After the attempts by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog to pretend that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had done something wrong in preparing his tax return fell flat yesterday, the time has clearly come for The Great Guido to somehow spin the whole exercise as someone else’s fault. So yesterday afternoon we read “Corbyn Blames Tax Row On Media/Cabinet Office Conspiracy”.
This, like the original claims about Jezza’s tax return, was penned by Staines’ newly anointed teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, and like those originals, it is substantially untrue. Corbyn has not blamed the row, such as it is, on a conspiracy. The only reason for Wickham, who lies when he draws breath, to use the C-word is so he can attempt to occupy the moral high ground and dump on everyone else for his own dishonesty.
The presentation of the Fawkes mob’s latest attempt to drive the media narrative to suit their own ends has been presented as a blow-by-blow account, but given Wickham wrote it, it is both selective and dishonest. So let’s have a closer look.
Calls himself a journalist. No, don't laugh
“9pm last night: Journalists first began to query whether Jeremy Corbyn’s tax return included his salary as Leader of the Opposition. Corbyn’s team did not provide an answer”.
Very good, Alex. Now the reality: Wickham posted his first - wrong - effort at 2029 hours (you can see the date and time stamp on the screen shot). That was what was picked up - unwisely - by some of those real journalists, some of whom work to an agenda where Corbyn is inevitably painted as the bad guy (they are, of course, free to do this - Zelo Street makes no suggestion to the contrary - I’m just pointing out the susceptibility of too many hacks to take on trust what they should check out first). But do go on.
“1am this morning: Corbyn’s team released a statement explaining that he included his LOTO payments in the pensions and benefits section, rather than the employment section. They did not say why”.
Two things here. One, no conclusion could be drawn by anyone over not getting a response from the Labour leader’s office late on a Sunday evening - although Wickham is trying to suggest an indiction of guilt. And two, why the actual f*** should they start giving a running commentary and spoon-feeding clueless hacks who can’t distinguish between a tax return and a hole in the sodding ground? And there’s more.
“9am this morning: It emerged that the government’s accounts show a different figure for his LOTO earnings, and say it is a ‘salary’. Corbyn’s team did not have an explanation for the discrepancy”.
First thing in the Parliamentary week, and Jezza’s team have better things to do than reply to conspiracy theorists at the Fawkes blog. Big deal, film at 11.
Plus - once again - if the Fawkes rabble and their pals in the mainstream press are such experts on this subject, why the heck can’t they get off their arses and investigate themselves? Zelo Street took one look at the “discrepancy” and concluded it was most likely a pension contribution. AND IT WAS A PENSION CONTRIBUTION. Next!
“3pm this afternoon: Corbyn’s team explain the discrepancy in a new statement: ‘This figure is calculated after deducting the waivers Jeremy has made of earlier increases to the benefit… A parliamentary pension contribution of £3,395 was also deducted’. They blame the Cabinet Office for not clearing it up and offshore media owners for having ulterior motives”.
This is, as might be expected from Wickham, mostly bullshit. So let’s pick apart the steaming mess.
The Fawkes folks now have it spoon-fed to them: it was a pension contribution. Moreover, it was in the Cabinet Office’s power to point the hacks in the right direction, yet they took no action. So Jezza’s team has every right to express its frustration.
As to those “offshore media owners”, let’s see what Team Corbyn actually said: “The owners of the media companies that have attempted to cast doubt over Jeremy’s transparent and accurate tax return are of course among those who could stand to lose from the tax transparency and justice the British people demand. Jeremy believes firmly in transparency. These media barons have tax questions of their own to answer”
Corbyn and his team are not “blaming” any media owners. They are merely making a statement of the bleeding obvious. Media owners do indeed have tax questions to answer - including Paul Staines, who has registered his blog, er, OFFSHORE.
The only conspiracy theory being peddled here is not the work of Corbyn or his team, but by The Great Guido, in pretending that there was something dodgy about Jezza’s tax return when there was not.
Moreover, it has not passed without comment that neither the Fawkes rabble, nor their pals in the right-leaning press, have said a dickybird about the Tories coming clean and releasing their own tax returns - which our not at all unelected Prime Minister and her Chancellor of the Exchequer have steadfastly declined to do.
Alex Wickham’s snivelling excuse note fails to explain away his failings, and those of his deeply unpleasant boss: the Fawkes blog’s claims about Corbyn’s tax return were made not from knowledge, but from a combination of ignorance and malevolence.
If the Fawkes rabble want to pretend they are journalists - they aren’t - then they should quit sneering and smearing, and do some journalism - like figuring out how to read tax returns. Stop blaming Corbyn and his team. Stop pretending a big boy did it and ran away.
And as to the real journalists who give this shower a free pass - do your own journalism and stop lazily taking talking points from a bunch of frauds who wouldn’t know journalism if it jumped up and kicked them in the undercarriage. Do your jobs for once.
The Corbyn tax return saga shows anyone who needs to know what a sorry state our free and fearless press has got itself into. Another fine mess, once again.