Apologies for being so late to this battle (I was on holiday) but one aspect of this “controversy” has so far been overlooked: the rules on dashes in the UK and the US are (mostly) entirely different. (And the more fastidious Rightpondians call them rules, not dashes, though “the rules on rules” is too much for me: my personal idiolect says “dash”.)
Generally speaking, in the UK, newspapers and periodicals never use the em dash, only the en dash. Many (?most?) UK book publishers use the em dash, not the en dash, but those that do use the em dash often put spaces before and after (though the Oxford University Press follows the US convention and omits the spaces.) UK newspapers also generally use the hyphen where, often, it appears, US publications would use an en dash.
If this link works, you can read Hart’s Rules (the UK equivalent of Chicago for the book trade) on em and en dashes here – it’s too long to quote in full, but to give you a flavour of the nice distinctions Hart’s makes, it says that one should
use an en rule between names of joint authors or creators to show that it is not the hyphenated name of one person. Thus the Lloyd–Jones theory involves two people (en-rule), the Lloyd-Jones theory one person (hyphen) and the Lloyd-Jones–Scargill talks two people (hyphen and en rule).
Now, if the general reader can tell the difference between the Lloyd–Jones theory and the Lloyd-Jones theory , or work out at a glance how many people were involved in the Lloyd-Jones–Scargill talks thanks to a difference of less than a millimetre in two rules, I would be stunned. Certainly no newspaper I know follows that rule on rules: it would be hyphens throughout. Thus while professionally I admire LH’s stern dedication to Chicago style on dash usage, I fear that, as the old joke goes, it may all be a bit like pissing yourself in a dark suit: it might give the copy editor a nice warm feeling, but nobody else notices.
The rant about dashes I would like to have is how far too many writers use them instead of brackets, commas, colons and semi-colons, without realising how ugly a rash of dashes looks in type and on screen. But that’s another soapbox ...