As argument raged over exactly who would be covered by the new press regulation regime, it came clear that bloggers who remained outside the system were in what at best was a grey area. Some clarification was needed. This was urged by the Hacked Off campaign group. But the media establishment also wanted to show their sudden transformation to supporters of the blogosphere.
Here, they had an ideal toady: step forward the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who have been co-opted by the Murdoch press (a column in the Sunday Sun), compromised by the Barclay Brothers (the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, Staines’ tame gofer, is also employed by the Spectator), and are frightened shitless by the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre.
So it was no surprise to see The Great Guido waddling into action and duly laying into Hacked Off, telling readers that the campaign to get with was actually Blog Off. Who they? It will surprise no-one that this enterprise has been started by Big Brother Watch (BBW), itself an offshoot of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA). Both these groups share the same premises.
But, blustered the Fawkes blog, Blog Off had got over 2,400 signatures on their petition, while Hacked Off were “furiously back peddling [sic]”. That’s pretty lame spin, while of course Hacked Off’s own petition garnered well north of 170,000 names. So Staines had to resort to Plan B, which called for a little forthright dishonesty to be spread around.
He commented on the Hacked Off post highlighting the potential problems for bloggers, first saying he didn’t believe them (applying his own low standards there) and then asserting “in fact, Dr Evan Harris has been telling people he wants to see bloggers regulated”. Really? Strangely, Evan Harris managed to go all the way through March without Tweeting about that even once.
Still, Staines did manage to tempt some anonymous commenters to remark that Hacked Off was “secretive” and had “wealthy backers”, while of course not telling that the TPA and its offshoots were, er, secretive and had wealthy backers. The First Amendment to the US Constitution was cited, being freedom of speech underpinned by statute, which is what the press in the UK is now fighting.
Meanwhile, in that part of the world where the earth is not flat, Sunny Hundal at Liberal Conspiracy has reported that his lobbying has Labour and the Lib Dems on board, and Hacked Off will be continuing their action. All the Fawkes blog is doing is to shill for its pals in the Fourth Estate.
Which means they don’t want the process to succeed. Another fine mess.