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Thursday 30 August 2012

Guido Fawked – Strauss Not Waltzing Into Corby

[Updates, two so far, at end of post]

You have to hand it to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines: he has figured out one basic rule about the Fourth Estate, and that is that when short of original copy they are willing to print anything that fits their agenda, with the rest of the pack often following so as not to miss out. So the possibility of a celebrity Tory candidate for the Corby by-election chimed immediately with the right-leaning Mail.

Nah, Harry thought it up when I was on the bottle, shit, no, I mean phone, yeah, I was on the phone pissed, oh bollocks no, I mean talking. On the phone talking when pissed. Oh sod it

There was only one problem here: Staines had – not for the first time – invented the whole thing, along with his tame gofer, the flannelled fool Henry Cole, whose appalling vanity, as I noted yesterday, threatens to get the better of him. The Laurel and Hardy of the blogosphere had added two and two – the vacancy in Corby and the retirement of Andrew Strauss – and come up with rather more than four.

I didn't need to check with CCHQ, cos I'm on telly!

The idea that Strauss may have resigned deliberately in order to stand in the by-election missed one important point: he had been considering his move since before Louise Mensch went public with her own resignation. But The Great Guido understands that many hacks, once the ball is rolling, are even less disposed to engage brain and do a few minutes’ research than he and Cole are.

Five more volunteers for the roll of shame

And the notion that anyone would want to sign up to being an MP merely because they once auctioned off the right to be a golf partner to raise money for the Tory Party is the kind of logic leap that should not detain any rational mind. Moreover, England cricket captain to politician is not a well worn career path, trodden only by the failed campaign 48 years ago of one Ted Dexter.

Dexter, whose appetite for gambling would have put Staines in the shade – once, while captain of Sussex, he declared an innings closed from Brighton racecourse – was selected amidst much fanfare to contest Cardiff South and Penarth in the 1964 General Election against future Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary and Prime Minister James Callaghan. He lost. Badly.

Brass neck and rusty spelling combined

The constituency was not the most solid Labour one, either: the Tories usually managed a strong second place. But celebrity counted for nothing, and it probably wouldn’t in Corby – after all, the by-election follows the departure of one celebrity. The electorate are hardly going to take kindly to the imposition of another. And the Fawkes fabrication missed one crucial fact.

This was that the deadline for candidates had already passed, so the entire campaign was a sham. So the buffoon Cole had to spin it all as someone else’s fault: yes, Andrew Strauss himself was to blame. “Silence from the man himself, who could have shut speculation dawn [sic] very easily yesterday afternoon”. As if a real celebrity should waste his time on pretend ones.

Brass neck will not dig you out of a hole. Another fine mess, once again.

[UPDATE1 31 August 0915 hours: amidst all the talk of the odds being given against a Strauss candidacy in Corby - these understandably shortened as the hype escalated - one detail has not been revealed. And that is whether anyone at the Guido Fawkes blog, which was pushing this story, had wagered any money on their hunch.

Staines is known for his betting habit, having succeeded by backing Bozza for London Mayor, but also failing when he blew £500 on David Laws staying in the cabinet. So perhaps The Great Guido or his tame gofer would like to confirm one way or the other. I'd hate to think that they were trying to profit from their own story. Perish the thought, eh, lads?]

[UPDATE2 1 September 1845 hours: the Tories have confirmed that their candidate for the Corby by-election will be Christine Emmett. So the Fawkes blog even guessed the sex of Louise Mensch's successor wrong. Strangely, The Great Guido has not seen fit to relay this information to his readers, instead concentrating on flying off to another of his family's four homes earlier today.

I'm sure it's merely an oversight from the self proclaimed "#1" blogger, and that it has nothing to do with the cod story about Andrew Strauss turning out to be such a turkey. And there is also no word as to whether any of the Fawkes folks placed any bets on their cricketer hunch. It's doubtful that there will be. Another fine mess, once again]

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