One rule that some of us in the blogosphere like to adhere to is that anyone wanting to get in touch can do so in confidence. Observing and maintaining that confidence is vitally important: without it, nobody, but nobody, is going to trust us any further than they could chuck us. And when we get things wrong, there has to be a capacity to come clean and apologise.
Apology, Stanley? Soitanly not!
Here at Zelo Street things do occasionally go wrong: that means saying sorry. This is not subject to spin or evasion – it has to be done, promptly and unconditionally. Sadly, not all blogs bother with such trivialities, and nor do they maintain the confidence placed in them, if only implicitly, by their sources. You know who I mean: yes, it’s the Laurel and Hardy of the blogosphere once more.
Much store was made at the weekend by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his odious tame gofer, the flannelled fool Henry Cole, over a supposed apology they were making to newly elected Labour MP for Corby Andy Sawford. As the Fawkes blog does not do apologies unless leaned on suitably heavily, this at first appeared to be the turning over of a new leaf by the less than dynamic duo.
Sadly, though, there wasn’t a real apology: this was just the Fawkes folks pretending to be bothered. Where they should have been issuing retractions and owning up – such as the flagrantly dishonest timeline for their pal James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole and his fraudulent candidature in Corby, which I corrected for him last week – there was just silence and the hope nobody would notice.
Once is unfortunate ...
Thus the routinely unprincipled and dishonest behaviour that is becoming known to more and more people of independent thought on a daily basis. And Staines fares no better when it comes to keeping schtum about his correspondence: he let all his Twitter followers know that the Guardian’s master cartoonist Steve Bell had emailed him, something the latter would expect to be kept private.
... twice is bang out of order
But Staines doesn’t understand such minor details as principles, and so broadcasts the email receipt to all and sundry. And it wasn’t an accident: it seems Bell contacted The Great Guido once more, and once more the event was made as public as possible. Why doesn’t this happen with Zelo Street? Don’t well-known people get in touch with me? That, folks, is for me to know, and everyone else to guess.
The maintenance of confidence is what delineates the principled from the dishonest and opportunist. Paul Staines has demonstrated by his actions that he falls on the wrong side of that line. Worse, he clearly does not see that that is the case, being so consumed by vanity and the belief that, as he’s “#1”, this in itself justifies behaving towards others as he damn well likes. It does not.
So remember, media people, you can’t trust Paul Staines. Another fine mess.