Rod Liddle criticised for describing death of Nelson Mandela as ‘famous nice black man dies’

The Spectator columnist made the comments in an attack on the BBC’s extensive coverage of Mr Mandela’s death

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The Independent Online

The Spectator’s associate editor Rod Liddle has been criticised for describing the passing of Nelson Mandela as “famous nice black man dies,” just hours after his death.

Mr Liddle was labelled “arrogant” and “odious” on Twitter after attacking the BBC’s extensive coverage of Mr Mandela’s passing.

He wrote on his Spectator blog: “For Christ’s sake BBC, give it a bloody break for five minutes, will you?

“It’s as if the poor bugger now has to bear your entire self-flagellating white post-colonial bien pensant guilt; look! Famous nice black man dies! Let’s re-run the entire history of South Africa.

“That’s better than watching the country we’re in being flattened by a storm.”

The former editor of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme added : “ Look; I’m sorry Nelson Mandela is dead. It happens quite often to people in their 90s who have been very ill, even famous people, but I’m sure that doesn’t lessen the sadness for many of us.

“I never met the man but, on balance, I came to the conclusion that he was a force for good rather than ill.

“I think I came to that rather banal and broad brush conclusion twenty years ago, or maybe fifteen. So, I’m sorry he’s dead, I wish it were otherwise.”

Reacting to the comments, Richard Garside, director of The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies called Mr Liddle an “attention seeking wind up merchant,” in a decision tree now circulating on the social network.

Mr Liddle is no stranger to controversy, regularly whipping up a storm on Twitter through his commentary. 

Discussing the columnist in an interview with the Guardian, The Spectator’s editor Fraser Nelson said the normal reaction towards Mr Liddle from the magazine’s readers is “don't tone down Rod”.

“Twitter has got a habit of vastly amplifying the concerns of whose who have spent their lives being wound up,” he added.