One has to cut the rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog a little slack on one part of their approach to the blogosphere: they like to see other bloggers get on, to the extent that there is a regularly updated list of links to other blogs and media websites. But – and with the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines there is inevitably a but – this encouragement is only given to those approved by The Great Guido.
HuffPost UK Political Director Mehdi Hasan gets kitted up for a friendly chat with The Great Guido and friends
And that means any blog that passes adverse comment on Staines and his gofers, the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole and newly-appointed teaboy Alex Wickham, cannot hope to be allowed on to the supposedly privileged list. This proscription also extends to any blog or online news source that is regarded as competition, and especially if its politics do not meet with the approval of Staines and his pals.
So it should come as no surprise that the Huffington Post UK is frequently on the end of sneering dismissal by the Fawkes rabble, and is rarely cited in its links list, especially now that Mehdi Hasan has been appointed Political Director there. Staines harbours an irrational hatred of Hasan, partly because he is making a success of his career and Staines can’t do anything about it.
The latest lame Fawkes attempt to spin against Hasan and the HuffPost UK has come with the news that early hire Dina Rickman is leaving to further her career elsewhere, and that the site’s first Political Editor Chris Wimpress had already left (the Fawkes blog is a bit late with the latter news, which I was given last month). This is suggested to be something out of the ordinary. It isn’t.
Then, to reinforce the idea that the HuffPost UK with Hasan on board is A Bad Thing, come selectively interpreted traffic figures. The figure for August of 4.1 million unique visitors is mentioned, then a figure of 2.5 million per month from a HuffPost UK advert, followed by the suggestion that traffic must have declined since August, which is then laid at the door of Mehdi Hasan.
Sadly, this is nothing more than hot and steaming bullpucky. The 2.5 million visitors figure is clearly an average one – the hint is in the “per month” phrase, folks – and the 4.1 million in August is more than likely due to most of the Olympic Games, and part of the Paralympics, falling in that month. Those events might not matter to The Great Guido, but they are meat and drink to the HuffPost UK.
So there hasn’t been a downturn, the HuffPost UK isn’t suffering a “brain drain” (clear scrape of the barrel there, Fawkes folks), and Mehdi Hasan is still no nearer to the exit door. But The Great Guido has demonstrated his high principles: Staines has no problem in gatecrashing the HuffPost UK opening bash and getting himself Elephants Trunk and Mozart on their booze, and then kicking them as a thank you.
Especially as he can’t stop their ratings progressing. Another fine mess, once again.