For some in and around the Fourth Estate, laying into Labour MP Tom Watson has recently been a clearly enjoyable sideline, so much so that the enjoyment has forced the inconvenient matter of fact checking to take a back seat. So, while events in west London some years ago are gradually unearthed, it is coming clear that many of the recent attacks on Watson have been significantly untrue.
Moreover, the cluelessness exhibited by hacks and pundits – especially at the Mail – is breathtaking. When Watson criticised Home Secretary Theresa May for limiting enquiries to the North Wales care homes scandal and the activities of Jimmy Savile and the like, nobody stopped to think that he was alluding to at least one other unconnected affair. And they aren’t reporting that affair, now it is being unearthed.
Instead, the line has been trotted out that the MP for West Bromwich East was behind the speculation that caused Alistair McAlpine to be mistakenly identified, and the naming of Peter Morrison, former MP for Chester, but he was not. Typifying this approach was Andrew Pierce, who called Watson’s intervention “The one-man crusade that fuelled child abuse rumours”.
Pierce asserted that Watson had informed “a political blogger” that the Prime Ministerial aide had served Margaret Thatcher, but he didn’t identify the person in any way. No PM was named, nor any party, nor any timeframe in which the activities took place. Pierce won’t be apologising, though, and nor will the odious Quentin Letts (let’s not) who joined in the smear campaign with relish.
Letts, who it seems was most unhappy about being taken to task recently by this blog over his slapdash and inaccurate portrayal of the Leveson presentation, holds no thoughts of others’ sensitivities when laying into them. He told readers that the Watson intervention was just to take the heat off those rotten lefties at the BBC over the Savile business (the same rotten lefties who give Letts regular screen time).
Letts also claimed that Watson had “made pointed (and wrong) claims about one of Margaret Thatcher’s friends being a pederast”, which he hadn’t. Perhaps he would care to explain the Police enquiries now under way into the former Elm Guest House on Rocks Lane in Barnes, run at the time by Carole Kasir, who was found dead in suspicious circumstances at the age of 47.
The guest house was frequented by gay men, and also rent boys who took their clients there. When the notorious Special Patrol Group busted it, they broke in on two of their fellow officers. Many politicians were allegedly involved, and they weren’t all Tories. Some of those involved are now coming forward. Tom Watson is once again being vindicated, while the press keep their heads down and keep schtum.
This is what passes for investigative journalism nowadays. And it’s not good enough.