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Sunday 6 January 2013

Guido Fawked – Kangaroo Not Tied Down

[Update at end of post]

Another week has brought another lame attempt by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his obedient rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog to discredit the Leveson Inquiry and its associated Report, this time suggesting that legal firm Harbottle and Lewis is using mention of Leveson as a way ofcurtailing the press through fear”. Staines’ clinching argument is over veteran entertainer Rolf Harris.

On top of that assertion, Staines boasts that his blog is “nimble” (if only that attribute could be applied to its founder) and that his being prepared to take risks is why he named Max Clifford and Jim Davidson before other media outlets. Sadly, this is total crap, as is the talk of Leveson cowing the Fourth Estate, the latter being impossible without some sanction to back it up.

The reason that the Fawkes blog may be a few minutes ahead on occasion has nothing to do with Leveson, but everything to do with making sure that the name in the frame is correct (the precedent incident in this case being nothing to do with Leveson, and everything to do with the Alistair McAlpine case, and its subsequent settling by both BBC and ITV).

The Great Guido is prepared to go ahead on the information of an uncorroborated single source. Others are not. Hence the Jean-Michel Jarre world exclusive” that was totally wrong. Hence the William ‘Ague and Margaret Thatcher story” that had to be pulled. Hence the wrong call on Labour MP Tom Watson. And hence the recent unsubstantiated accusation against Luciana Berger.

And hence yet another wrong call yesterday, as the Fawkes folks asserted “Hearing Rolf Harris story will go mainstream tomorrow”. Today has seen no Rolf Harris story going mainstream. So what is the story about? Well, Harris, as Mark Williams-Thomas has already told, has been questioned as part of the Police investigation titled Operation Yewtree. But he has not been charged with any offence.

Moreover, this is not new news, having been reported last November. Harris is believed to have been interviewed as part of the “others” strand of Yewtree, which means there is, as with Jim Davidson and Max Clifford, no link to Jimmy Savile or to those associated with him. Nor is there any word as to whether Harris was questioned over his own actions, or someone else’s.

That last is important, given that Harris was at the BBC when all manner of improper behaviour by others was allegedly happening. So it’s possible that there is no story about Rolf himself, and that this is why there is no coverage. But Staines and his pals have a Leveson bashing agenda, and so draw a different conclusion based on zero evidence – and not for the first time, either.

We’re still waiting for “mainstream tomorrow”. Another fine mess, once again.

[UPDATE 7 January 1415 hours: Today there is still no sign of the Rolf Harris story "going mainstream", and  I hear that this may be connected to Harris being in poor health, something that never seems to bother the Fawkes rabble when they go after others. Details are scarce at present, although Harris has previously opened up about having suffered from depression.

One might have thought that The Great Guido might know about that, as the revelation was made to Piers Morgan, whom the Fawkes folks have been pursuing on and off ever since they figured out he was a good subject around which to construct a "look over there" narrative over Phonehackgate, and that he had more Twitter followers than they could ever dream of.

But thus far there is no acknowledgement of this possibility, nor any kind of withdrawal, and far less an apology. No-one should be surprised, as normal practice for the Fawkes rabble is to keep schtum and hope that no-one notices. Another fine mess, once again]

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