[Update at end of post]
The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, who styles himself Guido Fawkes, has secured a copy of Alastair Campbell’s statement to the Leveson enquiry, from which he has now selectively quoted. That in itself cannot be faulted: after all, he’s got the information, so is free to quote from it as he sees fit. But the urge to creatively retell never leaves Staines.
Maybe I should have woken up first
Staines tells his readers that Big Al has accused the Daily Mirror of “serial criminal activities”. But a look at excerpts from Campbell’s statement which Staines has reproduced verbatim says nothing of the sort. Al does say that Mirror executives “knew more was being spent on private detectives, and they knew more stories were coming via that route”.
And that merely corroborates the numbers revealed as a result of Operation Motorman, which took out Steve Whittamore, a major conduit for mainly illegal material, whose services were used by many papers. We already know the Mirror may have obtained material by illegal means. We have known this for years. Campbell is saying nothing new.
No he doesn't
But Staines can’t help himself, and has Tweeted “Campbell police showed me Glenn Mulcaire’s invoices to Mirror for investigating Fiona Millar and himself”. Wrong: here’s the text, as Staines quotes it. “Shown by police references to me and my partner in Glenn Mulcaire’s notes, I have seen invoices in relation to myself and others, being paid by the Mirror to private investigator Jonathan Rees”.
What Big Al actually said
The invoices were clearly relating not to Mulcaire, but to Rees, who has also been investigated and even bugged by Police. So there is a potential lead for someone to dig further, to perhaps stand up Campbell’s assertion. Who might take that on? One person it won’t be is Staines. And another who won’t be going there is his equally tribal and clueless gofer Henry Cole.
He didn't say that either
But the Fawkes blog has another go, as Staines Tweets “Claims Morgan’s Daily Mirror hacked Cherie Blair’s voicemail”. Does he? Well, no he doesn’t: Big Al says “I do not know if [Carole Caplin’s] phone was hacked, or if Cherie’s was, but ... it is at least possible that this is how the stories got out”. Once again, Staines is leading and embellishing.
And his claim that “It is the allegation that the Daily Mirror, under Piers Morgan’s editorship, hacked Cherie Blair’s voicemails which will make headlines” might prove true for a few minutes, until folks realise that Campbell didn’t make such an allegation. Whether or not the Mirror was involved in such activity is possible, but the necessary work to stand up the claim won’t be done by Staines.
He’ll just be as lazy and clueless as ever. Another fine mess.
[UPDATE November 28 1800 hours: Staines commented in his post yesterday that "It is the allegation that the Daily Mirror, under Piers Morgan's editorship, hacked Cherie Blair's voicemails that will make headlines". So what success has he had?
The Sun and Express haven't reported on Leveson today at all, and haven't mentioned Staines' publishing of what is now known to be an early draft of Alastair Campbell's statement. The Mirror has mentioned Charlotte Church, with the Mail also mentioning Ann Diamond and Christopher Jeffries, all having appeared today.
The Telegraph, Guardian and Independent all mentioned that Staines has been summoned to appear before Leveson on Thursday - a potentially good day for popcorn sellers - with the latter two also telling of Leveson issuing an order for Staines to take down the offending post, although he has yet to do so.
None of these have even mentioned Piers Morgan today, although the future appearance of the former Daily Mirror editor had been previously reported. So that's zero success, and a take-down order to boot. Another fine mess]