[Update at end of post]
This morning, the Labour campaign for the London Mayoralty was officially launched. This in itself sounds dull as ditchwater, but that would be to underestimate both participants and the gallery of less than totally neutral pundits. No sooner had the party’s challenger had an emotional reaction to the video supporting his candidacy, than the hyenas were in full cry.
You wanna get in here, guv? Mmmm, gonna cost you ...
And at the head of the pack was the Telegraph’s “London Editor” and ultimate purveyor of sock-puppetry and dodgy journalism Andrew Gilligan, permanently persona non grata at the BBC after dropping them in it big time over reporting of the Iraq weapons dossier. “Is it all ending in tears?” asked Gilligan, before asserting that Livingstone had planned it all beforehand.
Then, with the kind of brass neck that gets you a berth at the Telegraph, he accused Labour’s candidate of “lies”. Yes Andrew, you’d know all about that (see HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE for a bumper crop of Gilligan whoppers). And there was more to come from the not at all biased Standard, where Peter Dominiczak and Pippa Crerar have been slanting for England.
Basically, Ken, it's like this
Ms Crerar called Livingstone’s behaviour “bizarre” (Standard hacks clearly don’t have such inconvenient things as emotions), and then joined with Dominiczak – putting that training at the Yorkshire Post to good use – in coupling the most unflattering photo of Livingstone they could find to “£3 billion of manifesto pledges”. Which he couldn’t keep (says Boris. Allegedly).
While the print media has been merely partisan, though, the less inhibited tribalists of the online world have enjoyed no such constraint, as the less than dynamic duo of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his tame gofer, the flannelled fool Henry Cole, at the Guido Fawkes blog demonstrated. The Livingstone “stunt”, declared the Laurel and Hardy of the blogosphere, had “backfired”.
Yes, they're back, and inventive as ever
“Tonight 1.6 million Londoners will see this picture of an exhausted and tired old man in tears on the front page of the Standard” was the mildly optimistic assertion, probably from Cole, who clearly believes that anyone older than his increasingly portly boss is “old”, if not “tired”. Sadly, most of those 600,000 Standards are read by one person, who leaves the paper on their last used train.
But the Fawkes blog has a clinching quote: “As one exasperated member of the campaign team put it ‘it’s impressive to make Ed [Miliband] look like the competent one’”. Way to go, eh? Er, no: the quote was dreamed up by the terminally clueless Cole, as was the whole of an earlier post laying in to Tom Watson for being, er, Tom Watson. Making stuff up on the fly is a stock in trade for Staines and Cole.
The problem is, it’s also rather obvious. Another fine mess, once again.
[UPDATE 12 April 1615 hours: an excellent example of the witless spin coming out of the Guido Fawkes blog was provided by last night's Evening Standard debate, moderated by Clive Anderson. The Telegraph - not known as being hostile to Bozza - admitted that the occasional Mayor was "booed and heckled" after claiming the Met had "done 'a fantastic job' tackling last Summer's riots".
Johnson was, of course, absent and on holiday for days after those events. But the Fawkes blog has chosen instead to ignore the slight to their beloved Bozza, instead suggesting that Livingstone was the one getting booed. There was further spin over the flannelled fool Cole being ejected from the debate, supposedly on health and safety grounds.
Sound people, those debate organisers. Another fine mess]