Sometimes, a lack of attention to detail, ignorance of the subject, and desperation come together to undo those who would sit in judgment on the political classes. Nowhere could this be seen to better effect than when the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog went after Labour MP Chuka Umunna for being less than totally satisfied with the rail service out of London’s Victoria station.
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“CHUKA USES TRAGIC TRAIN DEATH TO TRASH PRIVATE SECTOR” is the magnificently dishonest headline, with the post telling “Yesterday evening Labour’s Chuka Umunna tweeted his great displeasure at being delayed in returning to his luxury art-deco penthouse apartment in Streatham … Chuka blamed the delay on the private-sector Southern Railway and immediately tried to politicise the issue, making clear he wanted the service brought back into the public-sector”. Superfluous hyphens’r’us rule, eh?
[UPDATE1 1540 hours: it seems that even the basic premise of the Fawkes post is untrue. A Zelo Street reader has drawn my attention to an item in Crawley News.
This told "THERE are delays and cancellations to trains to and from Crawley and Three Bridges after police received reports a person had been hit by a train at a station ... British Transport Police (BTP) received reports a person has been hit by a train at South Croydon earlier this afternoon (Monday, March 2)".
However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, the report then goes on to say "However, when officers arrived these reports turned out to be false ... Passengers are warned to expect disruption on the Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express networks until at least 4pm".
Moreover, Chuka Umunna tweeted from Victoria more than three and a half hours after the time by which it was estimated that services would return to normal.
So there was no "tragic train death" - to add to all the other untrue statements the Fawkes rabble made. Say sorry to Chuka, Fawkes folks. Another fine mess, indeed]
[UPDATE2 March 5 1130 hours: after Sunny Hundal picked up on the Fawkes mob's lame attack on Chuka Umunna, it became clear that they had amended their post in an attempt to remove the assertion that there had been a death.
However, and here we encounter the crucial however, I took a screen shot of the original, so we can see what was changed. Note that the first headline read "CHUKA USES TRAGIC TRAIN DEATH TO TRASH PRIVATE SECTOR". This was changed in the update to "CHUKA USES TRAGIC TRAIN TRACK TRAGEDY TO TRASH PRIVATE SECTOR".
... and after
And then the line "rather the sad news of a body on one of the lines" was removed. So the Fawkes rabble had not asserted that there had been a death - they were only reporting what train operator Southern was telling, and leaving the rest to their readers' imaginations.
Job done, then? Sadly not: the post's URL ... STILL HAS THE WORD DEATH IN IT. The Fawkes folks can't even cover their tracks competently. Another fine mess]