The press believes it can get its own house in order. And then its most celebrated gang of shock troops produces a piece of hackery so twisted and partial that they collectively shoot themselves in the foot. And, as the blood starts to flow, it proves that those saying the Fourth Estate cannot get its house in order were right all along. Also, to no surprise at all, the target has spoken out against them.
Of course I kick f***ing Clegg, can't abide the c***
“Clegg's £12m favour to charity backed by his wife: MPs demand inquiry into huge payment” is the lead story in today’s Mail On Sunday, which is nominally edited by Geordie Greig, but conforms to the diktat of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre. The readers are intended to believe one thing, and one alone: Corporal Clegg personally arranged a bung for his wife’s benefit.
Except he didn’t, and bizarrely he didn’t even approve the grant, to Booktrust, which has committed the heinous twin crimes of donating 40 million books to schools over the years, and inviting Miriam González Durántez so speak at one of their functions. She in turn has committed the crimes of being Spanish with malice aforethought, talking foreign, marrying Clegg, and not adopting his surname.
In other words, Ms González Durántez was merely a guest speaker for, and occasional advocate of, Booktrust. It’s not her charity, and the grant to it was green lighted by Michael “Oiky” Gove. But Gove has done as the press require MPs to do over Leveson, and so he gets a free pass while Clegg gets it in the neck. So has he intervened in the awarding of grant money?
Sadly for the Mail On Sunday, no he hasn’t, although the MoS claims that an advisor to Clegg “referred in conversation” to his wife’s attendance at one of their fundraisers. That is all the MoS has, although it also has comments from “A Whitehall insider”, which is more than likely a Dacre gofer dispatched to walk up and down Whitehall and take a few snaps. I kid you not.
Then there is the suggestion that public money is being wasted: Lancaster House is described as a “grandiose venue” hosting a “lavish reception”. It’s a Government property. And then the MoS gets rent-a-quote Tory MP Peter Bone – no doubt with the approval of Mrs Bone – to give them an agreeable line on how dodgy it all looks. If only Bone engaged brain before chasing yet more cheap publicity.
The result is that a charity that has been obtaining Government grants since 2004 – that’s before Clegg even took charge of the Lib Dems, let alone got into Government – gets smeared, just so the Dacre doggies can put the boot in on someone who is not doing as they wish on press regulation. There is no other credible reason why this jumped up hatchet job has been allowed to see the light of day.
And there will be more, until Clegg does as Dacre wishes. No change there, then.