While attention has been elsewhere over the weekend, some may not have noticed the sound of the Sunday Telegraph’s political editor Patrick Hennessy spraying his credibility up the wall, as his paper tries to re-heat the old story about “Cash for honours” and this smear The Blessed Tone just as Mil The Younger had brought him back into the Labour mainstream.
Nothing new here, folks
The new twist being applied by Hennessy is to talk of there being a secret “second email system” within 10 Downing Street, but his evidence is so lame – and old – as to be laughable. All he has is the existence of one stand alone PC, the existence of which was mentioned by Pa Broon’s former aide Damian McBride recently. This machine enabled staff to use their personal email accounts.
Moreover, the machine was not on the Downing Street network, and on top of that, the Police investigation at the time went over this ground, and found no evidence of wrongdoing. And by this point, Zelo Street regulars may be experiencing a mild attack of déjà vu: the assertion that the stand alone PC proved the existence of a second email system has been made before.
Hennessy’s “story” is no more than a straight lift from the Guido Fawkes blog, with a few bits bolted on. The relevant piece was published by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his tame gofer, the flannelled fool Henry Cole, more than a fortnight ago, which demonstrates the speed at which the Sunday Telegraph and its political editor so clearly fails to move.
Worse for Hennessy, the Mail On Sunday already recycled the story at the time. But the Fawkes blog is clearly less than totally unhappy about having their “second email fantasy” given another airing. It has given the Laurel and Hardy of the blogosphere the excuse this morning to pretend that McBride admitted that there was a second Downing Street email system, which of course he did not.
What the revelation from McBride really shows is not how much the Fawkes blog does know, but rather how much it does not. Spinning a stand-alone PC into some kind of great shadow email conspiracy merely demonstrates how Staines’ feverish imagination filled the rather large gap in his knowledge. His clueless tribalism helped to stir the pot, with the result seen in the Sunday Telegraph.
But the story got nowhere when the Fawkes blog first ran it, there was no change after the Mail On Sunday had a go, and there won’t be any change following either the Sunday Telegraph’s creative retelling, or the latest of Staines’ and Cole’s dismal re-heats. The gap between reality and what the less than dynamic duo wants everyone to believe is blindingly obvious.
Except, it seems, to Patrick Hennessy and his editor. Bad mistake there, chaps.