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Saturday 9 February 2013

Tory Twitter Row Rumbles On

[Update at end of post]

After last week’s hooha, when the @toryeducation Twitter feed found itself pored over in the Observer and caused Labour to question whether taxpayers’ money was being used to fund a crude and deliberate smear operation, the sensible option would have been to keep schtum, or at least stick to the education bit. But we are not in the realm of the sensible here.

This is an account declared to be run out of Tory HQ. Nobody will own up on the record to being the presence behind it. Equally, the retinue of polecats retained by Michael “Oiky” Gove will not confirm whether they have anything to do with it. But someone must be working this particular puppet, and if it’s one of Gove’s gang, then we’re talking breach of code.

Take this sequence of Tweets reigniting the attack on Toby Helm of the Observer: it’s unprompted and gratuitous, combining projection (“Killer follow up” and “Destruction”) with taunting and attempts to drag others into the scrap. Sadly, Helm had said nothing, and so this was more classic spin. Someone is frightened that Helm is sitting on something that will hurt their boss.

This was followed with a singularly unwise attempt to wind up Alastair Campbell, which did not end well.

In fact, whoever was looking after the @educationlabour Twitter account recognised something in the style of the responses that Big Al was getting, and concluded that it looked like Dominic Cummings, who, as I noted earlier, was considered such a leak risk that Andy Coulson had vetoed his appointment.

But @toryeducation ploughed on, unaware of the damage that was being done, telling anyone who would listen that Helm was “promising ‘destruction’ again”, although in reality he was saying and therefore promising nothing at all. This is pointless stuff – and last week’s cavalry has not appeared over the horizon.

Not even the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his pals at the Guido Fawkes blog are bothering with @toryeducation this time. So if Helm has got something on Gove and his rabble, they’re on their own.

As I said previously, the lot of them, from Gove to the bully boys, should be out the door. The longer Young Dave leaves this one, the worse it will be when he is forced to deal with it.

[UPDATE 10 February 1020 hours: the @toryeducation Twitter feed has once more been attacking those who criticise "Oiky" Gove, this time in the small hours. After several Tweets telling anyone who was still out and about that the author had enjoyed a night of "Bach and sushi" (bad news for whoever was trying to enjoy sushi at the same eatery), there were several snarks at Toby Helm specifically, and the Observer generally.
This may have been because the Obs ran another story about Gove, this time that he potentially misled Parliament. But the Tweet that sold the pass appeared at 0543 hours, asserting "Select committee rules [are] not controlled by SpAds. You change the rules, they'd love to be there, on the record".

And how does this Twitter account know, at that time of a Sunday morning, that "Oiky's" SpAds would "love to be there, on the record"? Unless, of course, the author of that Tweet was one of them. Dominic Cummings, you're bang to rights. No wonder Andy Coulson vetoed that appointment because of the leak risk]

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