As Chris Huhne and former wife Vicky Pryce were led away to begin their prison time yesterday, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog were jubilantly telling anyone who would listen that it was The Great Guido Wot Won It. But, as befits the character Sunny Hundal recently christened “Westminster’s biggest bullshit artist”, it was just more of the same.
The role of the Fawkes blog in the downfall of Huhne is not tangential, so much as it is utterly irrelevant. The news that Pryce had taken her then husband’s speeding points, and then gone to the Murdoch press about it, was, well, broken by that press. It was also splashed across the Mail, for two reasons: they nearly got Pryce’s story, and Paul Dacre detests the Lib Dems.
Staines came a very distant third in this food chain, along with all the other papers and media outlets that had lifted the news from the Sunday Times. His doorstepping of Huhne was cheap and gratuitous – and gained him not even an original soundbite. But he was not to be outdone, and so lodged two complaints about Huhne’s expenses, which were claimed to be the clinchers.
Sadly, both were thrown out, in May and July 2011 respectively. Staines’ claim on May 26 that “Damian McBride, Peter Hain also resigned. This year it’ll be Chris Huhne” was as accurate as ever. But this did allow The Great Guido to claim that he was a player in the affair, while in reality being reduced to copying graphics from the Mail On Sunday to bulk out his posts.
It got worse: as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided that Huhne and Pryce should face charges, a new year had dawned, and so Staines’ claim had been proved to be as worthless as so much as his guff. There was no further contribution from The Great Guido – or the so-called Sunlight Centre for Open Politics, his false flag operation – as the case developed.
Then, as the former minister came to court and pleaded guilty, Staines appeared outside wearing a judge’s wig. This was no doubt funny at the time, but to those who weren’t there, gave the impression that someone was trying to channel the ghost of Ena Sharples. He had had no impact whatever on events. It was all show. And there was more than a whiff of hypocrisy.
After all, this was the same Paul Staines who narrowly avoided being sent down when he appeared at Tower Bridge Magistrates’ Court in 2008, possibly by being switched to another court. His second drink driving conviction could have also seen his wife’s car seized. He has no room to call out anyone else for criminality. And he has no room to pretend he got Chris Huhne.
Once again, The Great Guido is caught being being dishonest. Another fine mess.