The attempt to not only stand up Bullygate, but keep the story in the news, continues today in the Mail On Sunday, part of the empire of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre. And a pretty feeble attempt it is: Pa Broon apparently pushed an aide out of his way with his arm – the kind of thing that tube commuters do to each other every weekday. But the Dacre empire has something the other papers don’t, so it has to be milked aggressively.
And this is where the story came in: Observer journalist Andrew Rawnsley had painstakingly put together a book on the New Labour “Project” which he and his publishers wanted to sell, and his paper was being relaunched, and also wanted to sell. So excerpts from the Rawnsley book have been serialised in the Observer, with the bullying allegations batting first, merely as a commercial imperative for the Guardian Media Group.
This aspect of Bullygate does not appear to have been taken on board by Tory cheerleaders, many of whom have worked themselves up into an advanced state of excitement over the story, believing it to be the bringer of electoral advantage. The idea that the fourth estate may be rallying to Young Dave may also have taken root with those who want to see him in power.
Alas, as Tory groupies should know by now, the print media acts out of commercial realism and occasional expediency: both the original story and the latest “revelation” have been put out there for reasons other than the serving of the Tory Party’s purpose. And the effect on the electorate has been next to negligible.
But the real point has been served: both stories have sold well.