Following the news that Patrick Mercer, no longer the Tory MP for Newark, and as I noted earlier, probably also persona non grata with local activists, had been the subject of an upcoming BBC Panorama edition on lobbying, everyone that didn’t see this story coming has, in a very short space of time, and to no surprise at all, become remarkably well-informed on the subject.
And leading the pack of the formerly clueless but now omnicogniscent is the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his odious gofer, the flannelled fool Henry Cole, at the Guido Fawkes blog. Caught totally off guard this morning, the Laurel and Hardy of the blogosphere have been Googling frantically to catch up. And they have come to an unequivocal conclusion.
“A simple few clicks would have shown Mercer these were fake companies” asserts the Fawkes blog, having looked at the bona fides (or lack thereof) of two phony consultancies, one in Zürich and the other in Sydney, Australia. But that, for Mercer, is the whole problem: he is one of the least technologically literate MPs in the Commons. He has to get a chap to do that sort of thing for him.
Another fine technological mess ...
How can I be so sure? Well, unlike the less than dynamic duo at the Fawkes blog, I have referred to one person who knows the Mercer modus operandi all too well: step forward Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads fame, who discussed Mercer’s computer illiteracy back in September 2009: “Mercer’s refusal to use even a simple desktop computer is greatly hampering his work” he observed.
Well, now that lack of tech savvy has landed Mercer with a one-way ticket to the dump (geddit?!?) that is Nasty Smelling Brown Sticky Stuffsville. And another revelation that Tim Ireland made during a series of posts about Mercer means one of the MP’s past income streams is most unlikely to be reopened for his further benefit: his supposed expertise on terrorism and security matters.
Mercer made a most satisfying sum of money flogging this supposed expertise in the latter months of 2009 alone. Sadly, his “insider knowledge” depended at least partly on the joint and dubious talents of Glen Jenvey and Dominic Wightman, two individuals who cannot be trusted any further than they can be chucked. That association, as Ireland concluded, has probably cost Mercer his press credibility.
Wightman has also been in the vanguard of those trying to discredit Ireland by accusing him of stalking. Mercer could have intervened to stop that. He did not. Now he is on his way out. I should not have to remind The Great Guido and his increasingly rotund sidekick that Mercer is not the only Tory MP to favour this tactic as a means of avoiding inconvenient questions. Who else might that mean?
As the man said, you might wish to ask that. I couldn’t possibly comment.