It’s not been a good few days for Paul Staines and his tame gofer Henry Cole at the Guido Fawkes blog: they still haven’t got rid of Chris Huhne – even the betting is starting to swing in favour of him staying in post – and Staines himself suffered a well earned dose of ridicule following a less than successful stunt at a Cafod meeting. So a declaration of victory today from the Fawkes blog must have been a relief.
Problem is, there hasn’t been a victory. The campaign that Staines clearly believes he’s won began last week, when he and an “Indian Spaceman” attempted to gatecrash that Cafod meeting, protesting about overseas aid being given to India, even though that country has a nuclear programme. Sadly, he had to be asked to leave after he became verbally aggressive.
Even worse was to come as photos of the increasingly circumferentially challenged Staines and his sidekick later appeared on Liberal Conspiracy, with one photoshopped to form the basis of a caption competition. This was hugely popular, so much so that Staines was reported later to be “seething” at the ridicule to which he had been subjected.
Still, the point about aid to India was duly made on the Fawkes blog, and then the Maily Telegraph splashed its exclusive on the sheaf of correspondence from “Auguste” Balls, so Staines and Cole, both of whom revile Balls (and are more than likely scared witless of him) dropped the aid issue and gleefully laid into the shadow Chancellor instead.
But help was at hand, as International Development secretary Andrew Mitchell went on The Andy Marr Show (tm) and, as faithfully reported by the Telegraph, asserted that the UK would stop giving aid to India. Staines and Cole read the report and rejoiced. Sad to say, though, they shouldn’t have been so trusting of the Telegraph reportage.
Because what Mitchell actually said was this: “now is not the time to stop the programme in India but I don’t think we will be there for very much longer”. That means that aid to India is not going to be stopped right now, and there is no firm commitment to an end date. “Very much longer” could mean “we’ll look at it again if we get back in next time”.All of which means that Staines and Cole have called yet another one wrong. One has to wonder just how many more of these “victories” they can manage before folks realise that they aren’t actually victories. Anyone would think that the less than dynamic duo had learned their trade in the old days at Pravda.