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Wednesday 12 September 2012

Grant Shapps – Monty’s Part In His Downfall

As the drip-drip of revelations about newly appointed Tory Party Chairman Grant Shapps continues, a rescue operation has clearly been agreed. Drawing the long straw and thereby making a suitably pointless further sacrifice of his credibility, while managing not to ride to the rescue, has been Tim Montgomerie of ConHome, in an extended excuse note this morning.

Would you buy a used website from this man?

John Prescott drove a car into a wall, while drunk” he begins, showing how Shapps’ Wikipedia entry has been allegedly amended in the past. By doing so, Monty totally misses the point: Shapps editing his own Wiki entry would be bad form, but editing it using a sock-puppet, which is what he has given every appearance of doing, is far, far worse. And that’s before all the other online goings-on.

Moreover, if we’re talking of “Shagger” Prescott here, his Wiki entry has also been subject to creative amendment in the past – several times. But what’s this? Ah, the trump card is played: the deeply subversive Guardian has “had a go at” Shapps. Monty seems not to understand that the press is there to ask questions which may not be to politicians’ liking. Here they are only doing their job.

Montgomerie is, just as with Phonehackgate, resorting to the tribal bunker mentality. It’s the Guardian and the BBC that are out to get him and those he supports. It’s the supposedly liberal media, the characterisation beloved of the US right, as personified by Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), the idea being, roughly, to start from a premise of victimhood and work their way down from there.

So Monty does not go anywhere near Shapps’ ability to follow and unfollow hundreds of Twitter accounts in a single day, for several days on the bounce (see HERE and HERE for more). He does not touch on all those websites created by Shapps – see HERE for some background – and nor does he so much as mention Shapps’ well worn alias of “Michael Green”.

The impression that Grant Shapps is at heart a modern day Flash Harry or Arthur Daley remains: the whiff of spivvery is all around him. Had he been around during World War 2, one could easily imagine him doing very nicely out of whatever black market was going, while nursing whatever injury or impairment were necessary to avoid the inconvenience of active service.

And Monty fails to dispel any of that with his excuse note: judging from the comments, not even ConHome regulars are convinced by their new Chairman. The impression is given that this is another Montgomerie defence, like that of Andy Coulson earlier, that is launched without a handle on the facts, and that is therefore doomed to failure, along with the credibility of its author.

Yet this, while obvious to all, does not register with Monty. No change there, then.

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