The past few months have not been the happiest of times for Paul Staines, creator of the Guido Fawkes blog, and his tame gofer Henry Cole. First there was the wrong call on the survival of Young Dave’s then spinmeister Andy Coulson, then the failure to dislodge Foreign Secretary William ‘Ague, despite chucking bucket-loads of innuendo (shurely “Crap”? – Ed) over him.
But the credibility of the Fawkes brand took its greatest knock with the farcically low turnout to the “Rally Against Debt”. Staines and Cole lent their support to their pals at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), no more than 350 turned up – including speakers, hacks and snappers – and it became clear to the Fourth Estate, and through their reportage the wider public, just how little clout they all wielded.
Undeterred, the Fawkes blog has now gone after Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne, a favourite hate figure among right leaning pundits, to the extent that Staines and Cole are betting the house on bringing him down. There is, however, a small problem: Huhne is still, weeks after stories alleging he got his ex-wife to take the hit for a speeding penalty, and suggestions of election expense irregularity, in post, and shows no sign of heading for the door.
And today’s Maily Telegraph brings bad news for the less than dynamic blogging duo: Huhne’s ex-wife Vicky Pryce has apparently declined, during an interview with Essex Police, to re-state her allegation that Huhne got her to take the points for his speeding offence, not least because had she done so, she could then be charged with perverting the course of justice.
Unless the law can lay their hands on the confession which Pryce is said to have signed at the weekend for the benefit of one of the Sundays, Huhne will be off the hook and Staines and Cole well and truly stuffed. The allegations over election expenses are already looking shaky – Mark Pack at Lib Dem Voice has the story – and the Fawkes duo therefore have their credibility hanging on the Police.
And that confession may not be in the form of a sworn affidavit, as the Fawkes blog has previously claimed. As I’ve noted more than once, bloggers need the support of the hated MSM if they are to have any real clout, and the latter is driven by the 24 hour news cycle, which right now is more interested – depending on the market segment being addressed – in the detention of Ratko Mladic, and the return from the USA of Cheryl Cole.So for Staines and Cole, it looks like a case of back to the drawing board (shurely “Westminster Arms”? – Ed).