News has arrived on Zelo Street from Natalie Rowe, who will be familiar to many regulars as the person who imposed more than strict financial discipline on the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet. Ms Rowe has a story for the press about her former client, but in the case of the Evening Standard, she has found it difficult to find a taker, even at the lowest possible asking price (ie zero).
Why this should be I will leave up to readers to decide, but from the information Ms Rowe has made available, what I can tell is that she contacted the Standard’s newsdesk on at least two occasions, and both times was put through to a reporter who wanted to know who she was, but was unwilling to pitch his name to her.
On the first time she called, she asked if the newsdesk would be interested in a story about a prominent Tory MP, given that the paper was now to be edited by one, ie Osborne himself. The reporter would not commit himself to a yes or no answer, but on several occasions during the conversation suggested he should call her back on a mobile phone.
But, Ms Rowe reasoned, she was already speaking to him using her mobile phone. Why would he want to ring back? The thought enters that the newsdesk may have wanted to record the conversation. The unnamed journalist, having not made any progress on that front, decided to end the conversation and rang off.
There’s courtesy for you. But, it seems, Ms Rowe was undeterred, and was back on that mobile phone soon afterwards. And after badgering the unfortunate switchboard operator at the Standard, she was back talking to the newsdesk. That the same person apparently answered the call makes one wonder just how many staff the Standard really allocates to its newsdesk (seems the answer to that is “one”).
Look who's here (this photo (c) Natalie Rowe)
This time, things got rather more interesting: firstly, the still wilfully anonymous hack at the other end of the phone had realised who he was talking to. “Is your name Natalie?” he asked. Then he became more forthright. “You’re Natalie Rowe … look, this is a twenty year old story”. This was a most creative use of the Standard’s crystal ball, maybe too creative: the story Ms Rowe was offering the paper is very much an up-to-date one.
This she tried to impress upon the insistently anonymous hack. The problem was that, as with too many hard pressed hacks nowadays, he was not listening. It was, for him, still a twenty year old story, which begs the question - why would he not hear Ms Rowe out? The story concerned the reopening of an IPCC investigation into a recent raid on her flat and the removal of two photos which may prove embarrassing to the former Chancellor.
But the Standard’s newsdesk didn’t want to know. Mentioning Osborne, it seems, brings forth a wall of excuses and then unwillingness to take it further. I’m sure there is a good explanation for this, especially as Zelo Street readers will already have figured out that Ms Rowe’s story is an update of what was posted on this blog, and on Byline Media, back in January this year. Twenty year old story my arse.
The moral of this tale? Don’t take your Osborne stories to the Standard.