Some time ago, I wondered how long the coalition of right of centre blogs – that mix of Tory loyalists, Libertarians and those who just wanted rid of Labour – would last after the General Election, and the kinds of events that might induce the first fracturing of that alliance.
Well, the event has now arrived – the continuing speculation over the personal life of Foreign Secretary William ‘Ague – and the fracture has opened in very public style. Stirring the pot vigorously, and showing no sign of doing otherwise given half a chance, has been Paul Staines, who blogs under the alias of Guido Fawkes.
Going public over his discomfort at Staines’ approach, and finding adversely on his methods, has been Iain Dale, a compliant and reliable conduit for Tory propaganda, the affair even making its mark in the Evening Standard Londoner’s Diary yesterday.
Dale, a past Parliamentary candidate for the Tories, clearly believes that Staines is relying unduly on nudge-and-wink and innuendo, and that this is unfair on Master ‘Ague, though there is also the fortunate coincidence that he is going in to bat for party loyalty.
Staines, as I noted the other day, is for promotion of the Guido Fawkes brand: this holds that, more or less, any scandal in which he can exert a little leverage must be to his advantage. Whoever finally delivers the decisive blow, he can claim credit, and add another scalp to his trophy cabinet.
That was fine for Dale when Staines was going after “Shagger” Prescott, Damian McBride and Derek Draper, then making his suggestions about Pa Broon. It seems not to have occurred to him that the Tories have not in the recent past been an exactly scandal free zone, and that the natural modus operandi of Staines is all about scandal – whatever the party.
Maybe the proverbial penny will drop sometime soon.