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Sunday 9 January 2011

Why Not Order-Order Yourself A Double ... Standard?

The established part of the Fourth Estate and its nascent cousins in the blogosphere share one attribute: their tendency to trim away from the cut and thrust of investigation when it gets too close to home. So Rupe’s troops steer well clear of Phonehackgate, the Desmond press doesn’t mention Desmond, and the Maily Telegraph doesn’t mention the Barclay twins (aka The Fabulous Bingo Brothers).

And in the blogosphere, we find this habit extends to the outpourings of one Paul Staines, who blogs under the alias of Guido Fawkes. Staines has been laying into the left leaning part of the blogosphere for not allocating as much coverage to the jailing of disgraced former MP David Chaytor for expense “irregularities” as he has. But then came Mid-Bedfordshire MP (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries.

La Dorries has friends in the right leaning part of the blogosphere: apart from Iain Dale, a compliant and reliable conduit for Tory propaganda, there is Dale’s pal Phil Hendren (aka Dizzy Thinks). And then there is Staines, nowadays aided by tame gofer Henry Cole, formerly author of the Tory Bear blog. So how have Staines and Cole gone after Dorries, considering the pasting they gave Foreign Secretary William ‘Ague recently?

Compare and contrast, as they say: on Dorries and her affair, in two posts, the Staines blog merely recycles what had already been published by the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre at the Daily Mail. The most withering comments are “it is a rum business” and “Everyone comes out fighting and badly”.

But for Master ‘Ague, and on a matter where Staines has not managed to prove anything, it has been very different. From the point when he questioned ‘Ague’s appointment of Chris Myers as a special assistant – and quoted gay basher Peter McKay (aka The World’s Worst Columnist) in his post – the Staines blog has run a series of nudge-nudge pieces.

First came the story that Master ‘Ague had – admittedly unadvisedly – shared a hotel room with Myers. Following that were posts entitled The Turn (geddit?!?), Well over half query Hague (geddit?!?), Hague’s Bedroom Pickles (geddit?!?), and Where’s Willy (geddit?!?). The no-smoke-without-fire trial was still going last month, even though Staines’ campaign showed little sign of success.

Not, of course, that Staines and Cole would be deterred from their dogged pursuit of the facts either by sinking to a stream of puerile innuendo, or by not wanting to upset one of their pals. That would mean double standards, and that would never do.

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