from our Paddy Ashdown, a man who knows a thing or two about “Slobo”:

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • Michael Cole 27th Aug '18 - 1:05pm

    Quite a few years ago The Times deservedly had a reputation for accurate and unbiased reporting. Sadly that is no longer the case.

    People used to say “Don’t believe everything you read in the papers.” Now it is a case of “Don’t believe anything you read in the papers.”

  • David Blake 27th Aug '18 - 3:34pm

    Same with the Telegraph. Used to be a good paper that kept its comment and news separate. No longer.

  • Both the Times and Telegraph have retreated behind a paywall. At that point you can’t afford to challenge your readership, you have to pander to them and they do.

  • Andrew Tampion 29th Aug '18 - 5:28am

    This article appears to be guilty of the same fault as the Times report it comments upon: the title does not reflect the content. Would it not have been fairer to criticise Paddy Ashdown for calling out Dominic Rabb, based on a report which Mr Ashdown apparently hasn’t read, for saying something the article itself acknowledges Mr Rabb didn’t actually say.

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