Johann Hari claims to hate the Daily Mail. . .

. . .but not enough not to borrow from it.

Over the weekend, I read the defences made by Peter Preston and Mark Lawson for Johann Hari's plagiarism - for that is what it is. Mr Preston believes that Mr Hari's practice of inserting his interviewees' words from other sources into his interviews was merely "an occasional habit", and Mr Lawson appears to think that Mr Hari was merely "searching for the earlier existence in print of words included in an interview". If only both men were right, but sadly they are not. Instead, they merely dismissed the charges as being the dumb products of anonymous name-callers on Twitter.

Had Messrs Lawson and Preston examined exactly what was going on, they would have seen that many of those commenting were hardly anonymous, and the points they made were thoughtful and valid. (Funny how the likes of Preston and Lawson doubtless celebrate people power and the vox populi in, say, Egypt, but not in this country.) Far from being an "occasional habit" of "cleaning up", Mr Hari is a serial plagiarist, and he does not deserve their misplaced sympathies.

Last week, I showed you how Mr Hari appeared to have lifted 42 quotes from Malalai Joya's memoir for his supposed interview with her. What follows is another interview by Johann Hari that features a number of quotes lifted from another source. This one is a good 'un, because the interviewee is none other than Ann Leslie of the Daily Mail - a newspaper that Mr Hari states is "the enemy of everything - literally everything - I believe." It would appear that Mr Hari's hatred for the Daily Mail does not make him averse to lifting several hundred words for his Ann Leslie interview from a piece that appeared in August 1997 in the, er, Daily Mail.

This was an enormous piece - some 4000 words - and the beginning largely dealt with Ann Leslie's traumatic childhood in India. Readers of the Independent in 2004 would have been impressed by the revelations that Hari appeared to have elicited from Dame Ann. Of course, had they known that much of what they were reading had appeared in the Daily Mail some seven years before, they might have been less than impressed.

Here then, are the offending passages, as identified by the excellent Jeremy Duns:

Ann Leslie's article in the Daily Mail, 1997:

He was my father's bearer, valet, and a man whom I loved more than anyone else after my father. He'd been my father's bearer even before my parents' marriage; taciturn, speaking little English, illiterate, but deeply noble, with the hawk-like face of a man from the legendary North-West Frontier, he and his family - had moved with us all over India and, much later, Pakistan.

Whenever I cut my knee, I ran to Yah Mohammed. When a deadly snake, a black krait, slithered into my nursery and my ayah (Indian nanny) ran screaming from the room, her ankle bracelets chattering in panic, it was Yah Mohammed who calmly killed the krait.

Yah Mohammed was always there if I was lonely, frightened, or leaving home again, for yet another distant boarding school.

And it was Yah Mohammed, I later learned, who had rescued me from a friend's garden during what became known as The Great Calcutta Killing, in 1946. The city was burning as Moslems and Hindus slaughtered each other: Yah Mohammed, at great risk to himself, climbed over garden walls and hurried down alleys, carrying the little white missy baba to safety on his spindly back. He was, of course, a Moslem.

Johann Hari's interview with Ann Leslie in the Independent in 2004:

Yet it is not her father who dominates her memories of that time. It is a man called Yah Mohammed, "a man I loved with almost unbearable intensity." He was her father's bearer and servant, "taciturn, speaking little English, illiterate, but deeply noble, with the hawk-like face of a man from the legendary North-West Frontier." Yah and his family moved with the Leslie family all over India and, later, Pakistan.

"Whenever I cut my knee, I ran to Yah Mohammed. When a deadly snake, a black krait, slithered into my nursery and my ayah [Indian nanny] ran screaming from the room, her ankle bracelets chattering in panic, it was Yah Mohammed who calmly killed the krait," she explains. "Yah Mohammed was always there if I was lonely, frightened, or leaving home again, for yet another distant boarding school. And he was the one, I learned years later, who had rescued me from a friend's garden during what became known as The Great Calcutta Killing, in 1946. The city was burning as Moslems and Hindus slaughtered each other: Yah Mohammed, at great risk to himself, climbed over garden walls and hurried down alleys, carrying the little white missy baba to safety on his spindly back."

Ann Leslie's article in the Daily Mail, 1997:

Even after all these years, I still feel an almost tearful relief that Yah Mohammed was not with us on that particular killing train.

Johann Hari's interview with Ann Leslie in the Independent, 2004:

Even now, her eyes turn watery when she explains how relieved she was that Yah Mohammed was not with her "on that train."

Ann Leslie's article in the Daily Mail, 1997:

The long Indian train clattered and screeched to a halt somewhere in the middle of nowhere. A sudden silence.

And then the screams. My mother clutched me to her, covered my eyes, told me not to be scared, there was nothing to worry about.

And there wasn't: not for us, at least.

Not for a freckled British memsahib and her missy baba, her equally freckled little daughter, sitting alone in the shabby first-class compartment of what was to become one of the 'killing trains' in the world's largest post-war holocaust.

Johann Hari's interview with Ann Leslie in the Independent, 2004:

She draws unusually heavily on her ominpresent cigarette now. She was sitting on a train in her teens and "the long Indian train clattered and screeched to a halt somewhere in the middle of nowhere. A sudden silence. And then I heard the screams. My mother clutched me to her, covered my eyes, told me not to be scared, there was nothing to worry about. And there wasn't: not for us, at least. Not for a freckled British memsahib and her missy baba, her equally freckled little daughter, sitting alone in the shabby first-class compartment of what was to become one of the 'killing trains' in the world's largest post-war holocaust."

Ann Leslie's article in the Daily Mail, 1997:

Why weren't my mother and I killed that dreadful summer afternoon? Because we, the so-called 'colonial oppressors', simply didn't matter any more. We were assumed to be leaving anyway. In fact, we were always treated with extraordinary courtesy, even generosity. We did not need to be ethnically cleansed.

So we were not the targets of the Sikh jathas - armed bands - who'd ambushed the train. Their targets were Moslems.

Many years later, when dim memories of horror and fear surfaced in me about 'something horrible happening on a train', my mother told me how, when the train moved again, it was full of blood and bodies, men, women and children, with their throats slit.

Further bodies lay strewn in the bloody dust alongside the track.

Johann Hari's interview with Ann Leslie in the Independent, 2004:

She and her mother survived "because we simply didn't matter any more. The British were assumed to be leaving anyway. In fact, we were always treated with extraordinary courtesy, even generosity. We did not need to be ethnically cleansed. So we were not the targets of the Sikh jathas [armed bands] who'd ambushed the train. Their targets were Moslems. Many years later, when dim memories of horror and fear surfaced in me about 'something horrible happening on a train', my mother told me how, when the train moved again, it was full of blood and bodies, men, women and children, with their throats slit. Further bodies lay strewn in the bloody dust alongside the track.

At this point, I can do no better (ironically enough) than quote Jeremy Duns:

Perhaps bored of copying and pasting so much text, or aware that Leslie was appearing almost too articulate in her cigarette-strewn 'quotes', Hari briefly almost abandoned the pretence, first quoting the same article but mentioning that Leslie had written the passage in question rather than having told it to him, and then going on to claim that she parroted parts of this nearly seven-year-old article back at him, 'quoting her piece almost verbatim'. That seems unlikely, putting it mildly.

Ann Leslie's article in the Daily Mail, 1997:

My own Indian idyll came to an end four years after Independence because of a panther and a rabid dog. The panther had streaked out of the mossy woods where I was taking a friend's small Maltese terrier for a walk.

The terrier's lead was dragged from my hand, his little body was never found, and I suddenly felt a terrible sense of foreboding. Not about the panther. Panthers were always eating assorted Fluffs, Fidos and Freddies, the pedigree dogs so beloved by Ooty's British memsahibs, and we all had to be very stiff-upper-lipped about these tiny tragedies.

But I'd recently been bitten by a pariah dog in Charing Cross, the centre of Ooty (and had to endure three weeks of agonising anti-rabies injections.
And I knew that the hungry panther and the rabid dog meant that I would probably now be sent 'Home' - as the British in India always called England - never to live in India again, never to smell woodsmoke in the night villages, never to play with my pet mongoose, never to see the pale gold dust at twilight.

Never to sneak into the servants' compound (forbidden to the chota-sahibs, the missy-babas, the sons and daughter of the Raj) and roast cashew-nuts with them in the courtyard fires. And never to see my parents again except for once a year at most.

Johann Hari's interview with Ann Leslie in the Independent, 2004:

But the greatest betrayal came when her mother sent her away from her beloved India altogether. "My Indian idyll came to an end four years after Independence because of a panther and a rabid dog," she wrote years later. "The panther had streaked out of the woods where I was taking a friend's small Maltese terrier for a walk. The terrier's lead was dragged from my hand. His little body was never found, and I suddenly felt a terrible sense of foreboding. Not about the panther. Panthers were always eating assorted Fluffs, Fidos and Freddies, the pedigree dogs so beloved by British memsahibs, and we all had to be very stiff-upper-lipped about these tiny tragedies. But I'd recently been bitten by a pariah dog in Charing Cross, near my boarding school, and had to endure three weeks of agonising anti-rabies injections. And I knew that the hungry panther and the rabid dog meant that I would probably now be sent 'Home' - as the British in India always called England - never to live in India again, never to smell woodsmoke in the night villages, never to play with my pet mongoose, never to see the pale gold dust at twilight. Never to sneak into the servants' compound (forbidden to the chota-sahibs, the missy-babas, the sons and daughter of the Raj) and roast cashew-nuts with them in the courtyard fires. And never to see my parents again except for once a year at most."

Ann Leslie's article in the Daily Mail, 1997:

But those schools were in India: now I was going 'Home' into exile. And my heart broke. As it broke for so many who earlier had to leave India, and who never felt truly at home anywhere else again...

Almost a billion Indians call their land 'Mother India'. As I, in exile, also do.

Johann Hari's interview with Ann Leslie in the Independent, 2004:

She looks at me, quoting her piece almost verbatim. "Now I was going 'Home' into exile. And my heart broke. As it broke for so many who earlier had to leave India, and who never felt truly at home anywhere else again. Almost a billion Indians call their land 'Mother India'. As I, in exile, also do.

Jeremy tells me that Mr Hari has used 772 words from Dame Ann's piece, of which 227 he acknowledged had been written before - although, funnily enough, Mr Hari neglected to mention they came from the Daily Mail. As Jeremy says, this is "remarkably brazen considering he plagiarised a further 545 words from the same article".

I do hope Peter Preston and Mark Lawson read this, and if they do, I would ask them these questions: Is this occasional? And is this merely clearing up words already said to the interviewer? If it is not that, then what is it? Remember, it is the readers who are being deceived, and you have to think of them first. Can anything Mr Hari ever write again ever be truly trusted?

(Hat-tip: I was alerted to this piece by Matthew Turner on Twitter (@mjturner1975) to whom I am very grateful.)

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David Davis interview: The next Conservative leader will be someone nobody expects

The man David Cameron beat on why we should bet on a surprise candidate and what the PM needs to do after the referendum. 

“I’m tired,” says David Davis when I greet him. The former Conservative leadership candidate is running on three hours’ sleep after a Question Time appearance the night before. He is cheered, however, by the coverage of his exchange with Ed Miliband. “Which country would it be be like?” the former Labour leader asked of a post-EU UK. “The country we’re going to be like is Great Britain,” the pro-Brexit Davis retorted

The 67-year-old Haltemprice and Howden MP is at Hull University to debate constituency neighbour Alan Johnson, the head of the Labour In campaign. “As far as you can tell, it’s near to a dead heat,” Davis said of the referendum. “I think the run of events will favour Brexit but if I had to bet your salary, I wouldn’t bet mine, I’d place it on a very narrow victory for Brexit.”

Most economists differ only on how much harm a Leave vote would do. Does Davis believe withdrawal is justified even if it reduces growth? “Well, I think that’s a hypothetical question based on something that’s not going to happen ... One of the arguments for Brexit is that it will actually improve our longer-run economic position. In the short-run, I think Stuart Rose, the head of Remain, had a point when he said there would be very small challenges. In a few years probably nothing.

“The most immediate thing would likely be wage increases at the bottom end, which is very important. The people in my view who suffer from the immigration issue are those at the bottom of society, the working poor, which is why I bridle when people ‘oh, it’s a racist issue’. It’s not, it’s about people’s lives.”

More than a decade has passed since David Cameron defeated Davis by 68-32 in the 2005 Conservative leadership contest. The referendum has pitted the two men against each other once more. I asked Davis whether he agreed with the prime minister’s former strategist, Steve Hilton, that Cameron would be a Brexiter were he not in No.10.

“I think it might be true, I think it might be. When you are in that position you’re surrounded by lot of people: there’s the political establishment, the Whitehall establishment, the business establishment, most of who, in economic parlance, have a ‘sunk cost’ in the current set-up. If changes they stand to lose things rather than gain things, or that’s how they see it.

“Take big business. Big business typically gets markets on the continent, maybe distribution networks, supply networks. They’re going to think they’re all at risk and they’re not going to see the big opportunities that exist in terms of new markets in Brazil, new markets in China and so on, they’re naturally very small-C Conservative. Whitehall the same but for different reasons. If you’re a fast-track civil servant probably part of your career will be through the Commission or maybe the end of your career. Certainly in the Foreign Office. When I ran the European Union department in the Foreign Office, everybody wanted a job on the continent somewhere. They were all slanted that way. If all your advice comes from people like that, that’s what happens.”

Davis told me that he did not believe a vote to Leave would force Cameron’s resignation. “If it’s Brexit and he is sensible and appoints somebody who is clearly not in his little group but who is well-equipped to run the Brexit negotiations and has basically got a free hand, there’s an argument to say stability at home is an important part of making it work.”

He added: “I think in some senses the narrow Remain is more difficult for him than the narrow Brexit. You may get resentment. It’s hard to make a call about people’s emotional judgements under those circumstances.”

As a former leadership frontrunner, Davis avoids easy predictions about the coming contest. Indeed, he believes the victor will be a candidate few expect. “If it’s in a couple of years that’s quite a long time. The half life of people’s memories in this business ... The truth of the matter is, we almost certainly don’t know who the next Tory leader is. The old story I tell is nobody saw Thatcher coming a year in advance, nobody saw Major coming a year in advance, nobody saw Hague coming a year in advance, nobody saw Cameron coming a year in advance.

“Why should we know two years in advance who it’s going to be? The odds are that it’ll be a Brexiter but it’s not impossible the other way.”

Does Davis, like many of his colleagues, believe that Boris Johnson is having a bad war? “The polls say no, the polls say his standing has gone up. That being said, he’s had few scrapes but then Boris always has scrapes. One of the natures of Boris is that he’s a little bit teflon.”

He added: “One thing about Boris is that he attracts the cameras and he attracts the crowds ... What he says when the crowd gets there almost doesn’t matter.”

Of Johnson’s comparison of the EU to Hitler, he said: “Well, if you read it it’s not quite as stern as the headline. It’s always a hazardous thing to do in politics. I think the point he was trying to make is that there’s a long-running set of serial attempts to try and unify Europe not always by what you might term civilised methods. It would be perfectly possible for a German audience to turn that argument on its head and say isn’t it better whether we do it this way.”

Davis rejected the view that George Osborne’s leadership hopes were over (“it’s never all over”) but added: “Under modern turbulent conditions, with pressure for austerity and so on, the simple truth is being a chancellor is quite a chancy business ... The kindest thing for Dave to do to George would be to move him on and give him a bit of time away from the dangerous front.”

He suggested that it was wrong to assume the leadership contest would be viewed through the prism of the EU. “In two years’ time this may all be wholly irrelevant - and probably will be. We’ll be on to some other big subject. It’’ll be terrorism or foreign wars or a world financial crash, which I think is on the cards.”

One of those spoken of as a dark horse candidate is Dominic Raab, the pro-Brexit justice minister and Davis’s former chief of staff. “You know what, if I want to kill somebody’s chances the thing I would do is talk them up right now, so forgive me if I pass on that question,” Davis diplomatically replied. “The reason people come out at the last minute in these battles is that if you come out early you acquire enemies and rivals. Talking someone up today is not a friendly thing to do.” But Davis went on to note: “They’re a few out there: you’ve got Priti [Patel], you’ve got Andrea [Leadsom]”.

Since resigning as shadow home secretary in 2008 in order to fight a by-election over the issue of 42-day detention, Davis has earned renown as one of parliament’s most redoubtable defenders of civil liberties. He was also, as he proudly reminded me, one of just two Tory MPs to originally vote against tax credit cuts (a record of rebellion that also includes tuition fees, capital gains tax, child benefit cuts, House of Lords reform, boundary changes and Syria).

Davis warned that that any attempt to withdraw the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights would be defeated by himself and “a dozen” other Conservatives (a group known as the “Runnymede Tories” after the meadow where Magna Carta was sealed).

“They’ve promised to consult on it [a British Bill of Rights], rather than bring it back. The reason they did that is because it’s incredibly difficult. They’ve got a conundrum: if they make it non-compliant with the ECHR, it won’t last and some of us will vote against it.

“If they make it compliant with the ECHR it is in essence a rebranding exercise, it’s not really a change. I’d go along with that ... But the idea of a significant change is very difficult to pull off. Dominic Raab, who is working on this, is a very clever man. I would say that, wouldn’t I? But I think even his brain will be tested by finding the eye of the needle to go through.”

Davis is hopeful of winning a case before the European Court of Justice challenging the legality of the bulk retention of communications data. “It’s a court case, court cases have a random element to them. But I think we’ve got a very strong case. It was quite funny theatre when the ECJ met in Luxembourg, an individual vs. 15 governments, very symbolic. But I didn’t think any of the governments made good arguments. I’m lucky I had a very good QC. Our argument was pretty simple: if you have bulk data collected universally you’ve absolutely got to have an incredibly independent and tough authority confirming this. I would be surprised if the ECJ doesn’t find in my favour and that will have big implications for the IP [Investigatory Powers] bill.”

Davis launched the legal challenge in collaboration with Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson. He has also campaigned alongside Jeremy Corbyn, last year travelling to Washington D.C. with him to campaign successfully for the release of Shaker Aamer, the final Briton to be held in Guantanamo Bay.

“I like Jeremy,” Davis told me, “but the long and the short of it is that not having been on the frontbench at all shows. I’m not even sure that Jeremy wanted to win the thing. He’s never been at the Despatch Box. He’s up against a PM who’s pretty good at it and who’s been there for quite a long time. He’s playing out of his division at the moment. Now, he may get better. But he’s also got an incredibly schismatic party behind him, nearly all of his own MPs didn’t vote for him. We had a situation a bit like that with Iain Duncan Smith. Because we’re a party given to regicide he didn’t survive it. Because the Labour Party’s not so given to regicide and because he’d be re-elected under the system he can survive it.”

At the close of our conversation, I returned to the subject of the EU, asking Davis what Cameron needed to do to pacify his opponents in the event of a narrow Remain vote.

“He probably needs to open the government up a bit, bring in more people. He can’t take a vengeful attitude, it’s got to be a heal and mend process and that may involve bringing in some of the Brexiters into the system and perhaps recognising that, if it’s a very narrow outcome, half of the population are worried about our status. If I was his policy adviser I’d say it’s time to go back and have another go at reform.”

Davis believes that the UK should demand a “permanent opt-out” from EU laws “both because occasionally we’ll use it but also because it will make the [European] Commission more sensitive to the interests of individual member states. That’s the fundamental constitutional issue that I would go for.”

He ended with some rare praise for the man who denied him the crown.

“The thing about David Cameron, one of the great virtues of his premiership, is that he faces up to problems and deals with them. Sometimes he gets teased for doing too many U-turns - but that does at least indicate that he’s listening.”

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.