In late January, one interviewee told Guardian man Adam Sherwin “I’ve developed a thick skin. But I’m ferociously protective of my family”. The person adhering to the belief that one’s private life should remain so was none other than the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, who styles himself Guido Fawkes. But this high principle is not something he applies to others.
Staines, along with his tame gofer Henry Cole – together forming the Laurel and Hardy of the blogosphere – have petulantly gone after Labour MP Tom Watson, partly because he has made the right call on Phonehackgate, taking on Rupe and his troops in the process, and partly because he has taken Staines’ pals at the Daily Mail and Sun to the cleaners.
Now, the less than dynamic duo are after Watson once more, this time making allegations about the MP’s marriage and asserting that he is “partying hard and drinking quite heavily on the pull in London’s Soho night-after-night [sic]”. This is followed by stating that Watson was “the worse for wear” in Liverpool on Sunday evening, although Staines and Cole were elsewhere at the time.
Staines has made his allegations to paint a picture of a print media frightened to say anything about Watson because of his involvement in Phonehackgate, but as anyone who comes across the tedious outpourings of Quentin Letts (let’s not), Fat Dick Littlejohn, or any of the other dubiously talented occupants of the Dacre cab-rank will know, that doesn’t stop them going on the smear.
The problem for Staines is, firstly, that in his perverse worldview the Murdoch empire is something benign, whereas the BBC is the one what done it, so all the hacking is only bad if he can pin it on the appalling Piers “Morgan” Moron or a paper that won’t touch him with its worst enemies’ longest bargepole. And secondly, he’s got no room to start calling out anyone for drinking to excess.
Such is Staines’ propensity to become Elephants Trunk and Mozart that, when he stood before the bench at Tower Bridge Magistrates’ Court in May 2008, it was his second drinking and driving conviction, and his fourth alcohol related offence. He even merited an electronic tag, such was the perceived severity of the deed. One more drinking and driving and it could be a handful in the Scrubs.
And that’s the difference between Staines and Private Eye’s editor Ian Hislop: the latter keeps himself out of the news, being able to behave in a civilised manner and interact with his fellow human beings in a way that does not bring unwanted attention upon him, whereas the former is a fat lush of unknown maximum capacity who should by now have grown up.
Another fine mess, indeed.