What, I wondered last Wednesday, was Paul Staines, who blogs under the alias of Guido Fawkes, after when he made a Freedom Of Information (FoI) request about the appointment of a third special adviser to Foreign Secretary William ‘Ague? Well, all started to become clear on Friday, and Staines clearly believed that matters were coming to a head today, only to be disappointed.
What happened on Friday – this one coming out of left field and taking both blogosphere and assembled hackery by surprise – was that Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt told that his marriage was over and that he was admitting his homosexuality. Staines posted on the affair, signing off with the line “Could this be the first of a few such announcements from the Government benches this weekend?”
By now, it was becoming clear that the suggestion of Master ‘Ague being gay – something that did the rounds in the 90s before he got married – had made a return. Unfortunately for the gallery of slavering hacks, though, as reported today on the Maily Telegraph website, threats of legal action have been made by “A Cabinet Minister” over allegedly baseless claims of gay affairs.
And just in case the failure to name the minister concerned presented anyone with difficulty identifying him, Staines has helpfully posted a piece titled “Flashback: Hague’s Gay Special Adviser”. But hang on a minute: this is the bloke who said in a Guardian interview last year that “I’d prefer the blue team to be in Government, not the red team”. So what is he doing going after Master ‘Ague?
Ah well. Staines missed the exposure of David Laws by the Maily Telegraph, and even after Laws had been outed, sprayed five hundred notes up the wall betting that he would keep his job. This did not enhance Staines’ credibility. Thus he has clearly decided not to get caught on the hop again. As to the potential damage to his preferred Government, to paraphrase Jon Stewart, “Minister’s right to privacy less than Staines’ right to know”.
And as for Staines’ justification of the FoI request on the grounds of propriety – well, that’s more or less the way the Maily Telegraph excused outing Laws. This kind of approach may lose Staines friends among the Tory Party, but if he brings Master ‘Ague down, will help the Guido Fawkes brand no end.