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Thursday 27 September 2012

Guido Fawked – Baseless Coventry Rumour

[Update at end of post]

Those who follow the dubiously sourced (at best) rumours propagated by the rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog may remember one particular recent whopper, where it was alleged that the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the Seventeenth Baronet, was about to abandon the North West and be parachuted into the safe seat of Kensington and Chelsea . This was, to no surprise at all, complete crap.

My story's right, cos I'm on telly!

But such trivialities do not deter those whose positive trust rating among their possibly less than adoring public sits at a staggeringly lame 4%, and so it has come to pass that the tame gofer to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, has switched his attention from Tory to Labour to invent yet another pile of freshly steaming bullpucky on the same subject.

Master Cole has discovered that Tone’s son Euan is working in Coventry, and that he is not only a member of the Labour Party, but also an active one. From this unpromising set of facts he has then spun, with the assistance of local hack Les Reid, the thus far mere rumour that the Blairs are about to install their son into the Parliamentary seat at present occupied by Geoffrey Robinson.

Behold the benign and tolerant approach of the self-appointed "journalist"

Reid works for the Coventry Telegraph, which, it may surprise Fawkes blog observers, is part of the Trinity Mirror stable of titles (the Mirror is a favourite Fawkes whipping boy). He and Cole give the impression of being in this alliance for personal benefit rather than factual accuracy: Reid gets the supposedly edgy cachet of association with The Great Guido, while Cole can claim he’s right because it’s in the local paper.

But the substance of the story relies, as ever with the flannelled fool, on baseless assumptions backed up with bluster and smears: he denounces the rival Coventry Observer as “Robinson Patsies” and their story as “BS” on the grounds that it does not meet with his approval. Facts do not enter. The word of The Great Guido is the only one that will be tolerated.

Usual standard of English ... in a thin glass

Let’s cut to the heart of this one: just because Geoffrey Robinson is 74 does not mean he is about to retire, or be retired. Euan Blair worked for some time as an intern on Capitol Hill, but no-one suggested then, or is suggesting now, that he was about to run for Congress. He has worked for a merchant bank, but no-one suggested that he was about to be appointed to the staff of Merv the Swerve.

All that the Fawkes blog is doing is to copy the kind of smear-by-association trash pumped out regularly by the likes of Quentin Letts (let’s not), although Letts’ favourite target is Cherie Blair, not Tone or the children. The Osborne story was utterly false, and there is no evidence, other than Cole’s bluster, that this one is any different. Let’s see a single fact in support (we won’t).

But it keeps the flannelled fool out of trouble. Another fine mess, once again.

[UPDATE 1720 hours: Les Reid has been in touch and is sticking by his story, although to be fair to him, he does not suggest that Euan Blair has a "part time and possibly voluntary" job in Coventry - that was invented by the buffoon Cole - and asserts only that approaches were made on behalf of the younger Blair to invite him to local Labour Party meetings and "get him involved".

He also notes that the idea of Euan Blair becoming a local MP is at present part of the local rumour mill. That much I accept unreservedly. The problem comes when the Fawkes blog, as it did with the Kensington and Chelsea story - which has turned out to be a turkey of the first order - made its customary logic leap, this time on the basis that "another MP's son may be doing it a hundred miles away so therefore the Blairs are at it too".

Maybe Euan Blair is being lined up to become an MP. Maybe he isn't. But there's a difference between rumour, and fact. The local report has stayed on one side of that divide, while the Fawkes blog has crossed it in characteristic style]

1 comment:

Les Reid said...

This post preaching about fact and accuracy is riddled throughout with false representations, based on no research, no investigation, no sources and no journalistic inquiry.

It particularly misrepresents my report and column on this issue for the Coventry Telegraph.

So allow me to set the record straight for your readers. I trust you will also post links to my two pieces for them to judge for themselves.

My work revealed that Euan Blair is working in Coventry, it names the firm, and it reveals the firm's links with Cherie Blair. I also quote solid sources very close to Geoffrey Robinson's office who are adamant that the Blairs made approaches to the MP, urging Euan's involvement in the constituency. I quote the MP denying this to me, and his denials over rumours in Guido Fawkes, and locally, that Euan had attended constituency meetings, and was being lined up for the seat.

My work is careful to establish what is fact and what is non-evidence-based speculation, claim and counter-claim.

Your recklessly infactual rant reminds us of the absurdity of Leveson's hopes of imposing more restrictions on newspapers in the digital age.