The reaction to this less than totally savoury news has been all too predictable: first, the revulsion that a lobbyist for hire, whose previous clientèle includes the tobacco industry, should be so favoured, a view that has come mainly, but not exclusively, from Labour Party supporters. Then, second, has come the counter spin, those usually on the right, defending Crosby’s gong, and shamelessly talking him up.
So who would like to kick off the Crosby alternate reality spinfest? As if you need to ask: showing the pupils at the West London Free School a characteristically poor example when it comes to objectivity, the loathsome Toby Young declared “Can't think of a more deserving recipient. Congratulations, Lynton”.
Not to be outdone, Damian Thompson, formerly editor of Telegraph blogs and always up for supporting Tobes, claimed “Outraged by knighthood for Lynton Cosby. He saved us from Prime Minister Miliband. Should have been a dukedom”. Would anyone else care to join in this partisan idiocy? David Jack certainly would: “Forget a knighthood, Lynton Crosby should be made a saint for helping to prevent a Miliband-led Labour government”.
Ah, those voices of neutral and objective journalism. But who would call out Labour for their attacks? The Sun’s alleged “Westminster Correspondent” Harry Cole was that person: “Careful @labourpress, Spencer Livermore got a peerage for losing 2 elections”. Sadly for him, Livermore had not lost two elections, and his pants were once again shown to be on fire. Cole’s old boss Paul Staines fell into the same trap: “Labour gave their campaign manager @SpenceLivermore a peerage and he lost”.
Not in 1997, 2001 or 2005 he didn’t. Marcus Roberts was another to fall into the one-election trap: “Miliband made Labour's election chief a Lord and Labour had lost. And yet there is anger at Crosby (who won) being Knighted?” See above, and Crosby lost in 2005. Even Stephen Bush of the Staggers got caught not checking that one: “Labour staffer texts: ‘Hard to complain about Crosby knighthood. Spencer Livermore got a peerage, and he didn't even win’”. He did, and on three previous occasions.
And nobody mentioned Crosby’s service to Big Tobacco, or the less appealing aspects of his campaigning. But Harry Leslie Smith was there to put Crosby’s magnificent achievements into perspective: “#LyntonCrosby knighted for service to the state is the equivalent of giving a Michelin Star to Burger King for culinary excellence”